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Thread: Pokémon Crusade (Revised)

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    Default Pokémon Crusade (Revised)

    Pokémon Crusade
    Revised Edition


    Rating: PG-13

    Includes graphic violence, language, disturbing images, and some sensuality.
    Not recommended for readers under the age of 13.

    DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokémon. Any resemblance or reference to any
    real persons is purely coincidental and unintentional unless explicitly
    stated otherwise by the author. Opinions and statements concerning religion,
    politics, culture, or race expressed in this story do not necessarily
    reflect the opinions of the author.
    This is a work of fan-fiction.



    Table of Contents
    (Release dates are subject to change)

    Foreword
    A Brief History
    Prologue


    Part 1
    Chapter 1 - Confliction
    Chapter 2 - Escape
    Chapter 3 - Chance
    Chapter 4 - Flight (Sept 12)
    Chapter 5 - Xavier (Sept 15)
    Chapter 6 - Konpaku (Sept 19)
    Chapter 7 - Wanted (Sept 26)
    Chapter 8 - Departure (Oct 3)
    Chapter 9 - Haven (Oct 6)
    Chapter 10 - Open (Oct 10)
    Chapter 11 - Underground (Oct 13)
    Chapter 12 - Crossing (Oct 17)
    Chapter 13 - Convergence (Oct 20)
    Chapter 14 - Crusaders (Oct 24)
    Chapter 15 - Headquarters (Oct 27)
    Chapter 16 - Oblivion (Oct 31)
    Chapter 17 - Lost (Nov 3)
    Chapter 18 - Memories ( Nov 7)
    Chapter 19 - Revelations (Nov 10)
    Chapter 20 - Revival (Nov 14)


    Part 2
    Chapter 1 - Beginning (Nov 17)
    Chapter 2 - Veilstone (Nov 21)
    Chapter 3 - Marshes (Nov 24)
    Chapter 4 - Retreat (Nov 28)
    Chapter 5 - Muster Call (Dec 1)
    Chapter 6 - Shadow (Dec 5)
    Chapter 7 - Ascent (Dec 8)
    Chapter 8 - Valhalla (Dec 12)
    Chapter 9 - Ragnarok (Dec 15)
    Chapter 10 - After (Dec 19)
    Epilogue (Dec 21)
    Appendix (Dec 25)




    Foreword



    This story is drastically different from most stories you have heard; yet it is fundamentally the same. Like every good story, it has a protagonist (in this case, several), an antagonist (in this case, several as well), and a myriad of supporting characters. It has a plot with ups and downs that culminates in a climax and is followed by a resolution of some sorts. In these ways, this story is just like every other story you have heard.

    What makes this story different is its dependence of a vast amount of backstory. As a work of fan fiction, Pokémon Crusade draws on the hundreds of Pokémon, the dozens of human characters, and the immense narratives of the Pokémon world. Upon the time of writing, this story is preceded by sixteen years of video games, television shows, comic books, and movies that represent the fictional universe in which Pokémon exist. As such, this story draws on a history that did not happen in real life and which will be unknown by readers who have not experienced any or some of the aforementioned works. To remedy this, there is following this foreword a brief synopsis of the important historical events that took place in the fictional setting of this story to accommodate readers new to the Pokémon franchise. Please keep in mind that this history is a compilation of several sources across the video games, television show, comics, and movies and is not specific to any individual medium. Furthermore, many characters, including all the Pokémon, appearing in the story are trademarked characters owned by The Pokémon Company© and Nintendo©.

    It is my intention to be as faithful as possible to the source material, but I have taken creative license on many aspects in order to present the best representation of the Pokémon world for the story I wish to tell. Because of this, certain details may not conform to the canon established in official works.

    On Pokémon Training

    To the part of the audience who is not as familiar with the Pokémon franchise and the idea of Pokémon Training, I will provide a brief synopsis of what a Pokémon Trainer does.

    The goal of a Pokémon Trainer is to travel around the Pokémon Islands, collecting and training various species of Pokémon. Each Trainer is registered in a regional Conference. These Conferences are branches of the Island-wide Pokémon League and each contain eight Gyms. A Pokémon Gym is a facility run by a Gym Leader; an elite Trainer often specializing in a specific Type of Pokémon. Trainers challenge the Gym Leader in battles. By winning, a Trainer is awarded a badge. By traveling the region and collecting all eight badges, a Trainer earns the right to participate in the regional Conference Championship. This annual tournament brings together the best Trainers in the region, with only one walking away with the title “Champion,” the highest accolade in Pokémon Training.

    A Word on “Pokémon Speech”

    It is my understanding that many of the Pokémon species have intelligence near, equal, or exceeding human intelligence and thus can communicate and reason the same as human characters. Also, an integral part of the Pokémon Training lifestyle is the partnership and friendship between Trainer and Pokémon. As such, I have developed a way of expressing communication between a human character and a Pokémon called “Pokémon Speech.”

    Pokémon Speech is based on the assumption that Pokémon communicate with a language that is specific to their species while sharing a common base across similar species (i.e. mammalian Pokémon sharing a set of similar sounds, while reptilian species share a different set of similar sounds). To present an analogy, consider Spanish and Italian. While the two languages are different, there are strong similarities between the two (“thank you” in Spanish is gracias and in Italian is grazie). Furthermore, there is an even deeper level of Pokémon Speech that is common in all species, the same way Latin is at the base of many western languages. Through formal education and bonding with Pokémon, a Trainer can understand Pokémon Speech. Likewise, a Pokémon that possesses intelligence similar to a human can understand the language spoken by the Trainer. However, unlike human languages, a Pokémon cannot learn to speak a human language (except under very rare circumstances) and vice versa.

    To remedy this, the following story translates the words of Pokémon into English and brackets the words with “<>” (example: <This is what a Pokémon talking would look like.>). In this way, the reader can understand the Pokémon and it may be assumed the human characters understand as well.

    Final Words

    This story is the culmination of years of work and development and represents an ideal perspective of the world I fell in love with as a kid. I hope that for those of you who share or have shared this love find it again in this story, and that those of you who have never experienced the world of Pokémon might see a little bit of the magic that made it so special to me.
    Last edited by Pkmn Breeder Jack; 28th September 2012 at 5:59 PM.

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    A Brief History


    To the west of Japan but east of Hawaii exists an archipelago of islands known as the Pokémon Islands. The islands range in size from being home to dozens of cities to small, uninhabited pieces of rock. The larger islands are known as regions. The culture on the islands is a mixture of ancient natives, Japanese immigrants, and a much newer wave of Europeans, Americans, and Australians.

    The distinctive feature of these islands is not its human population, however. The Pokémon Islands and the surrounding waters are the only place on Earth where Pokémon live naturally. The islands went undiscovered for millennia until 1000 years ago, when Pacific Islanders chanced across them. The new humans quickly bonded with the various species of Pokémon on the island, and their culture warped around the new creatures. For centuries they lived undisturbed. During the Age of Discovery, the islands went largely unnoticed until the 1700s, when European and American trading ships encountered the island. Few stayed long on the islands, due to the strangeness of the Pokémon living there. A few trading ships from eastern countries of Asia discovered the island, but again, few settled on the island. The few who did brought their own cultures and knowledge to the still tribal natives, and slowly, life on the islands crept toward civilization.

    The major turning point for the Pokémon Islands was the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854, in which the Japanese opened their ports to foreign trade. With the end of the feudal era in Japan and the introduction of the outside world, more Japanese sailors encountered the Pokémon Islands, which served as a useful stop along the trade routes. Many Japanese began to settle on the islands and word of the strange inhabitants began to spread. Many American and European traders searched out the islands and some stayed, amazed at the Pokémon living there.

    Over the centuries, the natives had developed a culture in which humans and Pokémon lived symbiotically, as partners and friends. This culture remained after the introduction of the outside world. Work, trade, and daily activities were completed with the assistance of Pokémon. Also unique to the natives was the practice of battling Pokémon against each other. The western immigrants saw this at first as a heightened form of cockfighting, but the eastern immigrants thought otherwise and quickly convinced the westerners that the battles more resembled sports such as wrestling or martial arts. Because nearly every species of Pokémon possessed intelligence and will similar to humans, the battling Pokémon consented to the sport. In the early years of western immigration, some tried to force Pokémon to fight against their will, but the natives rose up and punished these acts severely.

    In 1888, leaders on the islands rose up and declared themselves as an independent state divided into regions. For twelve years this decision was hotly contested by the United States, Japan, and Great Britain, each country claiming possession. Great Britain eventually withdrew in 1883, followed by the United States two years later. Japan was not as quick to retreat, and a bloody war began. The Japanese did not have the fiercest naval force, and with the combined might of humans and Pokémon, the Japanese were defeated. On February 26th, 1896, the Pokémon Islands were acknowledged by Japan as a free and independent state.

    The war left a scar on the islands, but they began to rebuild, stronger than ever. On September 28th, 1898, the Pokémon League was created as a way to regulate and officiate Pokémon battles and conduct. Laws were established protecting the habitats and rights of wild Pokémon, as well as determining the rules for official Pokémon battles. For decades, the islands thrived, growing in population. The sport of Pokémon battling became a worldwide phenomenon, and though rules greatly restricted the sale and trade of Pokémon, wealthy people across the world acquired Pokémon for themselves.

    In the 1950s, the first Poké Ball was created. This invention, developed by the Silph Company of the Kanto Region, was far more advanced than current technology of the day and was able to convert a Pokémon’s unique molecular structure into an energy form and store it inside a capsule. This capsule, known as a Poké Ball, became an essential tool for all official Pokémon Trainers. The Pokémon League eventually adopted it as its logo and the red and white capsule became known across the globe as the symbol for Pokémon.

    Pokémon technology and popularity were not the only things that grew in the 20th century. Pokémon-related crime began to rise across the regions. The war against Japan had taught the world that Pokémon had the potential for enormous destruction. Some were able to translate this potential into money. Underground Pokémon battling ran rampant across the region, as well as black market trading of Pokémon. The advent of the Poké Ball was of enormous help to Trainers, but it also allowed smugglers and black market dealers to move Pokémon in bulk. To combat these crimes, a new organization known as the Pokémon G-Men was created. They worked with law enforcement to track down and stomp out illegal activities related to Pokémon.

    Among the crime syndicates that rose to power after the 1950s, none was more feared than Team Rocket. The organization specialized in stealing and selling Pokémon on the black market. Their leader and members were difficult to find and track down, eluding the G-Men at every turn. In the 70s, the group had a monopoly on the black market and grew bolder in their activities. Their new leader, a young man known as Giovanni, initiated these changes and brought about a new era of crime on the Pokémon Islands. Operating primarily in Kanto and Johto, Team Rocket ruled with silent authority for twenty years. Security around public Pokémon tournaments was greatly increased and fewer people became Trainers.

    In the early 1990s, the Silph Company, responsible for the Poké Ball technology, began development on a new product. This product was codenamed “Master Ball” and was designed to be the ultimate capture device. Around the same time, Team Rocket reached the final stages of “The Mewtwo Project.” The Mewtwo Project was an effort to create the ultimate Pokémon from the DNA of the ancient and elusive Pokémon Mew, thought to be one of the original Pokémon. Team Rocket planned to steal the Master Ball prototype and mass-produce it, using the arsenal of Master Balls along with the creation Mewtwo to take over the islands. However, Giovanni’s plans were foiled by the G-Men and a young Trainer by the name of Red. In 1996, after Giovanni’s arrest, Team Rocket disbanded and the Kanto and Johto regions were at peace.

    Not three years later, Team Rocket rose from the ashes under a new leader. The new crime lord was a man by the name of Archer, and for a short time Team Rocket rose to power in Johto. However, their plans were unraveled when a young man named Silver joined with Lance, the reigning Champion of the Johto Pokémon League branch and member of the G-Men. Archer escaped, but Team Rocket crumbled again, and ever since, the only activity of Team Rocket has been unorganized and unprofessional.

    Over a hundred miles away and a year after the second defeat of Team Rocket, in the desert region known as Orre, a new threat rose under the name of Cipher. This organization used advanced technology to enslave the minds of Pokémon by corrupting them. However, a man named Wes Yuta foiled their plans and their leader was arrested. Five years later, Cipher rose again with even grander plans. It was revealed that Evice, the man thought to be the leader of Cipher, was in fact a pawn under a much more powerful man. Greevil Verich, the wealthiest man in Orre, was leading the syndicate with his two sons, Eldes and Ardos. They were eventually stopped, and Greevil was put behind bars. Eldes and Ardos served their time but were released on early parole.

    To the north of the archipelago, in the Sinnoh region, another threat was rising. Cyrus, a highly intelligent scientist, used his research company to explore the powers of two legendary Pokémon who were rumored to control time and space. Cyrus renamed the company Team Galactic and began to pursue these Pokémon for their powers, convinced that he could create a new world free of corruption. In 2006 he was stopped, and after another attempt in 2007, Team Galactic disbanded and Cyrus went into hiding.

    For the past three years, the Pokémon Islands have been at peace. Crime has dropped and the Pokémon League is thriving. New Trainers are registered every day, and tournament attendance is at an all-time high for participants and fans alike.

    It is in these years of peace and prosperity that our story begins.

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    Prologue



    2007

    Rain fell gently from a dismal, overcast sky. Gathered in a shoddy, private cemetery around a large granite tombstone engraved with the name Greevil Verich was a congregation of a few rich folks and various friends of the deceased. There were not many.

    Among the crowd stood two men, both in their late forties. The first man had hair the color of crimson flame, bangs brushed to the sides of his face. The second had longer hair, a deep sapphire blue, combed straight back, reaching slightly past his shoulders. A few strands of hair hung down to his thin cheeks. Both men wore dark sunglasses. The gentle shower streaked their faces with thin rivulets of water, yet no tears fell from their eyes as they listened to the priest’s monotonous speech.

    The man with red hair was not sure if he felt grief or apathy. His father had not been the greatest role model. Their family had always been rich, but his father was always away on business or visiting the lab. When Eldes and his brother Ardos were grown, their father showed them the secrets his scientists had been developing. At the time, it felt like they were going to change the world. Eldes recalled the fervor he had felt towards the project.

    But then, they had been foiled by a turncoat named Wes. Evice was taken into custody and the world had cheered. But behind the scenes, Eldes’s father had worked furiously on a new project; his ultimate masterpiece, XD001. The legendary Pokémon Lugia was corrupted completely. Eldes remembered the excitement he felt upon seeing the great creature under their control. XD001 was the first stable, unpurifiable Pokémon. Their first attempt, XD000, had been a failure. But Lugia was theirs, and no one seemed able to stop them. Five years after Wes, a little kid named Michael with a knack for battling infiltrated the system. Michael had an accomplice inside of Cipher, but Eldes did not know whom at the time. Somehow, the kid was able to defeat their strongest admins, including Eldes and his brother. The honesty and passion that drove Michael to stand against them opened Eldes’s eyes to the terror that would come of their work. Eldes and his father surrendered and gave up their work, and Ardos reluctantly followed.

    Here Eldes stood, two years later, at his father’s funeral. Greevil Verich had died in prison from cancer. Despite his past wrongdoings, Greevil was a kind man in the jail and many inmates and guards grew to enjoy his company. Now, Eldes and Ardos were released on early parole.

    As the priest finished, the blue-haired Ardos turned away and walked out of the gated cemetery to a sleek black limousine parked along the drive. Eldes gazed at his father’s closed coffin for a few moments longer. With a slight nod, he turned and followed his younger brother to the automobile. As Ardos climbed inside, Eldes looked up the drive to the estate sitting atop a hill. It was his now.

    Eldes shook the rain from his hair and slipped into the limo. The driver started the engine and the vehicle crawled forward along the pavement toward Verich Manor. Eldes removed his sunglasses and wiped the rain from his face. The light from the overcast sky outside burned his sensitive eyes, so Eldes quickly put on the glasses again. Glancing over at his brother, Eldes felt a cold shiver down his spine that was not due to the rain. Ardos was sitting very still, his face stone. The corners of his mouth were curled up in the slightest inclination of a smile. Again, Eldes felt a chill. For the first time in his entire life, Eldes felt truly afraid of his younger brother.

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    Chapter 1 - Confliction


    2001

    The noon sun sat in a clear blue expanse of sky, casting gentle rays upon the playground. Laughter rose from the many children who darted back and forth, up and down, under and over and side to side on the play structures. Other children were out in a small field, kicking a ball back and forth.

    Apart from the multitudes was a young boy, only eight, sitting on a swing. Thick brown hair framed his face, falling over his ears. Soft, dark gray eyes stared at the shreds of rubber on the ground.

    Two boys of the same age approached him, one with a soccer ball at his feet.

    “Hey, you wanna play?” the boy with the ball asked.

    The boy on the swing looked up, a bit startled. He glanced at the first boy. “What?”

    “I asked you if you wanted to play with us.” He eyed the kid. “My name’s Max.”

    “I’m Jack,” the boy on the swing mumbled.

    “I’m Ian,” the second boy said. “So do you want to play soccer?”

    Jack looked back down at the ground. “No thanks.”

    Ian frowned. “You sure?”

    Jack nodded, not looking up.

    Ian shrugged and turned to leave, but Max stopped him. “Jack, aren’t you the new kid?” Max asked.

    Jack nodded again, still staring at the ground.

    Something dawned on Ian, and he smirked at the top of Jack’s head. “Isn’t your daddy an American?”

    Startled, Jack glanced up, his grip tightening on the chain of the swing. “Yeah, he is.”

    Ian smirked wider. “So that means you’re American too, right?”

    Jack swallowed. “Only half.”

    Ian laughed. “You’re still an Amerigo.” The term made Jack flinch. He stood up, his fists clenched tight.

    “Take it back.”

    “Why should I? Americans are worthless.” Ian took a step towards Jack.

    “Take it back,” Jack mumbled, not meeting Ian’s eyes.

    Ian shoved Jack away. “Make me.”

    Jack stumbled, but kept his balance. He said nothing.

    “You can’t even fight.” Ian swung his fist and caught Jack in the side of his face. Jack landed on the rubber shreds, his hand going to his cheek. He didn’t cry, or even make a sound.

    Ian laughed at Jack. “Pathetic.” Just then, something hit Ian squarely in the back, causing him to fly forward and land on his face next to Jack. At the spot where Ian had stood was another boy with snow-white hair sticking up at odd angles. His vibrant green eyes stared down at Ian.

    “Go away.”

    Fuming, Ian jumped to his feet and swung his fist at the boy with white hair. His punch missed and he found himself on the ground again, this time with the white-haired kid’s foot pressing against his back.

    “I said, go away,” the white haired boy repeated. Ian felt the pressure on his back disappear and he quickly scrambled up, fleeing the scene with a backward glance. The new boy turned to Max, who blanched and hurried after his friend. Once the bullies were gone, the white-haired boy reached out a hand to help Jack up. “I’m Mike.”

    Jack took the hand and climbed to his feet. He felt his cheek, which was beginning to swell. He knew the teachers would ask him about it. He looked at Mike and studied his face. The emerald eyes were bright and cheerful, and when he smiled, Jack suddenly felt comfortable. He returned the grin. “I’m Jack.”

    * * *

    2010

    “And that concludes today’s class,” the professor said, clasping his hands together. He turned around and adjusted his thick glasses before continuing. “Remember, next Monday I will evaluate your three teams before we begin our end-of-semester tournament. Be sure you have them ready for me. And I need a hard copy on my desk Monday and a digital copy emailed by the start of Monday’s class.”

    The elderly man surveyed his students. “You have all shown tremendous improvement over the semester, and I think a few of you have a chance usurping Jack’s position of champion from last semester’s tourney.”

    Small chuckles rose from a few of the high school students. From the back of the room, Jack glanced up through his shaggy brown hair. He gave a small, fake smile. He knew the chuckles disguised the jealously among most of the students.

    Jack was near the end of his tenth year of school. Since the beginning of his ninth year, he had attended Earl’s Pokémon Academy, a private school that focused on students showing talent in Pokémon subjects. Jack had scored near perfect marks on his entrance exam and had his tuition paid for by the school. Jack was at the top of his class in Battle Tactics and Pokémon Biology. In his Battle Tactics class, at the end of each semester, a tournament was held among the class. Each student had three teams, which they battled on a simulation program. For the fall semester’s tournament, Jack had emerged victorious. He had continued to show his near perfect talent in battling, and it had caused many students to dislike him for it. In truth, Jack hated the attention, but he refused to perform at any level lower than his best. He owed it to Mike.

    Since their first meeting on the playground, almost nine years ago, Jack and Mike had become best friends. They took the same classes in school, and both were accepted to Earl’s Pokémon Academy. In the Battle Tactics section of the entrance exam, Mike had achieved a perfect score, a first for the Academy. For the fall tournament in their ninth year, Mike and Jack had been in the finals, and Mike had won. He became a celebrity among the students and faculty, hailed as the greatest Pokémon mind of the generation. Jack had been his partner through all this, receiving a lot of fame.

    But Mike’s dad, a renowned Pokémon scientist, had to relocate to the Hoenn region several islands away. Mike moved after his first semester, leaving behind a legacy that would never be forgotten. The loss of his best friend had caused Jack to be awkwardly thrust into the spotlight that he had once shared. But Mike had possessed the star quality that Jack lacked, and when Jack was looked at as the next greatest thing, he grew distant and reclusive. He didn’t have any close friends, he hardly talked to anyone, and not many people knew much about him. He slowly became an outcast, not rejected, but not readily accepted by his peers. Jack did his best in everything in honor of Mike, to continue the standard that had been set.

    The bell rang, and students began to rise from their desks. “Don’t forget,” the professor said, raising his voice above the noise. “Tomorrow I still need you to all turn in that short essay on the twenty fastest Pokémon allowed in standard tournaments. That’s all for today. We’re almost done with the semester, no need to pile on the homework. Have a good day.”

    The class of twenty-some kids began to file out of the room, backpacks slung over their shoulders. Jack was still in his seat, scrawling some Pokémon names down on a scrap of notebook paper.

    The professor ambled over to observe. “I see you’re including items. Very thorough of you.”

    Jack looked up from his paper. “Um, yeah, well I—you have to be ready for anything in battle. Slow Pokémon can out-speed faster ones with a Choice Scarf.”

    The professor smiled down at Jack. “Son, you’ve been the best student I’ve had in my fifteen years of teaching. It’s hard to imagine that boy Mike was even better than you.”

    A small smile graced Jack’s melancholy expression. “He was.” Jack folded the paper and stuffed it into his pocket. He lifted his backpack off the floor and stood up. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Professor.”

    The man shook Jack’s hand. “Tomorrow.”

    Jack wove his way through the hallways to the exit and strode across the campus among several other students his age. As usual, a few students watched him, but as soon as he noticed they would hastily look away. At first this behavior had annoyed Jack, but he stopped caring after a while.

    His house was only a mile or so from the school, so he always walked home. The afternoon breeze played at his hair with a gentle touch. The sun was shining among a few wispy clouds, warming Jack’s skin. Summer was right around the corner, and the whole city seemed unable to wait.

    After fifteen minutes of walking, Jack found himself at his house. The stone path that led up to the front porch was lined with small, neatly trimmed shrubs. The rest of the yard was equally perfect; Jack’s mother had been a florist and loved working on the landscaping.

    Jack jumped up the steps and entered, greeted by the cool aroma of home. He kicked his shoes off next to the door and made his way into the kitchen. No one was there, so he continued up the stairs and into the first room on the left. Jack tossed his book bag down at the foot of his bed and stopped.

    A small creature sat on the mattress. It was about two feet tall and had fine yellow fur, accented with two black stripes around its torso and a black lightning bolt on its chest. Two prongs jutted out from his head, each with a hole in the middle. Its narrow black eyes stared at the television screen on the dresser, and in its thick arms was a video game controller. Tiny claws darted back and forth over the buttons.

    “Static.” Jack stared at the Elekid.

    <Just a minute,> the Pokémon replied. Jack scowled. He had been taking classes in PokéSpeech for two years, and since he had had Static for nearly that long, he could easily understand Static’s raspy sounds.

    “How long have you been playing that?” Jack asked, throwing himself onto the bed.

    <Since lunch time.> Static was focused on the first-person shooter game.

    “Watch your left,” Jack warned, eying the screen. Static turned the on-screen gun just in time to take out the threat.

    <Piece o’ cake,> Static murmured, his attention still a hundred percent on the game.

    Jack sighed and sprung off his bed and slumped into his desk chair. The desktop began to hum as he booted it up. Jack already had the top twenty fastest Pokémon memorized, so he didn’t need to do any research. After the computer warmed up, Jack opened the word processor and began his essay.

    Twenty minutes later, Jack leaned back in his chair and reread his work. Satisfied, he saved the document and clicked the print button. The ancient printer next to the monitor sputtered to life and spat out the essay. Jack slipped the page into a folder in his backpack and looked at the T.V.

    “Alright Static, multiplayer time.” Jack picked up his second controller from the dresser and sat down next to Static.

    <Think you can take me?> Static taunted, a grin on his small, fanged mouth.

    “No, I know I can take you,” Jack retorted, smirked at his Pokémon.

    Their campaign was ended when Jack’s mom, Jessica, called them down for dinner. They shut off the console and ambled downstairs, still discussing the high points of the battles. Jack and Static sat down at the square table, which was laden with a steaming honey-glazed ham, a bowl of mashed potatoes, and a basket of rolls. Jack’s mother was washing her hands in the sink when Mr. Surge came in from the living room.

    “Hey Dad,” Jack muttered, meeting his father’s eyes briefly. It was clear to everyone that Jack had inherited his looks from his mother rather than his father. While Jack had brown hair and a thin frame, his father was heavyset and had short blond hair. He was ripped with muscles and always kept a stern look on his face.

    Mr. Surge returned the greeting with a grunt and a nod. He sat down across from Jack, giving him a disapproving look. “You need a haircut,” he said gruffly. “It looks like a girl’s.”

    Jack scowled and looked down at his plate. Jessica joined them, sitting across from Static.

    “So, Elliot how was work?” she asked Mr. Surge, who was slicing the ham.

    “Same as always, nothing special,” he answered. They served themselves in silence and began eating. Static was being very quiet as he chewed on a roll.

    The silence was becoming uncomfortable, but Elliot eventually broke it. “How was school?” he asked stiffly.

    “Same as always, nothing special,” Jack muttered, not looking up from his meal.

    “Your tournament is coming up soon. Do you think you’re ready?” Jessica asked.

    “Yeah, I’ve been ready since last tournament.”

    <Jack’s gonna win it for sure,> Static said confidently. <He’s the best in the school.>

    “Not as good as Mike was though,” Jack said quietly.

    Jessica smiled. “You’re still my little champion though,” she told him.

    “Your brother was the best in his class,” Elliot said in a low voice.

    “And so is Jack,” Jessica replied, the faintest bit of an edge in her voice.

    “Mike was better than him. V—”

    “He didn’t have to compete against Mike.” Jack stared coldly at his father. “No matter how great you think he was, he’d stand no chance against Mike.”

    The air was thick with tension as Jack and Elliot stared each other down.

    “We’ll see how well you do next year in Advanced Tactics. You’ll be studying with the best in this area of Johto.” Elliot looked back at his meal and cut up a slice of ham.

    Jack clenched his teeth. “Dad, I’m not going to school next year. I’m applying for a Training License after I finish the term. I’m already of age with two years at the Academy under my belt. Besides, I’ve said it before; I don’t think I want to go into professional battling!”

    Elliot slammed his fist to the table, making Jessica jump. “We’ve been over this before! You’re the top of your class in Battle Tactics! Why wouldn’t you want to go into professional battling?”

    “I’m top of my class in Pokémon Bio as well. I could always go into Pokémon study or breeding or something,” Jack said, raising his voice.

    Elliot jumped to his feet, his chair tumbling down behind him. Static tensed, his narrow eyes watching Elliot warily.

    “Breeding!” Elliot spat the word. “Ridiculous. Breeding is a pathetic job for women and old men. No, you, son, are going to be a professional battler. You will bring honor to the name of Surge, like I have, like my brother has. You will not tarnish the name of Surge by becoming a breeder!”

    “I don’t want to be a Gym Leader like Uncle Erik, it’s too constricting! And if I become a breeder, I can always choose to battle in tournaments like you if I want!” Jack found himself on his feet. “It’s my future, and I can decide what I want to do with it! Just because you couldn’t have your way with your first son doesn’t mean you have to force it on your second!” Jack could feel himself shaking.

    “You have the same talent as—”

    “I’m not the same person!” Jack shouted. Elliot’s eyes were wide, his mouth hanging open, words lost to him. Jack glanced at his mother, a flicker of regret in his eyes, before turning to go upstairs. Static hopped off his chair and followed, throwing a nervous look over his shoulder.

    Jack wrenched open his door and Static scampered in before it was slammed closed. Jack breathed heavily, his fists clenched. “I’ve had enough,” he whispered. He inhaled deeply, clearing his head. “Static, we’re leaving. Tomorrow, before sunrise.”

    Static, who had jumped up onto the bed, looked at him. <Leaving?>

    “Yes,” Jack said, beginning to pace around his room. “We’ll leave. I’ll pack some stuff, and we’ll set out tomorrow morning. We’ll begin our lives as Trainer and partner.”

    A small grin formed on Static’s face. <In Johto?>

    Jack frowned. “Johto won’t work. We’d be too close to home. We could get caught. We’ll . . . we’ll go to Kanto. We can take a bus to Cherrygrove, board a ferry, and cross the border to Kanto. From there we can go to Viridian and I can officially register.”

    <Don’t you need a parent or guardian to register?> Static asked.

    “Only if you’re under sixteen, which I’m not,” Jack answered. “I have an ID and records of going to the academy.” He stopped and grinned slightly. “That’s all I need.”

    Static grinned. <An adventure then, eh?>

    “You bet’cha.”

    <Well, we’ll have to prepare then, right?> Static said, bouncing on the mattress.

    Jack nodded and grabbed his backpack off the floor. He dumped its contents onto his bed and laid the empty bag on his pillow. Searching around his room, he found three outfits, one to wear and two to pack. Then he went looking for miscellaneous items. His cellular phone was sitting on his nightstand, along with his wallet. He grabbed his iPod and placed it next to them. Finally, Static’s black and gold Luxury Ball, which had seen hardly any use, was placed alongside the rest of the items. The Luxury Ball was a specialty Poké Ball developed by a corporation in Hoenn.

    After a brief examination of his school supplies, Jack decided that he wouldn’t need any of them. The Biology book was written for educational purposes, not fieldwork. As for the Battle Tactics textbook, Jack concluded that since he had already memorized most of its contents, there would be no need to bring it along. The only things left were his bathroom supplies and food. Camping supplies and other Trainer necessities would have to be purchased in Viridian.

    Once he stowed the school supplies in his closet and hid the backpack under his bed, Jack lied down next to Static. “You think you’re ready for the big world?” he asked his Pokémon quietly.

    <Do you think you’re ready?> Static retorted. Jack laughed.

    “I think so.”

    <What’s the plan after you get registered?> Static asked, his voice etched with curiosity.

    “Hmm.” Jack thought about it. “What would you want to do?”

    <We could always try Gym Battles,> Static answered. <Just for fun,> he added quickly.

    Jack pushed himself up into a sitting position. “We could try that. I know you like to battle.”

    A wide smile broke across Static’s face. <Awesome.>

    A knocking on the door made both of them jump. “Jack, can I come in?” Jessica asked from the other side.

    Jack glanced at Static, who met the look. Jack’s eyes flitted to the television on the dresser before he stood up. Static bounced off the bed and landed on top of the dresser, hastily turning on the game console and television. Jack took his time, waiting for Static to toss the two controllers onto the bed and jump back down. As soon as Static had the controller in hand, Jack cracked open the door.

    “Yeah?”

    “Can I come in?” Jessica repeated in a soft voice. Jack couldn’t say no to her, so he reluctantly let her in, already knowing what she would say. She sat on his bed and he sat next to her.

    “Jack,” Jessica started, “you know your father only wants the best for you.”

    “Yeah, right.” Jack was staring at the ground. “He just wants to use me as a replacement.”

    “Jack, he does not!” Jessica said, putting a hand on Jack’s shoulder. “He knows you’re the most talented in this family, and he doesn’t want to see you waste it.”

    “Just because I’m good at something doesn’t mean I like it,” Jack muttered.

    Jessica sighed. “I know you want to be a breeder, and do your own thing. But that path won’t disappear if you spend two more years in advanced studies. You could finish school for your dad and then see where it takes you.”

    Jack didn’t answer. Jessica squeezed his shoulder. “We love you, Jack.” She stood up and walked to the door, casting one last glance at her son before quietly closing the door. Jack glanced up at the door before lying back on the bed.

    Maybe his brother was right. Maybe his mother was too soft.

    He reached over and grabbed the second controller, looking dejectedly at the television screen. “Alright, let’s go,” he mumbled to Static. They set up a multiplayer game and played for a while. Jack felt a little better afterwards, and decided that he and Static should go to sleep so they wouldn’t be so tired in the morning. Static put away the controllers while Jack went to brush his teeth. He washed his face and gathered up his toiletries and packed them into the backpack. After setting his alarm clock for 4:00 A.M., he took off his shirt and shut off the light.

    “Good night, Static,” Jack said as he climbed into his bed.

    <Night,> Static responded, under the blanket next to Jack.

    Jack could soon hear Static’s steady breathing, and he knew his friend was asleep. But the minutes slipped by and Jack remained awake. He was full of apprehension. His plan seemed sound, but he was unsure of what he would do. Assuming all went well, he’d be facing weeks, months, maybe even years of life by himself and Static, and hopefully a few more companions. He thought about how he would like to settle after a while and live a quiet life with his Pokémon, training them to be the absolute best they could be.

    And just as silently as the minutes slipped by, so too did Jack slip into sleep, dreaming of himself standing on a lone cliff overlooking the ocean, a breeze whipping through his long brown hair, and a large, muscular Electric-type Pokémon stood next to him, covered in coarse, shaggy yellow fur with black patches.


    CHAPTER END


    A note to readers: I will not be using a PM list this time around, since release dates are already listed for the chapters. If for some reason I miss a date, I will make a post and set a new date.

    Thanks for reading!


    Last edited by Pkmn Breeder Jack; 1st September 2012 at 11:29 PM.

  5. #5
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    Holy wtf bbq! It's back! And revised! That doesn't happen! Fics don't just come back after being gone! ASDFAGFAHSGAHDJFD
    Silverwing: Dunno why you're so surprised. Your fic died for four years before coming back. >>;;;

    *Checks old thread.* Huh, I guess you've only been absent for a few months. Shows how much I know. Oh well, welcome back! ^^ I never really got very far in your fic last time, did I? Well, this is the perfect opportunity for me to follow it the whole way through. And dang, that was a very...intense opening post. Perhaps a bit overdramatic, but hey, I'm not one to talk. xP Time to dive right in, I suppose. This'll be fun, as I can't remember anything at all from the old version, other that the fact that Jack and Static are the mains, and also there was something involving Arceus at some point. Oh dear, I really do need a refresher, don't I? xD

    Oh man, things are coming back to me immediately. I totally remember Eldes and Ardos being in the prologue, and I'll be interested to see what their significance ends up being later in the fic.

    Something dawned on Ian, and he smirked at the top of Jack’s head. “Isn’t your daddy an American?”

    Startled, Jack glanced up, his grip tightening on the chain of the swing. “Yeah, he is.”

    Ian smirked wider. “So that means you’re American too, right?”

    Jack swallowed. “Only half.”

    Ian laughed. “You’re still an Amerigo.”
    As fond as I am of the [Character verbed. "Dialogue."] structure of conversation, (since I find it more colorful than normal dialogue tags + adverbs)...it did get a bit repetitive here. Try not to use the same dialogue tage structure too many times in a row.

    Anyways, we get some nice characterization and background tidbits here in the first scene and it was enjoyable overall.
    Jack was near the end of his tenth year of school. Since the beginning of his ninth year, he had attended Earl’s Pokémon Academy, a private school that focused on students showing talent in Pokémon subjects. Jack had scored near perfect marks on his entrance exam and had his tuition paid for by the school. Jack was at the top of his class in Battle Tactics and Pokémon Biology. In his Battle Tactics class, at the end of each semester, a tournament was held among the class. Each student had three teams, which they battled on a simulation program. For the fall semester’s tournament, Jack had emerged victorious. He had continued to show his near perfect talent in battling, and it had caused many students to dislike him for it. In truth, Jack hated the attention, but he refused to perform at any level lower than his best. He owed it to Mike.
    Whelp...sorry to say, but this is a bit info-dumpy. Now matter how interesting a paragraph of worlbuilding and character backstory can be, it just feels kind of artificial having it all relayed to the reader in one big chunk like that. Admittedly, it's really hard to avoid doing in lots of situations like this, (especially with school history, for some reason.) I won't say to edit it outright, because in all honestly, I can't really think of a better way to convey this information as clearly and thoroughly. Just something to keep in mind--if you can ever think of a scene/conversation/anything that serves an informative purpose, go for it rather than telling the reader outright.
    The professor ambled over to observe. “I see you’re including items. Very thorough of you.”

    Jack looked up from his paper. “Um, yeah, well I—you have to be ready for anything in battle. Slow Pokémon can out-speed faster ones with a Choice Scarf.”

    The professor smiled down at Jack. “Son, you’ve been the best student I’ve had in my fifteen years of teaching. It’s hard to imagine that boy Mike was even better than you.”

    A small smile graced Jack’s melancholy expression. “He was.” Jack folded the paper and stuffed it into his pocket. He lifted his backpack off the floor and stood up. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Professor.”
    Perfect example of it here. Informative, yet with some nice character, and also fun to read.
    “How long have you been playing that?” Jack asked, throwing himself onto the bed.

    <Since lunch time.> Static was focused on the first-person shooter game.

    “Watch your left,” Jack warned, eying the screen. Static turned the on-screen gun just in time to take out the threat.

    <Piece o’ cake,> Static murmured, his attention still a hundred percent on the game.
    Ahh, Static. Probably the only thing I remember vividly from the old version. x3
    Their campaign was ended when Jack’s mom, Jessica, called them down for dinner. They shut off the console and ambled downstairs, still discussing the high points of the battles. Jack and Static sat down at the square table, which was laden with a steaming honey-glazed ham, a bowl of mashed potatoes, and a basket of rolls. Jack’s mother was washing her hands in the sink when Mr. Surge came in from the living room.
    Day-uumm. Now that's a dinner!
    “Your brother was the best in his class,” Elliot said in a low voice.

    “And so is Jack,” Jessica replied, the faintest bit of an edge in her voice.

    “Mike was better than him. V—”

    “He didn’t have to compete against Mike.” Jack stared coldly at his father. “No matter how great you think he was, he’d stand no chance against Mike.”
    I actually lost track of who was addressing whom here for a bit. It goes Elliot to Jack, Jessica to Elliot. Elliot to Jessica. And then I think two different people in the same line? Without dialogue tags, that's a definite way to confuse the reader. Edit: Le derp. It was Jack addressing his father, talking about his brother. Okay. But since Mike and Jack had been the subjects of the previous two sentences, my brain didn't connect "he" as referring to Jack's brother in this one. Be careful with pronoun overlap like that.

    Anyways, good characterization. I already feel for the characters, so that's a good sign. I also remember that little bit of foreshadowing with his brother, although I don't remember where it led. Looking forward to the plot heating up, since I know it doesn't take long for it to take off, full swing. Here's hoping I stick with it this time!

    ~Chibi~
    Last edited by Chibi Pika; 2nd September 2012 at 12:23 AM.


    Ever wondered what would happen if humans had the power to overthrow the Legendaries? To either use them for their own ends, or eliminate them altogether? One thing is for certain...the balance between human and Legendary is unstable.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    8/30/12: CHAPTER 7: “Into the Fire” POSTED!!!
    Chapter 8 progress: 9/12 pages


  6. #6
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    No kidding this is revised... a brief history, prologue and an opening chapter? You spoil us. :P

    Getting in gear to give this all one BIG sweep!

    What can I say, man? I LOVED this. From A to Z. The history was so well-written, I could believe Pokemon truly existed in this world. The first chapter was a much more elightening opener than before, not only showing the beginnings of Jack and Mike, but what has driven Jack and his dad to become who and what they are. Pretty freaking sweet.

    Ardos must have been giving off one hell of a scary smile to freak Eldes out. Guess we'll have to read on to even get a feeble grasp on the situation. Heading out now. And welcome back!

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 5th September 2012 at 1:16 PM.
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
    PROJECT C-SQUARE STATUS = 100.00% Complete (11-12-2010, ca. 2:40pm GMT)
    HEART OF SEVEN STONES IS ON INDEFINITE HIATUS (REAPED) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  7. #7
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    Chibi Pika and Air Dragon! Thanks for your reviews! It's good to see familiar faces back. Hopefully I won't disappoint or slack off this time around. Oh and Chibi, I AM reading LC, and I'll post when I get caught up. I've just been busy with school and work and stuff [/excuse].


    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi Pika View Post
    As fond as I am of the [Character verbed. "Dialogue."] structure of conversation, (since I find it more colorful than normal dialogue tags + adverbs)...it did get a bit repetitive here. Try not to use the same dialogue tage structure too many times in a row.
    Yeah, that makes sense. I'll keep an eye on this in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi Pika View Post
    Whelp...sorry to say, but this is a bit info-dumpy. Now matter how interesting a paragraph of worlbuilding and character backstory can be, it just feels kind of artificial having it all relayed to the reader in one big chunk like that. Admittedly, it's really hard to avoid doing in lots of situations like this, (especially with school history, for some reason.) I won't say to edit it outright, because in all honestly, I can't really think of a better way to convey this information as clearly and thoroughly. Just something to keep in mind--if you can ever think of a scene/conversation/anything that serves an informative purpose, go for it rather than telling the reader outright.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi Pika View Post
    Ahh, Static. Probably the only thing I remember vividly from the old version. x3
    Haha, glad you do. He's probably my favorite character to write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi Pika View Post
    Anyways, good characterization. I already feel for the characters, so that's a good sign. I also remember that little bit of foreshadowing with his brother, although I don't remember where it led. Looking forward to the plot heating up, since I know it doesn't take long for it to take off, full swing. Here's hoping I stick with it this time!
    The plot definitely heats up in the next chapter. You'll be in for a treat. Thanks again for the review.

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Dragon View Post
    No kidding this is revised... a brief history, prologue and an opening chapter? You spoil us. :P
    Yeah, I really wanted to make this feel . . . professional. I dunno, practice for future projects. xP

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Dragon View Post
    What can I say, man? I LOVED this. From A to Z. The history was so well-written, I could believe Pokemon truly existed in this world. The first chapter was a much more elightening opener than before, not only showing the beginnings of Jack and Mike, but what has driven Jack and his dad to become who and what they are. Pretty freaking sweet.
    Glad you enjoyed it! The original version of the story was supremely lacking in almost every respect. Hopefully this one is passable.

    Thanks again for both of your reviews!


    Jack

  8. #8
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    Chapter 2 - Confliction



    Bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep-THUNK.

    Jack massaged his hand, groaning at the alarm clock he had just assaulted. He noticed the time and groaned again, wishing he could sleep in.

    <Jack, let’s go!> Static said, pulling off the blanket. He bounced on the bed, trying to wake Jack up.

    Stifling a yawn, Jack pushed himself into a sitting position and switched on the lamp on his nightstand. “I hate mornings,” he grumbled.

    Static hopped off the bed and looked at him expectantly. Jack glanced up at him. “Alright, alright.” He stood up and stretched before going into the bathroom. He stared at his sleepy expression in the mirror and splashed water in his face to wake himself up. After relieving himself, he went back into his room to change into his jeans and t-shirt. Static was waiting with his backpack. Jack took it and gathered the items he had left on his nightstand. He tied on his shoes and stood up. Everything prepared, he threw a fleeting look around his room, thinking it would be a very long time before he ever saw it again, if he did decide to come back.

    Together, Jack and Static crept out of their room and down the stairs in the dark, skirting alongside the walls to prevent the floor from squeaking. Now in the kitchen, Jack laid his pack on the island counter and went to the pantry. He salvaged a few stacks of crackers and four bottles of water and jammed them into his pack.

    “We’ll have to buy more later,” he whispered to Static, who looked disdainfully at the meager rations.

    Just then, they heard a creak from the ceiling. They frantically pulled the pack off the island and ducked behind it. Jack could hear his heart pounding in his chest, and he struggled to breathe slowly. After two painful minutes, they heard the toilet upstairs flush. A few more creaks, and then all was quiet.

    <That was close,> Static whispered, letting his muscles relax. Jack breathed a sigh of relief, but his breath caught in his throat as he heard another voice.

    <Yes it was, though I had already known it would not affect you.> A green creature was standing next to them, staying unnaturally still. It was about five feet tall and had a round head perched on a column-like body. Two white wings were folded around it, and two red eye-shaped patterns stared blankly out from its chest. The bird-creature was one of Jessica’s Pokémon; a Xatu.

    “Totem!” Jack hissed. “What’re you doing?”

    The rigid Pokémon spoke without moving his beak. <I was meditating when I felt your disruption.> Jack opened his mouth, but the Xatu cut him off. <Do not worry, I will not tell my master about you.>

    “Well, um, thanks,” Jack murmured, feeling slightly awkward.

    The Xatu made no sign of hearing Jack. After a few uncomfortable seconds, Jack turned to leave.

    <There is a storm coming.> Jack glanced back at Totem.

    “What?”

    <There is a storm coming. It does not seem as if you will stay dry.>

    Jack frowned. The weathermen had predicted sun all week. “Literally or figuratively?” Jack asked. Totem just stared blankly into space, showing no more signs of life than a rock.

    Puzzled, Jack turned again to leave. He quietly opens the front door and he and Static walked out into the cool morning air.

    The sun was just beginning to rise, and just over the trees and houses Jack could see its light. As the two walked in silence along the road, Jack absorbed the quiet of the morning. A few cars drove by, and Jack saw a couple of the drivers look at him. Must be odd to see a teenager and a Pokémon walking around on the side of the road at this hour.

    They arrived at the closest bus stop and sat down on a bench to wait. Jack took out his iPod and listened to music while Static fell asleep at his side. The bus finally came half an hour later, and gently waking Static, Jack boarded. He paid the fare, found a seat in the back, and settled down, again put the buds in his ears and let the music absorb him. Static fell asleep again, and with a jolt the bus began driving, stopping at a few intervals before finding the highway that led to Cherrygrove. Jack rested his head on the glass window, gazing out at the bleak stretch of forest that continued on for miles.

    Forty minutes later the bus jumbled into the small city of Cherrygrove. Known primarily for its abundance of cherry trees, it was also the second largest port city in Johto. However, unlike the boisterous city of Olivine, Cherrygrove wasn’t much of a tourist magnet. Most of the ships that docked here were cargo ships or ferries providing cheap transportation across the border.

    The bus slowed and jolted to a stop at the first stop in the city. Jack woke Static again and put his iPod away. He stood up, taking Static and setting him on his shoulders to keep him from the many feet that were now making their way off the bus. Jack stepped out onto the pavement and stretched, his muscles stiff from the long ride. The other departing passengers dispersed, going their own way. The bus closed its doors and slowly pulled away, leaving Jack and Static alone.

    “Alright, we should find the nearest Pokémon Center and pick up a map,” Jack said to Static. He set off down the sidewalk, passing the occasional commuter or jogger. After a few minutes of walking, he stopped and asked for directions from a man in a business suit.

    “Excuse me, sir. Do you know where the Pokémon Center is?”

    The man frowned and studied him disapprovingly. “Do I look like I should know?” Jack mumbled something and turned to go, but the man spoke in an exasperated tone. “Go down three blocks and turn left. It should be at the end of the street.”

    “Thanks,” Jack said gratefully, and the man nodded and continued on. Jack followed the directions and soon found himself standing in front of the building. It stood three stories, with a red roof and sleek blue and white walls. Individual windows lined the second and third stories while big glass windows on the first floor revealed the lobby inside. Jack passed through sliding glass doors and surveyed the lobby. As it was only around 6:30 in the morning, there were few people up and about.

    Pokémon Centers were facilities paid for by the Pokémon League, the highest authority in any Pokémon related activity. The Centers served dual purposes; they were both infirmaries for injured Pokémon and hotels for registered trainers. Since the Pokémon League paid for the Centers, anyone with a valid trainer ID received free services from the Center. If you did not have a valid ID, the services required payment.

    Jack wasn’t in need of any services other than finding a map of the city, so after scanning the lobby he located what he was looking for. Among stacks of brochures advertising vacations or upcoming tournaments was a stack of foldable maps. Jack picked one up and unfolded it. He found the Pokémon Center and traced a path to the docks where a ferry could pick them up.

    Before leaving, he stopped at a vending machine and bought two candy bars. He gave one to Static, who now opted to walk by himself. Static hungrily tore open the wrapper and gnawed on the chocolate.

    Following the map wasn’t too hard, and after fifteen minutes of walking, the dock was in sight. A small square building guarded the wooden dock where the ferry would stop. Much to Jack’s dismay, he saw a boat sailing off to the east, only a few hundred yards from the dock.

    “Aw crap, we just missed a ferry,” Jack moaned. He and Static walked the rest of the way to the building. They entered the small space, occupied by only one man, standing behind the counter, looking slightly apprehensive.

    “Can I help you?” he asked gruffly, looking Jack up and down.

    “Yeah, uh, do you have a list of times for the ferries?” Jack asked.

    The man’s eyes flitted nervously over the opposite wall for a brief second. “Naw, we had to take it down ’cause we’re changin’ the times.” He licked his lips. “The next ferry should be in at about 9:00.”

    “Okay,” Jack said. “I’ll take a ticket for that one.”

    The man gave him the price and Jack fished through his wallet for the necessary cash. He exchanged it for the ticket and thanked the man, and then walked back outside to wait on a bench.

    Static hopped up next to Jack and looked at Jack expectantly.

    <Jack, I’m still hungry.>

    Jack looked down at Static. “Fine, you can have some crackers.” He pulled out a stack of crackers from his backpack and opened it, grabbing a few for himself before giving the rest to Static.

    Static gratefully accepted the food and wolfed down the crackers as fast as he could. After only several seconds, the crackers were gone.

    <Water, please,> Static demanded, holding out his hand. Jack rolled his eyes and fished out a plastic water bottle from his pack. He chucked it at Static, who tore off the top and gulped it down.

    Jack leaned back and gazed into the sky, his mind feeling restless. His plan seemed simple and flawless, and chances were he would be in Viridian sometime tomorrow. From there he could do what he pleased. Jack knew that he wouldn’t have a very hard time making money. Trainers would always bet on matches, and the prize money from tournaments and official matches was always a lot. He was an excellent strategist and Static was very skilled, despite his small stature.

    Jack was woken from his thoughts when Static hurled the empty bottle at his head.

    <Finished.> Static grinned mischievously.

    “Static, why don’t you work on your Elemental Punches?” Jack suggested, trying to ignore Static’s little cry for attention.

    Static’s expression changed to one of surprise. <Good idea. I’ve already mastered Thunder Punch.> Static held out one arm and clenched it. Crackling yellow electricity snapped around his thick forearm. Static held the position for a minute before he let the light disperse.

    “That’s excellent, Static,” Jack said, a small smile of pride playing at the corners of his mouth. “How about Ice Punch?”

    Static frowned and concentrated hard. Around his outstretched arm, the air turned cold, and small ice crystals formed on his fur. The frosty air disappeared after ten seconds. Static groaned with disappointment as he brushed the ice off his arm.

    <I can’t hold that for nearly as long as I should be able to. . . .> He looked dejectedly at the ground.

    “Well, keep practicing. You’ll get there,” Jack said, giving Static a brief smile.

    The next couple of hours were passed with Static practicing his Punches. A few people settled down on the other benches, themselves waiting for the ferry. At 8:45, the boat arrived at the dock. It was rusted in places and looked rather old. A gangplank was lowered, and Jack, Static, and a dozen other people made their way onto the boat. The upper deck had rows of hard plastic benches for passengers, covered by a shoddy tin roof. Jack and Static shuffled along towards the back. They picked a bench on the left, two rows from the back. They settled down into the seat and looked around.

    “Not exactly a luxury cruise ship, is it?” Jack said dryly. Static chuckled a bit. At 9:00, the gangplank was raised and the boat’s engine revved, propelling them away from the dock. A couple of people settling into a seat a few rows up caught Jack’s eye. He could see the backs of their heads. The taller one had a flaming red Afro, and the smaller one had silky green hair, hanging straight around his head. Jack wondered who the odd people could be, but as it would be rude to get up and look at them, he dismissed his curiosity.

    Jack looked out the window and gazed at the ocean stretching towards the horizon. The sun was well up into the sky and its light reflected off the water, giving it a smooth, glossy look. The weather was very fine, and the waves were gentle. As he was admiring the view, Jack became aware of a noise near the side of the ferry. His window was glass, so he couldn’t get a good angle, but he caught sight of a couple small dinghies floating beside the ferry. From what he could see there were crates that were being moved into an opening on a lower level of the boat. Jack frowned. What could they possibly need to load into the ship in such an odd manner? He dismissed the thought, reminding himself he didn’t know very much of boats or sailing. Pretty soon, the dinghies moved away from the ferry and out of Jack’s line of sight. The ferry lazily crawled out to sea and Jack felt a stab of excitement. There was no turning back.

    As the boat moved into the open water, Jack stared out the window at the rolling waves and let his thoughts wander. I’m on my way to Kanto, he thought. In an hour of two, I’ll be in Pallet. From there, I’ll move on to Viridian and begin my journey. . .

    Without warning, Jack felt his vision go black and flash into a scene, but everything looked as if he was wearing violet lenses. A horrid screeching rang in his ears, blocking out the sound of the boat. He realized he was looking at his kitchen. His parents were standing there, talking to a police officer. The image blurred and morphed into a scene of the same officer in his patrol car. He was speaking into his radio. Jack’s vision blurred again, and he found himself staring out at a town from the window of the boat. It wasn’t Cherrygrove. His vision blurred again, and he saw himself sitting on a picnic table in the shade of an old oak tree. Again it blurred, and he saw himself in a dark cave, with the daylight shining in from an exit in the distance. It faded, and his vision was black again. The screeching stopped, and he became aware of his surroundings. He was on the floor and his eyes were closed.

    <Jack, get up,> Static’s voice said. Jack opened his eyes and saw Static crouched in front of his face, looking worried. Jack then realized that there were other people staring at him. He scrambled to his feet and sat back down, trying to ignore the eyes on him.

    “What happened?” he muttered to Static.

    “Fell out of your seat, bro,” someone said. Jack looked around and saw the man with the red Afro sitting next to him.

    Jack frowned. He knew this person. He had seen him before. And then it hit him.

    “Flint?”

    “Shh!” Flint said franticly, glancing around. “I don’t need to be found out.”

    Jack was astonished. This was Flint Ooba, one of the Sinnoh region’s Elite Four. He was one of the most accomplished Trainers in the region. The teenager with green hair sat down next to Jack and grinned.

    “So you must be Aaron,” Jack whispered to him. Aaron was another Elite from Sinnoh, almost as famous as Flint.

    “Yep,” Aaron said, giving a small smile.

    “What exactly are you doing here?” Jack asked, still thoroughly stunned.

    “Can’t say, top secret and stuff,” Flint replied with a grin. “So you know our names. What’s yours?”

    “Oh, sorry, my name’s Jack,” Jack stuttered. “Jack Surge.”

    Flint paused for a brief second, and then leaned forward to look at Static. “And is this your Elekid?”

    <My name’s Static, and I’m the strongest Elekid in the world!> Static boasted, puffing out his chest.

    “Are you now?” Flint said, an amused smirk on his face. “Can you use Fire Punch?”

    <. . .What?>

    “Well, I would think the greatest Elekid could use my favorite type, but oh well.” Flint leaned back and put his hands behind his head.

    <I wasn’t born with the move, so I can’t use it, alright?> Static muttered darkly.

    Flint looked sideways at Static. “Would you like to learn?”

    “You can do that?” Jack asked, frowning.

    Flint grinned. “I happen to have a special item that should allow you to learn it, Static.” He rolled up the sleeve of his overcoat and revealed two black bands on his wrist. They began to expand and glow, like molten lava, covering his hand. When it had formed into the shape of a crimson glove, it became still and the light faded.

    Aaron leaned forward, looking apprehensively at the other passengers. “Flint, what are you doing?”

    “Chill out, Aaron. It’s cool. Nobody can see us.”

    “You shouldn’t be doing this. You don’t even know this guy,” he muttered, crossing his arms and sitting back against the seat.

    “It’s alright, he’s cool. Isn’t that right, Jack Surge?” Flint gave a sly smile to Aaron before turning to Jack. Aaron furrowed his eyebrows, as if he had realized something.

    “So Static, come here for a second,” Flint said. Static hopped over and stood on the seat next to Flint. Slowly, Flint put the coated hand on Static’s head. The material began to glow a faint red, and Static shivered. After several seconds of contact, Flint removed his hand and pushed down his sleeve.

    “Did that teach him Fire Punch?” Jack asked quietly.

    Static held up a fist. He closed his eyes and concentrated hard. And then, a flame appeared around his fist. Shocked, Static gave a start and the flame dissipated. He stared at his hand, his fanged mouth hanging open in disbelief. <I can use Fire Punch.>

    “Incredible,” Jack said, amazed at Static’s new power.

    “Anything for a friend.” Flint grinned and leaned back in his seat, looking pleased with himself.

    “Flint, exactly what was that?” Jack asked, nodding towards Flint’s arm.

    “Sorry bro, can’t tell you. It’s a one-of-a-kind item, and I’d rather not say. I’d appreciate it if you’d keep it secret too.” He winked at Jack.

    Jack nodded and leaned back against the seat. “So Static, looks like you’ve got something new to practice,” he remarked, giving Static a grin.

    <Yeah,> Static murmured. He stared hard at his hand, trying to make the flames stay.

    “So Jack,” Flint said, “what brings you to this ferry on such a fine day?”

    Jack bit his lip and averted his eyes. “I left home.”

    Flint sat up, clearly interested. “Oh? And for what reason?”

    Jack stared at the floor. “I want to prove to my dad that I can be successful doing things my way instead of his.”

    Flint gave him a mischievous grin. “Breaking the mold, then, eh?”

    “Kinda.”

    “What interests you the most in the field of Pokémon then?” Flint asked.

    Jack stared at the floor. “I’d like to be a breeder, but I wouldn’t get paid very much,” he mumbled. “I’m decent at battling, but it’s not exactly my thing.”

    “I can understand. There’re a lot of complex strategies and details you have to have memorized in order to survive as a pro battler,” Flint said knowingly.

    “It isn’t the strategies that get me,” Jack explained. “I, well, actually. . .I was the top of my class in Battle Tactics this year.”

    Flint’s eyes widened in surprise and Aaron turned to look at Jack, clearly impressed. “That’s quite a feat, considering the difficulty of even getting into a Pokémon Academy,” Aaron remarked.

    “So you know your stuff then,” Flint said. “You understand the concept of lures, right?”

    “Of course,” Jack answered. “In order to execute the strategy of your team, you train a Pokémon that would attract the kinds of Pokémon that would give your team trouble. However, you train that Pokémon in a way that lets it overcome or incapacitate the problematic Pokémon, effectively clearing the path for the other members of your team.”

    “Very good. You’ve been taught well,” Flint said with a grin.

    After two hours of discussing various strategies, Jack could see the town of Pallet in the distance. Aaron was still gazing out the window. After a few minutes, he got to his feet.

    “Flint, the boat’s not turning towards Pallet.”

    Flint stopped and looked out the window. His smile disappeared and his face became expressionless. “I knew it. Jack, Static; stay here.” He walked out into the isle, with Aaron right behind him. Curious, Jack followed them with his eyes as they made their way to the cabin. Right as they reached it, the door swung open and a man stood in its frame, a handgun pointed directly at Flint’s forehead.

    Jack’s heart skipped a beat. He watched in horror as four men walked out into the isle from the behind the man with gun. Each held an AK-47 assault rifle. Jack recognized one of them as the jumpy man who had sold him his ticket.

    “Hands on your heads, all of you,” the man with the handgun growled, advancing on Flint, who started backpedaling. The men carrying the AK-47s began inspecting the frightened passengers, looking for anything that could be a threat.

    Jack sat frozen in his seat. He could hardly believe what was happening. Why would there be a group of thugs with guns running a ferry service? What could they be hoping to accomplish?

    “We don’t need any heroes today,” the man with the handgun told the passengers. “We would appreciate your full cooperation. Nobody has to get hurt.” He looked around. “What we do need are your Pokémon.”

    Static crouched beside Jack, his narrow black eyes darting around; his muscles ready to react to whatever might happen. One of the men approached him, his grip tight around the gun.

    “Put the Pokémon in its Ball and hand it over.” His eyes moved back and forth between Jack and Static.

    Jack felt himself shaking. He couldn’t turn Static over, but he couldn’t think of anything else to do.

    <Jack, let me handle this,> Static murmured, not taking his eyes off the man. <Just hand me to him.>

    The man aimed his gun at Static. “What did it say?” he demanded.

    Jack realized the man couldn’t understand Poké Speech. “He uh, he said he has to pee,” Jack stuttered, his heart pounding in his chest.

    A toothy grin broke across the man’s face, and he lowered his gun a bit. “Well, that’s just too bad. Now hand it over.”

    Jack picked up Static and held him out for the man. As the man reached for Static, Static murmured, <Grab the gun.> Confused, Jack glanced at the AK-47. The man grabbed Static, and at the same moment, he let out a cry of shock. Both Static and the gun dropped to the floor as the man stumbled back, his face contorted into a grimace. At the moment Static touched the floor, he sprung forward with lightning speed, slamming into the man and spending him sprawling out on the floor, completely unconscious. Jack realized what Static had meant and scrambled to pick up the AK-47. He heard the other men shout and he clutched the grip and muzzle of the rifle. He looked out from around the side of the seat and saw Static attack a second man as a yellow blur, sending the man to the ground.

    Jack heard a cry of shock from near Flint and swiveled his head to see what had happened. Flint had trapped the arm of the leader and aimed the gun at the two remaining men. Two shots rang out and the men crumpled, dead before they hit the ground. Flint then swung his elbow back into the man’s face, smashing his nose and knocking him out. He kicked the gun out of the unconscious man’s hand and drew his own handgun from within his coat. Aaron had also drawn a gun from inside his jacket.

    Panicked whispered rushed through the passengers, and Jack stared in disbelief. Three men unconscious and two dead, all in a matter of seconds. He realized he was still crouched behind the seat. He pushed himself up, his legs feeling like jelly. Static walked over, still alert and ready to attack.

    <Are you okay?> Static asked, looking up at Jack.

    “Um, wha—yeah, are you okay?” Jack said, stumbling over the words. “You just attacked two guys with guns!”

    Static gave Jack a grin, his yellow fangs glinting. <I know. That was Quick Attack. It makes me feel like a ninja.>

    Jack laughed weakly. They had almost died, and Static was thinking about being a ninja. Shaking the thought, Jack approached Flint and Aaron.

    “Jack, are you okay?” Flint asked, looking Jack up and down.

    “I’m fine, Flint,” Jack said, trying to keep his voice calm. “What’s happening?”

    “We suspected this vessel would be used to transport weapons to a small terrorist group located in Kanto. That’s why Aaron and I are here. To ensure that the weapons don’t reach them.”

    Jack stared at Flint. “I thought you were a Pokémon Trainer? How do you know how to disarm a guy like that?”

    Flint closed his eyes and exhaled slowly. “Jack, Aaron and I aren’t just Trainers. I can’t give you the details, but I assure you we’re here to help,” Flint explained. “I’ve had training, and that’s how I could do that. Now we’re still in danger, and I need to speak to the passengers.” He turned to Aaron. “Alert HQ.”

    “Already have,” Aaron answered. He watched the door to the cabin with wary eyes.

    “Okay, I need everybody’s attention!” Flint called out to the passengers. The whispers stopped and the people gave Flint their undivided attention. “This boat is currently being held by a group of terrorists. I’m here with my partner to prevent anything bad from happening to you, but in order for that to happen, I need you all to stay calm.” He looked at a frightened woman sitting with her son, who couldn’t be more than six. Flint gave them a comforting smile. “Ma’am, do you have a cell phone?”

    “Y-yes,” she whispered, her eyes still wide with fear.

    “Everything will be okay,” Flint said. “I need you to contact the police. Let them know we are a few miles off the coast of Pallet, heading due east. Can you do that for me?”

    The woman nodded and fumbled around in her purse to find her phone.

    “Now, by a show of hands, how many of you have any experience with a gun?” Two men, one in his early thirties and the other looking to be over forty, raised their hands. “I am not forcing you into this, but if you are willing, take two of the AKs. If something were to happen, you could help save lives.” The men nodded and picked up the guns off the floor.

    Flint turned to Jack and Static. “I need you two to stay here and help defend the passengers. I know how hard this may seem, but if you have Surge blood in you, I’m sure you’ll be able to do what you have to.”

    Jack nodded and gripped his rifle harder.

    “Alright Aaron, let’s go.” Flint and Aaron turned and crept into the cabin, their guns raised and ready.

    As the two disappeared, the passengers resumed whispering with panicked voices. The two other men with guns drifted over to Jack and Static.

    “Alright, son?” the older one asked Jack, giving him an encouraging smile.

    “Y-yeah, I think so,” Jack replied, desperately trying to keep his voice steady.

    “Those guys,” said the younger man, “they really seem to know how to handle this.”

    Jack nodded in agreement, deciding it was best not to try and talk. He looked at the open doorway that led into the cabin. He wondered if they were still alive. Jack gave a start when he heard gunshots from below the deck. The passengers grew silent as the fight below ensued. Jack could only hope that the two Elites would survive.

    He heard a creaking sound and he looked behind him. For a second he didn’t understand what was happening, but horror soon spread throughout his body. There had been a trapdoor in the floor of the upper deck, and from it came a man with an AK-47. One of the passengers gave a shout and the two men turned around, lifting their guns. The crew-man squeezed the trigger and shot off a short burst of bullets, and Jack stared in shock as the younger man collapsed. The older man aimed and shot his own rifle, catching the man in the chest. He gave a strangled cry as he fell back, landing with a muffled thud on the floor. The older man bent to examine his younger comrade. Jack couldn’t move. He stared at the body of the younger man. There were two wounds in his lower abdomen, but the rises and falls of his chest meant he was still alive.

    “Don’t anybody move, or I’ll shoot.” The voice caught Jack in the chest like a knife. He turned his own gun around and aimed it at the man who now stood over the dead crew-man’s body. He held a handgun, aimed straight at the old man. “Get on your feet and put your hands where I can see them.” The old man slowly stood up, holding his hands up in surrender. The crew-man glanced at Jack. “Drop the gun, or I’ll shoot.”

    “Don’t,” whispered the old man. Jack stared with frightened eyes at the crew-man. He wanted to drop the gun so the old man wouldn’t get shot, but he couldn’t feel his own fingers.

    “I said drop it!” growled the man, glaring at Jack.

    Jack remained frozen, unable to move, even as his head screamed to drop the gun.

    The handgun swung towards Jack. “I said drop—!” Five shots rang out, instantly followed by the shattering of glass and the crunch of holes being torn through the wall. Jack stared in utter horror as the crew-man with the handgun slumped backwards. With dreadful realization, Jack understood that it was he who had shot the bullets.

    Everyone was silent, but even if they had been screaming, all Jack could hear was the fast thumping of his heart as it pounded the blood into his head. He tasted bile in his mouth and turned away from the old man and Static and vomited on the floor. The very thought of what he had done repulsed him. He felt like he was stained, tainted by the blood that oozed out of the man he had shot. I am a killer now.

    <Jack. . .> Static mumbled, looking worriedly at his Trainer.

    The old man crouched over the man Jack had shot and checked for a pulse. After a few seconds he stood back up and shook his head. Looking over to Jack, the man approached him and put his hand on Jack’s shoulder. “It’s okay, son. You’ll be alright.” Jack looked up at him, searching the aging face. He nodded stiffly. “Go ahead and sit down.” Jack sat, resting his forearms on his thighs and hanging his head. He tried to steady his breathing and calm himself.

    He heard footsteps coming from inside the cabin and glanced up as Flint and Aaron jogged in. Flint’s eyes swept the seats, assessing the situation. “Is everyone alright?”

    “We have one man down, two shots to the gut, but they shouldn’t be lethal,” the older man said. He was now holding a shirt against the man’s stomach to staunch the blood flow. Flint nodded and walked over to the lady who had called the authorities.

    “Ma’am, are you still with the police?”

    “Yes,” she answered, looking up hesitantly.

    “Tell them to send out the Coast Guard with a medical team. We have one civilian with two bullet wounds to the abdomen.” The women nodded and gave the dispatcher the information.

    Flint strode over to Jack and sat down beside him. “Hanging in there?”

    Jack nodded.

    Flint frowned and cocked his head. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something.”

    “I-I shot—” Jack couldn’t finish his sentence. Flint glanced at the old man on the floor, who nodded at the dead crew-man Jack had shot.

    Flint smiled grimly. “It’s alright. You did it naturally. Almost anyone would have done the same thing in your position.”

    Jack looked at Flint quizzically.

    “It’s for the same reason an ordinary person can kill on the battlefield without it completely killing him inside. When you see your comrade get shot,” Flint indicated the younger man, “and the gun turns to you, you will do whatever you can to avoid the same situation, even if it means taking a life.” Jack gave a small nod.

    “You aren’t a bad person Jack, and protecting yourself isn’t something you should be ashamed of. I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel anything, but don’t think badly of yourself because you shot him, alright?” Flint clapped Jack on the shoulder. Jack looked at Flint’s fiery brown eyes and the red Afro that framed his face. He felt a wave of gratitude towards Flint and managed a smile.

    “Thanks.”

    Flint grinned wide and stood up. Aaron approached him, giving Jack a weary smile before focusing on Flint. “HQ has a chopper dispatched for us. It should arrive outside of Pallet in approximately thirty minutes.”

    “Great news. Let’s get this boat turned around. Aaron, you drive, and I’ll handle the authorities when they come.”

    An hour later, Jack walked down the gangplank onto the dock at Pallet. Static trailed after him, uncharacteristically silent after the events on the ferry. Flint and Aaron were speaking with the local police, sorting out all the details. From what Flint had explained, until the crew was proven to be the source of the violence, Flint and Aaron were responsible for the deaths of several people. But after the officials saw the large shipment of firearms and explosives in the lower deck and listening to the passengers give testimonies to prove Flint and Aaron were only protecting them, the police were okay with letting them go.

    Jack stood on the edge of the dock, staring at the water below. It rose and fell with each gentle wave, breaking against the pillars that held up the dock. He had been gone from home for less than twenty-four hours and already he had more than enough adventure. Jack wondered what would have happened if he had missed this ferry. He wouldn’t have had to kill that crew-man, but then again, he did meet Flint Ooba and Aaron Ryou. Not everyone could say they’ve met two of the greatest trainers in Sinnoh, so he guessed he should be thankful for that. But if he could have chosen, he would rather have been on a different ferry. The thought of taking that man’s life made him feel sick.

    Someone walked up next to him, and the flaming red hair let Jack know it was Flint. “Well Jack, it’s been quite a day.”

    Jack smiled slightly. “Yeah.”

    Flint put his hands behind his head and looked up at the sky. The sun was now well on it’s way through the afternoon, and it was currently resting among a few wispy clouds. “You’ll be alright, I know you will. You just have to keep moving forward. You know why?”

    “Hmm?”

    “Life’s to short to live in the past. You only get one shot, so make it a good one.” Flint clapped Jack on the shoulder. “Yes?”

    Jack grinned. “Yes.”

    “’Atta boy. Well, Aaron and I have to leave.” Flint held out his hand. “See you around, bro.”

    Jack clasped Flint’s hand. “See you around.” Flint crouched down and stuck his fist out at Static.

    “Bump it,” he said, and Static bumped his own knuckles against Flint’s. Flint grinned and stood up. “Later Jack.”

    Jack watched as Flint found Aaron and strode off down the dock, away from the boat, and away from Jack. Though he had only known Flint for a few hours, Jack already felt as if he was a close friend. Jack brushed his brown hair off his face and turned to Pallet. “Let’s go, Static. We need to find a place to stay.”

    The pair walked up the dock and into Pallet. The town was very small. It held only one supermarket and very few office buildings rose more than two stories. The houses were intermixed among the city, with a few small neighborhoods branching off on the outskirts. From what Jack knew from his studies, Pallet really only had one reason for existence; Samuel Oak, one of the highest authorities on Pokémon and a genius Pokémon Biologist, specializing in Pokémon behavior. Other than Oak’s lab, it was the hometown of Oak’s grandson, Green Oak, who at thirteen became the youngest Champion of any Pokémon League ever. Outside of these details, Pallet boasted a modest beach and naught else. It didn’t even have a Pokémon Center.

    After meandering through the town, Jack located the only hotel. Much to his dismay, however, the price of a room was more than he was willing to pay. “Looks like we’ll be camping for the night,” Jack mumbled to Static as they exited the hotel.

    <That shouldn’t be too bad. It’ll be our first time camping like real trainers!> Static said excitedly.

    Jack didn’t feel quite as thrilled and gave Static a pained smile. “Well, we need some supplies from the supermarket first.”

    Locating the supermarket wasn’t very difficult; it was the largest building in the town. Upon approaching the automatic doors, Jack saw a sign with an ‘X’ over a Poké Ball, indicating that Pokémon weren’t allowed. “Sorry Static, looks like you’re gonna have to wait in you Poké Ball.” Jack took out the black, red, and gold Luxury Ball.

    <I hate you,> Static grumbled, giving Jack an annoyed look.

    Jack rolled his eyes and pushed the button on the Poké Ball, causing it to open and turn Static into pure energy form to store him inside.

    Jack shrunk the Luxury Ball and stuffed it into his pocket as he entered the supermarket. He took a few steps forward and stopped, reading the signs above the isles. With a sinking feeling, Jack realized that he hadn’t prepared for this at all, and was at a loss as to what he needed. He had expected to find a place to stay in Pallet and visit the Poké Mart in Viridian for all his equipment. Looking very unsure of himself, he made his way to the dry foods isle. He grabbed a box of crackers and continued through the store until he found the bottled water. He grabbed a few bottles and headed for the registers, hoping that the food would suffice until he reached Viridian.

    As he purchased his items, he wondered if he would have enough of an income to last his journey. The Pokémon Islands used a currency very close to the American currency of dollars. Jack had saved $500 over the past several months and he figured, factoring in the registration fee for his license, he would be able to last a month. With Pokémon Centers, he’d have free lodging, but he’d have to buy food for the road, along with supplies for training Pokémon. Trainers usually bet on matches, but only the very serious ones bet enough to make a decent profit, and you couldn’t always count on the loser to pay up. Other than betting on matches, you could enter tournaments, which were held often in the various towns across the region. They ranged from official Pokémon League tournaments to unofficial tournaments sponsored by various corporations such as the Silph Company, the largest manufacturer of Trainer equipment in the regions. They had invented the molecular conversion technology that was used in Poké Balls, making them one of the most revolutionary organizations of the modern world.

    Jack carried the grocery bag out of the store and extracted the Luxury Ball from his pocket. He pushed the button in the center and Static materialized in front of him.

    <Stupid store,> Static grumbled, scratching one of his yellow prongs. <So what’d you get?>

    “Crackers and water,” Jack answered pathetically. “I don’t want to waste too much money.”

    Static muttered something Jack didn’t hear and followed his Trainer away from the supermarket.

    “We’ll have to find some place to camp for the night,” Jack muttered to Static as he passed cars in the parking lot. “I wish there was a cheap place to stay.”

    “Excuse me,” a voice said from behind Jack. He turned to see a lady putting groceries into the trunk of her car. “Are you looking for a place to stay?”

    Jack opened his mouth, trying to untie his tongue. The sudden conversation with a stranger surprised him, and he tried to find the words. “Um, we were just—camping,” he stuttered awkwardly.

    The lady smiled kindly. “Are you a Pokémon Trainer?”

    “Um, yeah. Well, actually not yet. I was going to go to Viridian to get my license,” Jack explained. “Static was given to me by my father.”

    “If you need a place to stay, you can stay at my house. We have a guest room that never gets used.”

    Jack bit his lip. “I really don’t want to intrude. I’ll be fine just camping. . .”

    “No, you’ll come stay with us,” she said resolutely. “There’s no need for you to stay out in the elements when I have a guest room that hasn’t been used in forever.”

    “Are you sure?” Jack asked, feeling trapped.

    “Positive. Go ahead and get in the car, dear.”

    Defeated, Jack walked around to the passenger seat and climbed in. Static hopped up and sat on his lap. <Are you sure about this?> Static whispered, looking warily at the woman putting the remaining groceries into the trunk.

    “No, but do you really want to turn down free lodging?” Jack asked. He fastened his seatbelt as the woman sat down in the driver’s seat. She started up the car and pulled out of the lot and onto the street, apparently headed for home.

    As they passed through the town, Jack examined the lady. She had wavy, copper brown hair, reaching past her shoulders. Her face was tan, most likely due to days at the beach. He could tell she was closer to forty than thirty, yet she looked very young. Jack noticed a ring on her left ring finger. At least she was married.

    “I’m Carey Migoto,” the woman said, smiling at Jack.

    “Jack. Jack Surge. It’s nice to meet you, and thank you for this.”

    “Oh, it’s nothing. I’m sure James will enjoy the company of a young trainer.” Carey smiled kindly at him.

    “James?”

    “My husband.” She turned off the main road and continued down another. “So is this your first time in Pallet?”

    “Yeah, first time.” Jack watched the trees pass by, casting long shadows in the setting sun.

    “Well, I’m sure you’ll like it here, even if you aren’t staying long.”

    It didn’t take long to reach her house, located in one of the small neighborhoods on the edge of town. She pulled up the driveway and turned the car off. They exited and Jack walked with her around to the back, Static trailing behind him.

    “Lemme help you with the groceries,” Jack offered, feeling he should do as much as he could to make up for her allowing him to stay at her house.

    “That would be wonderful, dear,” Carey replied, handing Jack a few bags.

    <I can help too,> Static said. Carey looked down.

    “I’m sorry, I’m not too good with Poké Speech,” she said apologetically.

    “He wants to help,” Jack translated.

    “How sweet,” Carey said. She picked up a gallon of milk and handed it to him. “Think you can carry this?”

    Static nodded and accepted the milk. Jack could tell he was struggling; the milk jug was half as big as Static. Nevertheless, Static was determined to show no signs of weakness and stood firm.

    Carey closed the trunk and walked up to the front door. Jack and Static followed, and as she opened the door, she called into the house, “James, we have guests!”

    “Thanks for the heads up, I’ll definitely have to get ready,” a voice came from another room.

    Jack and Static followed their host to the kitchen where they put their groceries on the counter.

    “Well hello there!” a voice said from behind Jack. He looked around and was surprised at the man’s appearance.

    While Carey seemed very young, James was the exact opposite. His hair was gray and receding, and he looked to be over fifty. He wore black-framed glasses with rectangular lenses and had a warm smile on his face.

    “I’m James,” he said, holding out his hand. His voice was a little raspy and had a tone of relaxed content in it.

    Jack took his hand. “I’m Jack, and this is Static.”

    “Pleasure,” James said, smiling. “So, what brings you here? I didn’t agree to taking on a foster kid,” he said jokingly.

    “Jack is going to get his Trainer’s license in Viridian, but he needed a place to stay. We have an extra room. Why not?” Carey busied herself by putting the groceries away.

    “Yes, why not?” James said, looking bemused. “So Jack, come, let’s sit down,” James said, motioning Jack into the sitting room adjacent to the kitchen. Jack and Static followed, sitting down on the brown leather couch across from James, who rested in a matching armchair.

    Jack looked around the room, taking in his surroundings. It was a modest home, not very large, but very well decorated and completely immaculate. It could have been a model home, save one not-so-small detail; on the shelves, on the walls, and on tables, there were dozens of photographs. Some displayed serene settings; sunsets on the beach, grassy meadows with blooming wildflowers, and lush green forests, while others captured various species of Pokémon, whether in battle or in the wild. And among these were pictures of a family. There were the same three people, sometimes separate, sometimes together, at varying ages. Jack recognized Carey first, as she looked the same in every picture. Jack recognized James as the only male in the photos. Some showed him at a much younger age, with brown hair styled in a windswept fashion. The third person was unfamiliar to Jack, but he assumed it was the daughter of James and Carey. She had hair like her father, chestnut, with just a hint of the copper shine her mother had. She had a smooth complexion, lightly tanned, but not as dark as her mother.

    James watched Jack gaze at the pictures, and finally broke the silence. “I’m a photographer,” he explained, waving his hand across the room. I tried my luck as a trainer, but I found that I preferred to capture the beauty of nature, rather than use it for sport. Don’t get me wrong,” he said hastily, seeing the look on Jack’s face. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Pokémon Training. It just wasn’t my thing.”

    “You’re very good,” Jack said, trying to keep the conversation going.

    “Thank you.” James followed Jack’s eyes to a picture of the young girl, kneeling in the sand on the beach, holding a shell. “That’s my daughter, Megan. She’s about your age, I would say, maybe a year younger or so. She’s a new Pokémon Trainer as well.”

    Jack looked at James with interest. “Really?”

    “Uh-huh. We actually took her to Viridian just yesterday to begin her journey. She’s planning to travel with her cousin from Saffron. Megan’s a little . . . too trusting, if you know what I mean. We wanted her to be with someone a little older.”

    Jack nodded. “That makes sense.” He tried to think of something more to add, but came up blank.

    “So, what’s your story? If you don’t mind me asking,” James added.

    Jack shifted in his seat. He wanted to tell the truth, but he didn’t want to risk them trying to contact his parents. Franticly, he invented a story that would seem plausible. “Well, Static and I came from Violet, and we decided to register in Kanto rather than Johto. I’m originally from Vermillion, so I thought it would be cool to come back.”

    “I see. Are you planning on travelling by yourself?”

    Jack looked down at Static. “Well, Static is old enough to help defend us if the need were to arise, so I think we’ll manage.”

    James smiled. “I could tell your Elekid was pretty strong from when I first saw him. You’re lucky to have such a good companion.”

    Jack put an arm around Static. “I am lucky.”

    Carey poked her head into the living room and smiled. “So how about some spaghetti and meatballs for dinner?”


    CHAPTER END


    Jack

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Behind you...
    Posts
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    Is it just me or has it been five days since you last updated?

    *checks*

    Yup, Five days. Slow down, dynamo... :P We can only R&R so fast. Speaking of which... Now I take y tie with y replies too? Smooth... -_-

    So, the journey of Breeder Jack has begun. And everything seems very well-portrayed: Jack and Static meeting Flint and Aaron, the assault on the ship, even Jack's tauma after taking a life. All brilliantly shown.

    I do have one thing to point out though: Megan's parents should not exactly be telling an unknown lad how naive and trusting their daughter is, considering they just let Jack and Static stay the night, and fed him to boot, no questions asked. It's just a little hypocritical to me from where I'm standing. Maybe I'm missing something, but that's just how I see it.

    Other than that, nice show. Looking forwards to more!

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 10th September 2012 at 6:31 PM.
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  10. #10
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    So, yeah, I was going too fast probably, but then I just slacked off and decided not to post forever. Here's Chapter 3, and hopefully the rest will follow somewhat regularly.


    Chapter Three – Chance




    The man was on his knees, his hands tied behind his back. The concrete room was small and bare, lit only by a single florescent light.

    “Please!” the man moaned, desperation etched in his voice.

    Jack stood before him with an AK-47 assault rifle in his hands. “No,” he whispered. The man’s eyes widened as Jack raised the gun to the man’s head.

    “Please, no!” the man screamed. He was shaking with fear. Jack felt his lips spread into a vicious grin.

    <Jack.>

    Jack pressed the tip of the cold metal barrel to the man’s forehead.

    <Jack.>

    “NO!”

    BANG-BANG-BANG!

    <Jack!>

    “Ah!” Jack sat up, breathing hard. He was covered in sweat. “Static, I just shot—”

    <Jack, it was just a dream,> Static said. His narrow black eyes looked uncertainly at his friend.

    Jack’s breathing slowed, and as the dream faded, reality set in and he remembered the events of the previous day. It was only self-defense, he reminded himself, but the thought was incapable of erasing the incredible guilt he felt weighing on his shoulders.

    Wiping his forehead on his sleeve, Jack sluggishly climbed out of bed. A quick look at the clock told him it was still a little early, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep anymore. He dug through his backpack and found a change of clothes. He then found the bathroom and took a shower, reveling in the soothing warm water.

    After he finished getting cleaned up, Jack made his way downstairs, Static at his heels. They entered the kitchen and were greeted by the homely smell of sizzling sausage and scrambled eggs.

    “Good morning, Jack,” Carey said warmly, prodding the sausages in the frying pan on the stove.

    James, who was sitting at the table, lowered the morning newspaper he had been reading and smiled. “How are you feeling?”

    Jack slumped into a chair opposite James. “I’m a bit tired,” he mumbled, trying to return the smile. “Long day yesterday.”

    James raised his eyebrows in curiosity. “Oh? What happened?”

    Jack bit his lip. “I’d . . . rather not talk about it.” As he saw James’ face fall slightly, he added, “I’m sorry.”

    “Oh don’t worry about it,” Carey said sweetly, setting a plate of steaming eggs and sausage in front of him. “We’re all entitled to our secrets, right?” She set a second plate in front of James and went back to the stove.

    “This looks delicious,” Jack said, trying to shift the conversation.

    “Why thank you, dear,” she responded, setting her plate aside on the counter. “Does Static like eggs and sausage?”

    Jack smiled. “He loves them.”

    Carey returned the smile and put another serving on a fourth plate. With the two in her hand, she set them down on the table. Static hopped up onto a chair and began piling the food into his mouth. Carey noticed and giggled while Jack went red.

    “I’m sorry, he’s just really hungry,” he murmured. “Static, slow down,” he added.

    Static looked up. <Oh, sorry,> he said, grinning innocently.

    James chuckled and ran his hand through his wispy gray hair. “He’s quite the fellow.”

    Jack nodded in agreement, unable to conceal his grin. “Got that right,” he said, scooping up some eggs.

    When they finished their meal, Jack gathered his things, including his clothes that Carey had washed for him. He stood at the door, still thanking them for their hospitality.

    “Oh, don’t worry about it,” Carey said, brushing off the thanks. She pulled him into a hug and took his hands. “We just wanted to help someone in need.”

    Jack nodded awkwardly, his face red with embarrassment. James stuck out his hand, and Jack shook it.

    “It was a pleasure to meet you, son.”

    Jack smiled back, the relaxed demeanor of James calming him a bit.

    “Thanks again so much for your hospitality. I won’t forget it,” Jack said again.

    James grinned. “It wasn’t a problem. You take care now,” he said, and then knelt down to look at Static. He patted him on the head. “You take care of him, little buddy.”

    Static grinned toothily. <I will.>

    With a last smile, James opened the front door and Jack stepped out. He walked down the steps and out to the street, looking over his shoulder to wave goodbye. The Migotos smiled and waved back, and then retreated inside their home.

    Jack followed the street out of the neighborhood and found the main road to Viridian. It was well into the morning and the warmth of the May sun made Jack feel a bit better. The wind was blowing a little stronger than usual, rustling through the leaves and tossing Jack’s hair around his face. It felt good, keeping his mind off of the events of the previous day.

    Static seemed to be enjoying himself. He ran through the grass, experimenting with his Quick Attack and trying out different acrobatics. He twisted and turned at lightning speeds, but he slipped up more than once and went tumbling across the ground. His carefree attitude made Jack laugh. Nothing seemed to dampen Static’s spirits.

    Jack’s mind turned to the events of the day before. Now that the initial shock had worn off, he realized how odd it had been. First of all, both Flint and Aaron were in Johto, armed with guns, which were illegal for civilians in the Pokémon Islands. The Trainers also seemed to have extensive training in combat. Why would these two Pokémon Trainers have those skills, and more importantly, why were they in Johto to use them when their home region is Sinnoh, over 500 miles away? Flint and Aaron were obviously involved in something more than Pokémon training, but was it a government agency or something else?

    The fact that the ship was being used to transport weapons was even more alarming to Jack. Kanto and Johto had been at peace for a long time. There were other conflicts between countries in other places of the world, but outside the Team Rocket uprising over a decade ago, Kanto and Johto had been at relative peace. Who could possibly be organizing something that would involve a boat full of weapons? Was it simply and underground black market shipment, or something bigger?

    Jack remained deep in thought for the next couple hours. There were a few trainers on the road, but for the most part it remained quiet. At noon Jack and Static stopped for lunch underneath a tree on the side of the road. Together they finished off the crackers and water before continuing on their way. A few hours later, he spotted a billboard in the distance that read, “Welcome to Viridian City!” Static saw the sign as well and sprinted towards it.

    “Static, wait up!” Jack called, breaking into a jog. By the time he caught up with Static, the little Elekid had climbed to the top of the sign and was doing a little dance. Jack looked up at his Pokémon. “Static, come down before you hurt yourself!” The sign was only about fifteen feet tall, but that was quite a fall for Static, who stood only two feet.

    <Not a problem Jack! Remember, I’m a ninja!> With that, Static jumped off and did a full flip in the air before landing on the ground in a crouched position. Jack had lunged forward to catch him, but was too far away. Slowly Static stood up and gave Jack a thumbs-up.

    “You’re crazy,” Jack said, shaking his head. Static wobbled a bit and them fell back on his back.

    <Ow…> Static groaned, holding his leg.

    Jack chuckled and scooped up Static. “Guess you aren’t that good of a ninja yet, huh?” He lifted him up and put him on his shoulders.

    <I almost had it though. It doesn’t hurt that bad,> Static grumbled.

    Jack grinned and started walking towards the city. “You sure are one of a kind.”

    As they entered the city, Jack suddenly felt self-conscious about carrying Static. While it was true that Viridian was home to the final Gym in the Kanto Region, it still had a large population of people who worked in non-Pokémon jobs. Even though Pokémon Training was a huge part of the culture, over sixty percent of the population wasn’t involved with Pokémon. As such, Jack encountered more people dressed in business attire than he did in Violet, a traditionally Pokémon-centered town.

    Jack knew this was about to change though. It was almost summer, and with summer came the Pokémon League Championships, both the Indigo and Silver Conferences. Around this time, Trainers were finishing up their quest for badges and travelling back to their hometowns to prepare to come to Viridian, the closest town to Victory Road. For all Trainers, Victory Road had to be overcome in order for them to be accepted into the tournament. Pretty soon, the city would be filling up with the most elite Trainers of the past few years.

    Most Trainers took around a year to collect all eight badges from around the region. Often, Trainers would spend an extra year training before entering the competition. The Pokémon League Championship was open to any Trainer with all eight badges, so even veterans could come compete. This meant that the newer Trainers didn’t often reach the later rounds. Still, every summer, hundreds of new Trainers would come to Viridian in preparation for the biggest event of the year.

    As Jack proceeded through the city, he wondered if he would be back again next year. If he decided to challenge Gyms, it would probably take him a year, like most trainers. What would he be like in a year, after all that training? Jack smiled at the thought. Mike would be proud.

    After meandering down the main street of the city for several minutes, Jack realized he didn’t know where he was going. He looked around for someone who could point him in the right direction. He noticed a man who looked to be a couple years older and had a Pokéball clipped to his belt.

    “Excuse me!” Jack called, waving at the man. “Do you know where the Pokémon League registration building is?”

    The man smiled and pointed down street. “Follow the road two blocks to 12th Street and take a right. The registration building is a ways down on the left.”

    “Thanks,” Jack said with a smile and started for the street.

    <Hurry up, I’m hungry,> Static moaned impatiently. He started to smack Jack’s head as if it was a drum set.

    Jack waved his arm over his head. “Cut it out dude. This shouldn’t take longer than thirty minutes. You can wait.”

    The two continued down the sidewalk, the sun now high in the sky. The dark asphalt street absorbed the heat, and Jack felt a trickle of sweat on his forehead. He couldn’t wait to leave the city and hit the wild, where it would be quiet and cooler.

    <So Jack, who are you going to choose for a starter?> Static asked.

    Jack frowned. He hadn’t thought much about it. “I dunno, who would you prefer?”

    <Well, I’d be stronger than Squirtle because I’m Electric type, and now that I know Fire Punch, Bulbasaur would have a disadvantage, so . . . Charmander would be the best competitor of the three. For me at least.>

    Jack stopped and looked up at Static. Static was looking for a tough opponent rather than an easy one. Static really did have a drive to become stronger. “You know what? Charmander it is.”

    They continued on and arrived at the registration building several minutes later. The glass building was two stories and had sliding doors. Jack walked through them and found himself in a cool, air-conditioned lobby. After looking around, he approached the front desk.

    “Hello, I’d like to register,” Jack told the receptionist. The woman looked up at him through glasses and nodded.

    “Please sign in here,” she said, pointing to a sheet on the counter. Jack scrawled his name down on the list. “Now, please fill out this form while you wait. It should only be about five minutes before they are ready.”

    Jack took the clipboard from the woman and found a seat in the sitting area. Using the pen attached to the clipboard, he began to fill out the paper. It was basic stuff, like his name, date of birth, and emergency contact information. It only took him a couple minutes. When it was done, he set it on the coffee table in front of him and leaned back.

    “Well Static, we’re almost officia—” Suddenly, Jack heard a horrible screeching and his vision went purple. He felt his head throb and he clutched it, wanting to scream. Then, it stopped. His vision was normal, and though his ears were ringing, the screeching was gone. Carefully, he let go of his head and looked around. The waiting room was empty and the receptionist was busy on the phone. No one had seen him. Static, however, was looking at Jack with a concerned expression.

    “What the hell was that?” Jack whispered, slouching back into his seat.

    <Was that the same thing that happened on the boat?> Static asked quietly. Jack nodded. <I wonder what that is . . .>

    “I didn’t see anything this time though,” Jack murmured. He frowned and looked at Static. “Last time I saw visions, and I think they were of the future.”

    Static stared back with a serious look.

    “I don’t know what they mean, but it feels like they could be a warning of some sort.” Jack’s eyes widened. “In fact, they must be. The first time, I saw the boat passing by Pallet, and it actually happened. It was after that that those guys came up with the guns and . . .” Jack swallowed, not wanting to relive those events. “Still, it was like a warning. Maybe something bad is going to happen soon. I think we should be careful.” Static nodded in agreement.

    “Jack Surge?” A woman called. Jack stood up and grabbed the clipboard. “This way please.” The woman was in her mid-twenties and had shoulder length blonde hair. Black-rimmed glasses sat on her face over brilliant green eyes. She led him into a larger room where several computers were set up inside cubicles that lined the outside, leaving a space in the middle for couches. A handful of kids sat on the couches, apparently waiting for something. The woman led him to a cubicle along the right side wall and pulled up an extra chair next to the computer. She sat down in front of the machine and smiled at him, offering her hand. “My name’s Kelly and I’ll be helping you today.”

    Jack shook her hand and returned the smile. “Jack.”

    “So Jack,” Kelly said, turning to the computer. “You brought everything you need?”

    Jack grabbed his wallet from his back pocket. “Yep, should have everything.” He removed his ID and offered it to her.

    Kelly brushed a strand of her blonde hair from her eyes and adjusted her glasses. “Let’s see, ID number . . .” She entered his information into the computer and pulled up his class records. “Well, you’ve passed the necessary classes. Wow, your class rank is number one.” She looked back at him and studied his face. “That’s really impressive.”

    Jack felt his face grow hot and smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, I guess.”

    Kelly flashed a smile. “Well, while I put in all this information, let’s get you started on the General Trainer’s Exam. It should only take twenty minutes or so.” She nodded towards the second computer in the cubicle and Jack pivoted his chair to face it.

    “Oh, and you’ll need this,” Kelly added, jotting down a five-digit number on a sticky note. “Your Trainer ID.”

    Jack accepted the note and turned to the computer. A page asked for his name and Trainer ID. After entering both, he clicked on the button labeled “NEXT” and stared at the directions.

    Welcome to the General Trainer’s Exam. This exam is designed to test your knowledge of basic Pokémon biology, first aid, Trainer etiquette, Pokémon League facilities, and the regulations for becoming a Pokémon Trainer. Each question is multiple-choice. There are thirty questions. Click “NEXT” to proceed.

    Jack stared at the first question.

    How many unique breeding groups exist amongst all Pokémon?

    Jack raised his eyebrows. I learned this in the first grade. He clicked the answer and proceeded to the next question, again shocked at how simple it was.

    The next fifteen minutes flew by as Jack lazily whizzed through all thirty questions without missing a single one. By the time he finished, Kelly was almost done entering his information into the database and Static was tapping his foot restlessly.

    Jack sat quietly as Kelly finished, but looked up as he heard the noise of several people enter from the lobby. Jack poked his head out of the cubicle and saw a handful of people carrying microphones and video cameras.

    Kelly looked over her shoulder and sighed. “We’re letting them film a little documentary on new Pokémon Trainers for the evening news. They promised not to be disruptive. It’s nothing to worry about.”

    Jack continued to examine the news crew for a few more seconds before returning his attention to the computer. Kelly smiled and clapped her hands together. “Ready for your picture?”

    Jack nodded and followed her out of the cubicle to a small setup at the other side of the room with a camera and blank white screen for a background. Jack stood in front of the screen and faced the camera as Kelly turned it on. Static waited by the camera, crossing his arms and looking even more impatient. Jack brushed his bangs to the side and waited for Kelly.

    “Ready? Smile!” Kelly said, pushing the button on the camera. Jack grinned as the camera flashed. “Excellent,” Kelly said, turning off the camera. She removed the memory card and turned to Jack. “I’ll go print out your license, but I’ll need the $25 fee.”

    Jack pulled out the necessary cash and gave it to her.

    “Thanks. You can wait on the couches now. I should only be a few minutes.” With that, Kelly headed off to another room. Jack and Static walked over to the couches in the middle of the room and sat down with the other Trainers. There were three other kids, and they looked to be around thirteen years old. Thirteen was the earliest you could apply for a license, and even then it was only a provisional license and the Trainer had to be accompanied by someone at least sixteen years old.

    Jack looked at Static. “You sure about Charmander?” he asked.

    Static grinned. <Of course! Fire’s awesome!> He ignited his hands with fire for emphasis.

    Seeing Static use a Fire technique seemed to interest the three other kids. One of them gasped. “Wow, is that Electric type using a Fire type move?”

    Jack looked up in surprise. “Uh, yeah, it’s Fire Punch.”

    The kids looked at Static in awe. “Wow, he must be really strong or something,” said one of the kids.

    “Are you here to watch new Trainers start their journeys?” another asked.

    Jack felt his face turn red with embarrassment. “Um, no, I—”

    “Of course he isn’t.” A boy about a year younger than Jack approached them from the other side of the room. He had blond hair parted in the middle and was dressed in a preppy yellow polo and khaki shorts.

    The other kids turned toward him, wondering what he meant.

    The blond kid stopped and pointed at Static. “That is an Elekid, which is the baby form of Electabuzz. It’s likely inexperienced since its Trainer is here to register, just the same as you.”

    Jack felt a sudden rush of anger. What right did this kid have to talk down to him? He stood up to face him, and decided a scare tactic might work. “Do you even know who I am?” he said quietly, trying to keep his voice steady.

    The kid laughed and waved his hand. “Don’t even start. No need to use false threats here. We all know you’re a newbie.”

    Jack frowned. “And what does that make you? You’re just starting too.”

    The kid shook his head. “Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m a novice.”

    Static stepped up. <You don’t know who you’re messing with!> He clenched his hands and let electricity flow to make himself look intimidating.

    The blond kid frowned. “Well, if you guys want to get beaten, meet me at the field in Viridian Park for a battle in one hour. If you don’t show, I’ll know you chickened out.” With that, he stalked off towards the lobby without a backwards glance.

    “What a douchebag,” Jack murmured to himself, sitting back down again. He avoided the eyes of the other three, who seemed to be confused about whom to believe.

    Static hopped up next to him on the couch. <We better be going to battle him.>

    Jack smirked. “I wouldn’t miss it. We’re gonna show him up like nobody’s business.”

    After a couple minutes, the other kids left to finish the process. Finally, Kelly returned and offered Jack his brand new license. Jack examined it, feeling a strong sense of satisfaction inside. He was ready to begin his new life as a Trainer.

    “Now, all that’s left is for you to choose a starter and you’ll be free to go,” Kelly explained. “Follow me.” She led him to the back wall where a man stood behind a desk. The man was middle aged and looked unkempt. His hair was tangled and he had a scraggly beard coming in. He grinned, revealing more than a few missing teeth.

    “So I s’pose you here to get’choo a pogeyman, ain’t dat right?”

    Jack tried not to laugh. “Yeah.”

    The man slapped a button and three holes opened up in the desk. From inside the holes emerged three Poké Balls. “Well, take yer pick.” The man gestured to the Poké Balls.

    Jack glanced down at Static, who grinned back. Taking a breath, Jack examined them and said, “I’ll take the Charmander.”

    The man grunted and picked up the Poké Ball in the middle. He tossed it to Jack and cackled, “Best’a luck to ya.”

    Kelly smiled. “And that’s all. Good luck to you!”

    Jack smiled back and shook her hand. “Thank you for your help.” He then looked at the Poké Ball in his hand. “Well, here it goes,” he murmured, pressing the button in the center of the sphere to release the Charmander.

    The red light escaped the open ball and materialized in front of Jack and Static. It took the shape of a small bipedal lizard with a rounded head. As the light faded, the Charmander blinked and looked at its new owner. Jack smiled down at it, but stopped as he noticed something strange. This Charmander wasn’t orange, like a normal Charmander. It was yellow-gold. Its leathery hide was a yellow color that shimmered as it moved under the light. Jack gasped as he realized the significance.

    “Charmander . . . is Shining.”

    Kelly noticed this as well and covered her mouth in awe. The news reporters, who had been quietly minding their own business in a corner of the room heard the gasps and walked over to examine the situation. The lead reporter saw the Charmander and immediately motioned for the crew to start rolling.

    “Well folks, we have quite the unexpected surprise,” the man spoke to the camera as he approached Jack. “What we have right here is a Shining, yes, and Alternate Color Charmander. In the history of the Pokémon League’s existence, only seventy-four Shining starter Pokémon have been given out.” He approached Jack and asked, “So, young man, how do you feel about receiving this incredibly rare Pokémon?”

    Jack reached down and scooped up the Charmander to keep it from getting stomped on by the small crowd of people. Others began to congregate to see what had happened. “Well, good I guess, but the color of his hide doesn’t define him, does it?”

    The reporter stuttered, “Well, no, I suppose, but still, this is an incredible moment. Do you realize how sought after Shining Pokémon are?”

    Jack’s face flushed. “Of course I do. I’m not that dumb.”

    “How do you think your friends and family will react?”

    Jack stopped as the question hit him. If this got out, his parents could possibly see it, and connections would be made. They’d find him. “I—I have to go,” he mumbled, turning away from the camera. He took off, Static at his heels. They left the building as quick as they could.

  11. #11
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    Out in the fresh air, Jack exhaled deeply. “They’re gonna find me.”

    Static looked up. <Not if we leave before that show is broadcasted.>

    Jack shrugged. “We should have until tomorrow at the latest.” He followed the sidewalk toward the park in the northern part of the town. He looked down at the Charmander he held in his arms. The creature stared back at him with large, curious blue eyes.

    <Those guys back there were noisy,> the Charmander murmured in a young male voice.

    Jack chuckled. “They sure were. So, do you have a name little guy?”

    The Charmander looked up at the blue sky with thoughtful eyes. <My mother called me Sceadon.>

    “Does that have a meaning?”

    <She said I’d know when I’ve grown more.>

    Jack nodded understandingly. “I see. Well Sceadon, welcome to the team.”

    Sceadon looked up at Jack with a slight smile.

    “So, Sceadon. Do you want to go to the park? I’ve got to be there for a battle soon anyway,” Jack explained.

    Sceadon nodded. <That sounds good. But do you have any food? I haven’t eaten today.>

    Jack stopped for a moment and looked down at Sceadon. “They haven’t fed you?”

    <No, the don’t feed us much to keep our growth rates down.>

    “That’s terrible,” Jack mumbled, starting to walk again. “I’ll get you some food as soon as we get to the park.”

    <Don’t forget about me!> Static said, springing up from behind Jack and clutching the back of Jack’s pack. Static pulled himself up into a sitting position on Jack’s shoulders and began thumping Jack’s head as if it was a drum set. <I’m hungry too.>

    Jack shook his head, smacking Static in the face with his long brown hair. “Yeah, you can eat too, don’t worry.”

    Static sputtered and wiped the hair out of his face. <You should really get a haircut. Your head is as shaggy as an Arcanine.>

    “Whatever, Static,” Jack said, ignoring the stare of a middle-aged woman in a gray pantsuit walking past. “Long hair is cool.”

    <Cool?> Sceadon said, cocking his head to the side in Jack’s arms. <How does long hair make you cooler? Wouldn’t you be hotter with long hair?>

    <That’s what Jack wants the ladies to think, too,> Static said with a chuckle. Jack smirked and jerked his head back at Static.

    “Ignore him,” Jack muttered, noticing Sceadon’s puzzled expression. Sceadon turned his eyes to Jack, who sighed. “When humans say ‘cool,’ they mean . . . acceptable. Someone who is cool is someone who others think is admirable.”

    Sceadon’s face fell. <I guess I’m not cool then.> He gazed at one of his tiny golden hands.

    “No, no, not like that,” Jack said hastily. “Sometimes being unique is cool. In fact, most of the time, being unique is what makes you cool. It’s good to be different.”

    Sceadon looked up at Jack and blinked. <So, you don’t think badly of me for being gold?>

    “Absolutely not,” Jack answered, squeezing Sceadon in his arms. “I couldn’t have asked for a cooler Starter Pokémon.”

    <Really? Thank you, Master.> Sceadon snuggled against Jack’s chest.

    Jack chuckled. “Sceadon, you don’t need to call me ‘Master.’ Just call me Jack.”

    Sceadon blinked again. <’Jack?’ Is that your name? What does it mean?>

    “I dunno actually. I never really thought about it. Should I?” he asked.

    Sceadon nodded. <Your name is what defines you. ‘Charmander’ is what I am, but ‘Sceadon’ is who I am. Names represent your identity.>

    “Hmm.” Jack looked down at Sceadon. “That’s pretty wise.” He looked up and saw the park across the street. Glancing both ways, Jack crossed and entered the lush, green expanse of Viridian Park.

    “We’re here,” he said, pausing to look around. “Static, time to get down. My shoulders are starting to ache.” Grumbling, Static hopped off and landed on the grass with a soft thump.

    <Well, where to?> Static asked, walking ahead.

    Jack followed, scanning the area. “How about over there?” he said, nodding to a wooden picnic table in the shade of a large oak tree a ways off.

    <Race you to it!> Static shouted, breaking into a sprint across the grass.

    “Wait up!” Jack said with a laugh, jogging after Static. Static reached the table before Jack and lied down on top of it with his hands behind his head. Jack slowed as he reached the spot and set Sceadon down next to Static.

    <Slowpoke,> Static muttered, his eyes closed in relaxation.

    Jack rolled his eyes and sat on the bench, swinging his backpack off his shoulders and unzipping it. He dug around until he found a couple apples and a small bag of pretzels the Migotos had given him. He handed the apples to Static and Sceadon and opened the bag of pretzels for himself.

    Static snatched the apple away and chomped down on it. Sceadon cautiously took the fruit with both hands and sniffed it. He eyed the red skin and glanced up at Jack. Jack looked over and chuckled.

    “It’s called an apple. It’s good, try it.”

    Sceadon opened his mouth and sunk his fangs into the skin. With a bit of work, he gnawed on the apple until a piece broke off, which he tried to mash in his mouth before swallowing the thing whole. His eyes widened and he smiled at Jack.

    <It’s tasty!>

    Jack chuckled and leaned back against the table, surveying the area. There was a playground in one corner with a few small children running around and a couple mothers sitting on a bench nearby. An open field of luscious green grass surrounded by a low fence and a waist-high hedge filled the rest of the park area. A few tall oak trees were scattered around for shade, often with picnic tables beneath them. Part of the field was marked out to be a soccer pitch, with a goal at each end. The rest of the field was open for pick-up sports or Pokémon battles.

    Jack inhaled the summer breeze and closed his eyes, listening to the leaves of the oak tree rustling above him and the distant laugher of the children on the playground.

    “Excuse me,” a voice said, and Jack opened his eyes and sat up.

    “Hey,” he said, looking at the speaker. The girl smiled at him and tucked a strand of her golden-brown hair behind her ear.

    “Are you a Trainer?” she asked, looking at Static and Sceadon on the table.

    Jack looked over at his Pokémon. “Uh, yeah, I’m a, yeah. I’m a trainer.” He looked back at the girl.

    “Mind if I sit?” the girl asked.

    “Not at all,” Jack said, motioning to the open space on the bench. The girl slipped her travel bag off her shoulder and set it on the table before sitting down. She smoothed out her red skirt and offered her hand.

    “My name’s Megan,” she said, smiling at him.

    “Jack,” Jack said, shaking her hand. He looked into her familiar brown eyes. “You wouldn’t by chance be Megan Migoto, would you?”

    Megan cocked her head to the side. “Yeah, I am. How’d you know?”

    Jack ran his hand through his messy hair and looked at the ground. “Bit of an odd story. I met your mom at the store in Pallet, and she offered me a bed for the night. I recognized you from the pictures. In your house. Your dad showed them to me.”

    Megan giggled and shook her head. “Mom would do something like that.” Her laughter made Jack smile.

    “You’re a Trainer too I take it?” he said.

    “Yep! Just got my license two days ago,” Megan said. “I’m waiting for my cousin to get here from Saffron. We’re supposed to be travelling together.”

    “That’s cool. I just got my license about thirty minutes ago.” Jack nodded to his Pokémon. “The Elekid is Static. I’ve had him for about a year and a half. And the Charmander is Sceadon. He’s the new addition.”

    Static let out a belch and tossed his apple core behind him, ignoring Jack’s introduction. Sceadon lowered his apple and waved a tiny hand at Megan.

    “They’re cute,” Megan said with a smile. “I have two Pokémon as well.” She reached into her bag and withdrew two red and white Poké Balls. Pointing them in front of her, she released the two Pokémon in flashs of red light. One was a small, cream-colored Pokémon with a leaf projecting from the top of its head and a little stubby tail. The other was a small, bipedal turtle with blue skin and a red shell.

    “The Chikorita is Chlora. She was my birthday present last year. And this little guy is Bouncer. He’s my starter.” Chlora surveyed Jack with large red eyes and a frown. The Squirtle grinned widely and crossed his arms.

    <Wassup,> he said in a raspy voice.

    Jack grinned back. “Hey there.” He looked back at his own Pokémon. “Why don’t you guys go play with them?”

    Static groaned and sprung off the table. He slumped over to the Chikorita and smacked her on the rump. He then shouted, <YOU’RE IT!> and bolted off, cackling madly. Bouncer the Squirtle looked at Static, then at Chlora.

    <HA!> he said, pointing at Chlora, and sprinted away.

    Chlora’s eyes grew large with rage and charged after Static, sputtering nonsense sounds.

    Jack glanced over at Megan with raised eyebrows. She slowly looked up and caught his eye. The two burst out laughing. Jack clutched his side and Megan held her hands over her mouth.

    “Sorry about Static,” Jack managed between gasps. “He’s a bit crazy.”

    Megan wiped her eyes. “I think he and Bouncer will get along well.”

    <What is this game?> Sceadon interjected, his eyes following the three Pokémon running around.

    Jack reached back and rubbed Sceadon’s head. “It’s called tag. You don’t want to get touched by whoever is ‘It.’ You should go play. Static will show you what to do.”

    Sceadon set down his finished apple core and hopped down to the bench and then the ground. He glanced up at Jack, who nodded and gave an encouraging smile. Sceadon then turned and ran out to meet the rest of the Pokémon.

    “He’s adorable,” Megan said, watching Sceadon join the game. “It he Shining?”

    “Yeah,” Jack said, watching Sceadon as well. “He is.”

    “That’s really neat,” Megan said. She looked over at Jack. Jack looked at her and then dropped his gaze to the ground, feeling his face flush.

    “So Megan, what brings you to the park today?”

    “Well, I thought I’d try to meet some new people!” she said cheerily. “Dad said that the key to being a good Trainer is to make lots and lots of friends.”

    “That’s good advice,” Jack said.

    Megan swept a strand of hair out of her face. “So Jack, are you traveling alone?”

    “Um, yeah, I guess. Well, I have Static and Sceadon, but . . .”

    “You should travel with my cousin and me! She’s already been a Trainer for a while, so she has some experience. It would be fun!”

    Jack looked up at her to see if she was joking. “You sure? I mean, we only just met.”

    “Oh,” Megan said, her face falling slightly. “Yeah, maybe.”

    “No it’s okay,” Jack said, realizing his mistake. “I’d be happy to travel with you guys.” He smiled, and her expression brightened.

    “Yay!” she smiled at Jack. Jack felt his face grow hot again and looked away.

    “So you’re already here,” a voice called from behind them.

    Jack and Megan both turned to see who the person was. It was the blond-haired boy from the registration building. He strode around the table and stopped in front of Jack and Megan.

    “You’re five minutes early,” the kid said, glancing at his watch. He crossed his arms. “Well, are you ready?”

    Jack shot a glance at Megan, who looked quizzically at Jack. “Well, at least give me the dignity of knowing your name,” Jack muttered, pushing himself to his feet.

    The kid eyed Jack from head to toe. “My name’s Chris. Don’t forget it.”

    “Jack.” Jack glared at Chris without offering his hand. Chris met his eye and smirked.

    “Whatever. The field’s empty over here,” he said, jerking his thumb in the direction of some open space.

    Jack waved for Static and Sceadon to come over and follow him as he, Chris, and Megan walked over to the grassy field. Chris stalked off to one side while Jack, Megan, and the Pokémon made their way to the other side.

    Once Jack was in position, everyone but Static and Sceadon took a few steps back. Jack again surveyed Chris, noticing his brand-name polo shirt and pressed khaki shorts.

    “Static, this one’s gonna be yours,” Jack muttered, looking down at his Pokémon. “I don’t want to take any chances.”

    <Hmph, no problem,> Static said, punching his hand into his fist and releasing a bit of electricity between his prongs. With a smirk on his face, he paced out a couple yards into the field.

    “Sorry Sceadon, but I’d rather have you watch this one,” Jack said, kneeling down and rubbing the gold hide on Sceadon’s head.

    <I understand,> Sceadon said, giving Jack a slight smile, which Jack returned.

    “Alright, Chris,” Jack shouted as he stood up. “One versus one, right?”

    Chris flicked his blond bangs out of his eye and smirked. “Yeah, better be ready.” He reached into his side pocket and withdrew a red and white Poké Ball. Raising it to eye level, he expanded it and pressed the center button to release his Pokémon.

    Near the middle of the field, the bright red lights materialized into a hulking, humanoid Pokémon. As the light faded, Jack’s heart skipped a beat.

    <MAAAA-CHOKE!> the Pokémon bellowed, beating its thick blue arms against its hard chest and glaring at Static with hot red eyes. Veins bulged on the Machoke’s tight blue skin as it continued to intimidate Static by flexing and grinning maliciously.

    “Oh crap,” Jack mumbled, taken aback by the sudden threat.

    “Alright Macho, Earthquake!” Chris yelled, jabbing his finger at Static.

    “What the . . .” Jack watched the Machoke raise clenched hands in the air in preparation. Then, Jack narrowed his eyes and shook the surprise away.

    “Stop it with a Quick Attack!” Jack growled. Static crouched for a moment and sprung forward in a blur of yellow and black. His small frame slammed into the Machoke’s exposed stomach. Machoke stumbled back a couple steps and paused his attack, but Static didn’t seem to damage him in the slightest.

    “Revenge,” Chris said, a smirk still plastered on his thin lips.

    As Static landed, Machoke lunged forward and grabbed him with his right hand. Static squirmed in the vice grip but couldn’t get free. Machoke raised Static in the air and drove his free hand straight up as he released Static. The uppercut made impact, hurling Static in an arch through the air. The Elekid hit the ground with a thump but managed to roll out of the attack and push himself to his feet.

    “Come on . . .” Jack muttered, clenching his fists. “Thundershock!”

    Static started to wheel his arms around in circles, charging up yellow electricity that danced between his prongs. With a loud and scratchy yell, Static threw his hands in front of himself and loosed a bolt of electricity. The attack made contact and Machoke growled as his body shook from the shock.

    “Shake it off Macho. Foresight,” Chris said calmly as he crossed his arms. Machoke widened his stance and stared intensely at Static.

    “Don’t let up, Static. Use Swift!” Jack shouted. Static put both hands in front of him and began to glow faintly. He then released the energy, sending glowing white stars from his open palms. The stars collided with the Machoke, but the Pokémon’s hard muscles and tough blue skin kept him from taking a lot of damage.

    “Come on,” Jack muttered again.

    “End it with Dynamic Punch!” Chris yelled suddenly. Machoke roared and started to run towards Static, one hand raised and glowing with energy.

    “Quick, Thunder Punch the Dynamic Punch!” Jack directed, his eyes trained on Static.

    <Got it,> Static muttered, breaking into a run toward Machoke, holding his little hand behind him as it crackled with electricity. As the two Pokémon reached each other, Static leapt into the air and thrust his punch forward to meet the Dynamic Punch. The two hands propelled toward each other and both Pokémon yelled.

    “GRAB IT, STATIC!” Jack shouted quickly, just before contact.

    Static opened his Thunder Punch hand just in time, and as Machoke’s hand slammed into Static’s open palm, Static gripped the Machoke’s fist and used the momentum to swing his left hand around and connect a Thunder Punch to Machoke’s exposed face.

    “What?” Chris growled, narrowing his eyes. Machoke carried his attack through and landed on his knee, his face twitching from the Thunder Punch. Static landed on the Machoke’s shoulder, balancing as the brute dropped to his knee.

    “Yeah!” Jack called, a grin breaking across his face. “That’s it. Now, Shock Wave!”

    Static crouched on Machoke’s shoulder and then sprung up into the air. When he reached the peak of his jump, nearly ten feet above Machoke, he thrust his arms and legs out. His body glowed bright blue and then the blue energy was thrust down in a wave towards Machoke. Machoke couldn’t escape, and the wall of blue electricity washed over him, crackling and popping as it danced around his bulky frame. The energy dissipated as it passed through Machoke and Static flipped backwards in the air, falling to the ground and landing in a three-point stance, facing his opponent. Machoke shook as he tried to stand up, and then shuddered and collapsed into the grass, his body covered in small electrical burns.

    A warm breeze blew across the field, tossing Jack’s hair around his face and rippling through the grass. Chris stared in disbelief.

    “You did it, Static!” Jack said, pumping his fist in the air. Static turned around and gave Jack a thumbs-up.

    “That was amazing!” Megan said, clapping her hands. She walked up to Jack. “You’re really good!”

    Jack scratched the back of his head sheepishly. “Eh, it’s mostly Static.”

    “Nonsense. The way you kept your composure and went into ‘battle mode’ was really impressive,” Megan said.

    Jack looked up at her. “Well, thanks.” Megan smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear. They turned their attention to Chris, who raised his Poké Ball and returned the limp form of Machoke.

    “You got lucky,” Chris said, stuffing the ball into his pocket. “I won’t forget this, and you’d better not either.” Flicking his blond hair from his eyes, he turned away and stalked off across the park.

    Jack rolled his eyes. “Man. He doesn’t even pay up after losing.”

    “Maybe he didn’t have any money,” Megan suggested. Jack frowned and looked at her, but she seemed to be honest. Jack opened his mouth to point out that he was dressed nicely and certainly looked like he had money, but thought better of it and closed his mouth.

    <That’s how it’s done,> Static said as he returned to the group.

    <Really cool dude! Wicked awesome!> Bouncer the Squirtle said enthusiastically, fist bumping Static.

    <You’re a good fighter,> Sceadon said, averting his eyes. Static slapped Sceadon on the shoulder and grinned.

    <Thanks, bud. You’ll get there too. Jack’s a good Trainer, and I’m a good training partner.>

    Sceadon looked up and smiled. Static turned his attention to Chlora, who had her back turned and refused to acknowledge Static. Smirking, Static raised a hand and pointed a claw at Chlora in the shape of a gun.

    <Pow,> he said, pretending to fire the gun and shooting a weak jolt of electricity from his finger. The jolt hit Chlora in the rump, and she let out an indignant shriek. As she turned around, Static and Bouncer looked at each other, and then looked at Sceadon, who glanced back from Chlora to Static and Bouncer. Chlora charged, and Static, Bouncer, and Sceadon all split in different directions to escape Chlora’s wrath.

    “Um, sorry again,” Jack mumbled, looking at Megan. “Static’s a bit . . .” Megan up at him, looking thoroughly surprised. All at once, they both burst out laughing again as the four Pokémon scrambled around the field, Chlora spewing expletives and the other three whooping with glee.

    Jack clutched his side as Megan wiped tears from her eyes. “I can’t wait to start our journey. We’re going to have so much fun!” Megan said, suppressing giggles.

    “Definitely,” Jack agreed. They stood and watched the four Pokémon continued to run around until Chlora gave up and the other three came back wheezing.

    <Jack, when can we eat? I’m STARVING.> Static sprawled out by Jack’s foot and stared up at the sky.

    Jack checked the time on his cell phone. “You know, we probably should find some food. It’s getting a bit late.” He turned to Megan. “Do you know anywhere we can eat?”

    “Well, there’s a place inside the Pokémon Center that sells people food and Pokémon food. We could eat there!” she said cheerily.

    “Alright, let’s do it,” Jack said, putting his phone back in his jeans pocket. “Do you know the way to the Center?” He looked at Megan.

    “Of course,” Megan said, pointing to the south entrance of the park. “It’s this way.” The group started in that direction, leaving Viridian Park behind them. The sun was on its way down, and the buildings in the city cast long shadows on the streets. Traffic was increased with the swell of people driving home for dinner, and the sidewalks were busy with pedestrians.

    “Here guys,” Jack said as they approached the crowded sidewalks of the city. He knelt down and placed Static on his shoulders and scooped Sceadon up in his arms. “Don’t want you getting stepped on.”

    “Good idea,” Megan said, lifting Chlora up in her arms. Bouncer shook his head when she went to lift him up.

    <I’m fine, don’t worry about me,> he said, waving a tiny blue hand.

    The trek to the Pokémon Center was rather uneventful, and thirty minutes after leaving the park, the group arrived. The Pokémon Center was three stories tall with white and blue walls and a bright red roof. The building had windows lining the second and third levels, with big glass windows along the front of the first floor, revealing the lobby inside. As the group approached, the glass doors slid open, inviting them inside. Jack and Megan set their Pokémon down and stepped forward.

    The lobby was huge, with yellow and white tile covering the floor. There was a sitting area and a few tables to eat at on the left side, with a small restaurant built in for trainers to order food from. On the other side, there was another vendor with a space built in to the wall, but it was a Poké Mart stand, selling the essentials for trainers who didn’t need to go to the larger shops in town. Directly ahead was the counter for the medical facility, and a few attendants in white clothing stood behind it at monitors, ready to help the next trainer in need. A large gray door with a window was located to the side of the desk area, which Jack assumed led to the medical rooms in the building. Finally, at the far left corner by an elevator and a stairwell there was the desk for the residential part of the Pokémon Center.

    “There’s the food,” Megan said, nodding to the left. The crew traipsed over and surveyed the menu. The joint offered basic American meals such as pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs, while also offering ramen and rice balls. The menu also had a selection of Pokémon food, such as Poffins, berries, and a mixture of meat for the carnivorous species.

    “Do you know what you want?” Jack asked Megan. She shook her head and continued to survey the menu. “Alright.” Jack stepped up to the young man at the register.

    “Can I get a large pizza, half cheese, half pepperoni?” Jack asked.

    “Will that be all?” the man asked, punching the order into the register.

    “Could I get three medium drinks with that as well?”

    “Sure thing. Your total will be $14.38.” Jack pulled out the cash and gave it to the man. The man printed a receipt and gave it to Jack, and then offered Jack the paper cups.

    “Thanks man,” Jack said, stuffing the receipt into his pocket. He took the cups over to the soda fountain and filled two up with soft drinks and the third with water. Kneeling down, he gave Sceadon the water and Static the two soft drinks.

    “Go grab a table for us,” Jack told Static. The two Pokémon trotted off to the sitting area and found an open corner booth.

    Megan ordered a pizza as well and took her drinks over to the table with her Pokémon. The man at the counter called out their order numbers, and Jack collected the two pizzas and carried them to the table.

    <Alright, let’s EAT!> Static exclaimed, snatching a slice of pepperoni and shoving it in his mouth. He moaned as he devoured the pizza. <So good.>

    Jack rolled his eyes and noticed Sceadon eying the pizza. “Go on, try it. It’s really good,” Jack said.

    Hesitantly, Sceadon reached forward and pulled off a piece of cheese. He sniffed it, stared at it for a second, and then bit off the tip. <Wow!> he said, his blue eyes widening.

    “Told you,” Jack said, chuckling. He took his own piece and leaned back, observing the center. “This place is a lot bigger than Violet’s Center.”

    “Violet?” Megan said, looking at Jack quizzically.

    “Hm? Oh, yeah. I’m from Violet in Johto,” Jack said, averting his eyes.

    “So what made you want to come to Kanto? Violet’s kind of far,” Megan said, biting her own slice of pizza.

    Jack was quiet for a moment. “Long story. I guess I wanted to . . . well, I wanted a change of scenery. Something different.” He noticed Static watching him and looked back at Megan.

    “I see. Did you live in Violet your whole life?” she asked.

    “About half of it. I moved there from Vermilion before first grade.” Jack wiped his fingers on a napkin and started on his crust.

    “That’s neat. Why did your family move?”

    “Dad’s work. He got a teaching job at the Academy in Violet. He used to be a Trainer back in the day but now teaches freshman level battle tactics,” Jack explained.

    “He sounds like a cool dad,” Megan remarked.

    Jack frowned and looked away. “I guess.” They were quiet for a few moments as they ate their pizza. Not wanting the conversation to end with his father, Jack looked back at Megan.

    “So did you always live in Pallet?” he asked.

    “Yep, my whole life. Mom and Dad loved the beach and the quiet feel of the town, so they stayed there.”

    “Did you like it there?” Jack asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Absolutely! I just love the beach. It’s so pretty and always really fun to be at. Have you ever been?”

    “Well, I guess when I was little we went there back in Vermilion, and we visit my uncle once or twice a year, and we usually go then. It’s pretty nice. Vermilion’s beach is a bit . . . commercial though.” Jack took a sip of his drink.

    “I’ve heard. Luckily Pallet is still pretty small,” Megan said, smiling as if recalling a fond memory. “It would be neat to visit your uncle in Vermilion when we get there, wouldn’t it?”

    Jack grinned. “Uncle Erik? I have a feeling we’ll have to see him whether we want to or not.”

    Megan frowned. “What do you mean?”

    “Well, you see,” Jack said, glancing over at Static, “he’s kind of the Gym Leader there.”

    Megan gaped at him.

    Jack grinned sheepishly. “Yep, I’m Jack Surge, the lieutenant’s nephew.”

    “Are you serious?” she asked. Jack nodded. “Wow, that’s awesome! No wonder you’re so good at battling!”

    “Yeah, maybe,” Jack said, still grinning.

    Once their meal was finished, Jack and Megan got up and threw away their trash.

    “So what now?” Megan asked.

    Jack checked his phone. “Well, it’s getting late, it’s almost sundown.” He looked out the front windows at the burnt orange sky. “Why don’t we call it a day?”

    “Okay,” Megan said, smiling. Jack smiled back.

    “We should go ahead and get rooms,” he said, walking towards the desk for the Trainer’s rooms. Megan and the Pokémon followed.

    “Excuse me,” Jack said to the attendant. “I’d like to get a room for the night.” He pulled out his license and offered it to the young woman.

    “I’m really sorry, but there was a flood in the west wing of the second floor, so we had to move residents around and we’re actually all full. I’m really, really sorry, but we just don’t have any rooms.” She smiled apologetically at Jack.

    “Oh. Um, well, thanks anyway,” Jack mumbled, turning away. “Dang it.”

    “Don’t worry Jack, I still have my room here. You can spend the night there if you want,” Megan offered.

    “For real?” he said, looking skeptically at her.

    “Absolutely!” Megan said happily.

    Jack stared at her for several more seconds to see if she was being serious. She looked entirely honest, so at last he sighed, defeated. “Alright then.”

    Megan giggled. “Well, it’s this way.” She led him to the elevator, which took them to the second floor. Jack followed Megan down the hallway to her room, which she slid a key card into and opened up for him. They stepped inside, followed by their Pokémon.

    The room was relatively normal, with two twin-sized beds and a nightstand for each, a dresser and TV, a small refrigerator and microwave, a closet and a bathroom. Megan dropped her bag on one bed and Jack slung his backpack onto the other. Static jumped up and started to bounce on the clean white sheets.

    “Static, get down from there,” Jack muttered, sitting down on the edge of the bed and slipping off his sneakers.

    Megan sat down on her bed and removed her own sneakers as well.

    “Nice place,” Jack said, waving his hand around the room. “They certainly take good care of their Trainers.”

    “Definitely,” Megan agreed. “You can even keep the same room for a whole week. They said after that, you’d need to find a hotel.”

    “Hey, free lodging for a week isn’t bad,” Jack remarked. Megan giggled.

    “I’m going to get a shower real quick,” she said, standing up and taking her bag. Jack shrugged and she walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

    With a sigh, Jack flopped back onto the bed.

    “What a day,” he mumbled, staring at the ceiling. The events of the day flooded through his mind. Fatigue began to set in as he realized all that he had accomplished.

    Twenty-four hours ago, I was just meeting Megan’s mom. Now I’m sharing a hotel room with Megan. He chuckled at the coincidence. His thoughts turned to the ferry and immediately he tasted bile. He had pushed the man he had shot out of his head, but now that he had time to think, he came back, a dark stain on Jack’s conscience. Swallowing hard, Jack tried to think of something else. Closing his eyes, he tried to imagine his future. Tomorrow Megan said her cousin would be arriving, and they would officially begin their journey. Jack smiled. He tried to picture himself on a journey as a full Trainer. He would certainly find new Pokémon, test his luck against the best Trainers in the region, and hopefully participate in the Indigo Conference next year. If Mike and my brother can do it, Jack thought, so can I.

    Several minutes passed as Jack wrestled with his thoughts before bolting upright. “The new program,” he murmured, searching around for the remote. He turned on the television and switched to the local news channel. The reporter was talking about a car accident that happened on the road outside of town. Jack set down the remote and reclined in the bed. When the reporter finished the story, Jack sat up.

    “Don’t go away,” the reporter said. “When we come back, a young Trainer receives a Shining Pokémon as a Starter, right here in Viridian. See his reaction, next.”

    <Is that about me?> Sceadon asked, climbing up onto the bed and lying down next to Jack, keeping his tail flame off the blanket.

    “Yeah, it is,” Jack said, stroking Sceadon’s gold back. Sceadon closed his eyes and growled. Jack paused for a second, and then realized that Sceadon was just relaxing.

    Jack watched the commercials with mild interest. The door to the bathroom opened up and Megan stepped out, wearing pink pajama pants and a white tank top. Her golden brown hair was wet and tied up behind her head. She smiled at Jack and sat down gently on the bed.

    “What’re you watching?” she asked.

    “Believe it or not, I’m about to be on TV.”

    “Really?” She stared at the screen.

    “Yeah, the local news was filming something at the registration building when I was there, and when I got Sceadon, they came over and tried to do a bit with me.” Jack shrugged.

    “Who would have guessed you’d be a celebrity? Nephew of a Gym Leader, on TV all the time,” Megan said with a smile.

    “Let’s just hope I don’t have a paparazzi,” Jack joked. Megan giggled and hugged her knees to her chest. The news came back on, and Jack pointed.

    “Here it is.”

    “Every year, at the end of the school year, there is a large influx of prospective Pokémon Trainers that come to Viridian to register in the Indigo League. Each Trainer is given a license and the choice of a Starter Pokémon,” the woman said, and a graphic of the three starting Pokémon was displayed. “The Starters are Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. Usually, the new Trainers take their new Pokémon and go on their way, but for sixteen-year-old Jack Surge, today was something pretty special. Take a look.” The screen cut to the film at the registration building from earlier that day. Jack recognized himself staring down at Sceadon, who had just materialized in front of him.

    He heard several people around gasp as the camera approached. Jack and Megan watched as the reporter interviewed Jack about Sceadon. Jack felt his ears burn as he watched himself stumble over his answers to the reporter. He then watched himself mumble something about having to leave.

    “Well, I guess he’s a little camera shy. Can’t really blame the kid though,” the reporter said to the camera, ending with a bright smile.

    The screen cut back to the woman in the studio, who made a few closing remarks about the statistics of Shining Pokémon and their special characteristics. When she began a new story, Jack turned off the TV and looked over at Megan.

    “They seemed a bit rude,” she said, raising her eyebrows.

    Jack grinned. “They almost stepped on Sceadon.” He gave Sceadon another pat on the head and stood up. “I guess I’ll take a shower now.” Grabbing his backpack, he walked into the steamy bathroom and closed the door behind him.

    * * *

    After they had found Sceadon a fireproof blanket to sleep on, Jack and Megan turned in for the night. Jack stared at the ceiling in the darkness, thinking about the news program. He wondered how many people would recognize him, and if the story would go anywhere. The media loved to sell new celebrities, and he hoped it wouldn’t happen to him. Slowly, he felt his eyelids grow heavy and he fell asleep, Static snoring next to him.

    After what seemed like a few seconds, Jack woke up to his cell phone vibrating on the nightstand next to him. Squinting at the green numbers of the alarm clock, he groaned. It was three in the morning. Picking up his phone, he looked at the bright screen in the dark. There was no caller ID. He flipped open the phone.

    “Hello?” he groaned.

    “Jack, is that you?” asked a familiar voice.

    “Flint?” Jack said, sitting up and rubbing sleep from his eyes. “Dude, what’s up?”

    “Look, I’m sorry for calling at this hour, but I need to know. Do you still have that Shining Charmander?” Flint sounded worried.

    “What? I—yeah, he’s here. Flint, why are you calling? How’d you get my number?”

    “I’m sorry, I don’t have time to explain. If you value your life, you and that Charmander need to get the hell out of Viridian. Right now.”


    END



  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Ooh, new chapter! Me likey, me read-y (not quite the word I meant, but, you get the idea... )

    On it!

    Well, you have spoiled us with quite the chapter. I like it!

    So, the story so far is getting much more fleshed out than the last one already! Jack and Mike's origin story, the ferry incident, meeting Megan and the Migotos and even the battle with Chris. Definitely making this journey all the more intriguing, and quite the footnote to leave us on! Wonder how you're gonna spruce up what's coming next!

    There was one slight issue I had with this chapter, a bit of a recurrence to it actually: when someone is addressed in speech, a comma is used to denote a slight breath being taken by the speaker (or to be taken by the reader). Without one, the sentence could actually have a different meaning. Let's look at an example that shows this:

    <Really cool dude! Wicked awesome!> Bouncer the Squirtle said enthusiastically, fist bumping Static.
    Here, the statement in bold could be considered a fragment describing someone as a "really cool dude". If a comma follows the word "cool", Bouncer sounds like he's addressing Static more. Just an observation. Your sentences aren't grammatically wrong, they just make a bit more sense with the pauses.

    Quick tip: I've learned that in punctuation, some marks denote pauses in reading and these were even practiced during aloud readings way back in the day. A full stop usually called for a pause of four seconds, counted out in one's head. A colon counted for three seconds. A semi-colon two seconds and a comma one. It's an old-fashioned notion, but it does make quite some sense and reading more entertaining when you get used to it.

    Other than that, you crafted quite the gme this time, mate! Keep 'em coming!

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 29th September 2012 at 12:12 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Ah, punctuation. Thanks for the advice on that. I often get too caught up in the writing that I forget certain technical things. And since I've written, read, and revised these early chapters so much, I miss these things in proofreading. I'll be watching for those errors in the future.

    Glad you enjoyed the chapter though. The next one was a huge revision, as the old chapter four was probably some of my worst writing. Looking forward to posting it in a couple days.

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