Author's note: This is loosely based off an idea I had a few months ago when I was thinking about realism in the pokemon world. I hope you enjoy it!
The kitten could not figure out why Mama was not waking up. She had been asleep for an awfully long time. The kitten looked up to the sky and saw that it was almost going to turn black again. The sky had turned black three different times since the last time Mama was awake. The sky would turn black for a long time, and then it would light up again and everything would be colorful. That kept happening, but Mama would not wake up. He had never seen Mama sleep this much. The kitten wondered if Mama was waking up when he was asleep, but it didn’t seem like it. He would wake up hungry, but Mama had not brought any new food. It was really hard having to eat without Mama’s help. Why didn’t she know that? There were some really loud bugs that made high-pitched noise when the sky went black, and those were the only things the kitten could catch. If they got smarter and didn’t make as much noise this time, he might not be able to find them again.
The kitten butted Mama in the belly with his head, hoping that the shiny there would wake her up. The shiny on his head was useful for getting the food bugs; if the kitten swung his head really fast, it would come off and hit the bugs hard enough to knock them over so he could catch them. It wouldn’t even take long for a new shiny to grow in and replace the old one. He really wanted to tell Mama how brave he was and how losing his shiny didn’t even hurt. Why wouldn’t she wake up? He bumped his shiny into her again, but she still didn’t move.
The sky was getting really black. The kitten tried hard to remember what Mama had called it when that happened. After a little bit, he remembered: it was night! Mama said that night was good, and that it was when they could get food the best. But all the kitten knew about night was that it made him want to go to sleep. Mama used to be really warm when he wanted to sleep, but since she wasn’t waking up, she wasn’t as warm for him as she used to be. He let out a mew for her and bumped her belly again; he missed food and he missed her being warm and he wanted her to wake up and take care of him again.
He heard his neck make that vibrating noise again. He knew that meant everything was okay, but it didn’t feel okay. The kitten was hungry and the sky going black meant it was going to be colder. It was hard to believe that everything was all right. But that’s what Mama said. Mama told him that whenever his neck makes the vibrating noise that everything is okay. He told himself he would be brave again. Mama was probably just teaching him a lesson.
The last time Mama taught him, she told him about those wormy bugs. She said that he could eat them, but he had to be really careful when he caught them because they had a pointy tail, and their pointy tail was dangerous. When she tried to catch a wormy bug, she got poked by the pointy tail. The kitten knew she let that happen to show him it was dangerous because she looked really sad when it happened. He didn’t want to be sad, so if he went after a wormy bug, he wouldn’t let it poke him like that. He didn’t even see any wormy bugs, though. Just the really small loud noise bugs that weren’t very smart. That was okay, though; he didn’t like to think it, but he was still kind of scared of the wormy bugs since he saw one poke Mama.
The kitten pressed his claws into Mama’s belly like he used to when he was just a baby and wanted milk. He was too big for milk now--Mama told him that--but for some reason, doing that made him feel better. It also made him want to sleep again even though he was still hungry. He thought maybe he could just sleep for a little bit, and hopefully Mama would wake up. If not, he would go get some more of the small noisy bugs while she rested. He rubbed his side against Mama’s belly and then turned back and rubbed his other side against her before finally settling in next to her. He hoped the pain in his stomach wouldn’t make it too hard to sleep. He licked his front paw and used it to smooth down the thick pair of whiskers on both sides of his face. He liked to do that before he fell asleep; it made him feel sleepy just like pressing his claws into Mama’s belly.
The kitten wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep when the noise woke him up. It wasn’t a noise like the noisy bugs; it was like the sound he made when he walked through the grass and leaves. But it was louder! The kitten turned his ears in all directions trying to find out where the grassy sound was coming from. It was getting louder, and all he could do was close his eyes and press harder against Mama. She needed to wake up and stop teaching him about the wormy bug now. He hoped that whatever was making the sound wouldn’t see him.
“Well hey there. What are you?” The kitten heard something say in a loud voice. He opened one eye and turned his head away from Mama. The tall thing standing there must have said it. The tall thing stood on its two back legs and was huge. Much bigger than the kitten or even Mama or anything else he’d seen before. The tall thing was all kinds of colors. Its face seemed to be the same color as its hands, but its legs were blue and its feet were white and its body was red and black. Even the top of its head was brown and a different color than the rest of it. The kitten knew that his hind legs and tail were a slightly darker color than the rest of him, but he didn’t look as colorful as the tall thing. It was even more colorful than everything around the kitten when the sky wasn’t black. The kitten opened its mouth and made a spitting sound. Maybe if the tall thing thought he was a snake, it’d leave him and Mama alone.
“Aw, it’s okay. You don’t need to hiss at me. Hey, are you a pokémon?” The tall thing reached into the side of its own leg and pulled out a red square. Something about that word pokémon caught the kitten’s attention, though. Mama had said they were both pokémon before. How did the tall thing know that?
“Meowth: The Scratch Cat pokémon.” The new sound shot through the kitten’s body. He eagerly turned his ears about again trying to find out what made the sound. It wasn’t the same noise that the tall thing had made when it called him a pokémon. The kitten’s ears turned back towards the tall thing. The new voice seemed to come from the red square. It spoke again, “It loves things that sparkle. When it sees a shiny object, the gold coin on its head shines, too.” The kitten didn’t know what that meant. He knew he had a shiny on his head, but the rest of it didn’t make any sense. “Click for additional information,” the red square continued. More nonsense as far as he was concerned.
“Additional info?” The tall thing said. “That’s new.”
The kitten backed into Mama’s body. She still wasn’t waking up, even with all this noise. It was going to be up to him to protect her. He swung his head really fast, like he did when he saw the tiny loud bugs, and the shiny on his head came loose and hit the tall thing in its white foot. The kitten looked all the way up to the tall thing’s face to see if it was going to run away.
“That was different. Hold on, though, okay? I have to see the other info here.” The tall thing moved his arm so fast that the kitten flinched in anticipation, but it just moved other and touched the red square.
“Meowth: The Scratch Cat pokémon. Meowth are currently extinct following the population culling of ‘97.”
“Are you sure? There’s two of them right here. Although I don’t think the one is alive, the other sure is.”
“Meowth are currently extinct following the population culling of ‘97.”
The kitten didn’t understand any of the words the tall thing or its red square were saying. He just wanted them to go away. Even if they weren’t here to hurt him or Mama, they must have scared away all the noisy bugs. The kitten couldn’t hear them anymore. If they were gone, what was he going to eat?
“Hey buddy... I think your friend there is dead. It doesn’t look like it’s breathing. Are you okay?”
The kitten didn’t understand that. He’d only heard the word one time before. Dead. Mama used it to describe a mouse they ate once. Did the tall thing think that Mama was food? Mama was not food! He wasn’t going to let the tall thing eat Mama. He made another spitting noise and then shook his head really fast again, but he hadn’t grown a new shiny just yet. It took a little longer for his shiny to come back, but the kitten had forgotten that.
The tall thing was not scared of his spitting sound, but he did at least put the red square back in his blue leg. When his hand came out, though, it was holding a red and white circle! The kitten looked down at his own leg. Did he have things in it that he didn’t know about? The tall thing then bent over and picked up the shiny that he threw at it. His eyes got bigger when he saw the shiny.
“This is a five dollar coin. Hey, where’d you get this, Meowth?” So many words the kitten had never heard before. Dollar? Coin? Meowth? None of it made any sense. The tall thing could have the shiny as long as it left Mama and him alone. “Do you want to come with me, buddy? You’re really rare, and it’s a big scary world out here without your friend, I bet. I’ll take care of you.”
No, the kitten thought. He did not want to go with the tall thing! He wanted to stay with Mama. She would be waking up soon and taking care of him and teaching him all the things he still had to learn. It was big and scary out, but Mama would protect him like she always had. The kitten saw the tall thing’s arm go back and then come forward really fast, and the red and white circle came loose! Before the kitten could react, the circle bumped him hard on the head. He opened his mouth to cry out in pain, but before he could, his entire world went black.
When the kitten could see again, he had no idea how long he’d been asleep. Was the whole tall thing just a dream? Did it actually happen? When the world came back into focus, the kitten knew something was wrong. Beneath his feet was a slippery, hard surface. It looked like a tree, but it was so flat and smooth and cold. He could usually stick his claws into trees, but they wouldn’t stick to this flat one. The kitten’s paws did not like the feel of it at all, and he wondered where the grass and dirt went. He looked up from the ground and saw that he could not see as far as he used to. The world had gotten very small while he was asleep. There were just big, flat, white things surrounding him; the kitten looked up to see that the giant white surface even covered up the sky. The sun was stuck to the top white thing somehow, but there was no blue or clouds or birds. Just the big white thing with the sun in the middle of it. Were there any noisy bugs here with him? How would he get food in this new, small world?
“There you are, Meowth. Were you okay in your ball?”
The kitten jumped in response to the sudden sound of the tall thing, and when he came back down, his feet slipped on the smooth tree. His belly smacked off the ground, but he quickly picked himself back up so the tall thing didn’t think he was weak.
“Are you okay? You stumbled, silly.”
The kitten mewed back that he was fine, but the tall thing did not say anything to him. It just reached over and rubbed him on the head. The kitten could feel the tall thing’s hand bumping his shiny, and he was happy it had grown back. He also didn’t want to admit it, but the tall thing’s hand felt nice rubbing his head.
“So do you have a name?”
The kitten was confused; what was a name? He didn’t know how to answer the tall thing’s question, so he ignored it and let the tall thing continue to rub his head.
“My name is Pewter. It’s a pretty stupid name, but it’s the name of the city my parents met in, so that’s what they called me.”
The kitten understood even less of that, so it continued not answering him.
“Do you get it, buddy? My name is Pewter. You can call me Pewter.”
The tall thing told him to call him Pewter? So the tall thing was a Pewter? The kitten had never heard of that before, but if that’s what it wanted to be called, then he would be okay with it. The kitten mewed back to him that he’d call it Pewter.
“Yeah, I guess you’re just Meowth, huh? If you’re supposed to be extinct, you might be the last one. So you’re Meowth. Just Meowth. Can I call you Meowth?”
The tall thing wanted to call him Meowth? He’d never been called anything before. Mama just said he was a kitten, and that was how she talked to him. The kitten realized his neck was making the vibrating noise again; maybe it was good to be called Meowth. The kitten mewed back his approval. But suddenly he realized what he’d just thought; Mama said he was a kitten, but where was Mama? He looked around the white place hurriedly. Where was Mama? He didn’t see her anywhere! Did Pewter bring Mama with them to wherever they were? The kitten turned towards Pewter and mewed the question to him.
“What’s the matter? Are you hungry? I bet you’re just confused. This is my house! You and I live together now.”
What was going on? That wasn’t what the kitten asked. He cried out again; where had Mama gone? Why was he alone in this strange white place with Pewter?
“I can go see if mom will give me some turkey breast to give you. Does that sound good?”
The kitten was dismayed; why didn’t the tall thing understand him? He tried to run off so that he could search for Mama, but his feet still weren’t able to dig into the smooth tree, and he slipped and stumbled again. He let out more cries to try to get Mama’s attention. She had to be awake by this time.
“Do you miss the other Meowth that was with you?”
The kitten’s head snapped to attention. Other Meowth? If he was Meowth, then this must mean Mama! The kitten mewed a response and bobbed its head.
“I’m sorry, buddy,” Pewter leaned down so that he was not very tall anymore. His head was at an even level with the kitten, and the rest of his body disappeared behind the edge of the smooth tree. Pewter’s blue eyes looked down, and his forehead was all wrinkled. “Your friend was dead when I found you. I couldn’t bring it with me, you know. Don’t you know what dead means? Your friend wasn’t going to wake up again. I thought you knew.”
The kitten heard the words, but didn’t understand. Mama was never going to wake up again? That didn’t make sense; the kitten woke up every time it went to sleep, so why wouldn’t Mama? He remembered Mama referring to that mouse as dead. It never woke up, even as they were eating it. One time, an acorn fell on the kitten’s head when he was sleeping and it woke him up. So if something as small as that woke him up, he would definitely wake up if something tried to eat him. So if something is dead, then it never wakes up?
The kitten tried to take in all the information, but it was so hard to figure out. He only knew one thing must have been true: Mama was never going to wake up, and now the kitten was far away from her. His tail was flicking frantically, and he had no idea what to do now; Mama had always been there for him since he first smelled her before he could even open his eyes. Mama had fed him and bathed him and told him what night was and taught him about dangerous wormy bugs. The thought that she was gone was awful; who would take care of him now?
The kitten let out a few low mews that slowly grew in volume. Even he didn’t know what he was saying, but he couldn’t help it. It wasn’t fair! He needed Mama back! Why did that wormy bug have to hurt Mama? How would he survive without her?
He hadn’t even realized he’d buried his head in his paws when he started feeling something rubbing his neck. He turned upward and realized it was Pewter rubbing him down his back, and it felt just like how Mama used to bathe him. It made him miss her more, but it also felt good.
“I’m, sorry, Meowth. I thought you knew your friend was gone. I didn’t want to make you sad. You’re my pokémon now, and we are partners,” Pewter smiled, and his eyes got larger; the kitten was used to seeing large eyes as a warning from scary animals, but Pewter’s eyes didn’t seem scary. They actually made the kitten feel better somehow. “I promise to do my best to not ever let you be sad again, okay?” Pewter’s voice was very low and soothing, and the kitten wanted to bump his head against Pewter’s hand so the tall thing would rub his neck some more. He couldn’t help but think about Mama, though. What if Pewter was wrong? What if she did wake up?
“Do you know what that means? That you’re my pokémon?” The kitten looked up at Pewter’s suddenly smiling face and thought. Did Mama ever use those words? If she did, he didn’t remember. The kitten shook his head. Pewter nodded very strongly. “Okay! It means you’re my best friend! And it means that I’m going to take care of you and take you with me to school. And we can battle other pokémon, too. But I don’t want you to worry. Battling is just for fun, and we won’t do it till you’re older and stronger. Do you want to be strong and battle with me?”
The kitten did not understand what battle meant, but he knew stronger. Mama had told him he’d be stronger one day, and that he’d be able to catch his own food and defend himself then. Mama was gone, so the kitten knew he’d have be stronger now. Pewter said he’d take care of him, but so did Mama, and the wormy bug still made her dead. What if something made Pewter dead, too? The kitten would be alone again, and there didn’t seem to be any small noisy bugs in this white place. He’d have to be stronger! The kitten bobbed his head back to Pewter with as much power as the tall thing had nodded his.
“Good!” Pewter cried. His voice was higher pitched with that word, but the kitten was able to sense that Pewter was happy.
The white place where Pewter had taken the kitten got dark sometimes, too. Pewter said that was night time, just like Mama had said. When the white place went dark, Pewter would tell him to get some rest and put the kitten in the red and white circle. The kitten didn’t mind because before he knew it, he’d be back out of the circle. And he’d feel really well-rested, too. Pewter was a funny tall thing, though; every time the kitten saw him again, he’d change colors. Sometimes his body was red and black like when the kitten first saw him, and sometimes he was blue or orange or white. The first time this happened, the kitten did not even recognize him! He remembered swatting at Pewter, but the tall thing just told him he had changed. The kitten wondered if he could change, too, but every time he was out of the circle, he was still the same colors.
When Pewter and the kitten were together, they played a lot. Pewter told the kitten that he was not ready to battle yet, so he should practice attacking things. The kitten still missed Mama, but the tall thing was nice, too. Sometimes the tall thing would bring the kitten a can of food. The kitten did not trust the food at first--it was brown and squishy and didn’t look like anything he’d seen when he was with Mama--but it tasted really good, even if it was colder than what he was used to.
After playing and eating, sometimes the tall thing would carry the kitten around or lie down with him on the thing Pewter called my bed. The kitten didn’t think that Pewter was as soft or nice as Mama, but he sure didn’t think it was bad, either. He knew Pewter would protect him.
After a few night times had past, a weird thing happened. After having some of the brown, squishy food, the kitten was getting ready to play with Pewter by licking his paws. Suddenly, there was a loud noise! The kitten jumped back and moved its head fast trying to find what made the noise. Was he in danger? Was Pewter? What was that?
Pewter just laughed and rubbed the kitten’s ear. “Silly Meowth. That was just my doorbell. We must have a visitor.”
Pewter seemed to be okay with having a visitor, but Mama always told the kitten that visitors were bad. She used that word once to describe a round, brown animal with a big tail that came by the bush they were hiding in. The round thing stood up on its tail and yelled at Mama, but she was able to scare him away. When the kitten asked what it wanted, Mama just told him that it was an unwelcome visitor and not to worry about it. Would Pewter have to go scare away the doorbell thing?
The kitten watched to see what the tall thing would do, but it did not seem to be bothered; it just picked something up from the floor and held it out for the kitten to see. It was a round, blue thing. It didn’t seem to have a face or anything else. It was just... round and blue. The kitten looked at it and then up to Pewter. The tall thing’s eyes were bright, so it didn’t seem likely the round thing was harmful. The kitten moved in close to the round thing very slowly. Maybe he could get to it before it noticed him. The kitten was about to sniff at the round thing when he jumped back. Did it move? He thought he saw it move! Maybe it knew he was coming. The kitten eyed it for a bit, but it was not moving. Pewter continued to hold it out. The kitten moved in again and pressed his nose to it. The round thing smelled kind of like Pewter.
“Do you want it?”
The kitten didn’t understand. Why would he want the round thing? Suddenly the round thing jumped out of Pewter’s hand and rolled across the smooth tree. It was moving! The kitten rushed over to the round thing and jumped on it without even thinking about it. He grabbed the round thing in his paws and dug his claws into it as he flopped over onto his side. He batted at the round thing with his paw, and it started moving again! It was getting away! The kitten scrambled to his feet and pounced on it again. It was very hard to get the round thing to stop moving, but it didn’t seem dangerous. It wasn’t hurting him. It was just trying to get away from him. As the kitten chased the round thing to the other end of the smooth tree, he heard Pewter laughing. Pewter must have really enjoyed watching him try to stop the round thing.
The kitten was shocked by this sound, too, and he accidentally knocked his round thing off of the edge of the smooth tree. The sound talked like Pewter, but it wasn’t him. His mouth wasn’t moving, and the sound was a little softer. The kitten looked around, but Pewter was the only tall thing there was. Where had the sound come from?
“Can you come downstairs? There’s someone here who wants to see you.”
Pewter called back to the new sound, and then it had talked him. The kitten continued checking out his surroundings; what was Pewter talking to?
“Do you want to come with me? I’ll carry you down, all right?”
The kitten was not sure. There was another voice somewhere, but he couldn’t see it. That was pretty scary. Still, Pewter had promised never to let him be sad again, so maybe it would be okay. He hesitated for only a second before walking over to the tall thing. Pewter reached down and grabbed him under his arms and pulled him into the air. It was certainly more pleasant than his Mama carrying him around by his scruff, and the kitten rubbed his head against the Pewter’s body to show his appreciation.
Pewter pulled part of the big white thing away and made a hole that it could go through. It reminded the kitten of how Mama would move the branches of their bush aside so they could go outside to find bugs or play with trees. Everything after the white place was a blur, especially when Pewter bounced as he walked down some kind of sloping path. Before the kitten knew it, he was in a place like the white place, except it was brown. The area was surrounded not by white, but by a large, solid tree without leaves or branches. It was brown and looked like a tree, but there were black lines going down it. The kitten had really never seen any place like where Pewter lived. He looked up; there was no sky here, either, but the white area was still above him.
In the new tree place, the kitten was shocked to see three more tall things! They were all even taller than Pewter was, at that! The closest one to Pewter had really long fur on its head that went down to its arms. Its body was pink and white, and its mouth was a brighter color of red than Pewter’s or the other tall things’. Next to that one was another tall thing. It had no fur on the top of its head, but a big, fluffy line of fur above its eyes. The kitten giggled to itself because it thought that line looked silly, like he had a fuzzy bug on his face. This tall thing’s body was a pattern of brown and blue squares, and its legs were blue like Pewter’s. The last one was the most far away. Its body and legs were a dark grey, and it had a red line that went down from its neck before disappearing in the grey.
“Pewter Wilson?” The grey tall thing said. “I’m Agent Eric Boucher. It’s nice to meet you, son.”
“It’s nice to meet you, too, I guess,” Pewter said, as he and the grey tall thing named Agent Eric Boucher grabbed each others’ hands. Pewter turned back to the other two tall things, but he didn’t grab their hands or ask who they were. “What’s going on, guys?”
The tall thing with the long fur looked down at its hands and played with them a bit. It made the kitten fidget in Pewter’s arms; he wanted to get those hands like he had gotten the round thing earlier. “Agent Boucher just...,” the tall thing stared at the kitten, making him uncomfortable, “wants to talk to you a bit.”
“Did I do something wrong?”
“Not at all, son. Is that the new pokémon you caught recently?”
“Meowth? Yeah, I just found it last week, actually. He’s pretty skittish or I’d let you say hello.”
The kitten yawned and burrowed his face into Pewter’s body. The tall thing with the long fur wasn’t wiggling its fingers anymore, and he couldn’t figure out what Pewter and Agent Eric Boucher were talking about. The kitten started thinking about the round thing in the white place. He wondered if it would escape while he wasn’t there to get it.
“So it is a Meowth. I see. Just as what I was told.”
“Yeah, they’re supposed to be extinct, right? But I found this one under a bush before it got too dark out. Isn’t that awesome?”
“Yes, I suppose it would be awesome to find something so rare. And you’re right, they are supposed to be extinct.” The kitten’s ears perked at the way Agent Eric Boucher’s voice pressed when he said the word supposed. Whatever the tall thing said, it must have been important.
The tall thing with the blue legs like Pewter’s put its hand around the one with the long fur on its head. The furry tall thing seemed to be upset about something. Its posture was very slumped, and the kitten could sense its fear. Was one of the other tall things going to eat it? Why was it being so afraid?
“What’s wrong, mom?”
“I’m sure she’s fine, Pewter. Can I tell you why I’m here?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Pewter answered the grey tall thing.
“When your pokédex scanned that Meowth, it sent a signal to Professor Elm’s laboratory. He’s responsible for all the pokédexes in Johto, and he receives information on everything recorded by them. Obviously, with Meowths being extinct and all, it sent up a lot of red flags when a pokédex scanned one. So the professor called my offices--I work for the National Defense Administration. We were very...intrigued that a Meowth was recorded in this day and age.”
“Do you, like, want to write an article on it or something?” The movement of Pewter’s body as he talked jarred the kitten alert after the Agent Eric Boucher’s talking had nearly put it to sleep. He looked up at Pewter who seemed apologetic for shocking him, and it started rubbing his chin.
“Not quite, I’m afraid,” Agent Eric Boucher said. The kitten wondered why the other two tall things weren’t talking that much. Maybe they were hunting something and didn’t want to scare it. But why were Pewter and Agent Eric Boucher making so much noise? Maybe they didn’t know the other two were hunting. “I’m sorry to tell you this, son, but Meowths didn’t quite go extinct due to natural causes. A long time ago, our government, in conjunction with the Kantoan government, was forced to round up Meowths and have them put to sleep.”
Pewter’s grip on the kitten tightened, and he squirmed and batted at Pewter to let it know it was hurting him. Pewter didn’t seem to notice. “Why? Why on Earth would you ever do that?”
“Meowths have an ability that no other pokémon have. They are able to replicate currency. Now, I’m no scientist or professor, so I have no idea how it happens. But it has something to do with how Meowths are attracted to shiny objects. At some point in their development, their body began being able to replicate our coin currency out of some kind of...I dunno...," Agent Eric Boucher seemed to stop talking, but then began again, “self-gratification.”
Agent Eric Boucher puffed out air. Didn’t it know you are supposed to breathe quiet? Breathing loud is how things find you. The kitten’s mother told him that. “I get that you’re young, kid, and you probably don’t understand things like inflation or economics, so I’ll try to explain this as well as I can. I know it doesn’t seem like much--a dollar or so from each Meowth--but when there are thousands of Meowths running around replicating money, it really adds up.” The kitten was, again, lost in all these words he never knew existed. He was curious, but he didn’t want to look like it, so he began licking his paw and washing his forehead while listening to the grey tall thing continue to talk. “This new, unsanctioned currency was flooding our market. I get that when you’re a kid, that doesn’t sound bad, but it is. When new money is minted, it lowers the value of all the rest of the money.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Here, like that Meowth. It’s really rare, right? Probably--hopefully--the only one left in the world. So that makes it special, right? But if there were a million of them, that one wouldn’t be so special, right? Same thing with money, really. If there’s only a few dollars in the world, everybody wants them, they’re worth a lot. But if there’s a ton of them, then they aren’t as special. The price of everything goes up because the value of a dollar decreases, and everybody gets squeezed.”
“Isn’t a dollar always worth a dollar?”
“A dollar is always worth a dollar, but sometimes a dollar isn’t worth what it used to be.” Agent Eric Boucher rubbed his nose; maybe he needed to wash himself, too. “It may not make a lot of sense, but...it’s how the world works, kid. Anyway, other regions that aren’t quite friendly with us began hearing about these Meowths, and they started acquiring them on the black market so they could further flood the world market with our currency. The Meowths were driving our nation into a financial hole.”
“So if that’s what happened, why didn’t you just change the money?”
“You’re a smart young man, Mr. Wilson. That’s actually exactly what the government did next. They began reissuing currency with new designs and new markings. They thought that if what the Meowths made was different, then the problem would solve itself, and after the new currency was at a steady rate, they could discontinue the old currency entirely. Do you have any idea what happened next?”
The kitten felt Pewter’s arms raise and then lower again while it tilted its head. Agent Eric Boucher kept talking. “The Meowths started replicating the new currency. In some, as quickly as within one or two generations. Their physiology adapted to what they saw. It started happening with our enemies overseas, too. The Meowths they imported did start out producing our money, but after a few generations, they just made more of the currency they saw in the new land. It was decided that Meowths were too much of a threat to world market stability, so the governments began... well, what I already told you.”
“That’s awful!” There was such sudden power and energy in Pewter’s voice, that the kitten grew scared. He scratched at Pewter, but it just held him more tightly and turned to the side so the kitten couldn’t see Agent Eric Boucher anymore. “You killed a bunch of innocent pokémon just because they weren’t convenient!”
“It goes a little beyond being inconvenient--”
“Wait.” Pewter’s breathing sped up; the kitten could feel the movement of its body next to him. “So why are you here?”
There was a bit of silence before the kitten heard Agent Eric Boucher’s voice again. “I think you know, Mr. Wilson. The NDA needs to confiscate your pokémon.”
“No!” Pewter yelled back.
“Pewter, please. You have to listen to him.” The kitten remembered this voice as the one belonging to the especially furry tall thing.
“Mr. Wilson, I’m not here to hurt your feelings and make you feel bad. It’s the law; Meowths are considered to be a threat to world economic health. Do you want to know the truth? This might make you feel better: Pokémon euthanization occurs in their pokéballs. They don’t feel anything--”
“I don’t care! Meowth is my friend! I won’t let him make any money if that’s what you want.” Pewter squeezed the kitten hard again, but it did not hurt as much as it did before. The kitten could sense Pewter’s desperation, and, since Pewter promised never to let him feel sad again, he wanted to make Pewter feel better, too. But he didn’t even know what the tall things were talking about. What could he do? Did they want Pewter to battle? Pewter had mentioned that before, right? The kitten knew he would battle if Pewter needed him to. He would protect Pewter like Pewter promised to protect him. He would do his best.
“It’s not a matter of what you let him do, Pewter. It’s a matter of what if he gets loose? What if he has kittens? What happens when one Meowth turns back into thousands of Meowths over the next few years?”
“Agent Boucher.” The kitten didn’t recognize this voice; it must have belonged to the furless tall thing that didn’t say anything yet. “What if we get this Meowth neutered or spayed? We had a dog, Sissy, while Pewter was growing up, and we had her spayed. Won’t that stop the problem?”
“I’m afraid that won’t help. Pokémon physiology is different from animals’. When they get healed at pokémon centers, they... well, they get healed. From everything.”
“Damn. Sorry, Pewter. I thought that might help. I don’t know what else...”
The kitten felt Pewter’s whole body shaking. He rubbed his face against it. Why were these other tall things upsetting him? Didn’t they see they were doing it? The kitten wished he could tell them not to make Pewter sad. Pewter’s hand moved to pet the kitten’s back, but it seemed to be shaking and uncertain. The kitten heard the vibrating noise in his neck start again; hopefully it would settle Pewter down like it had settled himself down in the past.
“I need you to put the Meowth in its ball and hand it over, Pewter.” It was the voice of the grey tall thing again. “Please just let’s do this the easy way, okay?”
“But...he’s my friend. He’s my...my first pokémon. He’s so young and...and his friend was dead, and I saved him...,” Pewter’s voice sounded wet somehow; the kitten didn’t know how else to describe it. He looked up at his tall thing and saw water running down his face. Was Pewter some kind of fish? A really tall fish? Was it upset because it was out of water for so long? The kitten reached a paw up slowly to bat the water on Pewter’s face, but it held his paw away. Maybe Pewter needed the water. The kitten pulled its paw back down and continued looking up at it. “There’s got to be... there’s got to be some way I can keep him...”
“I’m afraid there isn’t, Pewter,” Agent Eric Boucher said. His voice was softer than it had been before. “Like I said, I promise I didn’t come here to do this to you. It’s the law, and frankly, it’s necessary. But it’s not personal.”
Pewter grabbed the kitten by his underarms and pulled him up so that he was looking right at Pewter’s face. The kitten did not like the feeling of his hind legs dangling free. “I’m sorry, Meowth,” Pewter said. “I’m sorry about your friend, and I’m sorry that I scanned you, and I’m sorry that this guy came here.” The kitten mewed. Pewter did not need to be sorry! It had been so nice to him since that night. “If I hadn’t found you that night, maybe you’d be...,” Pewter wiped his face with his arm. “I won’t forget you, okay?”
For some reason, Pewter put the kitten on the ground. The tall things looked really tall from there! The kitten backed up until he felt his tail bump into Pewter’s leg. The kitten did agree to battle for Pewter, but the tall things were pretty scary.
The kitten looked up to see Pewter holding out the red and white circle. Maybe he wouldn’t have to battle after all; maybe it was just night time again. The kitten was happy at that thought. He would battle for Pewter when he was stronger. Then he wouldn’t be so scared of all the tall things.
And then everything went black.
I hope you enjoyed it. Like I said, it was a story expanded from a brief idea, which was "What effect would Meowth and their ability to replicate money with Pay Day have on the global economy?" If I hadn't already been tied up with Brothers' Bond, I might have written this as a chapter fic where I dealt a little more with Meowth and Mama while she was alive, and I even thought that Pewter could go on the run with Meowth to try to save it from the NDA and making it more of an adventure story. But alas, it was not to be. Still, I'd never written a one-shot here, so I was happy to get one done. I look forward to your comments!