Cut! That's a wrap folks!"Still can't believe they wanted to make this story into a movie," said Brendan sitting on the edge of the film set.
"I'd gotten over that ages ago. I'd always expected that one day I'd be asked to appear in a movie. It comes with being as awesome as I am," Morrison said off-handedly.
"Well it's all good so far."
"Yeah, little unhappy that I had to run along the edge of those pools like that though. I mean, that's dangerous you know!"
"And a 16-year old owning a titanic, four-armed, metal beast with incredible psychic powers isn't?"
"There's a fine line."
"Will you two shut up and look over the script for the next chapter!" a distant voice off-set yelled as the two rolled around snickering.
"Sorry Darrell!" Brendan yelled back and then muttered in an undertone, "If they didn't want actors to blabber so much they really should have hired two other people."
"Oh, believe me Brendan we tried!" Darrell called back.
"Anyway," Morrison went on as he flicked through a few pages of script. "Hey I'm not in this chapter! Or the one after it! Sweet as, Darrell I'm going home early!"
"Fine, but make sure you can pronounce "Meteor Mash" properly next time you come in! I don't want to have to waste another 200 takes on that!" Darrell called, as Morrison left the set with a two-fingered rock salute.
Chapter 1: Clutching At StrawsA solitary oil lamp on the desk was the only source of light in the room. Only by its faint glow was the man's piercing eyes and blazing red hair visible as he fixedly stared with all his might at a series of papers in front of him. So intently was he concentrating that he didn't so much as glance up when the door opened; the only noise in the room for hours.
"Do you always feel the need to work in the dark?" came the low, deep voice of the man entering.
If he was heard, the red-haired man took no notice of it. Sitting up he gestured to the other man to take a seat opposite him. He did so, but his face was covered in complete shadow.
"Any luck?" he asked.
"Our scouts have searched everywhere from Granite Cave to Meteor Falls, from the Shoal Cave to the goddamn Lilycove Contest Hall. Nothing. I think the only reasonable explanation is that they've left the Hoenn region," the deep-voiced man said.
The red-haired man's face turned to a mix of disappointment and exasperation. "I had feared as much. As much as it pains me to say it, we've been clutching at straws these last few months.
"What else can we do? These internal affairs and background checks are really cutting into our research time."
The red-haired man was quiet for a while, lost deep in thought. "These background checks are becoming evermore irksome. I know, I know, I'm the one who authorised them, but they're necessary," he said waving the other man down before he was interrupted. "Those two spies turned everything we'd worked so hard for before into a complete debacle. Not to mention that kid and his Pikachu. I find myself being able to trust very few people now."
"If it's small comfort, we've monitored the movements of those three ever since," the deep-voiced man replied, passing a folder over the desk. "The kid is apparently heading off to the Unova region, so in all likeliness, I don't think we'll see him for a long time. The first spy apparently headed over to the Johto region. From what we've seen he's been involved in a large amount of Team Rocket activity taking place there at the moment."
"Team Rocket? What sort of activity are they planning?" This was the first he'd heard of any recent movements from Team Rocket, in fact he knew surprisingly little of them. He had no reason to be worried, but no reason not to be curious.
"Nothing that would seem to affect us. Just a lot of noise."
"I see. And the third?" inquired the red-haired man looking through the folder.
"Well from what we can tell there's been no sign of any of them for over a year now. I think it's safe to conclude that they've also left the Hoenn region."
Another long silence as the two men were clearly entrenched in their own thoughts. Suddenly, the red-haired man looked up. "Wait a minute Markus, you mentioned the Johto region, yes?"
Markus' voice was uncertain as he said, "Uhh...sure?"
A memory from a long time ago came back to the the red-haired man. He stood on the bridge, surrounded by towering cliffs and raging waterfalls. Looking down at the clarity of the water, and the purity of the landscape he could see many caves burrowing deep into the cliff face. His father had smiled at him and said, "This is my favourite fishing spot in the whole region. A place where the earth, the sea and the sky all truly meet together."
He came back to reality with a dawning expression of understanding on his face. Certainly not with any expression Markus had ever seen before.
"You okay sir?"
There was a pause before he replied. But then, "I'm better than okay Markus. I've just realised something so crucial; how could we have missed it before? Listen...."
And Markus listened. Indeed, how could they have possibly missed it?
"Well it's nice that you chose to come back by boat with me rather than Flying back to Littleroot Town. Why didn't you anyway? Bah! Who cares? It's about time you came to see me!"
Mr. Briney's instant gabbling at the sight of Brendan came as little surprise to Brendan. The first time he had met the old sailor, he wouldn't stop stammering his thanks for rescuing Peeko in Rusturf Tunnel.
"Well actually Flygon has had a bit of a bad temper after the League, so I'm just giving him a bit of time to calm down. He'd probably throw me off by accident if I tried to Fly back," Brendan laughed. As he said it, the desert-patterned Pokeball on his belt wiggled rapidly, as if to say "I heard that."
"Oh the League! That's right, I saw your last match in the Top 4, boy I tell you, you remind me of a young me in the Hoenn League back in my day, I tell you, Tyranitars and Rhyperiors used to shake in their boots at the very sight of me....."
He continued in this vain for some time, so Brendan absent-mindedly nodded as he patted Peeko's wings and revelled in the glorious open skies and the shifting wake of water the boat left behind.
"Oh good gracious, are we back already? Well the time just flew by didn't it?"
"Sure," Brendan teased.
The boat slowed as they came with sight of Mr Briney's seaside cottage perched on the tiny cliffs of Route 104. This was one of Brendan's favourite routes in all of Hoenn. It was elegant in its simplicity and summed up everything about what Brendan cherished in a Pokemon adventure; crisp, clean air, the great outdoors, and was filled with happy young Pokemon.
"Thanks heaps, Mr Briney, see ya Peeko!" Brendan called out as he raced off the boat, eager to get to Petalburg City.
As Peeko let out a shrill "Guulll!", Mr Briney called out "Remember to tell your mother and father I say hello!"
Petalburg City wasn't much of a city; a few parks, some small houses, a Pokemon Center and a Poke Mart. It was very cleanly and fresh for a city. Small children played in the playgrounds and even the Pokemon like Corphish and Marill were always seens frolicking in the small ponds by the flower beds and gardens in the northeast part of the city.
It was late at night, but instead of making his way to Route 103 to go home to Littleroot Town, Brendan got off his bike out the front of the Petalburg Gym. He remembered the day he got his badge from here. Not his greatest triumph maybe, but for sentimental reasons it meant the most to him. The Gym, although simple in design, was aesthetically influenced heavily by some sort of "Japanese warrior hut." At least that's what Brendan assumed. It certainly gave the right impression inside.
Brendan slowly made his way inside. He made his way into the training arena, where a tall, dark-haired man in a red zip-up jacket and plain cargo pants was egging his Vigoroth on who was furiously delivering a lightning-fast volley of punches to a punching bag. Brendan stood behind him watching.
"Come on Vigoroth, you can go way more beserk than that!" the man called, wiping the sweat off his brow.
"If anything I'd say he needs to chill a bit more," mused Brendan.
The man and his Vigoroth stilled for a moment and then slowly turned around as one.
"Hiya Dad," grinned Brendan.