(Note:I apologize for the delay - I've been ubber busy. Since I can't find the initial chapter due to the delay in posting, I'll just give a small summary...and I'll try to get a new chapter out every month.

Ash, now 21 years old, arrives back in Pallet Town after winning the Orr League to find that Kanto has been overrun with a new group of nefarious villians who control most of Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, etc. Those who disagree with the order mysteriously disappear. Rescuing his old friend, Pidgeot, Ash is greeted by Professor Oak who gives word of an invitation to challenge Saeta, for entrance into the Elite 4. As a Master Trainer, Ash can carry up to 8 Pokemon. Oak also introduces Ash to another young trainer, Jeremy, who will travel with Ash due to security concerns. Provided with a new tool, the Poketranslator which allows Pokemon to speak in any human language, Ash and Jeremy leave Pallet Town for Pewter City.)

Ash, Jeremy and Pikachu had been walking in the surrounding forest that lay on the outskirts of Pallet Town for several hours. Instead of following the dirt path to Pewter City, Ash had taken his young traveling companion through the forest’s grass regions. Little had changed in the forest since Ash first embarked on his journey from Pallet over 10 years ago; The old growth trees were still abundant, the long, thick blades of grass still carpeted the ground and the air smelled crisp and fresh. However, the further Ash progressed into the forest, the more he found the absence of Pokemon rather disturbing.

Four hours into their journey and they had yet to see or hear a single Pokemon. The Pidgeys were absent from the branches of the surrounding trees. The humming sound that came from the Beedril as they rushed by was a thing of the past. Not a single Pokemon was scurrying about. Ash glanced down at Jeremy and saw that the child was completely frustrated. He, too, had been constantly on the alert since they entered the forest for a Pokemon to capture. Ash also wondered if Jeremy had heard more than he was able to handle by eavesdropping into his conversation with Professor Oak. Erring on the side of caution, Ash decided that it was time for a break.

Taking out several large, red apples from his black sachel, Ash tossed one casually to Jeremy. The young trainer seemed relieved that Ash had come prepared for his journey and thanked him. Ash sat under the shade of a large tree. Placing his bag on the moist dirt ground underneath the tree, Ash procured his Swiss Army Knife and began slicing his apple up so that Pikachu could easily eat it.

“Ash,” asked Jeremy as he scanned the trees around him. “Where are all the Pokemon? We’ve been walking around for hours and I haven’t seen any.”

Ash hesitantly nodded. “I don’t know where they are, Jeremy. I’ve never seen anything like this before, even in the remote desert regions of Orr. There have always been Pokemon around.”

Jeremy bit his lip. He tried to recall what Professor Oak had mentioned to Ash during their private chat, but most of what the professor said made little sense to the boy. After several minutes of silence, he quickly spoke up. His voice was thick with anger and unpatience. “Why can’t we just fly to Pewter on Pidgeot?! Walking is stupid!”

Ash glanced at Jeremy and saw how flushed the youngster’s face was. Ash reached his hand over and patted Jeremy’s shoulder. “ Is this your first time on your own, Jeremy?”

Jeremy lifted his right arm and rubbed his wet nose. “No. It’s been like this for years.”

Pikachu stopped munching on his apple and walked over to Jeremy. The yellow furred creature rubbed his head against Jeremy’s side. Without looking down, Jeremy reached down to scratch Pikachu’s head, continuing. “My parents…they went to fight Calatrava. They told me that they had to stand up against them and that fighting was the only way to stop them. But…” Jeremy dug his fingers into his faded blue jeans and clenched the fabric. Tears welled in the child’s eyes and Ash sensed that speaking more on the subject now would only continue to frustrate Jeremy.

Ash tried to change the subject. “You know Jeremy, I have a theory as to why we haven’t seen any Pokemon around here.”

Jeremy wiped the tears from his eyes. His frustration seemed to melt away with Ash’s mention of capturing Pokemon. “Really? You do?”

Ash nodded. He casually tossed one of the apples that he had brought with him into the grassy field in front of them. “Now, we just sit here and wait.”

Ash, Pikachu and Jeremy took cover behind a large tree and waited. After half an hour, a small, bushy tan tail with a white top appeared from the right and began to make its way towards the apple that Ash had placed. However, on the left, another tail with brown and beige stripes also began to make its way to the same apple. The two creatures, several feet apart, did not noticed each other and continued until they made their way to the large, red apple. Ash, being much taller than Jeremy, noticed that the two Pokemon headed towards the apple were an Eevee and a Zizagoon.

The Pokemon made their way through the grass and to the apple. Just as they were both about to take a large bite out of the piece of fruit, Eevee and Zizagoon noticed each other and jumped back. Zizagoon growled while Eevee hesitantly pawed the ground, preparing itself to duel over apple. While the two Pokemon were distracted, Ash motioned Pikachu to attack. Pikachu ran up Ash’s body and launched himself off Ash’s shoulder. Sommersaulting into the air, Pikachu stuck its tail above its body and summoned forth a small jolt of electricity that hit both Zizagoon and Eevee. Unable to move due to the electric attack, Ash reached into his small leather pouch on his left side and took out a Pokeball. Enlarging the ball by clicking on the center silver button, Ash tossed the Pokeball towards the Eevee. Eevee disappeared into the Pokeball in a flash of light. The Pokeball rocked back and forth several times until the button in the center of the Pokeball flashed from red to silver. But before Ash could congratulate himself for his recent capture, he felt another hand reach into his leather pouch and take a Pokeball out. Ash glanced over just in time to notice that Jeremy was mimicking his Pokemon catching abilities, and was using the Pokeball to capture Zizagoon. Jeremy tossed the Pokeball towards the Zizagoon and, within a minute, the Zizagoon had become his.

Jeremy was elated. He had never captured a Pokemon before, and thanks to Ash’s help, he now had two Pokemon. He happily left the cover of the tree to pick up both Pokeballs. However, before he could attach them to the black belt that he wore on his jeans, Zizagoon popped out of his ball. Zizagoon noticed the apple that was still laying in the grass and ran towards it. Just as Zizagoon was about to pounce on the fruit, Jeremy picked it up and shook it at Zizagoon. Zizagoon looked up at his new master and tears welled in its eyes; He really wanted that apple. Noticing the raccoon-looking Pokemon’s frustration, Ash walked over to the young boy and his new friend and, using his pocketknife, cut the apple into two parts. Ash handled Zizagoon a part of the apple and the left the other half in Jeremy’s outstretched hand. “You should give that part to Eevee. If both Pokemon know that you love them and care for them equally, you’ll save yourself the headache of dealing with rivalries in the future.”

Jeremy nodded. He took out Eevee and handed the apple to her. Eevee happily munched away at the treat. Ash looked at his watch and noticed that it was getting late. He dropped his backpack and took out his sleeping bag. “We should set up here for the night, Jeremy. You’ve had a rough first day, and I’m sure you’re just as hungry as I am.”

Jeremy wanted to protest, but, after hearing his stomach growl, he began to unpack his bag.

Several hours had past and the light from the fire that Ash had made was starting to die out. Pikachu had been asleep for hours while Ash had been reading as he waited for Jeremy to return. Jeremy had eaten his supper in a rush so he could begin training the two new friends he had captured that day. While Ash wanted to caution Jeremy from pushing his Pokemon too hard, he recalled how hard he wanted his first two Pokemon to succeed when he began his journey. However, it was approaching 10pm, and Ash, armed with Professor Oak’s warning concerning the dealings of the Order of Calatrava, didn’t want to risk the young boy’s safety.

Carrying a small flashlight, Ash and Pikachu left the safety of the camp they had set up. As the soil was still somewhat moist from the spring rains, Jeremy, along with Zizagoon and Eevee’s footprints were visible along a narrow dirt path. After a few minutes, Ash found Jeremy and his two battered Pokemon. Although Jeremy looked worn, he smiled as Ash and Pikachu came into view. “Ash! Eevee learned ‘Sand-Attack’ and Zizagoon learned ‘Tail Whip’!”
Ash looked down at Eevee and Zizagoon. Both were in bad shape and heavily panting from the training that Jeremy had put them through. Ash was concerned. “Jeremy, have you been making these two fight each other?”

Jeremy, still proud of his efforts, happily responded. “Of course not! I just used the Pokefood that you gave me to bait other Pokemon and had Eevee and Zizagoon attack them.”

Ash shook his head, somewhat exasperated as Jeremy’s enthusiasm for his successful training came at a price. Ash hesitated to reprimand the youngster, but realized that Jeremy could hurt his Pokemon if he continued to be so reckless. Instead, Ash took a more careful approach. “Jeremy, did you notice how quickly your two Pokemon appeared after I placed the apple down this afternoon?”

Jeremy’s glee seemed to disappear at once. “Yeah…”

“Do you know why?

Jeremy paused. He looked down at Zizagoon and Eevee, wistfully. “Because they were hungry…”

Ash nodded and continued with his serious tone. “And by baiting these hungry, wild Pokemon to eat, you have not only made them distrust us, but training your Pokemon against others that are already weak will make your Pokemon weaker in comparison to those that have trained their Pokemon with strong opponents.”

Jeremy bit his lip. He didn’t mean to do anything to hurt the Pokemon in the forest, let alone the ones he just captured. He ran towards Ash and embraced him, wiping his tearful face on Ash’s shirt. “I’m sorry, Ash. I just want to be strong, like you.”

Reaching down to the young boy, Ash rubbed Jeremy’s hair. Jeremy looked up at Ash, drying the tears from his eyes. “It’s ok.” Responded Ash. “Let’s leave the Pokemon some food to thank them for their efforts tonight and head to bed.”

Ash nudged Jeremy aside. He walked past Zizagoon and Eevee and towards a small patch of grass that had been chewed up with all the action that had taken place. Ash reached into his backpack and, taking out a large handful of Pokemon snacks, placed it down by the path. Ash walked over to Jeremy’s pokemon and picked them up. Motioning to Jeremy, the two trainers and their Pokemon headed back to the camp for a good night’s sleep.

The following morning, the two boys woke up. Ash prepared breakfast while Jeremy packed up the sleeping bags. Jeremy was somewhat worried that Ash was still angry with him, but that fear melted away when Ash offered Eevee and Zizagoon half a bottle each of lemonade. The two Pokemon were delighted with their treat, and the drink revived their spirits. After a small breakfast, Ash finished cleaning and packing their goods, and the two trainers made their way through the forest without further incident.

Around midday, Ash and Jeremy reached Pewter City. Not much had changed in the town since Ash earned his Boulder Badge at the gym years ago. The town was still very rural and undeveloped, and small farms and rock quarries dotted the countryside around the center of the town. However, as the two reached the center of the town, Ash noticed that it appeared just as quiet and vacant as Pallet Town was.

Ash soon found a Pokemon shop. While Ash thought it was a good time to teach Jeremy about the basics of Pokemon supplies, he realized that Jeremy was still a young boy that needed to take a break from training. Before Ash entered the store, he motioned towards a playground in the area and Jeremy, along with Zizagoon and Eevee, went off to play.

The playground, near the center of the town, looked to have been recently built. The equipment looked brand-new, and Jeremy seemed eager to unwind. He ran to the swing set and sat down on a swing. Eevee and Zizagoon looked at their master curiously as he pushed off the ground and began to swing higher in the sky. A slight breeze blew threw his hair and he felt a certain degree of freedom that he hadn’t felt since he last saw his parents. It felt good to be a kid again.

Eager to share the fun with his new Pokemon, Jeremy placed Zizagoon and Eevee in the toddler swings and took turns pushing them. While Eevee clung tightly to the metal chain with its furry paws, Zizagoon happily moved its tail back and forth as the swing went up and down.

“Are those your Pokemon?”

Jeremy turned his head behind him and stopped pushing the swings. A young girl, no more than seven years old, stood behind him. She wore a faded pink dress and had short brown hair and brown eyes. In her arms was a well-kept Mareep. “You should hide your Pokemon. There are two bad girls in this town that steal Pokemon.”

Jeremy cocked his head and was confused. “Steal Pokemon?”

The young girl cautiously approached him. “Uh-huh. Their names are Harley and Quinn, and they’re trying to take my Mareep away from me.”

The swings behind Jeremy stopped and Zizagoon, along with a seasick Eevee, hopped down and stood faithfully by their master. Mimicking Ash’s confidence, Jeremy placed both of his hands on his waist and laughed. “There’s no need to fear. I’ll protect you with my Pokemon!”

The little girl gleefully replied. “Really…you will?!”

“Of course, “ replied Jeremy, still confident that his Pokemon were up to the challenge. ”Boys are meant to be protectors.”

The girl held out her hand in friendship to Jeremy. “My name’s Susie and this is my Mareep, Okashi.”

Jeremy reached out for her hand and gave it a small squeeze. “My name’s Jeremy, and these are my Pokemon, Eevee and Zizagoon.”

“And our names are Harley and Quinn.”

Jeremy and Susie looked up, only to be overshadowed by two taller women. The one on the left had short brown hair and wore a white shirt with a black leather jacket and black leather pants. The one on the right had long blond hair and wore a black shirt with a long, white silk jacket and a short white skirt.

Harley, the brunette, flicked her cigarette onto the tanbark beneath her. She smashed the embers into the cement beneath the tanbark and glared at the two young children. Her raspy voice only heightened her renegade appearance. “Hand over Mareep.”

Quinn, the blond, tried to sweet talk the little girl into aiding them. “We really need Mareep to help us.”

Susie bit her lip and clutched Mareep. Jeremy stepped in. “What do you need Mareep for?”

Harley snickered. “Easy, kid. We need it to wipe out that Crobat.”

Quinn continued in her high pitch, squeaky voice. “Brock is such a meanie with that Crobat. It’s the only one of his Pokemon we can’t defeat.”

Harley unhooked one of her Pokeballs from her waist belt. “So, are you going to help us, or do you want things to get rough?”

Jeremy put on his best brave face, but the act wasn’t very convincing. “If you want her Mareep, you’re going to have to battle me first.”

Quinn sauntered up to Jeremy and flicked his nose. Jeremy flinched. “Such a cutie you are.” She focused on Susie. “Your boyfriend?”

Harley brushed off Quinn’s speculation. “No matter. We’ll wipe the floor with you and then take her Mareep. Come on out, Golduck!”

“You too, Magikarp!”

Golduck, a blue, duck-billed Pokemon, hovered menacingly over Jeremy’s Zizagoon and Eevee while Magikarp bounced along the ground. Golduck picked up Magikarp and held it by its side.

Harley rolled her eyes at Quinn’s selection. “Idiot! Why are you using that thing?”

Quinn’s girlish glee turned sadistic. “Because I want them to suffer!”

In the Pokemon supply store across the way, Ash was busy stocking up on potions and full heals for their long journey ahead. He brought his basket loaded with Pokemon necessities to the counter. The store owner, a slightly obese man with glasses, happily tinkered away with some merchandise. Noticing he had a customer, he glanced over his shoulder and headed over to the cash register. After a ringing up a few items, the man glanced at Ash. “Hey! I know who you are! You’re that kid that just beat the Orr League hands down. “

Ash was somewhat embarrassed. The store owner continued and he straightened up his green apron. “Yeah, my kid’s a real fan of yours. Says that you have a Sceptile that’s so agile that it’s almost a flying Pokemon.”

Ash, hearing the commotion outside, glanced over and noticed Jeremy was involved in some sort of situation. “How would you like to see Sceptile in action?”

The owner was shocked. “Would I?!”

Ash, abandoning the goods, ran out of the store with Pikachu. Pulling a Pokeball from his belt, Sceptile burst out. The agile Pokemon kept up with Ash as all three of them dashed over to the playground. As Ash got closer, he noticed that Eevee and Zizagoon had been badly beaten up and were struggling to get up.

“Alright, Magikarp. Hit them with a Fire Spin to finish it up!”

Magikarp, still cradled in Golduck’s arms, unleashed a powerful firestorm upon Jeremy and his two helpless Pokemon. Before the attack could singe the two normal types, Jeremy left in front of his friends and took the direct hit. Jeremy cried in pain as he covered Eevee and Zizagoon from the powerful blast. Eevee and Zizagoon pleaded with their master to move, but the heat from the attack had knocked the young child out. Magikarp, who had been ordered to attack, instantly stopped the attack after witnessing the bravery of the young boy towards his Pokemon.

“Hit them with Bullet Seed!” roared Ash.

Sceptile, launching itself into the air with its powerful, springlike tail, blocked the sun as it powered up. Catching the two perpetrators off guard, a hailstorm of seeds rained upon the two girls and their Pokemon. But before the attack could create much damage, Quinn ordered Magikarp to attack with its fire abilities. A blast of searing flames smashed into Sceptile’s tail, leaving him slightly singed.

Sceptile landed near Ash’s side, still slightly shook-up over Magikarp’s attack. Ash too, had not expected that Magikarp could have learned such an attack. “But how…?”

Quinn was more than happy to educate the meddling twerp. “Magikarp is a Delta type.”

Ash was confused. “A what?”

“Delta type, silly. It means that its DNA has been artificially modified so that it can counter for its weaknesses.”

Harley continued. “And even though my Golduck is weak to grass attacks, there’s no way your Sceptile can attack since Magikarp will burn up any attack your Sceptile can throw at us.”

The two girls wickedly laughed at their genius plan. Ash looked at Sceptile, who, although having been attacked, appeared to have healed its burn. Ash impatiently tapped his foot on the ground as Harley and Quinn were engrossed in their celebration. “Are you done yet?”

Harley was upset with the disruption. “What do you mean?”

Ash pointed to Golduck and Magikarp, who were both covered in binding vines. The two Pokemon wiggled to free themselves from the vines, but were only making things worse. Quinn was surprised. “They’ve been seeded! Sceptile has been draining their energy all this time!”

Ash tipped his hat. “A little trick I picked up in Orr.”

Quinn pouted. She picked up Magikarp and angrily shouted at it. “Stupid! How could you have let Sceptile do that?! You’re absolutely useless!”

Quinn threw Magikarp onto the ground. Jolted by the impact, Magikarp bounced over to Jeremy and flapped its fins against the unconscious child as if to spur the young boy into waking up. Harley recalled the drained Golduck back into its Pokeball and grabbed her partner. “There’s no point in staying here any longer. Without Magikarp and Mareep, we’ve lost this town. But, before we go, let’s take a little momento. I’m sure our boss would like to know about you two.”

Harley took out her cel phone and took a picture of Ash and Jeremy. Quinn turned to Harley and wailed, her immaturity apparent. “I’m sorry, Harley. I’m such a failure.”

Harley mounted her motorcycle while Quinn lept into the side cart. The two girls hastily left the town in a cloud of dust.

Ash, meanwhile, turned his attention to Jeremy. He picked up the boy and scanned the horizon for a medical center. Noticing that the only place anywhere close to him was a Pokecenter, Ash, Pikachu and Sceptile raced towards the Pokecenter. Susie, along with the Pokestore owner, picked up Eevee, Zizagoon and Quinn’s discarded Magikarp, and followed behind.

Upon arrival at the Pokecenter, Nurse Joy, along with Blissey, attended to the injured child. Knowing that he could not further help Jeremy at this moment, Ash sat down in front of telephone at the Pokecenter. He quickly dialed Professor Oak’s number, but there was no answer. He then dialed Celio’s number. An older version of Celio, with a tuft of beige hair, appeared. The researcher cordially greeted Ash. “How are things, Ash?”

“Celio, do you have any information about these Delta Species?”

“Hmmm…what’s that? Did someone mention Delta Species?”

Saeta, popping her head into the room, looked on with interest. She stood there wearing a white shirt with a Skitty on it. Her blue panties were barely visible due to the length of the shirt. Ash noticed her skimpy attire and blushed. Celio turned towards her, lost for words. Saeta brushed by him, rolling her eyes at Celio’s behavior. Saeta was about to make a sarcastic comment, but decided it would be best not to with company around. “So, Ash, what can we help you with?”

Ash quickly explained what happened to Jeremy earlier in the day. Saeta and Celio listened carefully. “Ash,” asked Celio. “Could you take a sample of Magikarp’s blood and place it in the scanner behind Nurse Joy’s desk? It’ll take approximately 20 minutes for the scanner to analyze the sample. Once you get the read-out, could you e-mail it to us?”

Ash nodded. Saeta winked. “I’ll be waiting all night for you.”

As Nurse Joy was still awake, she aided Ash in obtaining a blood sample from Jeremy’s Magikarp. Capping the sample, she walked over the analysis machine behind her desk and placed the sample inside. As Ash busied himself with inputting data from his time in Orr into his Pokedex, the machine buzzed and hummed as it began to process the sample. A half hour later, the analysis had been completed and a printout lay by the machine. Ash picked up the data, scanned the papers and transferred the file into his Pokedex. After completing the upload, Ash transferred the files to Celio’s computer. Ten minutes later, Celio sent Ash’s Pokedex a confirmation that the data had been received. As it had been a long day for the master trainer, Ash bid Nurse Joy goodnight as he headed up the stairs towards one of the guest beds.

Celio had been rather hurried as he began processing the data into a 3D model configuration. He discarded the snack that one of Saeta’s maids had left for him as his fingers quickly began typing up codes and running it against pre-existing data that Celio and Saeta had recovered on previous missions. As Celios’ first love was, above all, technology, being presented with something this mysterious was intoxifying to him. He was consumed with the data that Ash had sent and spent all night going over it. Around 4am, Saeta, waking up for a small nightcap, checked in on Celio. Fixed with his computer models, Celio didn’t notice Saeta’s entrance.

“So, what do we have?” asked Saeta, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

Celio calmly replied, still absorbed with his project. “Nothing like I’ve ever seen before. This Magikarp – it’s DNA has been modified with Ditto DNA!”

“Ditto? Why?”

“I’m not sure. Ditto is the only natural occurring Pokemon that can mimic both the appearance, attacks and the physical type of any other Pokemon known to mankind. Judging by the sample and this analysis, two of Ditto’s traits have been eliminated – That of the ability to shapeshift and that of the ability to copy attacks. But the third trait, the ability to change its physical type, has been implanted in Magikarp.”

“So, you’re saying that even though Magikarp knows Fire moves now….”

Celio continued. “It may be able to learn Electric, Psychic, Steel moves as its type mutates. Just imagine – a speedy Gyarados that knows ‘Earthquake’ and that has mutated to a ground type. It would be unstoppable!”

Saeta seemed concerned. “Let’s assume that Magikarp is able to change its physical type once a day. That would mean that its DNA is highly unstable. Predicting how it would react, especially under stress, would be difficult.”

Celio nodded. “Yes. Calatrava scientists haven’t figured out how to eliminate this instability, and we better hope they don’t figure it out any time soon…especially since you haven’t figured out how to unlock your Pokemon’s enigma evolutionary stage.”

Saeta bit her lip. She had been working on this ‘Enigma Evolution’ ever since hieroglyphics in an ancient temple had been found hinting of its possibility. Celio ignored Saeta’s embarrassment. “You know we don’t have much time left, Saeta. If they figure out how to breed out this instability trait, it’ll be only a matter of time before they’ll take over this world.”

Saeta put aside her worry. “We should tell Ash of this. Send a message to his Pokedex of your analysis, but keep it light. The rest can wait until his arrival.”

Celio nodded. He quickly shot off a message to Ash’s Pokedex. As Saeta returned to her bed, she looked behind her. Celio was still worried about this new predicament. Saeta sighed, but realize that, for the time being, there was nothing she could do.