Well, here's something a little different from me (Misheard Whisper, Selemena, etc). It is a Pokemon story, even though it may not seem like it at first. This is an idea that's been bouncing around in my head for a while, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to start up my creative engines again. I won't talk too much now; I'll get to explaining myself later. For now . . . a prologue. Or two.

Prologue 1

The lost city of Atlantis. Some dismiss it as a myth, some consider it a mistranslation. The true identity of the fabled civilisation has been suggested to be everything from Sunyshore to Lilycove. A theory that has attracted some popularity in recent years suggests that the modern settlement on Cinnabar Island in Kanto – recently buried beneath a catastrophic volcanic eruption – might have been the original site of Atlantis, before it was buried by the tumultuous movements of the earth. A rapidly growing religious faction claims that Atlantis was in fact the home of the gods, who retreated into the Unliving World – or something like that – when mankind became too curious.

They were all wrong. And yet . . . some of them were not so far off.

Atlantis had indeed existed on this Earth, once. Over two thousand years ago, it was a prosperous island city, more or less self-contained. It sprang up from nowhere in a very short time, and even more rapidly, it had disappeared. Seafarers who visited the city spoke of strange, fine architecture, a circular wall encircling much of the island, and a confusing pattern of twisting streets. Some claimed those streets were paved with gold, others that they were carved with intricately decorative scrollwork. Whatever the truth was, nobody had much of a chance to verify. The isolation of Atlantis meant it was well out of the way of contemporary trade routes, and the natives were not prone to travelling. By the time naval exploration began in earnest many hundreds of years later, Atlantis was long gone, leaving behind only fragmented stories.

These stories are what have captured the imagination of scholars the world over for centuries. Tales of lost cities and mighty civilisations are nothing new – everything from Shangri-La to Lemuria, El Dorado to Avalon – but most of these can be safely dismissed as fanciful stories, wishful thinking and mythology. The legend of Atlantis, however, is too widely correlated to be ignored. Matching descriptions appear in the annals of multiple ancient civilisations, suggesting to the discerning scholar that there might be a spark of truth buried amongst the murky history.

Even so, observation did not lie. There was no Atlantis to be found on planet Earth, even with comprehensive satellite imaging and plumbing of the depths of the ocean. As mankind grew and technology evolved, Atlantis faded from the public imagination until it was nothing more than another story.

Until, that is, the year 2032, when the city of Atlantis was found in the last place anyone expected.

Prologue 2

January 16th, 2032
0342 GMT
Exploratory probe Endeavour

Mission Commander Capt. Jennifer Phillips: Lilycove, this is Endeavour, do you copy?

Mission Control: Copy, Captain. We are reading you loud and clear, but be advised your current vector will take you out of radio contact for approximately 40 minutes.

Phillips: Copy, Control. This is Endeavour checking in before blackout. See you on the other side.

Control: Roger that, Captain. Over and out.

January 16th, 2032
0425 GMT
Exploratory probe Endeavour

Control: Captain Phillips, this is Control. We have your signal, do you copy?

Phillips: Copy, Control, reading you loud and clear.

Control: Anything down there, Jen?

Phillips: I don’t know what you were expecting to have changed since the last time we sent a bird out, Control, but . . . listen, is this a secure channel?

Control: Confirmed internal-only communication, Captain. What’s the issue?

Phillips: I think we might be going crazy, but . . . there’s something down there.

(There is a general hubbub at Mission Control, which lasts for about twenty seconds before the operator reasserts silence.)

Control: Proceed with your report, Captain.

Phillips: We couldn’t really make any details out, but there’s a – well, I suppose at this stage we can only call it an anomalous rock formation on the southern side. It’s reasonably small, about five clicks across, but it’s standing alone in the South Pole-Aitken basin, which isn’t exactly known for being particularly mountainous. It’s in the middle of one of the smaller craters on the northern side of the basin, but it’s not consistent with observed central peaks in impact craters. More to the point, though, it wasn’t there last time this area was scanned.

(Silence reigns for a tense twenty seconds)

Phillips: We still have about three hours of daylight left over the area, Control. Want us to make another pass?

(There is more discussion off-comm in Lilycove. When Control replies, they sound more than a little tense.)

Control: You have been authorised for a second flyby. Adjust your trajectory so that you pass directly over the noted feature, and take up a lower orbit. In the meantime, transmit any images and coordinates you have gathered so far.

Phillips: Copy that, Control. Transmitting aerial photography now.