June 17th, 2024. Not a date that is likely to be glossed over in the history books. On that day, an unusual weather pattern raged across the world. This was the day of Blue Snow.
The Blue Snow had a terrifying effect upon any human it touched. Within seconds of contact, an affected human would transform into a Pokémon. Within three days of the first flakes, no humans existed on the planet. In the six days that followed, anarchy ruled the world. Looting, assault, and even murder were below nobody.
And then, it all stopped.
On June 24th, 2024, another strange weather pattern was observed worldwide. This was the day of the Red Sun.
A chemical reaction occurred in the atmosphere, which tinted the sun's rays crimson. An unknown gas was breathed in by the masses, and calm returned as they assumed human shape again. Red Sun lasted for 12 hours before the gas dissipated.
Not all humans were in a position to breathe the air, though. Many were underground, or inside. Around 10% of Earth's population is sill missing today. Of the remaining 90%, 87% returned to human form. The remaining 13% were offered a choice…
Stay as they are?..
Or return to human society?
9% returned to their friends and loved ones. The other 4%, mostly families, set up communities in the wild.
Any who returned were catalogued by the government, and set up with the rights and responsibilities of ordinary human citizens. They were ball-marked so that they could never be captured. Finally, they were provided with ID cards that both identified them as citizens, and provided an easy method of translation, for despite their best efforts, it was impossible for them to ever speak human again.
The setting: A busy street corner around noon. Midsummer. Cars are seen speeding by a small café on the corner. The camera focuses on a table near the right of the screen. Slowly, a Cubone and an Infernape seated at the table become visible. The Infernape has an aqua-colored backpack next to him on his seat. The Cubone wears a small, brown satchel at his side. Slung across his back in a leather holster is a bone.
The Cubone lifts a mug of coffee to his lips, and grimaces. He faces the Infernape, and speaks.
Kyle (annoyed): Cu Cubone Cu?
The camera slides in and out of focus.
Kyle (annoyed): Naze watashi wa, Guranto kono yō na mono o nomu no desu ka?
Again, the camera slides in and out of focus.
Kyle (annoyed): ¿Por qué bebo esto, Grant?
Once again, the camera slides in and out of focus.
Kyle (annoyed): Why do I drink his stuff, Grant?
The Infernape chuckles, swirling a swizzle stick in his own drink.
Grant (maliciously teasing): Heh, heh. Perhaps you ought to add some flavor? That fast food place down the street has condiments, like ketchup or barbecue sauce. Perhaps some Sweet & Sour sauce ought to give it a definable taste?
KYLE considers GRANT'S suggestion for a moment, and then shrugs it off.
Kyle: I'm not ready to take it that far. Anyway…
KYLE looks down the street behind him.
Kyle: You're sure that this is the place?
Grant: Unless the desert moved. We're directly South of it. (questioning) Now, are you sure that she's there, Kyle?
Kyle: Where else would a Flygon go home to? I just hope she understands why I need her.
The two rise from the table. GRANT picks up his backpack, and slings it over his shoulder. The camera shifts to the table, where an abandoned cup of coffee sits, growing cold.
The setting is a desert around 2:00 PM. No life is apparent, except for a few stationary Cacturne in the distance. Dunes are scattered across this vast, sandy wasteland. It is on one such dune that KYLE and GRANT are moving across.
No words pass between the two of them, as they move across the desert. Several panels are seen, showing various scenes of desert travel. Soon, however, they climb a dune, and a large rock formation appears.
The rock formation itself is around 200 feet high, and about that far around. From an aerial view, it would appear as a semicircle with no edge. It appears almost as a red sandstone tooth pointing to the heavens.
GRANT points to it.
Grant (gasping): Is that what we're looking for?
Kyle (gasping): I really hope so, Grant.
They begin to move around to the other side of the rock. Upon reaching the other side, they are rewarded with quite the spectacle.
The rock has been divided into two sides. On one side, subterranean caves have been carved out, and Pokémon are visible within. On the other, humans have built up adobe houses, and have actually carved wooden ladders and attached them to the rock wall, so that they can freely travel off the rock if they so need.
GRANT looks down at KYLE.
Grant (suddenly not as tired-sounding): You up for some climbing?
Kyle (unsure): I used to be good at rock climbing, but that was four years ago…
GRANT chuckles, and makes a failed attempt at "ruffling KYLE'S hair". All he succeeds in doing is knocking KYLE'S skull helmet to the side, and KYLE looks put out.
Grant (teasing): Of course, we all know that this was done to impress a certain someone…
Kyle (embarrassed and a bit annoyed): Shut up, Grant.
The two begin to climb up the Pokémon section of the rock face. About halfway up, a buzzing sound is audible. KYLE nods to GRANT, and GRANT clambers into a cave, with KYLE following him.
They follow a steep hill downward, keeping the way lit using the fire on GRANT'S head. Eventually, the ground levels out, and they are almost in the dark, with only GRANT'S fire and a speck of daylight at the top of the cave to guide them. The buzzing has reached a crescendo, and GRANT shouts to the darkness.
Grant (friendly): Hey, Jenny! Are you here? You've got a couple of old friends paying you a visit!
Several seconds pass before there is any noticeable difference in sound. The buzzing doesn't increase in volume, but one small part of the buzzing approaches.
Before the two can react, they are grabbed by something that could outstrip a bullet, and are yanked back up the slope that they moved down. We see from KYLE'S point of view. They are pulled out of the mouth of the cave, and KYLE is briefly blinded. Before he can recover, he hears a voice.
Jenny (relieved): Good God, Grant; I thought that you were someone else!
The dazzling light fades from KYLE'S vision, and he sees JENNY, a Flygon and GRANT involved in a friendly hug.
Jenny (Near laughter): It's been freaking AGES since I last saw you! Where have you been? (Notices KYLE) Who's your buddy?
GRANT nods to KYLE, and KYLE speaks.
Kyle: Hey, Jenny. It's been a while. I know you probably don't recognize me right now, but it's Kyle. Look, I'm sorry about what happened after the last Hoenn League Championship. It was stupid of me, and I know I can't make up for it. However, I really need your help right now. I'm actually thinking of locating the entire team. Would you please travel with Grant and I for a while? I'll explain the details as we go.
JENNY thinks for a few minutes, and then shrugs.
Jenny: I'm sorry, could you please repeat that? (KYLE assumes "anime shock" pose) Your accent's really thick, and I couldn't understand you…
Grant (knowing smile): I know; it took me a week to figure out what he was saying. However, I can tell you exactly what he said. (Pauses a minute, and JENNY nods)
This is Kyle.
Several seconds pass before JENNY reacts.
Jenny (disbelief and shock): No. Fucking. Way. (KYLE nods) What the hell happened to you?
KYLE reaches under his skull helmet, and produces a thick card. One side is a blue background sporting a snowflake. This side has a photo of his human face, which appears shadowed. To the left are his personal details.
On the flip side of the card is a simple black background. However, as KYLE speaks, subtitles flash on the black surface.
Kyle: Two years after I split the team up, I applied to Rustboro University, for training in the medical field. I was accepted. Several months in, I met my childhood friend, Teri Fortunato. You remember her. (Jenny nods) Well, something clicked, and we began to see each other. We had a healthy relationship going, when… it happened. (pauses, then sighs) The Blue Snow fell.
JENNY holds her chin and looks thoughtful.
Jenny: I think I know what you're talking about. Last month, the groundwater supply was tainted. It turned blue for some odd reason. Many humans drank it anyway, because of the fact that they can't easily go to a nearby town for bottled water. They turned into Pokémon for a few days. However, this abruptly stopped when the sun shone red about three weeks ago.
[i]KYLE nods, and continues.[i]
Kyle: I'll get to that in a moment. Anyway, in a city area like that, the moment something happens that really changes people's lives on a mass scale, people panic. In the ensuing confusion, I lost both Grant and Teri. I spent the next two days buried under a pile of cardboard boxes, trying to accept the reality of my situation. The next day was spent trying to get used to my new body. On the fourth day, I began to experience a sort of… longing, I suppose you could say. A sudden, unexplainable need to head Northeast. I just happened to locate Grant on my way out of the city, and we traveled. I don't feel like saying what happened in the following week; I don't know if I ever will. However, we returned a week later to discover that we'd missed the Day of Red Sun, which could have changed me back.
I located Teri, and we tried to make it work. However, she hadn't missed Red Sun. Despite the fact that everybody in the world went through what I was going through, it didn't stop all her friends, family, and even total strangers from making fun of the two of us. Eventually, she cracked under the social pressure, and broke down. She begged me to fix this. I just couldn't say no. So, I hopped onto a shuttle bus with Grant, and decided that we ought to look for information.
We heard that there was going to be some headway in the department of Pokémon Biology in Isshu, so we decided to head there. However, we've got an Infernape who has the personality of everybody's friendly big brother, and a Cubone who can barely walk without tripping himself up. So, we were looking for some help. Grant brought up that you and some other members of our old troupe might be around this area, and we wanted to know if you were interested.
Several seconds pass before Jenny nods.
Jenny (thoughtful, with a hint of skepticism): Okay. I see. But have you put any thought about the travel itself? What's to be done about food? Travel equipment? First Aid? Have you thought any of this through?
Grant (sheepish): We were just going to wing it.
Jenny (exasperated): What am I going to do with you?
JENNY paces. She thinks for a moment
Jenny: You should have gone to Edgar first. He always knew what to do in these situations.
Grant (nervous): Er, actually, we were hoping to leave the old-timer alone. You see, we were never on the best of terms…
Fade to black. EDGAR'S voice is heard.
Edgar (angry shouting): Are you kidding me? Did you really do something that stupid? What the hell did you think would happen? You damn kids!
Fade to desert again. The three share an awkward silence before JENNY speaks.
Jenny: I need to think about it. When you disbanded the team, a lot happened. I changed- took life a little slower. I have a personal life right now, and I don't know if this little jaunt you've got going will throw in any major wrenches.
JENNY thinks for a minute. She starts to pace, and then looks up.
Jenny: Tell you what, I'll sleep on it. In the morning, I'll tell you my decision. No matter what I say, you two need to accept it. No arguments.
The two nod.
Jenny: So… Did the two of you make any plans on where you were going to spend the night?
Jenny (at her wit's end): OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
Kyle (a lot more casual than he probably should be): Can we crash with you?
Jenny (just as casual, without missing a beat): Sure, cave gets lonely when it gets empty.
The new scene is in the pitch darkness of a cave. It is around 1:00 in the morning. GRANT and KYLE are sound asleep. GRANT is snoring quietly, and KYLE'S skull helmet rattles every time he exhales.
Suddenly, there are sounds of movement. The rattling continues, and so does the snoring. The camera adjusts, and JENNY is now visible leaving the cave.
She heads out, and eventually comes to a stop. Another Flygon soon arrives, and the two begin to speak.
Roy (tired): Jenny, why did you set up a meeting at this hour?
Jenny (apologetic): Sorry, Roy, but something came up. Do you remember the day I arrived here?
Roy: Um, yeah. You were dehydrated, hungry, and lost. Why are you bringing this up?
Jenny: Did I ever tell you about why I came that far, or anything about my life prior to coming here?
Roy: If you did, it was before you ad I knew each other. It wasn't my business. I don't stick my nose into other's affairs.
Jenny: I wasn't raised in the wild. I was hatched into the care of a trainer named Kyle Montressor. (Pauses to let this sink in) He raised me as if I was a personal treasure. I don't think that I knew happier times than when I traveled with him.
We won the Hoenn League Championship four times in a row. After time number four, he retired as a trainer. He decided to further his education. He gave every team member a choice- He said, "We aren't going to battle anymore. I understand that this may upset some of you, so I will give you a choice. If you want to stay, then by all means, stay. But, if a slow, ordinary life is not okay with you, then you may leave if you desire."
By that night, Harris and Glen had left the team. Around a month later, Sal decided that she'd had enough. Finally, Edgar left two months into this period of farewells. However, Edgar was always this old coot- you know, the kind who can't believe the young people these days? Well, the last thing he said to me really got me. He said, "It's a good thing you stayed. You like to take the fast roads. However, if you go too fast, you'll crash and burn. Stay here with Kyle. Live a slow life for a change."
For eight months, I pondered his words. Were they a warning? A challenge? A taunt? I eventually left, barely saying goodbye to Grant, who I guess stayed with Kyle.
I went as fast as I could, exploring, meeting new people, having new experiences, and with barely a moment to breathe in between. However, I took a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up here. By the time I'd gotten my bearings, I had lost the energy to even beat my wings.
When I crawled my way to this village, I was half-dead, and suffering a minor case of sunstroke. When everyone here nursed me back to health, all I could think about was how right Edgar had been. I decided to take his words to heart, and to settle down here.
I have lived here happily for three years. Three years is a long time. Long enough to forget what adventure feels like. Yet, when Grant showed up here today, I felt that feeling for the first time since Kyle offered his choice.
There is silence for a few seconds, and then ROY speaks.
Roy: So, what is your question? You only come to see me in the middle of the night if a choice is bothering you.
Jenny: I don't know what to do. Grant and K- (breaks off) –Cubone want me to come on another adventure. On one hand, I don't want to end up baked in the sand, but I don't want to miss this. What should I do?
Silence for a minute. ROY thinks, and then,
Roy: I think you should do what makes you happy. If going with them will put a smile on your face, then do it.
Several seconds pass before a smile spreads on JENNY'S face. She joyfully laughs, and whoops as she flies up into the air to do a somersault. She lands in front of ROY, who smiles at her.
Jenny: Just don't forget about me, okay?
With that, she takes off in the direction of her cave. ROY watches her go, and remarks to himself.
Roy: I've never seen a Flygon move so fast…
The next morning, KYLE, GRANT, and JENNY are seen packing up, and JENNY takes a look back at the village. She nods, and the group pulls their supplies together. GRANT turns to JENNY.
Grant: So, you're ready to go?
JENNY smiles, and slings a drawstring sack over her shoulder. She shifts her weight to the back of her feet.
Jenny: Oh, of course! But… (smiles, rockets forward, and calls back) Can you keep up?
As JENNY flies towards the screen, GRANT and KYLE dash to follow her, trying to keep up with her. The image freezes, and fades to sepia. A flash lights up in the bottom-right of the screen, and turns into the message, "To be continued… Welcome to Off the Radar!"
Fade to Black.