§1: The Waves Start to Roll
It was the end of a long day, after the sun had set and all the assistants had left the lab. Professor Oak lowered himself onto the metal chair that faced his desk, where an empty box lay. The box had held Red’s Pokédex, as well as his own grandson’s, Blue. How did he allow himself to get to this point? Time after time, he delayed his quest for trivial matters; why had he been avoiding his dream?
Tears welled up in his eyes as he glanced at the lone Poké Ball that rested on the table, holding the last Pokémon he owned. Oak was an old man, and all the Pokémon that had accompanied him when he was a teenager, the ones that had remained by his side through the promises he had broken, had long since met their end. And giving away two of the three Pokémon he had acquired just the past year from an acquaintance left him almost completely empty, like the box that rested before him.
Oak’s hair had been greying gradually for the past ten years, losing the precious black colour it had held a long time ago. His eyes were black, and their edges had sported some mild wrinkles. His face had followed that example, and it had shown the signs of age; how he wished they were scars.
He wore brown pants and a purple shirt, topped with a lab coat. After walking around tirelessly as a teenager, with his camping equipment dangling from his back, and enough energy to climb the steepest of mountains, he never thought he would end up like this. He had put some weight thanks to countless hours that he spent at the desk, researching, reading, and studying.
Wiping at his eyes, he got up and wrapped his fingers around the Poké Ball that held the last Pokémon in his possession, and he was overcome with a powerful sensation, one that he had only had once before. He wanted to fulfill his dream. The red and white sphere reflected his face, and for a second, Oak glimpsed his older self, a much younger boy, but carrying the same determined look.
It was time. He gave up on his dreams once, and he did not intend on letting it happen ever again.
He allowed the Poké Ball to open, and a small Pokémon shot out of it with a dash of water. The tiny creature was almost entirely covered in a brown shell with a yellow underside. Any body that showed through it was a light shade of blue. His tail ended in a thick swirl, and his eyes were wide and red. He looked up at Oak expectedly, a smile sprouting onto his face before it slowly died away as he noticed that the lab was almost completely empty, and the sky outside was dark.
‘Sorry, Squirtle,’ said Oak. ‘They didn’t pick you.’
Much like Oak just a few moments ago, the Squirtle’s eyes began to water, and his head drooped to the ground in disappointment. Oak brought himself down, trying to be level with the Pokémon, and he ended up crouching on his hands and knees in an awkward position just to catch a glance of the Pokémon’s face.
‘Don’t worry, Squirtle,’ said Oak, a smile drawing itself onto his face. ‘I’ll be your Trainer!’
The Squirtle looked up, his face puzzled.
‘Look, I know I’m a little old, but I promise you that I have a lot of experience to make up for it.’
The Squirtle still looked puzzled, but the sadness had almost completely died away. Oak assumed a sitting position, and faced the Squirtle.
‘Of course, you’re the only one I have left,’ said Oak. ‘And unless you agree, this will never happen, and both of us will be in this forsaken lab until we die. Red and Blue. That’s two! These times, even one starting Trainer is rare! By the time people are comfortable with their children travelling the region again, you’ll have grown up, and all the kids will want a brand new Pokémon.
‘I’m really not trying to bring you down, but this is the truth. The clock is ticking for both of us. I want to get out of here, and I am giving you the chance to join me. As I said before, you’re the only one I have. Will you join me?’
Squirtle was convinced Oak was joking; why would he of all people be starting his journey? Kanto was in no way a safe region, and Oak wasn’t the most able of men. But he was right. The clock was ticking, and this opportunity might never come again. Reluctantly, Squirtle gave a nod, and Oak’s face lit up.
‘Fantastic!’ he shouted as he grabbed the Pokémon, lifting him up and rising to his feet. ‘You and I. No more waiting around. This starts now!’
Squirtle gave a croaky sound of agreement, his face beaming.
‘Now, if I could just find my old Poké Ball,’ said Oak. ‘It’s the one in which I used to keep my old partner. I know I still have it here somewhere…’
He began rummaging through the cabinets that lined the walls of the laboratory, throwing files carelessly around; the assistants would take care of them. He pulled the drawers, scattering more material all over the ground, and he flung the doors to many concoctions of science open, all while Squirtle hung on to Oak’s free arm. Until finally, in one of the many forgotten boxes that were stored in the basement, Oak found it.
The Poké Ball was very dusty, and many scratch marks and damage caused by time ruined the reflective nature far beyond repair. A dent rested on one side, but it wasn’t enough to ruin it completely, as a long push on the button indicated.
Oak hesitated as the small dot started blinking, getting faster and faster. He wanted to remove his fingers and go back upstairs for the Poké Ball that had held Squirtle, but before that thought had made a home in his mind, and before he could pull his hand away and drop the Poké Ball, it gave a final blink, and at once, all the data of Oak’s old partner had been erased.
He glanced around at the Squirtle that had been cradled in his other arm.
‘Well, this is it,’ he said in a sad voice. ‘We start now.’