Rated PG 13, I guess, due to violence and language.
CHAPTER ONE: The World of Pokemon
(28 years ago)
[Note: This is inspired by the anime, but it will be more or less akin to Nolan’s Batman universe … an attempt to make a more realistic (as much as you can with super-powered creatures, LOL) story.]
A thousand years ago, “designer pets” were all the rage. It wasn’t enough to have eels that could shock you with jolts of electricity. It wasn’t enough that dolphins could use sound waves to locate objects and stun prey. It wasn’t enough that bioluminescent insects and marine life could glow softly in the darkness. It wasn’t enough for elephants to be strong or cats to be agile.
A thousand years ago, enterprising geneticists with an eye for a market started making reptiles with chlorophyll embedded in their skin, monkeys with tails that resembled hands, and wasps with sharp barbs on the first pair of legs. The media was an arena for supporters and nay-sayers. The supporters praised the progress humans had made in the field of genetics and noted the fanatic collection of such creatures by countless humans all over the world. If it made money, it couldn’t be a bad thing, after all. The opponents decried the implication that humans could just tamper with other creatures as they saw fit. What made humans safe from such behavior? The supporters convinced the uncertain that the opponents were merely using the tired “slippery slope” argument, which is always false and stands in the way of progress.
When one goes to a park in modern times, one can see purple cobra-like snakes that spit out modified cells on their tongues that look like needles as they pierce skin and poison prey, one can see a plant that resembles an upside down pitcher plant on a long flexible stem that runs around the ground surface using its roots as feet, one can see large wingless birds with two or three heads chase down large yellow rodents that can retaliate with jolts of electricity --.
“That will be all,” noted the male teacher, who sat at his desk with his feet on the desk. The teacher had spiky brown hair, a slim yet athletic build, a red polo shirt and beige khakis, and white tennis shoes.
Giovanni, a skinny boy of fourteen with scruffy brown hair, scoffed, slapping his essay to the floor. He also wore a red polo shirt and khakis, as those were the uniforms of the Pokemon Academy. “I’m not finished,” he grumbled.
The teacher leaned forward, taking his legs off the desk. “It’s not the end that’s the issue. Your essay leaves a lot to be desired.”
Giovanni sneered. “You’re just a coach. What do you know, Mr. Oak?”
Mr. Oak smirked. “I’ve been observing pokemon since I was at least your age, Giovanni,” he replied. He shrugged. “Still, you can prove your worth if you can answer a few questions.”
Giovanni sighed, rolling his eyes. “Fine.”
“Despite all the legends that say Mew and other Legendary Pokemon created the world, you posit, in other words, you claim, that humans made pokemon. You say it was due to a scientific experiment.”
“For profit,” Giovanni corrected.
Oak nodded. “What is your source?”
Giovanni glared at his teacher.
“Do you even have one? We have many ruins which suggest --.”
“The ruins are mystical nonsense,” Giovanni retorted. “People will build a temple for any old reason.”
“Do you then deny that Ho-oh left Ecruteak when the Tin Tower burned down? Do you deny the creation of Entei, Suicune, and Raikou?” He chuckled. “Or do you think someone just painted some dogs?”
The class laughed.
Giovanni smirked, crossing his arms confidently. “Tell me, Mr. Oak: why do we use nearly extinct animals as our favorite metaphors?”
Oak shrugged. “Evolution does not deal with creation. Problems with one do not mean there need be problems with the other.”
Giovanni nodded. “Very well. However, according to my research, each region has its own myths of how the world started. Here in Kanto, Mew created all pokemon. The Legendary Birds helped develop the environment. And yet, amazingly enough, if you just travel elsewhere, they have completely different stories.”
“Sooooo,” Giovanni replied, “if there is an objective reality to the myths, why do they differ?”
“They grow in complexity the more we learn of them.”
“But that doesn’t explain why the official Kantonian database has one hundred and fifty known pokemon, when all you have to do is cross an ocean to find people who only know of theirs! It’s not like nowadays we can’t just write or call someone in a distant land and update the database! Or what of pokemon evolution? For decades some pokemon have been known to have only one form. Now, magically they have multiple forms! Why?”
Oak tried to hide his irritation. His smile barely waivered, as he wanted to encourage critical thinking, even though he knew, he knew in his heart that this boy was wrong. “You’re suggesting human interference when that need not be the case. The Law of Simplicity says that the correct answer is the simplest one, and the simplest answer is that nature is powerful.”
Giovanni shook his head. “I disagree. The person who thought up the Law of Simplicity simply wanted to avoid digging deeper into the question. It’s a lazy law.”
“And dismissing nature as the puppet of humanity isn’t lazy?” Oak retorted. “Just because the Saxe family has a long history of selling anything for money doesn’t mean all humanity is greedy and unethical, Giovanni.”
Giovanni laughed. “You really think you’re insulting my family, Mr. Oak? I’m aware of my family tree, how gnarled and broken it is.” He snickered. “Of course, the Oaks are well known as well. After all, they have a history of --.”
“The class is ended. Please take this time to reflect on our relationship with pokemon.” Oak glanced at Giovanni. “Try not to let your paranoia take hold over all of your imagination. After all, we wouldn’t want to be suing pokemon over anything or something like that.”
Giovanni ran down the gym floor, dribbling the musty orange ball down the court, his eyes focused on nothing but the basket. There was no principal, no furious mother, no failing grade – there was only the ball and the basket. Just before he passed the half court mark, he stopped, his sneakers screeching, making his ears ring. Just as the pain in his head reached its peak, he jumped, throwing the ball with one hand and watching it sail in a perfect arch, rotating ever so slightly. He landed back on the floor, intently measuring the ball’s movements in his head. It should complete one and a quarter rotations before landing in the basket.
One more second.
The ball just barely grazed the rim … outside the basket.
Coach Samuel Oak blew a whistle loudly, the sound even more annoying than the screeching of Giovanni’s shoes.
Giovanni didn’t move. He just stared at the basket and the ball as it rolled sadly away from the court, not even bothering to ricochet off the farthest wall. It just bumped into the wall and resigned itself to its fate in stillness.
“The game works much better as a team effort,” noted the coach in a cheerful voice.
“The point isn’t the team,” Giovanni muttered to himself bitterly. “The point is sinking the damn ball in the basket. That is all that matters.”
The coach approached the boy, patting the boy on the shoulder a couple of times. “All in all, it was still a nice shot.”
“The ball did not achieve its purpose,” Giovanni growled.
The coach grinned. “The ball failed, then?”
Giovanni clenched his teeth and his fists.
The coach scratched his head. “Principal Drake’s looking for you.”
“He doesn’t concern me.”
The coach shook his head and sighed. “Giovanni, you should respect your elders.”
Giovanni scoffed and turned toward the elder male. “Coach Oak, I respect those with actual power. The Legendary Pokemon command respect. School officials with delusions of grandeur? Not so much.”
Coach Oak rolled his eyes. “I thought you were in trouble because you find the Legendary Pokemon to be pathetic myths that detract from more practical concerns.”
Giovanni chuckled, having felt better than at any time today. “Whether they’re fake or not is beside the point – they have the entire world grovelling at their feet without making so much as an appearance. Of course they’re worthy of respect.”
“Welcome to Sunny Shore!” the young lavender-haired woman cheerfully announced. “I can take you to all the great tourist attractions!” She shoved a map in front of the twenty-one year old man’s face. “We have a wonderful market that is always guaranteed to never run out of the most popular items! We lead the country of Sinnoh in relying on green energy. Even our roads are made of the most durable solar panels!”
The man, with spiky hair a deeper blue than the ocean behind him and a hawkish face, shoved her aside so that her rump thudded on the sidewalk as others walked by.
“I grew up here, you ignorant, pathetic, human,” he snarled, walking away from her. He made a beeline for the shipyards. Machines were a wonder to behold. Humans were irrational. They were mysterious. They lacked the simple functionality of a machine. No matter how complicated it was, a machine either did its job or it didn’t … and if it didn’t, you could usually blame a human for that.
The blue-haired boy, so proud of his four years of age he made every attempt to boast of it, showed the little handmade toy car. “Mamamamamamamama, see? See? I make!”
The golden-haired woman sat on a deck chair beside a large polished marble pool. She read from a book and didn’t even look up. “Nice, dear.”
“Lookit! Lookit!” He shoved the car in her face. “Lookit!”
The woman slapped the car down, the wheels snapping off and the wooden frame cracking. “Can’t you see I’m reading?” she barked.
“I smart!” he protested. “I four!”
“You made a cheap toy that broke because you were too lazy to go do anything productive! How could I have created such a garishly ugly and foolish child! Now go away.” She shoved him away. “And you’re lucky you’ve lived this long.”
A dock worker sighed as he ate his lunch. “Hey, Cyrus … do us all a favor an’ go find a job or somethin’.”
Cyrus stopped. He coldly turned toward the worker. “I’m applying for yours.”
The worker gulped down his bite of sandwich and left.
Coward, Cyrus thought to himself. He was reminded of the Veilstone Swordsman of legend. It was a story designed to badger humans into kneeling before pokemon. The swordsman was a hunter, using his weapon to kill pokemon left and right for food and glory. Only when a furious and powerful pokemon attacked and berated the man did the man fall on his knees, repentant.
Cyrus scoffed to himself as he neared the foreman’s office. Why feel sorry in the afternoon for something you relished in the morning? Emotions were the bane of humanity, Cyrus concluded early in his childhood. Humans were as fallen leaves carried wherever the water currents took them. He glanced up at a ship in the process of being built and smiled. Machines made their own destiny without agonizing over their progress.
“Cyrus, I thought I told you to stop hanging around here,” announced the dark-skinned foreman as the latter entered the small office. “This facility is ‘employees only’.”
Cyrus nodded. “You will find me quite dedicated to your bottom line,” he replied sternly, his face expressionless.
The foreman laughed. “What makes you think that? You think walking the docks makes you an expert in shipbuilding?”
Cyrus nodded. “You pay employees to be unproductive. They sit around and eat --.”
“Everyone gets a lunch break and three fifteen minute breaks,” the foreman interrupted.
Cyrus continued without emotion, “—for far longer than the prescribed periods of inactivity. While you sit in your office, you do not observe the little your employees accomplish.”
“You want me to work them into the ground?” the foreman asked. “C’mon, Cyrus – these ships’ll get done when they get done. It’s not like the ocean’s just gonna disappear.”
Cyrus shook his head. “On the contrary, I propose you give them far greater free time.” He paused. “Fire them all. Automate the entire production.”
The foreman stood up, insulted. “That’d starve half the city!”
Cyrus shrugged. “The point should be made that only action produces results. Inaction destroys lives.”
The foreman sat down, frowning, and waved him off. “Go play with your little toys, Cyrus. Leave the real work for real men.”
Two boys rode their bikes past a small sign: Pacifidlog – the Floating City of Hoenn!
The eight year old boy with black hair jumped off his bike and folded it as they came upon the coast, where logs formed a barely-stable bridge to the first large wooden platform that served as a floating commercial district. He glanced back at a ten year old boy with a red mullet of hair. “Did you really get a zubat, Maxie?”
Maxie frowned. “How many times have I told you, Archie – that’s a girl’s name!”
Archie laughed and shrugged. “Well, you do have long hair!”
Maxie grunted and pushed Archie into the water. The red-haired boy had only lived there for a year, soon copying the long-haired custom of Pacifidlog boys, glad that it was only Archie who teased him for it. His father would rather have seen him drown first. As Archie came up for air, spewing water, Maxie laughed, noting the glint of metal on the sandy bottom of the shore. “Betcha you can’t get your bike back – and I think I’ll keep my zubat away from prying eyes. He’s the only one in town and I don’t want anyone getting any funny ideas.”
Archie splashed Maxie with water before climbing back up onto the bridge. “I’ll come back for it later. Maybe I’ll get some wailmer to help me get it back to my house.”
Maxie scoffed, wringing out his long red shirt. “Like they’d help a little bug like you.” He chuckled, “Maybe they’d just eat you instead.”
“Water pokemon like me. It’s you they’d eat, moron. They’ll eat any soil-kisser boy.”
“You’re a water-sucker.”
“You’re a mud-bather.”
“Oh yeah? You’ve got fins!”
“You’ve got sand in every crack!”
“Wanna buy a magikarp?” a gruff, fat, leathery man asked them as they neared a small grocery store. He took out a large orange fish that wriggled so much it smacked him in the face with its tail and bounded across the wooden platform and plopped back into the ocean. The salesman sighed.
“At least you got rid of the useless thing,” Maxie offered to the salesman.
The salesman sobbed. “They lay a million eggs. If every egg hatches and lays a million eggs, think how much money I could get!”
A young tanned woman with long red hair approached and smacked him with a newspaper. “If you had that many, no one would pay money for them!”
“Ow! Why not?” begged the salesman as he cowered while she continued to smack him.
“Common things are worthless!”
The salesman grabbed her hand and grinned mischievously. “Then I am a very valuable man – for I am one of a kind!” He leaned closer to her. “I could teach you to appreciate my valuable services. Do you have any in exchange?”
Just as she was about smack him with her free hand, the platform jolted, sending everyone falling to the ground. The buildings creaked and swayed but stayed intact.
The woman’s respirations grew in frequency. She wriggled away from the salesman and looked toward the south. She glanced sharply at the red-haired boy. “Get to the mainland! Hurry!”
“You’re just going to let this guy talk to you like that, Mom?”
“Get to the mainland, Maxie! Now!” she angrily retorted as she picked up both boys in her arms and ran as fast as she could across the now-creaking platform and the long bridge to the mainland. The bridge, which simply floated on the water, started to lower as the water level sank closer and closer to the coastal shelf.
Maxie grunted with each jostling motion. “What’s going on?”
Archie felt like his head was going to explode from all the jerking back and forth. “Stupid soil-kisser! Don’t you know anything?”
“Drop him, Mom!”
“Both of you – shut up!” she barked at them. She was halfway to the mainland. The bridge started to vibrate. She didn’t have to look back.
Maxie tried to. He managed to glimpse a crowd of people and pokemon rushing across the bridge. Some jumped onto some friendly water fish-like pokemon and sped toward the mainland, though they eventually ran out of water as the tide receded, leaving the poor creatures flailing as the humans sank knee-deep in wet sand and mud.
Archie could hear crying and wailing. Some of it was Maxie’s.
Maxie’s mother dropped the kids and ordered them to run now that the bridge rested on the exposed ground. They ran and ran, their hearts feeling close to bursting from the effort.
“My zubat!” Maxie protested, suddenly remembering his pokemon some trader had given him yesterday for a tentacruel, which was a blue and red jellyfish-like creature, only larger and more menacing.
“He … can … fly,” Maxie’s mother replied, panting. “We’ve … got to … reach … the … mainland before … the … wave hits.”
Maxie started to cry. “He’s locked in my closet!”
“I’m sorry,” she told him in a strained voice.
Maxie cried out to her again, but his voice was drowned out by the shouts of the crowd behind them. Maxie glanced south only to discover a wall of water, taller than any tree on the mainland, rushing toward them, eating the entire floating town like a gigantic monster.
The bridge surged upward with the approaching water, flinging everyone forward. They rolled across the log bridge, unable to right themselves. Bones were broken. Logs gave way, splintering and shattering beneath the bodies of the townspeople.
The two boys passed out from the pain of being like boulders in a rockslide.
They lay in black stillness for what seemed like an eternity.
Eventually, their bodies started hurting again.
Eventually, they realized the dull roar of the wave had stopped.
They awoke together, bruised and battered, flung into the branches of a tree on the mainland. The distant calls of wingulls, white seabirds with sharp orange beaks and blue stripes on their wings, announced a creepy calm.
Pacifidlog lay scattered along the mainland’s coast, a boon to scavengers both human and pokemon.