Claritas, Libertas, Equitas
Arc 1: Audentia
~ Bravery never goes out of fashion (William Makepeace Thackeray) ~
Chapter 1: The Spark
Part 1: Welcome to the Resistance
I remember the days of the League.
I will admit, my memory is hazy, but I indeed remember. I remember the smell of fresh air, the laughter of children, the cheerful cooing of the Pidgey. I was only 13 at the time, so these recollections are vague, but I remember nonetheless.
And then the Insurrection changed everything.
John put down his pen. Writing about the past always made him nostalgic, and already memories of those happy days were overwhelming him. Gently pushing himself away from his cramped desk, John shut his tattered diary, a diary he had kept for about the last five years. Its pages were falling out from the weight of the memories trapped upon them. Inscribed on the diary was “John Smith; Life after the League.”
John stood up from his rickety chair to survey the office he called home. The room was small by most people’s standards, but John considered it large, or at least large enough. His room was sparsely furnished- there was a collection of overused pencils and dull sharpeners upon the desk, a tattered cot upon the opposite wall, and dust occupied the rest of the floor. The walls were mostly bare, save for one which was ornamented with a small bookcase. John picked his diary up and gingerly placed it upon this bookcase, on a stable shelf close to the top. Turning to the left, John opened his room’s creaky door and stepped out.
John lived in what was once a middle-class apartment building; well, actually he lived in one of the building’s broom closets. The proper apartments that remained were all occupied by families, so single people like John found room wherever they could. This particular morning, there was an important meeting on the ground floor; John was actually close to being late for it. Quickly, he jogged down the hall to a flight of stairs and descended three levels.
Now on the ground floor, John stopped in a bathroom to check his appearance. The bathrooms were the only parts of the building to be in a decent state of repair, which was a great relief for those who valued their daily toilet rituals. Stopping in front of a sink, John took some time to run cold water through his hair and really wake up. Looking into the mirror behind the sink, John took appraisal of his self. At 18, John was not exactly the tallest person around, but he was by no means the shortest. His frame, though showing slight signs of malnourishment, still had some visible muscle, and John prided himself on that- not many people these days could afford to hold on to their muscle. John’s clothes, while not by any means the height of fashion, were still respectable, all shades of dark blue and tan with a collar on the shirt and a buckle that fit around his scrawny waist. It was little mercies like this that made living a bit more bearable.
Having decided he looked fine, John exited and walked to the ground floor’s lobby. The apartment’s lobby was showing signs of disrepair- cracks littered the walls, paint flaked from the ceiling and the tiles were becoming discoloured. However, it somehow was able to keep from caving in, so it was fine for all intents and purposes. On this occasion, a large wooden crate had been placed in the middle of the floor. All 50-someodd residents of the apartment had gathered around it. It was for this group that John was headed. As he approached, the raggedly-dressed, poorly-fed residents turned to greet him.
“Hey, John! Glad you could make it!”
“You sleep in today, John?”
“Yay, John’s here!”
John returned all the pleasantries and joined the throng, looking up at the tall figure standing on top of the box. The man, dressed in a white lab coat and sporting spectacles, was looking down at the audience, a bit of a smile curving the edges of his mouth. Glancing over at John, the man’s face lit up.
“Excellent, John’s here. Alright, I hereby call this meeting to order! I, Professor Jarrod Elm, call this monthly meeting of the Resistance to order.”
An exuberant cheer came up from the crowd. Professor Elm’s smile widened as he shushed the crowd with the silent motions of his hands. Standing straighter, the professor continued with his speech.
“Now, I am sure you all have heard this many times before, but it is now traditional that I again repeat our history, so everyone just settle back for a few moments as I recount the turbulent and not-too-happy history of Kanto-Johto and our home, New Bark Town.”
The crowd sat. Many people had brought cushions- these were brought out and shared among people so the few children could have ones to sit on. Those with cushions sat; those without settled on their sides and looked up at Professor Elm. A look of wistful melancholy swept across the young Professor’s face as he spoke to his quiet audience.
“Our history begins in the aftermath of the Great Disaster. No one truly knows what the Great Disaster was, but what we do know is that it was a large and terrible war that made living on the main continents impossible for humans. A group of survivors pooled resources and built a great flying ship, and in this ship they set out with the last remnants of the human civilization and population and tried to find a place to repopulate. After many years of fruitless searching, the survivors were almost about to give up hope when they came across a large island. Relieved, the people alighted upon the island and immediately began re-establishing a civilization that they had once thought doomed to be lost forever.
“It quickly became apparent that life on this island would be very different to that people had once lived. Survivors found that, in addition to the many species of plants and animals they were familiar with, the island also was host to hitherto-unknown animals with the strange ability to channel the elements into terrifying attacks. Many survivors, not prepared for these creatures, were seriously hurt by them. However, one of the survivors had originally been a weapons designer, and he had brought with him an experimental weapon from the mainland. This man, Mr. Wesley Silph, had brought designs and a collection of prototypes for what he called the Pocket Ball, an object able to transmute matter into energy and store it inside its spherical shell. The object, normally about the size of a baseball, was able to shrink to a quarter its normal size upon pressing of a button, making it easily fit inside a person’s pocket.
“These Pocket Balls, later called Poké Balls, were discovered to be perfect for capturing these terrifying creatures. Through experimentation, though, it was realised that the creatures, now called Pocket Monsters or Pokémon, could resist being captured inside these balls, and their level of resistance was proportional to their stamina. The survivors needed ways to subdue these creatures in order to capture them; however, they all agreed that, in order to avoid a repeat of the Great Disaster, conventional weapons could not be an option. It was at this point that a boy (whose name is now unknown) had the brilliant idea to train Pokémon for use as fighters. So far, only one Pokémon had been successfully captured, a creature later to be known as Bulbasaur, and that boy, hardly even 15, took it and trained it to respond to certain vocal commands and use attacks. The boy trained his Bulbasaur to do such things as tackle a target, use its vines to whip or ensnare foes, and scatter a variety of spores over an enemy. The training worked- this Bulbasaur was used to subdue and capture many other Pokémon, and as they say, the rest is history.
“Pokémon training was refined and improved as the years went on. Many different species of Pokémon were captured and documented. Finally, the survivors had the stability needed to create nations. One group went off to the east- the area they colonized was named Kanto. The other group went off to the west- the area they colonized was named Johto. Both nations were created independently but at the same time, and the two swore to never feud or war. Thus, the Kanto-Johto Alliance was created.
“This was exactly 214 years and 4 months ago. The events we are truly concerned with happened much more recently. Five years ago, Kanto and Johto were peaceful societies. The population had reached a healthy and sustainable level, all manner of technology had been recreated and even improved, and both regions were peacefully governed by the Pokémon League, a group- led by four powerful Pokémon Trainers called the Elite 4- dedicated to the expansion of Pokémon knowledge and the continued peace and prosperity of both nations. Sadly, this peace was not to last.
“From the hustle and bustle of Celadon City in Kanto rose Team Rocket, a villainous organization led by the greedy Giovanni. Their goal was nothing less than the overthrowing of the Pokémon League and submitting Kanto and Johto to their authoritarian rule. On a day now known to us as the Day of the Insurrection, 20 of Team Rocket’s leaders led a force to invade the League’s headquarters by the Tojho Falls. The League put up a great fight, but in the end, they were overwhelmed by Team Rocket’s sheer numbers. The Gym Leaders, the League’s equivalent of regional administrators, were all forced into hiding, and the Elite 4 was overthrown and cast away into hiding upon Mt. Silver. Professor Oak, the foremost Pokémon researcher, and Dr. Fuji, one of the most forward-thinking men in Pokémon breeding, were also forced into hiding as the Rockets overtook governance.
“Team Rocket ruled with an iron fist. Curfews were unquestioningly enforced, laws were passed without any chance for opposition. Any dissenters were swiftly and brutally punished. Even our city of New Bark Town, often seen as a small and quiet farming town, was subjected to their merciless occupation. Under their rule, our cities slowly crumbled into disrepair, food disappeared as Rocket officials greedily gathered it all for themselves, and everyone’s hopes slowly crumbled in the increasingly-apparent truth that the peace of the past was gone.
“But from the wreckage that Team Rocket had wrought rose the Resistance, a number of isolated groups in Kanto and Johto dedicated to the overthrow of Team Rocket. While we may not communicate much, all Resistance groups know of each others’ existence. Here in New Bark Town, I, Professor Elm, have been the leader of our local Resistance faction for the last 3 years. We may not be many, but every year our numbers grow, our resources increase, and some day we will overthrow Team Rocket and restore peace to our world. That, my friends and fellow Resistance members, is our history.”
A hearty cheer arose from the crowd. Professor Elm smiled- he always felt a little bit more confident after delivering this speech. Reluctantly quieting the jubilations of his friends, Professor Elm again rose up to continue the meeting.
“Right, now that we have that formality done, now let us move on to the meeting. Miranda, what is the status of our food supply?”
A short, red-haired woman carrying a young child stood up. “We still have a very sizeable stockpile of frozen and dehydrated goods. Our farms and greenhouses are working at ideal capacity for sustained and maximized output.”
Professor Elm let out a relieved sigh. “Good. Eli, how are recruitment efforts going?”
A medium-build young man with a bird’s nest of black hair stood. “Our weekly trips to the Residential District have not yet attracted attention from the Rockets. The people there appreciate the food and supplies we bring, and I believe there are a few potential candidates for membership. However, I have heard that the Rockets are increasing security, so our trips might soon have to be made less frequent.”
Professor Elm pursed his lips. “Right. We will burn that bridge when we come to it. John, how are the Pokémon doing?”
John was in charge of the group’s Pokémon. Standing up, he reported, “The Tauros are mostly doing pretty well. However, Brenda is readying to give birth, so I’d request she be kept out of the fields for a few days. Other than that, the farm Pokémon are doing well- the Rapidash are very healthy, and the newborn Ponyta is literally chomping at the bit to pull a cart or something. The rest of the Pokémon are doing well, too- those Rattata we picked up after last month’s raid have completely calmed down, and I’ve just been putting them through some exercises. Our fighters are also well- their attacks improve each day.”
Professor Elm smiled. “Fantastic. All right, I have one more quick announcement. It has been approximately a month since our last raid on Team Rocket’s local base here in New Bark Town’s Factory District, so I have been planning another raid. This one shall occur within five days, and it will be the biggest raid we have done yet. In fact, we might be able to remove Team Rocket from New Bark Town!”
A cheer rose up from the audience, and again Professor Elm had to reluctantly quiet them so he could continue the meeting. “So now you know our plan. We are reaching the end of the meeting, so do any of you have any concerns to bring up? Everyone’s healthy, your rooms are holding together, no one’s outgrown their clothes?”
The crowd shook their heads.
Professor Elm nodded. “Okay, then. In that case, I call this meeting to a close. Good work, everybody, and make sure to take the next few days to prepare well. John, if you could stay behind, I need to speak to you.”
The crowd filed out, chatting amongst each other. John walked over to the professor, wondering what could be the matter. “Professor, you called me?”
Turning, Professor Elm addressed John. “Yes, John, I need your assistance with something major in the laboratory. Do you have some time?”
John mentally ran through his day- he wasn’t feeling hungry for lunch, and training time was not until after dusk. “Yes, I’ve got a few moments.”
“Excellent.” Professor Elm set off towards a flight of stairs. “Please follow me. I hope this doesn’t take too long.”
The stairs they approached were much newer than anything else in the building. Upon formation, the Resistance had recognized that it would need to develop technology to fight and overthrow Team Rocket, so a laboratory had been built below the apartment complex. The technology in the lab consumed a huge amount of the Resistance’s resources, and even now it was a large drain on supplies, but everyone agreed that research and development of new technology was worth the cost. Walking down two flights of stairs, John and the professor were greeted by a large steel door. Withdrawing a key card from the deep pockets of his lab coat, Professor Elm waved it in front of the door. A mechanical whirring signalled the unbarring of the door’s locking mechanism, and a few moments later, the door opened. Professor Elm strode inside, John following behind.
The laboratory was as technologically-advanced as limited resources and lack of funds could manage. An array of computer monitors littered two sides of the large, whitewashed room. The wall containing the door that John and Professor Elm had come in was populated with all sorts of papers, calendars and schematics. The floor was strewn with all varieties of small machines, metal parts and here and there a pile of books. It was the far wall that John and Professor Elm directed their attention- here, the professor kept all his inventions arranged. Racks of specialized Poké Balls, sprayable curatives and other tools covered the wall, but it was the display in the centre that commanded the most attention.
“This,” Professor Elm explained while gesturing at this display, “is my greatest invention yet.” Upon a metal stand was suspended a set of body armour, in some ways similar to that metal gear worn by knights in those old children’s stories. This, however, was fashioned to contour exactly to the human body. Every once in a while, a small pulse of blue light travelled across its surface, alerting spectators to the technologically-advanced inner workings of the suit. “This is my masterpiece, the crowning achievement of a full year of research and development. With this suit, I believe that we will finally have a chance at defeating Team Rocket.”
As John stared, enraptured by the suit, Professor Elm continued on. “This suit is currently in its prototype stage. John, we need someone to test this suit in full-combat situations, and with your special skills, you are the perfect person to test it. John, would you do this for me?”
John broke out of his reverie. “Oh, of course, Professor Elm! So, what does the suit do?”
The professor’s face lighted up. “Well, this suit is a flexi-steel, body-adhering composite of the most advanced technology I could develop. Each part of the suit is designed to fit itself to the wearer’s body and allow full range of motion. It has tested as able to withstand and resist impacts stronger than the tackle of a raging Tauros, and it is fitted with nanobots that are designed to repair any breaks in the suit starting immediately upon rupture. Because of the vast array of technology it carries, all of which must activate in a timely fashion, I have outfitted it with weather-resistant solar panels on the helmet and across the shoulders.”
Glancing over, Professor Elm noted that John was beginning to dazedly lean over, so Elm continued; “Now, what I’m sure you’d like to know about are its functions.” This perked John up. “Excellent, it seems you’re still awake- now, let’s begin.
“The suit has been designed to be able to help its pilot survive through any conceivable situation. As I already said, it is able to weather extreme impacts; it is also waterproof, heatproof, coldproof and resistant to electric shocks. I designed an in-suit climate control system, so no matter the weather outdoors, the suit will stay at a comfortable room temperature and humidity. This suit, however, is also designed with other specialized functions specific to different parts of the suit, contained in the arms.”
Reaching over to the display, Professor Elm picked up the left arm of the suit. A small whizzing sound accompanied its detaching from the shoulder socket. “This part, the left arm, is designed to contain most of your communications and database systems. This is fit with a wireless transmitter and receiver, as well as a USB 12.0 plug; using these, you can access any network you happen across. Along the forearm of the suit is a holographic projector- this can be used for navigating networks or your internal storage. More on internal storage in a bit. The left arm is also fitted with a wireless telephone that can reach any phone in Kanto or Johto. Finally, there is a light in the palm- just press it with two fingers. It is a spotlight that can put out about 3000 lumens.”
Professor Elm placed the left arm back in its place, now withdrawing the right arm. “This part, the right arm, has a varied number of functions. Firstly, move your gaze to the six indents on the side. These are magnetic holding bays for your Poké Balls. I was originally going to put these on the left arm, but knowing you are left-handed, I adjusted it to accommodate your throwing style more easily. Near the shoulder joint, you probably see this pin-sized hole; this is your access to the suit’s storage system. Using technology that takes advantage of extra dimensions, I have designed your suit to have a personal and infinite amount of storage through this suit. Storage can be accessed via button presses on the inside of the right glove. Finally, I have fitted the right hand portion with a few wilderness-survival components. The palm, when pressed with two fingers, becomes a very short-range flamethrower, useful for lighting fires or warding off dangerous animals. When your hand is curled into a fist for three seconds, a 20-centimetre blade comes out from between your third and fourth knuckles. This can be useful for cutting away vegetation.”
Replacing the right arm, Professor Elm continued. “There are just a few more functions you should know about. The chest component has been designed to accommodate a digital storage system that can hold up to 20 petabytes of information. I have also installed it with all the information on Pokémon that I have yet been able to gather. This includes biological, botanical and behavioural data on all 246 known species and subspecies of Pokémon. The centre of the chest, when hit by anything stronger than a hard punch, releases a loud sound that can successfully frighten away many attackers. Finally, I have outfitted the legs with jet propulsors. Unfortunately, these will not allow you to fly… yet. However, they can be used for high-speed underwater travel. And that, John, is all.”
John was completely dumbfounded by the technology. “Wow, Professor Elm. This really is quite amazing. Just one question, though; what about weapons?”
Professor Elm looked quizzically at John. “What do you mean? Why would I have included weapons in the suit?”
John explained. “Well, professor, a short blade is nice and all, but what about when I have to fend off Rockets?”
The professor sighed. “John, you are very old for your age, but there are still elements of our society that you have yet to fully understand. We are a culture built on refugees from a terrible war. If we used weapons, that would be in direct contrast to the thoughts of our ancestors. Yes, we use Pokémon for battling, but we do not kill each other. We do not even hurt each other, unless it is completely necessary. This suit I have designed is designed as a shield, not a sword. Also, what if the suit was stolen? As it is, the thief would gain access to a high-tech way to swim fast and survive in the wild. If I added a weapon, it might help you now, but it would be just as dangerous in another person’s hands. Finally, a weaponless suit attracts less attention than a weaponized one. Please, trust me when I tell you that developing weapons for this suit would be a terrible plan.”
John thought over what Professor Elm had said. After a moment, he nodded. “Of course, you’re right. So, what’s the plan? How shall I test the suit?”
The professor frowned. “Well, I have not actually thought about how to test the suit. Maybe you could use it in our next raid, scheduled for in five days. Would you be up to that?”
John nodded excitedly. “Absolutely! Just wait until the Rockets get a taste of this- it’ll blow them away.”
Professor Elm chuckled. “Yes, John, I hope it will. Now, we both have other tasks to see to. I’ll put you through a physical demonstration of the suit tomorrow.”
The two of them filed out, securely locking the door behind them. As they left, John snuck one last look back at the suit, excitedly imagining the many ways he would punish Team Rocket with it. The metal door closed with a click, hiding Professor Elm’s chef d’oeuvre from the world for one more day.
It was evening of the same day. John had gotten himself a bit of lunch, and he’d done all the other small tasks he needed to do each day. Now, it was dusk- training time. Walking himself back into the lobby, John exited the main doors.
It was moments like this that John loved about New Bark Town- it was once said that New Bark Town at dusk had the nicest-smelling air in all of Kanto and Johto, and despite Team Rocket’s oppression, the air still smelled sweet and felt pleasantly cool against the skin. New Bark Town had been one of the first buildings built long ago by the settlers of Johto- at the time, they had designed the city in three main segments, the Residential District, Factory District and Farming District. The Residential District had been placed in the northwest, next to the farthest reaches of Cherrygrove Woods. In the south had gone the Farming District, near a small offshoot of the Tojho River. The Factory District was then put in the last remaining part, the east, next to the Tojho River proper. Each District had taken up approximately a third of the town, and in the middle was Town Hall and a collection of other buildings. In the years since, increasing population had forced the Farming District to relocate to south of New Bark Town’s boundaries in order for more apartments to be built. With the coming of Team Rocket however, these new apartments had been vacated, becoming what was now known as the Discarded District. The Resistance had chosen buildings near the northern edge of this latter district as their base of operations.
The Resistance in New Bark Town occupied three main buildings. One, the apartment building John had just left, was used to accommodate members and house Professor Elm’s laboratory. Near this were the other two buildings- one, a converted warehouse, was used to house food and other supplies. On its top three levels were also contained a greenhouse, used for growing most of the food that the Resistance people and Pokémon needed. This food was supplemented by crops grown on a plot of four farms situated near the northern border of the Farming District; these farms also grew food that Resistance members used in relief packages for the civilians of New Bark Town. The third Resistance building used to be the New Bark Town Recreational Centre. Here, Pokémon were raised and trained for helping the Resistance. Honestly, John marvelled at the fact that Team Rocket had not yet conducted any major raids on the Resistance; on the other hand, Team Rocket in New Bark Town was little more than a few old administrators and young, new recruits, pretty much the least capable Rockets anywhere. John turned to the Rec Centre and proceeded in its double doors.
The New Bark Town Rec Centre had used to be the centre of life in New Bark Town. However, like all things on this side of town, it had fallen into serious disrepair in the last five years. Now, it was little more than a bunch of big, empty rooms with cobwebs in the corners. However, big and empty rooms were perfect for what the Resistance needed- Pokémon living chambers. John had just come in the front door to the main chamber; here, most of the farm Pokémon idled around and ate food until their daily early-morning farming excursion. The room had been fittingly named the Farm Room. Miranda had taken the Rapidash and their baby Ponyta out to the fields for an end-of-day run, so the room was occupied by six Tauros, happily loitering around and bumping into each other. Tauros were imposing creatures, easily as tall as a human and about 3 metres long, but despite their huge size and frighteningly-long horns, the Resistance’s Tauros were all happy and friendly creatures who loved nothing more than playing with people. The green remains of the Tauros’ lunch littered the floor, mingling with the corn husks Miranda regularly spread on the floor of every room to make walking on the concrete a bit more pleasant. As John waded through the group of Tauros, he had to gently push away the happy Pokémon trying to get him to pat them or play tag.
Miranda had already fed these Pokémon, so John only had one thing to do in this room. Going to the back, John approached a Tauros who was leaning against the wall. Every farm Pokémon had a nametag attached by magnetic clamp to the fur on the right of its neck. This particular Tauros’s nickname proclaimed its- well, her- name to be Brenda. Leaning down, John talked to her. “Hey, Brenda. How’re you holding up?”
The Pokémon responded. “Well, it’s not easy giving birth, but I’ll manage.”
This was John Smith’s special ability, and it was the reason why he was invaluable to the Resistance. John was one of the few people who had the ability to speak in and understand Pokémon speech. Pokéspeakers, as they were colloquially named, were very rare, and nobody knew why they had the abilities they did, but the how and the why didn’t matter. What mattered is that John could speak to Pokémon, and as a result, all the Pokémon the Resistance housed trusted him greatly.
John patted Brenda on the head. “If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. I’m sure we can find someone who knows about Pokémon births to help you.”
Brenda shook her huge head. “I’ll be fine. You worry about yourself and the raid.”
John raised an eyebrow. “How’d you hear about the raid?”
Brenda snorted, the sound from her nose carrying through the room. “Well, it is about the right time for your sort-of-regular raids… and Miranda mentioned it.”
John laughed. “Miranda’s sure talkative. Well, you get some rest… you’ll need it.”
Giving Brenda a good-natured rub on her side, John stood up and continued on through a door in the back.
The Rec Centre was roughly divided into four rooms, each positioned one room after another. This next room was labelled the Rehab Room, and it was where Pokémon the Resistance found on raids were put to get used to life away from the mistreatment Team Rocket gave their Pokémon. Just thinking about Team Rocket’s abuse of Pokémon made John shudder- stories about malnutrition, whipping and even occasionally the murder of Pokémon were not uncommon.
The Rehab Room was home to only a few Pokémon, as the Resistance had only recently decided it was strong enough to start doing raids. This coming up raid would be their fifth. On their first raid, the Resistance had picked up two Koffing; on the second, a Cubone and a Pidgey; on the third, a Houndour; and on the fourth raid which happened three weeks ago, three Rattata. Since then, the Koffing, Cubone, Pidgey and Houndour had all been rehabilitated; the Cubone and Houndour stayed on as fighting Pokémon, the Koffing were put in the fields to keep birds from eating the crops, and the Pidgey had been freed into the wild. Now, these three Rattata were still getting used to freedom.
The three Rattata were brothers, possibly triplets, and used to cower in a corner whenever anyone came into the Rehab Room. However, they had recently become much more friendly to John, so when John came into the room, he was greeted by the crackling sound of three Rattata running across corn husks to meet him.
“Hey, John!” squeaked the triplets, almost in unison.
John crouched so he could look at them more directly. The three basketball-sized purple rodents stared up at him with a child’s enthusiasm- John was sure they couldn’t be more than about six months old. “Hey guys! How’s it going?”
“Clyde found a spider in the room! But we chased it out!” That response came from Binky, the most rambunctious of the three.
The aforementioned Clyde piped up next. “No, we didn’t. We just hid in a corner until it went away.” Clyde was the calmest of the three, and quite often ended up lessening the impact of his brothers’ slightly-fictional stories.
The third brother, Ron, chipped in his own comment. “But it was a BIG spider! Huge, and green!” Ron was very goofy, but truthful to a fault, so John knew he was telling the facts.
John responded. “Well, we do have a Spinarak come in here every once in a while. So, have you guys eaten yet?”
Clyde answered. “Yes, Miranda gave us some lovely vegetables. Honestly though, I wish there was some meat.”
John smiled melancholically. “Well, I wish there was, too, but remember what I was telling you the other day about the Insurrection?”
Clyde nodded. “That was the one about Team Rocket, right?”
John nodded back. “Yes, that’s right. Because of Team Rocket, food is very scarce and there is unfortunately no meat right now. Sorry.”
Clyde nodded again. “I get it. Okay.”
John stood up and addressed the three Rattata. “Alright, so you’re all well? No problems?”
The three of them answered, again almost in unison. “Everything’s good!”
John smiled. The three of them were always so charmingly happy. “Okay then. I’ll see you on the way out!”
John was escorted to the opposite wall by three bouncingly-happy Rattata. Reaching the door to the next room, John waved goodbye to the Rattata and went through.
The next room was very different from the first two. The Rec Centre had used to house a pool, and this was the room where the pool used to be housed. However, lack of care had resulted in all the water draining out, so now it was just a big hole in the middle of a floor. This, incidentally, turned out to be perfect for training Pokémon, so this room had been labelled the Training Room. Here, the Resistance’s fighting Pokémon were trained to use their unique abilities for fighting Team Rocket and helping their allies. It was for this purpose that John had come here- being a Pokéspeaker, John was the best Trainer of all the Resistance. Currently, the Training Room had four residents- the Cubone and Houndour rescued from Team Rocket, and two Pokémon who had been found wandering the streets, a Totodile and a Charmander.
As John came into the room, he saw that the Charmander and Houndour had already started sparring and practicing their Ember attacks along the edge of the pool. Clapping, John said, “Good work, you two! Keep it up!”
Moving carefully by the two combatants, John walked down into the pool’s curve to find the Totodile. The little blue crocodile-faced Pokémon was busy practicing its Bite attack using a piece of concrete. John tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey Tock, how’s the training?”
Tock turned to answer. “It’s going excellently! This morning, I shot a Water Gun straight up and hit the ceiling!”
The ceiling was over 30 metres up, so John was very impressed. “Good going! All right, well keep up the good work.”
Moving on, John approached the Cubone. The short, skull-wearing figure was practicing throwing its bone. As John approached, the Cubone suddenly threw the bone at him. Quickly, John reached out and caught it.
The little Cubone laughed. “Haha! Made you flinch!”
John sighed, unable to hide the smile that was invading the sides of his mouth. “Oh Lesley… How’s the training going?”
John handed Lesley back his bone as the little Pokémon spoke. “I think I’ve finally nailed Bonemerang. Wanna see?”
John nodded. “Absolutely!” No sooner had he spoken then Lesley threw his bone out in front of him. The bone traced a perfect curve along the bottom of the pool, passing a hair’s distance away from Tock, and returned to Lesley’s hand.
The little Cubone smiled. “There. Bonemerang. Done.”
John was very impressed. “Excellent work! Say, how’d you like to see if Tock would like to spar with you?”
Lesley’s eyes lit up. “Oh, that sounds like fun! Sure!”
As Lesley ran off, John couldn’t help but smile. During the Resistance’s second raid, John had seen Team Rocket brutally murder a Marowak right in front of his eyes. The Marowak had been Lesley’s mother, and although John could not save the Marowak, he did save her son. Lesley knew what had happened to his mother, and used that to fuel his absolute hatred for Team Rocket. John was happy that Lesley, who had at first been very quiet, sullen and prone to cry, was now growing to be more cheerful and even a bit silly.
Looking up, John saw that the firefight had ended. Climbing up the pool, John addressed the two combatants. “So, Smaug and Sirius, how are things going?”
Both Pokémon had arrived in the Resistance’s care without names, so Jenny, a little child no more than 13 years old, had gotten to name them. She had picked names from two of her favourite books, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Hobbit. Both were very old books that survivors had carried with them from the mainland; apparently, they each were once part of larger collections, but the other books had not survived the journey.
Smaug, a little Charmander, turned his toothy but adorably smooth face up to John. “Hey John! The training’s going excellently. My Ember attacks keep getting stronger and stronger!”
John patted the short, red salamander-like creature on the head. “Good going. You keep working, and you’ll be busting out Flamethrowers in no time!” John then turned to Sirius, a black-coloured dog. “So, Sirius, how are things for you?”
The Houndour thought a bit before answering. “Like Smaug, my Ember attacks keep getting stronger and stronger. I have also been practicing my Faint Attack with Lesley- I’m able to sneak up on him pretty well now.”
John smiled. “Good for you! Well, it seems you all have gotten into the swing of training. I guess the days where I’d have to tell you what to do are now long gone. Anyway, I’m here to tell you all something, so gather around.”
Smaug and Sirius came up close to John. Hearing there was something happening, Tock and Lesley stopped sparring to come over. John began. “In five days, the Resistance is planning a raid on Team Rocket’s headquarters. This might just be the time we successfully get in and drive them out. Anyway, I’m gonna need help from as many of you as feel up to fighting. You all feel good?”
The four Pokémon confidently said, “Yes!”
John nodded. “Good! All right, so you four just keep training, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Oh, before I go… did Miranda feed you?”
Sirius stepped forward to answer. “Yes, she did. We got some wonderful bell peppers and corn!”
“Excellent.” John carefully started making his way around the pool. “See you all tomorrow!”
“Bye, John!” chorused the Pokémon.
John now made his way into the fourth room. This room was much smaller and dustier than the others; it was not yet inhabited by any Pokémon and consequently did not have a name, but John used it for storing the Pokémon’s Poké Balls. Running his hands across the balls’ smooth surfaces, he checked that each device, inscribed with the name of the Pokémon it was intended to hold, was undamaged and working. Pressing the button on each, John saw that their size-changing mechanisms were in place, and a little buzz from each signalled that they were working. Satisfied that the Poké Balls were fine, John left out of the exit in the back of the room.
Part 2: Preparation and Panic
The next four days were, logically, hurried and frantic for all Resistance members.
On the first day, John had little to do that day, so he spent the whole day training with the Pokémon. Tock and Smaug, although not by any means the strongest of the four, had simple practice regimens to follow which John did not feel the need to interfere with, so he spent most of his time with Lesley and Sirius. John had noticed over the last couple weeks that the two ex-Rocket Pokémon worked very well together; so well, in fact, that the two had played around with some battle techniques the two could perform together.
As the Resistance’s resident Trainer, John decided who would be using which Pokémon in the raid. He had decided that three people would use the Pokémon- Miranda, because she fed the Pokémon, and they all loved and respected her for it; Eli, because he had been a young beginning Pokémon Trainer before the Insurrection; and John himself. Eli often brought Smaug when going to the Residential District, so John would make sure the two of them worked together again for the upcoming raid. Miranda was not that experienced at battling, so John would leave her with Tock- the little Totodile pretty much did his own thing, anyway. That would leave John with Lesley and Sirius- a perfect situation, because John would be able to command them to the best of their abilities and take advantage of their propensity for teamwork.
John trained with Lesley and Sirius for easily more than six hours, just going through basic drills and practicing attacks. The Pokémon were very quiet during the training- odd for Lesley, but the two were so intent that even normally-quiet Sirius was quieter than he often was. The two went through their full repertoire of attacks- Sirius practiced Ember, Faint Attack and Bite, while Lesley practiced Bone Club, Bonemerang and Headbutt. The Pokémon tackled, bit and burned their respective sections of wall until John was surprised that the room was not about to fall apart, but the Rec Centre had been built out of solid stuff- the walls barely showed a scratch.
After two hours, the Pokémon had done as much as they could to improve these attacks, so John decided to try out some new things with the two of them. “Say Lesley, Sirius, come over her. I have an idea.”
Reaching down to pick Lesley up, John placed him on top of Sirius. “Now, the thing about Rockets is that they aren’t that creative with their fighting. They tend to just use the tried-and-true attacks everyone’s been using for years. So I thought, hey, wouldn’t it shake them up if we tried something new?”
Lesley looked up, excited by where John was going with this. “So you’re thinking I’ll ride Sirius into battle and we’ll shock them all by fighting together?”
John nodded. “Pretty much. What do you think of this, Sirius?”
The Houndour thought for a moment. “I am willing to try anything, if it means being able to fight better.”
John was happy to hear him say that, although it was not entirely unexpected. Sirius had been rescued from Team Rocket moments before they were going to inject him with an experimental drug (commonly called Rage Candy) that turned sane Pokémon into thoughtless, destructive beasts. Like Lesley, Sirius had absolutely no sympathy for Rockets, so John knew he would appreciate any new way to make the villains suffer.
Lesley and Sirius practiced for a long time, Sirius running and firing Embers while Lesley threw Bonemerangs. By the time John had to go, the two of them had been going for a few hours, and already they had become quite polished, attacking almost as if they were one being. John was sort of unhappy to have to leave and stop watching their graceful attacks.
The second day, John brought Eli and Miranda to the Training Room. It had been a long time since the two had last handled Pokémon, so John thought it would be good to reacquaint them with calling out attacks and working with a Pokémon.
Upon glancing at Miranda, the first thing one would notice was her long, crimson-red hair- for truly, it was an incredibly impossible-seeming colour, the impossibleness further compounded when considering that the Resistance had no access to hair sprays. Miranda chose to keep her hair grown until it almost seemed to reach her thighs, which in battle situations could be very tricky, but in everyday farm work the hair was an ideal beacon of sorts for attracting the attention of Tauros. Miranda had joined the Resistance about two years ago- she had escaped the Residential District with her then one-year-old son shortly after Team Rocket had imprisoned her parents and husband for the criminal activity of breeding Totodile. Tock was in fact bred by them, another factor that John had considered in pairing him with Miranda. In the years since her arrival, Miranda had shown herself to be a very friendly woman in her mid-twenties; her natural kindness and maternal presence made her a natural for taming and leading the big bull Pokémon on the farm. She had worked with Tock only once before, on the previous raid, so John was sure he would have to give the two of them a lot of coaching.
Eli, on the other hand, was a much more confident Pokémon handler. Eli had been a Pokémon Trainer for two years before the Insurrection, but Team Rocket had instituted strict bans against training, breeding or even owning Pokémon which outlawed all kinds of Pokémon handling- except for Team Rocket members, of course. Eli’s family (fortunately for them) were Team Rocket members; Eli, on the other hand, was registered as a Pokémon Trainer and member of the League, and was thus identified as an enemy of Team Rocket. In order to protect themselves from punishment, Eli’s family was forced to disown him and take away his Pokémon; thus, Eli became a boy without a home, without family, and without friends. Logically, he joined the Resistance, at the time a ragtag bunch of misfits who were bound together only by their mutual hatred for Rockets and their desire to survive. Thinking back to that time, John thought it no less than a miracle that the Resistance had held on at all- but they were indeed able to stick together, and eventually found leadership under Professor Elm. Now, Eli had showed himself to be a skilled Trainer who did an excellent job at conducting recruitment runs and performing raids. Eli worked extremely well with Smaug- before the Insurrection, his first Pokémon had been a Cyndaquil, so Eli knew his way around Fire Pokémon very well. Eli was a natural battler, able to command and assist a Pokémon as if second nature- John doubted he would need to do much more than just leave him and Smaug alone for a few hours.
Getting to the Training Room, it was obvious to John that Tock and Smaug were overjoyed to see Miranda and Eli. The overeager little Totodile practically bounded into Miranda’s chest- John could hear the wind get knocked out of her. Fortunately, Miranda had some experience with hyperactive little things (Ethan, her three-year-old son, was affectionately called “springy boy” by the Resistance), so she was able to stay upright against Tock’s joyous jump. Eli and Smaug had a more casual reunion, with the two exchanging a handshake, but John could see in their eyes that they were very happy to see each other again. Immediately, they began training-as John had predicted, Eli knew exactly what he was doing, so John focused most on making sure Miranda and Tock knew what to do.
“Hey, how’re you and Tock doing?” John came up beside the two, careful not to get in the way of Tock’s Water Guns.
“Oh, we’re fine, John!” Miranda replied. “I think I’ve got the hang of this battling stuff. Basically, all I do is yell out attacks to Tock, and he does them, right?”
“Well… Yes, and no.” John waved Tock over- this would be an important talk. “Now, what you have to understand, Miranda, is that you are Tock’s Trainer. In battle, you are his partner. Yes, the main thing you’ll be doing is telling him what attacks to use, but as his partner, there are times when you’ll have to do more. Remember, this isn’t some official Pokémon battle we’re going into, this is a raid, and you’ll have to look out for both of your lives. You might have to get in the fray and yourself attack whatever is threatening Tock. You’ll have to warn Tock of what’s coming. Sometimes, you might have to pick up Tock and run. Do you understand what I mean by all this?”
Miranda thought for a few moments. Judging by her facial expressions, John was almost worried she was about to cry- but then she looked up and confidently said, “This is the second raid I will be going on. I know, last time I didn’t do much, but I am ready and willing to do my part to help and protect Tock. I understand what you mean.”
John nodded. “Good, I’m happy you understand. Now, what we didn’t teach you about last time is how to use Potions. Last raid, we kept you on lookout duty, so we doubted you will need them, but this time you will be part of the core assault group, so you have to know how to use Potions to help restore Tock’s stamina if he gets tired or beaten up.”
Reaching into a bag he had brought, John produced a small, aerosol can-like structure. “This is a Potion. It is a liquid substance that, when sprayed onto a Pokémon’s exterior, is immediately absorbed by its skin. You press this button on the side to spray the Potion. The solution is mostly caffeine, and translates into an instant energy boost for the Pokémon it is sprayed onto. This is important, though- a Potion cannot actually cure a Pokémon, and overuse of them can cause a Pokémon to become unable to tell when it is hurt. Just for safety, there is a one-Potion max per day for any one Pokémon. You will only be working with Tock, so you get one Potion- use it only if you have to.”
Miranda nodded confidently. “I understand.”
John smiled. “Excellent. Now, you and Tock get back to practising- it seems like you two know what you’re doing.”
Miranda seemed to light up at the compliment. Before he left, John crouched down and whispered to Tock, “You take care of her, alright?”
The little Pokémon grinned. “You bet.”
John chuckled. “Alright, well, you best get back to training now. Good luck.”
John moved away from the two- as he looked back, he could see that Miranda was already looking much more confident when commanding Tock to attack. John sighed in relief- the two of them would be fine together.
Moving along, John stopped by Eli and Smaug. “Hey Eli, how’s the training?”
Eli motioned for Smaug to stop spitting Embers and turned to talk. “It’s going great? Smaug and I work well together; we’re just brushing up on a few attacks.”
“Alright,” John said. “Well, I’ll leave you two to your training then.”
John didn’t even feel the need to check in with Smaug- he and Eli were natural teammates, they’d be fine. Walking around the room, John met up with Lesley and Sirius. The two of them were again practicing their attacks, and doing pretty well. John didn’t feel the need to practice much with them- after all, being a Pokéspeaker, it was never a problem giving clear instructions to the Pokémon. John just watched as the two Pokémon kept on practicing, going over solo attacks and their new team attack. John saw that they had now added in a bit- Sirius would send out a cloud of Smog under which they would attack, Lesley throwing Bonemerangs and Sirius spitting Embers. John couldn’t help but be impressed with their work.
John had brought Eli and Miranda over at around noon, so the three of them stayed and trained with the Pokémon until it started getting dark outside. By then, everyone in the Training Room was exhausted and more than happy to go to sleep. John was happy with today’s training, and extremely confident that this raid would be a success.
On the third day, a roar during the early hours of the morning startled all the Resistance members into a premature wakefulness.
The roar was unlike anything any of them had ever heard before- it was raspy as a grandfather’s cough, but loud and sonorous so that it seemed to shake your body as the sound travelled through you. Quickly, the half-awake revolutionaries hobbled their way down into the lobby for an impromptu meeting. John’s head swam from the sudden waking- he almost fell down the stairs a few times. Of course, Professor Elm was wide awake and well-groomed- it had long been the professor’s habit to wake up early for some morning research.
Naturally, Elm led the meeting. “Okay, I think it’s safe to say we all know why we’re here. I will be honest with you, I have studied Pokémon, biology and life for many years, but never have I ever come across anything that can make a sound like that. I think it is only prudent that we send out a member to try and find the cause of that strange sound. Eli, you know the Residential District better than any of us- would you please pay a visit there, try to gleam some insight from the residents into what we just heard could be?”
Eli yawned, and then snapped to attention and answered. “Absolutely, but the rumours of increased security I reported at our meeting concern me. Could I please be accompanied by someone?”
John answered. “I’ll come, provide some back-up.”
Professor Elm nodded. “Good. Eli and John, you two investigate the source of that sound. Take your Pokémon, just in case you run into trouble. And John, maybe this is time to try out my invention.”
Eli looked perplexed. Quickly, John summarized what Professor Elm had made, and Eli nodded in understanding. Professor Elm listened, nodding as John listed the suit’s many functions. After John had finished, the professor spoke. “Alright, let us be quick. John, come with me to the lab.”
Eli left, almost running, to gather the Pokémon and some Potions as John and Professor Elm went down to the lab. The suit was still exactly where it had been two days before.
As they approached the suit, John said, “Y’know Professor, I’ve been thinking, your suit should have a name.”
Professor Elm thought for a moment, then nodded. “You are right, John. However, as of yet I have no idea what it should be called; maybe you will find a name while you are using it today. Anyway, let’s get you into the suit.”
The armour functioned exactly as Professor Elm had promised. First, Elm placed the chestpiece on John. As it fastened around his torso, the metal tightened itself, adhering to John’s form. For a moment, it was tight enough to make breathing a bit difficult; the suit then sensed this, and expanded, fitting as easily as a t-shirt. The chestpiece felt heavy (which was to be expected, as it was made of flexi-steel); however, Professor Elm then placed the leg segments on John. As these adhered to his body, John heard the whirring of tiny motors inside the suit’s body, and suddenly the armour seemed to weigh nothing!
Professor Elm laughed at John’s shocked expression. “I see you have noticed the internal weight-stabilizers. These contraptions are designed to balance the weight of the suit so that it is fully concentrated into the feet; here, the weight is relieved by powerful mechanized springs in the base of your soles, effectively making the suit feel weightless.”
The professor’s promise rang true; as the arm segments were attached, John felt no heavier, just the strange feeling of being encased in metal. Finally, the helmet came on; it was mostly metal, again form-adhering, except for two small transparent sections where John’s eyes would be. As the helmet came on, John voiced some concern, his voice sounding tinny through the armour; “Professor Elm, these eye holes are completely empty! Is that not a dangerously unprotected section?”
Professor Elm explained. “Actually, John, those two sections are made of a very expensive mineral that I have named flexi-glass, although its composition is much more similar to diamond. It can be bent, and it is nearly impossible to break. Anyway, now that the helmet is on, I trust you are starting to feel the in-suit climate control. You should feel no irregularities in breathing.”
Again, the professor was right. John could breathe just as easily as he could outside the suit. Tentatively, John raised his right arm- the suit moved with him, conforming to his every muscular contraction. He then moved his left arm, which caused the suit to move just as easily. Carefully, John stepped forward, and the suit followed; his confidence growing, John took a stride forward, then another one, then a jump, and then took off around the laboratory, jogging then running. The suit was a miracle; it made every motion feel completely effortless. In fact, the suit’s inner mechanisms made movements much less strenuous than they usually did. Just to experiment, John reached out and picked up a book. Sensors on the outside and inside of the suit’s glove made it feel as if John was actually touching the book- in fact, it was as if there was no suit, except John felt absolutely no strain picking up the book. Just to check, John tossed the book forward a bit- it flew just as far as John had intended to throw it.
“Professor Elm,” John said, “this suit is amazing!”
The professor beamed. “Oh, I am so happy. And now, it is time for you to give the suit its proper test run.”
Confident, John stepped out of the lab, ascending the stairs and exiting the apartment. Eli was already there, waiting with their Pokémon in their Poké Balls.
The sight of John in his magnificent metal shell was naturally a bit shocking to Eli. “Wow, John, that’s quite the suit there!”
John laughed, his tinny voice sounding strange to his ears (that would be one thing to get used to about this suit). “Seriously, it’s amazing. Feels like I’m not wearing it. Anyway, did you bring Lesley and Sirius?”
Eli handed John the two monogrammed Poké Balls. John thanked him, placing the Balls in their magnetized holders, and set out to the Residential District.
Entering the Residential District always made John thankful for all the comforts that the Resistance had been able to find and supply. The people in the Residential District were the remnants of New Bark Town’s once-healthy population of 5000. In the five years since, the District had been wracked by two serious outbreaks of the common cold. Under the League, such a virus would have been contained within minutes, but the apathetic Team Rocket had not cared while over two hundred people died. However, that was not the main reason for the population’s decline- Team Rocket’s harsh rules were difficult to go without breaking, and a good half the New Bark Town populace had been deported, arrested or executed for League-related or revolutionary activities. Also, malnourishment and lack of clean water had taken its toll on the people. Now, there were hardly 800 people living here, deprived of any heating, any reliable nourishment, and necessities like electricity and filtration. The Resistance did what it could, handing out Tauros-wool blankets and food from the farm, but there was only so much a group of fifty people could do to help a people who were imprisoned by a government, especially when approaching the government with relief would result in the arrests of all fifty of them.
As John and Eli approached the Residential District, the unmistakeable smell of urine assailed their nostrils. Plumbing here had ceased working a few months ago, so people had no choice but to throw their human waste into the street. The stench almost bowled John over every time he visited, but Eli had long since become used to it. Walking along the main road, John looked left and right to see dilapidated building after dilapidated building- every once in a while, he caught the eye of a sunken face looking out a window. These people had had to live through so much hardship that their will to live was almost gone- the few people John saw hardly blinked to see a metal man strolling down their main street.
Finally, John and Eli reached the carcass of what had once been the local Poké Mart. “Here,” explained Eli, “is the most informed man in New Bark Town. If anyone in the Residential District knows what that cry was, it will be him. But watch out, he is very quick to anger.”
Carefully, Eli opened the door. On the outside, the Poké Mart seemed like it was a few taps away from falling down- bricks were sticking out at odd angles, holes littered the storefront, and there was a large chunk of concrete seeming to jab into the roof. Inside, the building looked no more secure- racks of long-expired merchandise were strewn across the floor, windows to display cases were smashed in, and the desk upon which the cash register would normally sit was not only lacking a cash register, but also was bashed up to the point that it looked more trapezoidal than rectangular. From the back, John heard a shuffling sound; this was quickly revealed to be from an angry-looking man carrying a metal pipe.
“What the hell’re you doin’ here?” said the man, his voice a threatening, gravelly tone. Quickly, Eli stepped forward. Upon seeing him, the man relaxed. “Oh, it’s just you, Eli. You two damn near gave me a heart attack! Who’s tin can over here?”
Eli could barely stifle a giggle. “This is John. He’s our resident Pokémon Trainer, and the ‘tin can’ is Professor Elm’s newest invention. John, meet Mr. Brandon MacGregor- he’s the most-informed person in New Bark Town.”
Mr. MacGregor was indeed a threatening-looking man. Despite five years of malnourishment, the middle-aged man still had some very sizeable muscles; John silently remarked that the man’s arms were each wider than John’s head! All the years without sharp blades or any cleaning products had seemed to allow Mr. MacGregor beard to grow without much taming- it now was a jumbled mess sprouting out of his chin and twisting in whatever way it pleased, giving the impression of a tangle of white seaweed hanging down to Mr. MacGregor’s chest. The man was wearing a uniform that Poké Mart employees had once worn- John assumed that Mr. MacGregor had been the proprietor of this store. John reached out his hand. “Pleasure to meet you.” The muscle-bound man grasped his hand firmly- John was sure that his digits would have been crushed if it were not for the suit.
Eli got straight to business. “Mr. MacGregor, you must have heard the cry that rang out over New Bark Town this morning, right?”
The bearded man replied automatically. “Of course I heard it. Hell, near everyone in this town heard it!”
Eli nodded. “We thought so. Anyway, we were wondering if you’d have any idea what it was.”
Mr. MacGregor thought for a moment. “Sorry, can’t think of anything that could’ve made that sound. It was definitely a Pokémon, but not one I’ve ever heard. And that’s strange, ‘cause I used to run a Poké Mart, so I pretty much know every Pokémon! Eh, maybe I’m just startin’ to forget things in my old age.”
John was pleased- he had guessed the man’s previous vocation correctly. After a bit more thinking, Mr. MacGregor continued talking. “Now, I might not know what that call was, but I got a good guess for where it came from. You know those rumours I was hearin’ last time you were around about upping security?”
Eli nodded. “Yeah, I remember you saying something about that.”
Mr. MacGregor continued. “Well, turns out I was right. Team Rocket’s finally decidin’ to care ‘bout this place, an’ they’ve sent in Will to lead some revampin’ of security around here.”
“Will!” Eli gasped. In the years since the Insurrection, Team Rocket had formed a group of 5 leaders that oversaw and conducted all Team Rocket actions. These 4 were called the Elite 5, in parody of the League’s Elite 4, and the identities of these 5 powerful people were mostly unknown. The exception was Will. Will was like the Elite 5’s attack dog, setting out whenever there was a rebellion to quell. Legends claimed that Will was a psychic, and thus had the abilities to telekinetically move objects and read minds. The Resistance had suffered an attack from a small force led by Will four years ago, and in the aftermath half the group had been captured. If Will was coming, it couldn’t be good.
Mr. MacGregor saw Eli’s stunned face. “Yep, Will. Sorry I can’t tell you what made that cry. Could just be a sick Dragonite or something.”
Eli nodded. “Well, thanks for your help anyway. How’re the residents doing?”
Mr. MacGregor smiled a bit. “We’re doin’ a lot better than we were a couple months ago. I gotta say, the extra food has really been a Godsend. Those rations they give us couldn’t feed a Pidgey, let alone a person. And the blankets and medicine and stuff’s been wonderful too. Send our thanks to the Resistance.”
Eli smiled back. “No need. Thank us when we clear the Rockets out of New Bark Town.”
They all exchanged handshakes. Mr. MacGregor lingered with John. “I haven’t heard a word outta you yet, but I can guess. You’re John the Pokéspeaker, right?”
John took the helmet off to answer. “Yes. I guess Eli’s told you about me?”
The big man nodded. “Yep. He’s told me a lot about you. You’re apparently quite the Trainer, eh?”
John answered. “Yeah. It really helps, being able to talk to the Pokémon and all.”
Mr. MacGregor grunted his approval. “Well, good luck to the two o’ you. Go bash some Rockets for me.”
Eli chuckled. “Will do.” Opening the door, he and John exited, Mr. MacGregor giving a little wave as they left.
“Will is here? In New Bark Town?” John and Eli had just finished recounting the key parts about their visit to Professor Elm, and now the professor was nervously pacing back and forth. “Well, I think it would be wise to still go ahead with our plan.”
John was a bit shocked by Professor Elm’s answer. “Go ahead with the plan? But what if Will shows up? We would be dead meat!”
The professor turned, stopping his pacing. “Actually, John, think about it. Will has come to increase security, not fight a resistance force. I don’t think it is too unreasonable to assume that, even if we did meet up with Will, he would be unprepared to battle us. We will go ahead with the raid.”
John and Eli exchanged nervous glances, then nodded their consent. John gave Eli his two Poké Balls- it had turned out they didn’t need them. Carefully, John removed the suit and put it back on Professor Elm’s stand. He then grabbed some dinner, went up to his room and slept- all the events of the day had taken longer than John had thought, and it was already becoming dark outside. Anyway, he needed to rest up for what was turning out to be a very dangerous raid.
On the fourth day, John started out by going in for some early-morning practice with Lesley and Sirius. After about an hour, it was apparent that the two were as ready for tomorrow as they could be, so John returned to his room and fell asleep. A few hours into his nap, John was awoken by a roar. This one sounded almost identical to the last, and startled John just as much. He grabbed some food and then tried to sleep again, but sleep evaded him for hours as John nervously anticipated having to battle Will. After many hours and some dinner, John was finally able to sleep, but his dreams were no more comforting than his waking thoughts.
Part 3: Viva la Revolución
A loud buzzer woke John up around when the light in the morning was just coming up. At first, the noise confused John, but then he remembered that he had set an alarm clock to wake him early. Still half-asleep, John pulled his clothes on and staggered downstairs. Ducking into a bathroom, John splashed some cold water on his face, which was more than enough to fully wake up. John exited the bathroom and entered the lobby.
Like the meeting five days ago, Professor Elm was standing on a box in the middle of a crowd. John joined the crowd, this time not nearly the last person to arrive. Exchanging greetings and friendly handshakes, John waited for everyone to arrive. A gradual stream of Resistance members trickled into the lobby. Finally, Miranda showed up, cradling baby Ethan in her arms.
Noticing that everyone was now here, Professor Elm began to speak. “My friends, today is the day of our fifth raid. There are no guarantee of what we might accomplish in this raid, but like last time, we must make sure to aggravate Team Rocket activities in New Bark Town as well as we can. This includes taking imprisoned Pokémon, damaging infrastructure and confiscating technology, but really anything we can do to hurt Team Rocket will be considered a success.
“The raid will be conducted as follows. As we know from our last four raids, the Team Rocket headquarters is situated in the old paper mill in the Factory District. This means that the headquarters is in fact made up of three main buildings. From scouting the buildings, we know that the headquarters proper is located in the larger middle building, while the two smaller buildings nearby are mostly just containment facilities for Pokémon and supplies. In the past, we have focused raids on these two buildings, but today we will be attempting to defeat Team Rocket itself, so we will be attacking their main building.
Now, the building is approximately circular in shape, with two sets of doors- a door facing to the east towards the Tojho River, and a door facing to the west towards our location. We will attack in two separate teams- a large group of people equipped with blunt instruments, such as planks and pipes, will cause a disturbance near the west door. Meanwhile, Miranda, Eli and John will sneak in with their Pokémon through the east door. It has been approximated that the base is staffed by around twenty Rockets, so such a diversion should be enough to allow the three of them easy access into the building. Once inside, Miranda and Eli will seek and destroy the building’s generators, disabling their communications equipment and any security systems they might have set. John, though, will go to the command centre and subdue any Rocket leaders present. If this works, Miranda, Eli and John will then work their way west through the building, defeating and capturing all the Rockets they can.”
Professor Elm paused for a moment to let everyone take in what he had just said. “Now, this is very important. If any part of this operation starts to become out of hand, if anyone seems to be in danger, then stop what you are dong and leave immediately. Today is partly about taking down Team Rocket, but in general we are working to ensure the growth and greater success of the Resistance. Our efforts against Team Rocket are for naught if there are none to uphold our ideals, so please, do not risk your free life fighting when you could escape and return to fight another day. Do you all understand this?”
The crowd solemnly nodded. Professor Elm gave his closing remarks. “All right, we all understand the risks we are undertaking, and we all swear to fight for the Resistance. It is known that only a single spark is needed to start a raging inferno- may our efforts today produce the spark that rekindles this nation’s former glory, and topples the evil Rockets. May the gods smile down on us.”
A cheer arose from the sullen-faced Resistance members. Nodding to the crowd, Professor Elm waved his hands, signalling that it was time for them to leave and assemble their equipment. John set off for the lab, the professor following not far behind him.
It was the third time John had put on the suit, and yet already it felt second-nature. John dismantled the suit from its stand and reassembled it upon himself, all the while Professor Elm checking that there were no malfunctions. Fortunately, there were no mishaps.
As the helmet formed over John’s head, Professor Elm seemed to jump up, as if he had just received a small electric shock. “John, I have found a name for the suit!” the excited professor cried.
John, now fully encased, answered, his voice sounding tinny. “Yes?”
Professor Elm continued. “As you know, three languages survived the Great Disaster. One, Standard, was once called English, and is the one you and I, along with most others in Kanto and Johto, use for everyday communication. A second, once called Japanese but now known as Orient, is a special language used by the monastic orders in Ecruteak. However, the third language is an ancient one whose old name is no longer known. I have named it Archaic. The Archaic words follow complex grammatical patters, but each word is infused with the meaning of many Standard or Orient words, and so thus I believe it is fitting that something so multifunctional as this suit be given a name with many meanings.”
Coming over to John, Professor Elm placed his hand on the suit. “For such a suit, a tool of justice and resistance, I can only imagine it needs a courageous name. Thus, I name it Audentia, the Archaic word reserved only for the most courageous, bold, valiant and fearless. Do you like the name, John?”
“It’s perfect,” John replied. “So Professor, what will you be doing while we are performing this raid?”
The professor sighed. “Well, John, I believe you know better than anyone else why I cannot go near the Rockets. Rather than fight alongside you, I will be providing technological back-up. I have redesigned the helmet so there is a direct line between my lab and you, and I will be doing my best to crack into the Rocket database and provide you with any information I come across. I am sorry I cannot be there with you.”
John nodded. “I understand. Professor, do you believe it my yet be wise to tell the others what you’ve told me?”
Professor Elm vehemently shook his head. “No, no! The last thing the Resistance needs is a pitiable leader. The past is far behind us, and I would prefer it if those… events… never were brought up.”
“I understand,” John said. “Well, best of luck.”
“And you too,” Professor Elm replied. With that being done, John walked back up to the apartment. Meanwhile, Professor Elm brought up a rickety old chair and placed himself in front of a computer display he had assembled the night before. The young man’s body trembled a little, as if he were reliving a nightmare. To relax himself, the professor took off his long lab coat, draping it delicately on the ground by his side. If anyone was in the room with him, what they saw would probably have been very shocking, but indeed there was nobody there to see the bright red R emblazoned on Professor Elm’s left arm, nor the numerous small scars on his right.
The Resistance team had assembled outside the Rec Centre. Twelve men, ranging from 19 to 30 years in age, had brought with them any blunt objects they could find. Joining them were John, Miranda and Eli, each ready with their Pokémon and a Potion. For most of the people here, this was the first time they had seen John clad in Audentia, and even Eli marvelled a little at it. The impressed comments eventually subsided, and with a silent nod from John, the team set out.
Walking from the Rec Centre to the old paper mill was a much longer trek than a trip to the Residential District, and pretty soon a few of the older, underfed members of the group were starting to pant a bit. Fortunately, despite the Factory District being Team Rocket’s centre of operations, the Rocket branch here was pitifully understaffed, and rarely could afford a person to go and patrol the District. Thus, the Resistance’s walk to the old paper mill was really quite uneventful.
At the mill, the group split up into its two separate parts. John, Miranda and Eli jogged around to the east side as the rest of the group went up and began making a huge ruckus. The twelve of them really had a time of it, bashing metal pipes together, smacking wooden planks on the paper mill’s walls, and even throwing rocks through windows! Sure enough, a large number of Rockets immediately rushed towards the west side to see what was going on. Meanwhile, John, Miranda and Eli quietly snuck in through a large door in the east.
The building, unlike the other buildings in New Bark Town, had at least been maintained a little bit. The roof did seen to be caving in at points, but tape and wooden beams supported the roof and walls in most places of real structural damage. John did have to remark, though, that as Team Rocket’s headquarters, he was expecting something more than this detritus-ridden husk. The three of them walked through a large, open room that had once been the location where trees would be dragged in, skinned and cut to useful sizes. The debris from a tree-cutting five years ago still littered the floor. Eventually, John, Eli and Miranda reached the other side and entered a series of corridors. Like outside, these ones had been partially maintained, but there were still broken lights, and duct tape very conspicuously covered any cracks in the walls.
As they were walking along, John heard a ringing in his helmet. Confused for a minute, John quickly realized that it was just the communications system. Soon, he heard the voice of Professor Elm coming through. “Hello, John. How are you three doing?”
“Great,” John replied. “We are in the headquarters, and there isn’t a single Rocket to be seen.”
“Excellent,” the professor replied. “Okay, I have your location on GPS. According to this map of the paper mill, the inside is generally composed of one big corridor off of which two smaller paths branch. In the middle is a large room, and this is most probably the command centre. John, this is where you will go. Meanwhile, I have found two probable rooms where the generators are located. They are on opposite sides of the building, one at the end of the path that branches off to the left of this main path, and one at the end of the path that branches off to the right.”
“Perfect,” John said. “I’ll relay the information.”
“Thank you.” With a click, Professor Elm shut off the communications. John quickly conveyed the information to Eli and Miranda, and they each nodded.
Walking a bit further, the three reached an intersection where paths branched off to the left and to the right. Recognizing these as the paths that Professor Elm was talking about, Eli set off down the left path while Miranda set off down the right, while John continued forward, eventually reaching a door. Tentatively, John opened it.
It was obvious fro first glance that this was indeed the right room. This room, unlike the rest of the building, had been kept in an immaculate condition; fresh light fixtures adorned the ceilings, and all six surfaces of the room were free of any imperfections. Video displays lined three of the four walls, and the other wall, the one containing the door John had just walked in, was layered with Team Rocket propaganda and to-do lists. The only strange thing was this- the room was completely empty. Perplexed, John stepped inside. Indeed, there was nowhere to hide in this room, it really was empty! John took a moment to read the posters and lists on the wall, and noticed that the newest ones were from four months ago. Suddenly, John heard the sound of someone running down the halls. Immediately tensing, John prepared to release Lesley and Sirius- but it turned out it was only Eli and Miranda running down the hall.
As she entered the room, Miranda started talking at John. “There’s no generator! The room I was told to check was completely empty!”
“Mine too,” Eli added, also entering the room. “What the hell is going on?”
The three suddenly shuddered- it felt as if a cold wind had just blown right through them. An ominous cackle then welled up in the room, and the door slammed closed. Panicking, John, Miranda and Eli scrambled to pull the door open, but it would not budge. Suddenly, the hair on the back of John’s head stood up- even in a metal suit, there was still the inescapable feeling that he was being watched. Slowly, he turned around, and came face-to-face with the exact last thing he had hoped to see.
Many legends had sprung up about Will’s dress. Some claimed that he dressed in a slim-fitting crimson suit and wore the mask of a tiger. Others attested that they had seen Will wearing a turquoise jumpsuit and white facemask. However, both were wrong- Will was dressed in very strange garb, a black tuxedo covering a set of violet dress clothes, and on his head was placed a black mask that came just over his nose and just under his hairline. His hair itself was a remarkable shade of periwinkle, obviously dyed. Large circles in the mask made it very easy to see Will’s eyes, which were glaring straight at John.
The three Resistance members were petrified with terror. Chuckling, Will spoke. “Well, it seems that the rumours of there still being a resistance group in New Bark Town were true, after all. Funny, I thought I had cleared you out four years ago. I really must congratulate you on coming this far, although I must unfortunately inform you that you are quite a bit too late- almost all Team Rocket operations in New Bark Town were ceased two months ago, with a small skeleton crew of Rockets left behind. Indeed, from watching your actions, you must have had a map that was a few months out of date, because nothing of any importance has existed in any of the rooms you visited for a long time.”
Walking closer to John, Will reached out his hand and caressed the arm of his suit. “My, it seems you have been hard at work indeed. Such impressive technology… you must have quite the engineer. What Team Rocket wouldn’t give to get their hands on this…” Will’s thought tapered off. John was still frozen with fear as Will moved on to Miranda. “Why, you’re a pretty young thing. You must be what, 24 years, 5 months and 18 days old, yes?”
Miranda gasped. Terrified, John struggled to move- and found that he couldn’t. What he had mistaken before as a byproduct of terror was in fact something keeping him from moving! It seemed that the tales about Will’s psychic powers had been true after all. Chuckling maniacally, Will moved on to Eli. “Oh, now you must be the tough guy of the group. Tell me, are you being tough because of this lady here, or just because you want to hide all the hurt that you feel from being abandoned by your parents?” Eli’s shocked face led Will to cackle again. “Ah, maybe a bit of both.”
Finally, Will came back up to Jonathon. “Now, you are an interesting case. An orphan, I see. And oh, this is interesting- you are a Pokéspeaker! My, what my cohorts wouldn’t give to see you.”
John flinched in pain; it felt as if someone were running a small metal blade along the insides of his head. Will continued. “Oh, you are indeed such an interesting boy! Yes, only 18 and yet you have already seen so much. And look, here are some memories of yours that even you don’t know about! Let’s see- playing with Pokémon as an infant, childhood friends, your father…”
Will suddenly tensed up, as if he had seen something unpleasant. “You… you… you are impossible! How could you… I apologize, I had not intended to damage anything or anyone today, but I will have to make an exception here.”
With a click of his fingers, a hole opened in the bottom of the room. Gesturing behind him, Will caused Miranda, Eli and John to move their limbs so as to follow him down into the hole. As they entered, the three young revolutionaries tumbled down a good 25 feet, landing in a patch of dirt. Will calmly floated down next to them, and with another click, sealed the hole. The room was pitch-dark for a moment, then lights came on, and John immediately wished they had stayed off.
John, Miranda and Eli had dropped into a roughly-rectangular room with rough, concrete walls and a dirt floor. The three of them had dropped in at one end, and at the other was a beast unlike anything John, or indeed anyone in the Resistance, had seen before. The creature was tan, and shaped something like a dinosaur John had once read about in an old book. Its body was a good couple metres long, and almost as tall. It had four stumpy feet, each tipped with two yellow toes. On its back were four wings, each shaped like an oversized palm tree leaf. However, its most noteworthy attribute was its long neck, easily as long as its body. The neck, almost as wide as John’s body was thick, ended in an almost snake-like head, on top of which was a helmet-like structure made of leaves. As John stared at the beast in horror, it opened its toothless maw and let out a scream just like the one all of New Bark Town had heard two days ago. Anyone could tell that the scream was a scream of pain, and upon looking a bit more closely, John noticed that the creature’s feet were circled with metal rings which were themselves chained to the floor. What was most noticeable, though, were its eyes- crimson and blazing with a fury John had never seen before.
The creature bellowed again, making the three Resistance members flinch. Will cackled. “Oh, you three are so funny! Expecting to conquer Team Rocket using nothing but four Pokémon and a specially-shaped tin can- you just crack me up! This is the true power of Team Rocket. I would like to present you with Tropius, the 294th Pokémon in the Rocket Pokémon Database.”
John was confused by Will’s words, and despite his terror, summoned the courage to respond. “But there are only 246 kinds of Pokémon!”
Will laughed maniacally. “Oh, so the tin can still has enough courage to speak. You three, indeed your entire organization, are dreadfully ignorant. There are many more varieties of Pokémon than you have ever dreamed of, and the number increases every day!”
As if to punctuate this point, the Tropius let out a roar. Will gave it a short glance. “Oh, you pitiful Pokémon. I’ll bet it wants these back.” Reaching into a bag that John, Eli and Miranda had not realized Will had, the Rocket leader produced three yellow objects that John knew, from his readings, were called bananas. “These,” Will proclaimed, “are bananas. You’ve probably never seen a real one before. Bananas used to grow on trees, but those trees are extinct now. However, Tropius have the strange ability to grow bananas on their necks. We think bananas are a mark of pride for them or something. Anyway, it’s almost time for me to say goodbye to you three, but first one last spectacle.”
Bending over, Will placed the bananas on the ground right behind John, Eli and Miranda. “Right,” Will said. “You have the next twenty seconds to make peace with whatever deities you might believe in before this Tropius bowls over you in a quest for his bananas. Go ahead and try to stop it, but just to make this interesting…”
A purple haze appeared in front of Will’s eyes, and suddenly John felt like he was being ripped apart. In truth, nothing of the sort was happening- rather, Audentia (along with the two Poké Balls attached to it) was being forcefully ripped apart and flung off of John’s body. The shock of the matter was quite something, and Eli and Miranda suffered some shock too as their Poké Balls were wrenched from their pockets. Again, Will laughed. “That’s more like it. Now rise, you weak revolutionaries, and face the wrath of a Pokémon who does not know the meaning of the word mercy.”
Will rose into the air, carrying with him the equipment he had taken. John focused his attention on the Tropius as, with a click, the shackles holding its legs released. The Pokémon began lumbering slowly forward, each step of its great body shaking the room. Eli and Miranda cowered in fear. John, though, stood up.
“Tropius,” John called, “please stop! We are not your enemy!”
However, it seemed even John’s Pokéspeak was to no avail. The Tropius had now walked half the distance of the room, and now John could hear it was mumbling: “Pain, kill, pain, destroy, pain, kill…”
John looked up in horror at Will. “What the hell have you done to this poor Pokémon?”
Will made a satanic grin. “Ah yes, I almost forgot to mention that. This Tropius is one of the first of a new breed of Pokémon changed by Team Rocket to have no qualms about destroying its opponents. We still have yet to come up with a name for it, but simply put, this Tropius cannot be stopped in its rampage.”
Will made a contemplative gesture. “You know what, maybe I have been a bit too unfair with you. I will give you a fighting chance- choose one piece of the armour you wore here, and I will let you use it.”
John startled. “What kind if chance is that?”
Will cackled. “I didn’t say I was giving you a good chance. Now, choose.”
John thought very hard, all while the Tropius was lumbering closer and closer. John started to panic; he needed something to keep the Tropius back. Something that would make it startle…
“The chestpiece,” John proclaimed.
Will raised his eyebrow quizzically. “Really? Well, if that’s indeed what you want.”
With a wave of his hand, the masked man caused Audentia’s chestpiece to drop to the ground. Scrambling, John picked it up, slamming it onto his chest. Quickly, the tiny motors in the suit formed to his body, and just in time, as the Tropius had reached where the three Resistance members were standing.
Will laughed. “It seems, John Smith, that you chose poorly. Goodbye.”
With a roar, the Tropius lunged forward, its great muscular neck aiming straight for Miranda. Thinking quickly, John dived in front of her, making the Tropius’ head hit his chest…
And all hell broke loose. John had planned out his jump very well, causing the Tropius to hit the dead centre of his chest piece. Immediately, the defence system Professor Elm had installed activated, sending out a piercing screech in all directions. John, Eli and Miranda were shaken by the sound, but not nearly as much as the Tropius, who screamed in pain and ran all the way back to the other end of the room. Will was also very effected, surprised by the sound so much that he tumbled out of the air. This also brought all the equipment he had stolen down to earth, so John, Eli and Miranda scrambled to reclaim their gear. After a few seconds, John had reequipped Audentia and was ready with his Pokémon.
Will quickly regained his footing to see that the situation had taken a turn against him. “You accursed young revolutionaries. Fine, then; if I cannot enjoy your slow demise, then this shall be your grave!”
Reaching into his dress clothes, Will produced a Poké Ball and opened it to reveal an Abra. “Goodbye, you foolish youth!” spat the oddly-dressed man as his Abra prepared to Teleport the two of them away. With a slight zap, Will and his Abra disappeared, locking John, Eli and Miranda in the underground room.
Relatively less scared, Eli and Miranda began talking a mile a minute, their words jumbling together in a great ode of panic. John was nervous too, but there was a bigger problem- the Tropius had regained its composure and was again marching towards them. John knew that he would have no choice but to subdue the Pokémon.
“Lesley, Sirius, I need you!” With a flash, John called out the Cubone and Houndour. “I think you can easily see the problem we face. I can’t reason with it, so we’ll have to knock it out. You two, are you up for it?”
Sirius growled. “No worries. But how about ideas on getting out of here?”
John gave a nervous sigh. “I’ll figure something out. Lesley, you good for this?”
Lesley laughed excitedly. “Finally, something challenging!”
Despite all the chaos around, John smiled a bit at Lesley’s attitude. “All right. You don’t really need my commands, so just go and do what you feel works the best.”
With that, the two Pokémon charged. With a snarl, Sirius unleashed a punishing Ember attack. The fire hit the Tropius dead on, and made the Pokémon keel back in pain. Immediately, Lesley followed up with a Bone Club. The Cubone’s aim was phenomenal- his club hit the great tan creature directly in the head. Keeling from the blow, the Tropius roared and threw itself forward in a Body Slam directly at Lesley. Fortunately, Sirius was fast enough to whisk Lesley out of the path of the careening Pokémon.
The Tropius roared again. John, who was at the same time trying to find a way to escape, caught the word “Pain!” in the Tropius’ call. The Pokémon again attacked, this time using its four great winds to stir the air in the cave into a punishing Gust. Stoically, Lesley and Sirius stood against the wind. Eventually, the wind died down and John’s two Pokémon flung themselves back into battle- only to immediately meet the Tropius’ punishing Stomp attack. This crippling attack knocked both Pokémon to the ground, and in a panic, John scrambled to try and find a Potion- unfortunately, he soon remembered he had completely forgotten to bring one. As John panicked, the Tropius walked closer and closer to the prone bodies of Lesley and Sirius, obviously preparing to finish the two of them. Desperately, John threw the Lesley’s and Sirius’ Poké Balls at them, hoping to return them to safety, but with a vicious series of Razor Leaves, the Tropius knocked the Balls to the other side of the room. Flinching away, John closed his eyes as the Tropius prepared to deliver one final Stomp.
At that moment, twin bursts of fire and water erupted from behind John, shocking the Tropius and making it step back. From either side of John stepped forward Eli and Miranda, Smaug and Tock each putting their all into attacking. Silently, Miranda and Eli each handed John a potion; John thanked them with a nod. Under cover of Smaug’s Ember and Tock’s Water Gun, John scrambled to reach Lesley and Sirius. Popping the tab on each aerosol curative, John sprayed one on each Pokémon, and they immediately began to move again.
Both Pokémon were quite dazed, but completely alive. John was so happy to see them both well that he hugged them both. Lesley protested; “Uh, John, the battle’s not over yet.”
John straightened up, releasing them. “You’re right. You two feel up to battle again?”
Lesley nodded. “Of course. Now this fight is personal.”
Turning to Sirius, John saw him give a silent nod. John smiled. “All right then, you two go for it again. Try what you were practicing before.”
As they had gone over many times, Lesley mounted Sirius as the Houndour released a cloud of Smog. The Smog was successfully directed to envelop the Tropius, restricting its vision and making it emit loud screams of confusion. Not letting the titanic tan creature have any time to recover, Sirius released Embers while Lesley sprang onto the Tropius’ neck, striking it with Bone Clubs. Meanwhile, Smaug and Tock continued their Ember and Water Gun barrages. Even a strong Pokémon like Tropius could only take such punishment for so long, and eventually, the Pokémon fell down, completely devoid of will to continue battling.
John exchanged hi-fives with Miranda and Eli. As the three of them returned their Pokémon, the ringing of Professor Elm’s communication system started again. “John?” Professor Elm asked, his voice again sounding very tinny in the helmet. “Most of the raid team has already returned, but you, Miranda and Eli are still missing. What is wrong?”
Quickly, John informed the professor of what events had occurred. Professor Elm was, to say the least, shocked. “John, it seems you three are lucky to be alive. Do not worry, I will send a team out with demolition gear to bust you out.”
John breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief. Today had indeed been an eventful day, but now he could just relax and enjoy the aftermath.
It had been two days since the raid. John was sitting alone, trying to write a bit more in his journal.
After about an hour, the Resistance’s demolition team had been able to cut through to the room where John, Eli and Miranda were trapped, and quickly they were roped out. Pulling out the Tropius had been much more difficult, but eventually they had successfully pulled out the massive Pokémon.
Professor Elm had been amazed by the Tropius- he had never seen anything like it in his life, and was looking forward to studying it. For the time being, the back room of the Rec Centre had been cleared out and made into a personal room for the Tropius, where it had essentially done little more than sleep. Its bananas had been picked up too, so the Tropius was much more docile, but attempts to interact with it had done little but stir up an angry response from the tan and green Pokémon. Miranda was able to give it food though, so that was indeed a start.
Team Rocket was confirmed to be gone from New Bark Town, so now things in the town could start creeping back to normal. Mr. MacGregor was leading the townspeople in some massive renovation projects in the Residential District. Apartments were being demolished and rebuilt, the Poké Mart was being refurbished, and plumbing and electrical systems were being restored. In one day, the Resistance’s numbers had more than tripled from sympathizers who were no longer too scared of Team Rocket, and the Resistance flourished with such an increase in membership- now, the farms had many times as many helpers, so Miranda and her Tauros could tend more fields much more efficiently. It was expected that next month, there would be an abundance of food- malnourishment would no longer be a fact of life in New Bark Town.
Yes, things had become much better. Lesley, Sirius, Tock and Smaug were all brilliantly happy to have finally helped clear Team Rocket out of New Bark Town, and John was happy too, but indeed he did still have many lingering questions. Will had mentioned his father, but John had no recollection of either of his parents. Also, John was sure that Will had been strangely merciful to them- why had Will not made sure the three of them died? And why did he just leave, instead of call a Team Rocket force to invade New Bark Town? John was very confused, and could only hope some things would begin to make more sense in the future.
Turning to his journal, John realised that the last entry he had made was the one he had begun a full week before. Raising his pen, John continued the entry.
I remember the days of the League.
I will admit, my memory is hazy, but I indeed remember. I remember the smell of fresh air, the laughter of children, the cheerful cooing of the Pidgey. I was only 13 at the time, so these recollections are vague, but I remember nonetheless.
And then the Insurrection changed everything. No longer were there happy sounds in the air, no longer were there friends to play with, no longer was there any kind of happiness. For five years, life was one of panic, sadness and loss.
Yet maybe now, just maybe, we can bring back the happiness that once was a daily part of life. Maybe the Pidgeys will again coo cheerfully, maybe the air will again smell fresh, maybe children will again have reason to laugh.
The spark of revolution has been made, and now it is time to fan it until the inferno of justice cauterizes the wounds Team Rocket has made on this country. I will do whatever part I can to bring about a new, happy future for Johto.
- John Smith