It had been just over thirty hours since that attack on Karen, and she had been in shock for twenty-eight of them. For the other two hours, she had been in a coma, and she showed no signs of coming out of it. All the members of the Elite Four, including the newest member, Steven, an Elite of the Steel type, had spent time with Karen, but none spent more time than Lance, who had spent twenty-two hours at her bedside, leaving only for his managerial and administrative duties as Champion that couldn’t be dealt with in paper format. Fully five of those hours were battles, as Steven hadn’t been used to fighting battles one right after another for an extended period of time, and Lorelei and Bruno had been doing the sloppy jobs that Lance had become accustomed to lately. The reason that Agatha had been defeated as many times as she had been, was that she was preoccupied with Karen’s condition; the fact that the Indigo League Tournament was going to take place in just under a month and the trainers were training harder than usual, and that her daughter; Sabrina, was coming to the Indigo League to help prepare her fiftieth wedding anniversary.


Lance looked up from the book he was reading on Dragon Isle in Tintia. There was no change in Karen. Still asleep. He sighed and went back to reading his book. The Champion had been fascinated with Tintia for years, and had been trying to get into the country for years to visit Dragon Isle, the island that Dragon types ruled. Lance wasn’t sure how this was possible, and he was very interested in visiting Tintia to find out. However, because of their strict laws on visitors from outside the country, he hadn’t been able to get a visitor’s visa. He had been meaning to talk to Professor Oak or possibly Professor Elm to see if either of them had ever been to Tintia, since Professors were more often accepted more often than others. Lance wasn’t sure if he would ever be accepted into the country, because he had heard that Pokemon trainers were despised by most Tintians. Lance frowned. He would have to ask Givven later why they did.


Lance sighed and put down his book, and looked over at Karen. She still wasn’t awake. He sighed, and put down his book. It wasn’t like he was going to be able to concentrate, anyway. He put his hand on hers. It was cool, though on the warm side of the scale. He sighed, and looked at her face. Her raven hair fell down around her peaceful face, and reached down to the light blue hospital smock. Why do they always have those weird smocks? Lance wondered to himself. He had never been in one, but if he ever did get in one, he knew that he would feel uncomfortable.


“Hey Karen,” he said, pushing a lock of hair back behind her ear, like he had been doing at least four times an hour for the last six hours. It simply refused to stay put. “How are you doing?” he had heard that people in comas could hear people talking, so he had been talking to her off and on for the last several hours. “It’s Lance. I’m not sure what got you, but it hasn’t shown up again.”


He looked down at his book, “I’ve just been reading up on Dragon Isle, you know, in Tintia, home of the brigands and our buddies? Oh,” he said, wincing slightly, “that’s right. You haven’t met Givven yet. He’s an okay guy, and everything, but I still wouldn’t trust him with anything more than taking out the garbage.” Lance sighed, and scratched his head, “Even then, being a Tintian, he’d probably go through it to see if he could steal anything. Nothing good ever came out of that country.”


Lance sighed, and ran his fingers through Karen’s Umbreon’s fur. The midnight-colored felinic creature gave him a cool glare. Almost like an accusation. What it was supposed to be accusing Lance of, he hadn’t a clue.


“It hasn’t been the same, Karen,” he said quietly, “Something’s been missing around here. Everyone’s a little more…depressed. Lorelei hasn’t won a single match since the accident, Bruno’s started eating large amounts of junk food, and Agatha’s up all night.” Lance sighed again, then reconsidered, “Of course, that may be because of all the tea she drinks all day, and because this Psycho-‘scuse me, Psychic,” He almost paused. Karen had always laughed when he had done that. “daughter of hers is coming to help her plan her wedding anniversary for whoever he husband was.”


“But more than anyone, I’ve missed you. I’ve been here, at your side for a long time now. I don’t know how many mandatory meetings I’ve missed, how many appointments I’ve blown off. I just want to be here, next to you, when you wake up.” Lance looked at the Dark Elite’s face, and imagined Karen laughing, or giggling at some stupid joke he had just made. Her eyes would be scrunched up, the ends of that wonderful grin turned up, and the laughter wouldn’t come just from her voice….it would be from her eyes as well.


“Karen, I want you to know that I’ve appreciated your support through the years…” he smiled slightly, basking in warm memories, “You were the champ when I came here. You gave me that smile of yours, and your eyes were the thing that took me in. They took me in, Karen. And they’ve never let me go.”


Tears began to form in Lance’s eyes, “Karen, if you can hear me, that was when….” He hesitated. Did he really? He had been denying it to everyone, including himself. “That was when I first fell in love with you.” He said quietly. “Your courage, your determination….your drive to succeed.” He took one of her hands in his, and couldn’t help but shed tears as he felt the coldness with which it was gripped. “You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to give up, and only kept on going because you and your encouragements were right there for me.” He smiled slightly, “Sometimes your methods were a little more direct than I would have liked but they always helped me.” Lance looked at his watch and scowled, “I am REALLY sorry, Karen, but I have to use the bathroom and get out of here.” He got up, picked up her hand, and kissed it. He glanced up to make sure that his Dragonite was standing guard over Karen. He didn’t trust anybody else besides someone from his own team to guard the woman he loved.


He had never liked hospital rooms, and hospital bathrooms even less. But he had no choice. He had waited too long, and now he REALLY needed to go. With one last look at Karen, he turned towards the hospital room’s bathroom. Little did he know that that was the last time he would see Karen. Alive. He entered the bathroom quickly, and shut the door. It was the only thing that saved his life.


An instant after he locked the door, an explosion rocked the room, and something lodged against the door. Lance pounded against it, but whatever it was wouldn’t budge. Lance glanced around. No room for his big guns, but then, he didn’t need them right now. He just needed to get out there, where he had slightly more room to maneuver. His hand reached for his belt, but hesitated when it came to selection.


Draman, Arachnadrago, or Aveamon? They were the only ones small enough to trust in the close quarters combat that was sure to follow, and there was only room for one in the crowded restroom. He pulled Draman’s Pokeball from his belt and released the Psychic Dragon. It roared, glanced around, and gave Lance a look of confusion, an instant before it began screaming in agony. Its eyes glowed blue, and it shook for several seconds, before it turned a baleful blue gaze onto Lance. [i]MORTAL![/i] the Psychic’s voice echoed through his mind, with a power that was impossible for the dragon to have had. It would have had to come from a very powerful Pokemon before Draman. [i]COME NOT UNTO ME, OR FACE THE WRATH OF THE LORD OF THE FORE-RUNNERS OF LONT![/i]


There was a fiendish shriek from outside the door, and screams that Lance recognized as coming from his Dragonite, Karen’s Umbreon, Sneasel, Murkrow, Tyranitar, Houndoom, Sableye, and the strange Dragon she’d never let him touch. His own screams and that of his Draman echoed through the small cubicle-like room, until he finally succumbed to the darkness that had been so inviting ever since the first waves of Psychic pain struck him.



When Lance awoke, the first thing he felt was a heaviness on his chest, and something sticky trickling over his body. With a shout, he jumped to his feet, and felt something slide off of him. He lunged for the light switch, but when he flipped it, nothing happened. Then he remembered the thing outside in Karen’s room, and he swung into action. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” he shouted, and pulled a Pokeball from his belt, “GO, DRAMAN!” he shouted, but nothing happened.


Lance paused in the pitch-black room. “Draman?” he asked, confused. Then he remembered that he had called out his Draman, and the sheer power that whatever it was had funneled through his dragon. “Return!” he called out, and was already reaching for another Pokeball, but stopped as the red glare of the ruby beam revealed his dragon, bleeding through the orifices that passed for ears.


He felt around for the door, his other Pokemon forgotten, and slammed up against it. There was something up against it, but it had a little give. The Champion slammed against the door again, then felt for the hinges, a split second before he remembered that the hinges to the wooden door were on the outside.


Lance froze. Wooden door? He felt the door again, and there was no question about it. Lance took a deep breath, and got up onto the toilet, as far back as he could go, and pulled Charizard’s Pokeball from his belt, and released the fire dragon, grabbing a breath of air and closing his eyes tightly before the searing pain of fire and light burned into his senses. Without a word, Lance pointed towards the door. There was a slight pause, as if Lance hadn’t been seen immediately, then with a roar, the sizzling sound of wood being turned into charcoal was heard, and a cry from his Charizard made Lance open his eyes.


Charizard was standing in a dark room. Where there had been a window, there was now only rubble. Where the door was, the ceiling had been collapsed. Lance pushed past his evolved Charmeleon and looked at the bed, and his lunch nearly made a guest appearance.


Karen was gone. Gone! She was gone!


But that wasn’t all. Her Pokemon had been slaughtered. Her Umbreon, horribly mutilated, lay with its head at an obscene angle over the Dark Elite’s Houndoom, who had been torn asunder. Worse things had happened to Karen’s other Pokemon, and as Lance scanned the room, his gaze settled on a corpse in the far corner of the room.


With a cry of dismay, he rushed over to his Dragonite. His friend. His starter. What was happening here? Why was Karen gone? Why would someone have done something like this? The next thought that he had chilled him to the bone. Who could possibly have been powerful enough to defeat the Pokemon? They were all elites themselves! They were the cream of the crop. The best of the best.


And they had been slaughtered, like Rapidash too old to be anything but glue.


As Lance straightened from the body of his dead dragon, a fire awoke in his eyes that had not been seen in some time. It was the fires of revenge. Whoever had done this would pay, and it would be by his hand that they were brought to justice. No matter what. As Lance reached for his belt, he vowed from that moment on that he would train until he could train no longer, and not simply his Pokemon, but with himself. No matter what it took, he would find whoever did this, and destroy them.


Whoever did this was sick. Who would ever take pleasure in the killing of other life? Who could possibly do such a thing?


The Champion of the Indigo League of Kanto had a pretty good idea. All he had to do was some research, into this Lont fellow, and his forerunners.



“I wonder what did this.” Bruno said, his muscles straining to lift yet another piece of rubble off of another section of the Indigo League Pokemon Center. He shook his head, and glanced over where the Pokemon Mart section of the building had been. Only the counter now remained.


“I saw it,” Lorelei piped up, directing her Ice types in pulverizing the larger pieces of rubble so that Bruno could move them more easily. “It was at least six feet tall. It was purple, and had a long tail…it was shooting some kind of silver energy out of its hands.” She looked over Indigo Plateau, “And it left a mess.” The once gleaming paradise now had a hundred-meter swath slashed through it, leading from the Pokemon Center, cutting through the Colloseum, and into a portion of the Palace.


Bruno sighed, and picked up another piece of rubble, and put it onto the nearby cart that his Machamp was filling as well, and would take off to some factory or something to pound it into pulp. He wasn’t up on all the details, just what he had to do.


It was a lot, he knew, but he had to pitch in to do his little bit, just like the ordinary trainers did. They were coming from all over to help pitch in with the clean up, and help with the rebuilding. Ecruteak City, Viridian City, Fuschia City, and one person he had met had said that he had come all the way from Hoenn to help with the clean up. They all cared about the Indigo Pokemon League, and were willing to sacrifice a part of their lives to make it better.


Which was all that they would be doing, although they didn’t realize it, the moment they set foot upon the marble steps of the now-ruined Indigo Colloseum. The place was wrecked, and would likely remain so as a memento for a while, if he knew Lance, and a newer, better Colloseum would be built, in every way twice as good as the predecessor. The Pokemon Center, he was sure, and the Pokemon Mart would be built into the Colosseum as well.


Bruno looked up at Lorelei, then glanced away as her Jynx smashed another big piece of rubble with an Ice Beam. He put his hands around the larger of the newer pieces of rubble, and moved it onto the truck that was getting rather full. Other pieces were being put in as well by the rest of his team.


The sound of another Ice Beam powering up, the shrill trilling of the energy a split second before it was released, a slight wind caused by the Doppler affect, then a sound almost like a Christmas tree ball breaking amplified a hundred times was heard again as yet another piece of rubble was split into smaller pieces.


Lance had claimed he hadn’t seen the monster that had done this, and nobody had any reason to disbelieve his claims, but when Lorelei had described what she had seen to Lance, he had gone completely pale, and had rushed off to the library.


Bruno grabbed another piece of rubble, and hefted it onto the truck. The Champion had been working like a man possessed, but not in the clearing away of the rubble. He had said that he had some research to do, and had locked himself into the Indigo Library, coming out only to eat quick meals before rushing back.


“Hey Bruno!” a familiar voice fell upon his ears, and the Fighting Elite looked up to see a young man with brown, spiky hair, a pendant with a relief of an oak tree on it around his neck, and an Arcanine at his side. If Bruno remembered correctly, and he was pretty sure he was, this was Gary Oak, Professor Samuel Oak’s Grandson. Gary had been hanging around all year, ever since being beaten in the semi-finals of the Indigo League Tournament by the young trainer Richie. Gary had been sulking all year, and had left a couple of months before to train by himself.


Obviously, this had pulled him out of wherever he had been. “Where do you need me?” While prone to fits of bragging over his Pokemon and their impeccable training, especially when around his arch-rival, Ash Ketchum-a nobody from Pallet Town who had risen to great heights-he was still bound by the same thing as most every Kantan was. Duty, loyalty, and patriotism. The earnestness in young Oak’s eyes reminded Bruno of himself so long ago, before he had seen what the world had to offer.


“You got fire types with you, I assume?” Bruno asked, eyeing the large dog appreciatively. Growlithe and Arcanine were rare, and Bruno rarely dealt with them, being that his specialty was the fighting and occasionally ground types. But he had learned to give them his utmost respect.


The young trainer grinned, “I’ve got Arcanine, here, my Magmar, Espeon, Hitmonlee, and Kingler.” He plucked the five Pokeballs from his belt, and displayed them for Bruno to see. “Where can you use me?”


Bruno pointed over at a giant crane at one of the worst sites, “Go over there. Last I heard they were short-handed.” The brown-haired trainer nodded appreciatively, and headed off in a jog.



Despite all the confusion in the Indigo Plateau, it was peaceful out in the surrounding forest. At least it was, until “Are we there yet?” was heard in a whining tone.




“How far is almost?”


“Almost is almost, all right?” From out of the brush, a tall, bronzed man stepped forward, glancing at a map, then at the surrounding area, the position of the sun, and back again.


“No, it’s not all right!” a short kid with black hair, jeans, and a Pokemon League T-shirt complained, “You said we’d be there in half an hour. Guess what. That was three hours ago!”


“Pika!” a short, yellow rodent with a tail like a reverse bolt of lightning added, hopping onto the boy’s shoulder, and handed him an orange Pokemon League baseball cap.


“Just shut up, both of you!” it was a feminine voice this time, and a girl that looked to be about fifteen stepped out of the brush, wearing her hair in a single red ponytail, dangling down her back. “It’s bad enough I had to buy an Electabuzz T-shirt,” the green shirt to which she was referring, adorned with the name of a Johtan baseball team, hung on her rather thin frame, “But now I have to listen to you guys complain? This is cruel and unusual punishment!” she ended in nearly a shout.


The leader rolled his eyes, “Keep your shirt on, Misty, we’re there!” he pulled aside a tree branch, and looked over Indigo Plateau. Ash and Misty came up on either side of him.


There it lay, not a mile in front of them. Indigo Plateau, home of the Indigo League, the Elite Four, and the fabled colosseum. And, of course, “Nurse Joy,” the bronzed man said in a dreamy tone, already beginning to drool slightly. “Just a few more minutes, and I’ll be giving her the opportunity to make my acquaintance.”


The girl, known as Misty, chuckled, “Yeah, and then it’ll be a few seconds before she gives you the opportunity to make the acquaintance of her palm on the side of your face, Brock. You ALWAYS have bad luck with Joys. Why don’t you switch to something else, like normal people, and not always hitting on people’s cousins?”


“Hey!” the bronzed man who had been called Brock said, “They’re not YOUR cousins…Besides, What do you care? You can’t get a date to save your life.”


The girl’s eyes narrowed, “And there’s gonna be nobody to save yours!” she leaped at Brock, and tackled him to the ground.


The boy with the black hair stood next to a tree, staring at Indigo Plateau, dumbfounded and in shock. “Hey, hey guys.” He said, standing stock-still, simply staring at the city before him, “Something’s wrong.” The yellow rodent on his shoulder stared at the city, and scratching its head. “Something’s wrong with the city. I don’t see the colosseum.”


The other two teens got up immediately and came to stand next to the boy, and as they scanned the city, they found that they couldn’t find it, either. “You’re right,” the girl said, in a worried tone, “Ash, what do you think has happened?”


The trainer shook his head, “I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that we’re going to find out.”



Ash Ketchum stepped through the great arch of the Indigo League, flanked on both sides by statues of famous men and Pokemon, and felt Butterfree fluttering around in his stomach. What had happened here? He could hear sirens, people shouting, and Pokemon attacks going off all over the place. He swallowed hard. What had happened here? There was no one in the anteroom to greet him, no one to check his badges at the inner door. With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he pushed open the inner door, and saw the horror that had befallen the Indigo Plateau.


He felt sick to his stomach, and staggered back against the Plateau’s gate hosue for support. Someone or something had moved like a bulldozer through the Plateau, mowing down everything in its path from the gatehouse to the Palace. Nothing that had stood in its way could possibly have survived.



Lance felt terrible, standing in the middle of what had been the Indigo Colosseum, talking to literally thousands of trainers, young and old, trying to convince them to join the militia he was forming. He was pretty sure it would be easier after this had happened. “This episode has proven to me that we here in Kanto are entirely unprepared for the real world. For years, we’ve been basically telling everyone that everyone is basically good.” Lance looked down at the podium, and his notes, then back up at the people gathered in front of the lectern. “I have always disagreed with this, and nothing has proved it to me better than Team Rocket’s brutal razing of New Bark Town, the Slaughter of its people and their Pokemon, and the destruction of Professor Elm’s research. Professor Elm himself died in the attack, unfortunately, and I offer his family and their country my condolences. My good friend Karen was recently kidnapped in a rather explosive attack on the Indigo Mansion as well.


“While we cannot do anything to change what happened to the late professor, we can take steps to ensure it will never happen to anyone else again.” There was some murmuring in the crowd, and Lance took a deep breath, looked at his notes to keep from staring at everyone else, then looked into the bright lights, flashes, and faces of trainers who trusted him to make good decisions, and said, “I’m proposing that we create a militia to protect Kanto. To augment the Global Police and the Officer Jennies and Jakes, and be the first line of defense in the event of any invasion.” Lance didn’t really think an invasion was likely, but the Tintian, Givven, had insisted he put that line into his speech. “I call on all good trainers of Kanto to join its militia to help protect the country. Altans are being flown in to instruct the trainers to defend themselves in areas such as martial arts, basic handgun instruction, and other areas of that sort.” Givven had wanted Tintians to do the training, but Lance, Agatha, and the rest of the Elite Four had put their feet down on that point.



From the back of the crowd, a woman with hair died blond watched Lance’s speech under the brim of her fedora pulled tight over her eyes. She smiled coldly. The dimwit Champion was giving himself a war, though he didn’t yet know it. She turned and walked back to the Pokemon Center, where “Jessie,” was staying for the night. She didn’t especially like using an alias, but it was part of her job. Once she reached the lobby of the Center, she made straight for the vid-phone array, slid the one-time scrambler onto the mouth-piece, and dialed the number she had been given. She knew that it would be rerouted all over the globe before arriving at its final destination, yet it was picked up on the third ring. “Hi Dad,” she said, using the code system that had been set up. “Dad” was actually four times her age, and was the head of the Engaran Special Forces and Intelligence branch of the Engaran Armed Forces. “Just wanted to let you know that I’m finally in the Indigo Plateau, can you believe it?”


Actually, it hadn’t been that hard, getting from what was left of New Bark Town to the Indigo Plateau. Not for someone as adept at changing her form and personality to fit the need as Cassidy. “Really?” the Director’s voice came in, “Have you seen anything interesting yet?” She was being asked if she had any information that he could use. Even though the transmission was supposed to be secure, it didn’t hurt to have a little secrecy.


“Well, I heard that Karen of the Elite Four was kidnapped, and I just got back from Lance announcing that there’s going to be a Kanto militia now.” She glanced at her watch. She had five minutes left before the chemicals in the scrambler went dead, and her call would become unscrambled.


“Really?” the director asked, “That’s too bad about Karen. She was a very good trainer.” Cassidy frowned. That part of the code meant that Karen had been undercover for Engara. But how could she be? “Are you going to join the militia?” Okay, so he was ordering her to join. That was fine, but-


“Yeah, I’d thought about it. Hey dad, what did you say about Karen? I never thought she was that good.” Cassidy chewed on her lower lip. Had Karen really been an agent all this time, and she had never known anything about it?


There had to be some kind of mistake. There was no way-NO WAY-that that Elite could have been a sleeper. Or an agent of any kind. The history was just too airtight for that. She had checked it herself. “Oh, no.” the director said, “She was a VERY good trainer.”



Butch looked across the negotiating table, “No,” he said, shaking his head impatiently, “Team Rocket cannot afford to pay you to attack Kanto for us.” He was looking at the heads of Teams Aqua and Magma, Joan Paula Jones and Jiang Fernandez, respectively. It was actually a miracle they were in the same room and not hitting each other, “After the Kantans raided us, and our losses in Johto, we simply don’t have the resources to spend on something like this.”


Jiang, a tall asian-looking individual who had red hair, of all colors, and a southern accent. A truly unique individual, he led one of the now two strongest teams in the world. “So,” he drawled, “Y’all figger we do? P’don me askin’, but this ‘ole thing seems a bit…off. Like y’all in Rocket would get the bigger end of the stick.”


Butch sighed. He missed having Cassidy with him. While he understood she had been reassigned, he had grown to like her companionship, if not her herself. Besides, she was the more diplomatic of the two. His patience was beginning to wear thin, and he wasn’t sure how long he could keep up his cool.


Joan glared at her contemporary. While Jiang was tall and unique, she was short and looked roughly like any other ten females, and could easily dissapear in a crowd, with her brown hair and green eyes. “While I do not share his view,” she said softly, “Team Aqua simply cannot commit the resources you would need unless Magma did. We can’t leave ourselves weak to an attack by the Magmans.” She glanced at Butch, “I’m sorry, I truly am, but I cannot help you.”


“But don’t you see?” Butch asked impatiently, “Divided you cannot stand alone.” He repeated the line that had been drilled into him so many times by the reading material he had been given for this assignment, “Team Rocket had been stronger than both of you combined just one short month ago. Both of you recognize this fact, yes?” they both nodded slowly, unsure of where he was going with this, “Yet it only took the Johtans and Kantans, combined, less than a week to reduce us to a pitiful rabble.” Fernandez and Jones stared at Butch, both refusing to look at the other. “Apart, you cannot hope to stand against the unity of Kanto and Johto. Together, they have one of the strongest armies in the world. Especially now that Kanto is making its own militia.


“How long,” Butch began, off on another tack than he’d been ordered to do. “Before they come after you?” he queried, “They’ve taken down Team Rocket. How much longer will it be before they decide to target you? Lance has made it exceedingly clear that he wants to see the world rid of all gangs like you two and me are part of. Do you really think he’ll leave you alone?’


Jiang and Joan glanced at one another for a split second, then focused back on Lance. Butch’s heart soared, but he was careful not to reveal it. He didn’t want to scare them off when they were just beginning to crack, “The Global Police are starting to hunt down the last remnants of Team Rocket right now,” Butch said, “And they’re close to finding our secret warehouse in Fuschia, which is where, if you remember, Joan, the documents regarding the Aquan attack against Mt. Moon last year are kept, and, Fernandez, the records on the attack against Cinnabar six months ago were also kept. They find that, you’re both going down.” Butch smiled slyly, “Which is what you’re going to be doing anyway, if you keep going on this course.”


Joan frowned, “What do you mean?” she asked, a tinge of nervousness in her tone.


Butch smirked, “Why, simply that Rocket Intel has determined that Teams Magma and Aqua will very shortly come under attack by the newly established Kantan militia, Global Police, Altan military, and independent trainers from Johto and Hoenn.” The leaders of Magma and Aqua looked at each other in horror. Butch smiled. This information was all true, and so was what followed next, “we have learned, however, that Kanto and the Global Police are the main instigators in this war.” He looked at the two leaders, “Destabilize them, and you will have at least a year to prepare a stronger defense.” His cool glance went from Joan to Fernandez, “Team Rocket is willing, and is in the process of recalling all units to Johto and destroy the establishment of the Global Police in that country.” He smiled, “That just leaves Kanto. Are you two available?”


Joan glanced at her counterpart, then back to Butch. She nodded, as did Fernandez a second later, “Good,” Butch said, “I’ll leave the planning to you two.” He got up from his chair and offered them both one of his hands, “This has been a very successful meeting,” he said, smiling, “Let’s do this again sometime. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a plane to catch.”



A young man peeked around the corner of the Goldenrod Pokemon Mart, towards the Global Police Headquarters. He couldn’t believe his luck! Butch, the new leader of Team Rocket, had chosen him for this special occasion! They had chosen him as the advance scout for the grand siege of Goldenrod City! This was a do-or-die event. Fail here, and Team Rocket would die. Be victorious, and the majority of the Global Police Force would be completely gone. Mark Harson sauntered past the Global Police Station, and continued on down the street. When he was maybe three blocks past the Station, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed in the “go” number. He let it ring once, then hung up. It was done. Goldenrod was now effectively under siege. No one would be able to go in or out. Any flying Pokemon trying to get into the city would be shot down, digging Pokemon intercepted and stopped, and fleeing trainers or trainers trying to get into the town would be stopped. That included Mark, but he didn’t worry. He pushed his brownish-blond hair over his head, and grinned, heading towards his favorite ice cream shop in the city, his blue eyes sparkling.



Laira Koucho smiled at the Nurse Joy, and was on her way out the door when suddenly an explosion rocked the city, shattering glass windows for blocks. She stumbled forward out the door, and sprawled onto the ground. Three Pokeballs fell off of her belt and opened, revealing her Alakazam, Gengar, and Scyther. “Alakazam,” she gasped out, trying to catch her breath. “What’s happening?”


As the Psychic closed its eyes to try to discern what was upon them, Scyther and Gengar took up defensive positions beside her. Finally able to breath again, Laira spat  her dark purple ponytail out of her mouth. Glancing to her left, she reached out and put her black beanie back on, glanced down to make sure her boots were still on alright, then staggered to her feet. Scyther was immediately at her side, helping her up.


Her starter, Scyther had proved to be a very loyal Pokemon, and a terrific fighter, yet always had a heart for others, and rarely for itself. She smiled at him and he carefully removed his bladed claws. Laira pulled two of the last three Pokeballs from her belt and released the indwelt Pokemon. Her Kecleon and Venemoth sprang into existence, each instantly scanning for opponents out of habit.


Her Alakazam opened her eyes, and spoke telepathically to her trainer. Laira, they’ve destroyed the Cell terminal. Cell phones are useless. They’ve also cut all outside lines of communication to the city. Transmissions to satellite dishes are blocked by a Psionic barrier, which prevents trainers and Pokemon from leaving or entering the city. This has also cut the power to the entire city. What power’s still up is because of either Electric types, Generators, or batteries.


Laira growled, “Terrific,” she muttered, and stalked off towards the Global Police Station, to see if they knew what was going on. “I’ve beaten Whitney, and I can’t move on. Unless someone tells me what’s going on, someone’s gonna be sore tonight.” Others might have been astounded by the speed of her Alakazam’s assessment of the situation, but after six years with her, Laira wasn’t surprised one bit.



Finele Daigo frowned, staring at empty air. She tried to move forward again, but was again stopped by thin air. This shouldn’t be happening. She should have been a bit closer to Goldenrod by now. What in the world was going on? She stepped back a pace or two, and glanced at her Ninetails, “What do you make of it?” she asked. The foxy Pokemon growled in an almost whimpering way, and Finele guessed that Ruby had no idea what to make of it either.


She glanced at her Gardevoir, who was glaring at the point where the strange…barrier….was…


Finele’s gaze tightened, “Gardy, is that a Psychic Barrier?” she asked. The Pokemon nodded stiffly, its featured into a mask of hate such as none Finele could recall it ever having had before. It seemed to be straining at something. Suddenly, Gardevoir could take it no longer and was suddenly flung backwards into a tree. “GARDY!” Finele shouted, and ran over to her beloved Psychic. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she could hear her Pokemon growling, and footsteps rushing towards her. She stared at her Psychic’s face in shock. What had it been trying to do?


She heard a shout behind her and the snarls of her team. Well, snarls and a sharp hiss from her Zangoose. She whirled around, and saw six men, one of whom had a gun to Ruby’s head. The Ninetails glared at the man, growling softly, “Call off your fox,” he said darkly, “Or I’ll shoot your dog. My bullets are specially formulated, and could pass through Ho-oh’s fire itself without bothering it in the slightest. Now. Return your Pokemon.”


Finele glared at the man, and recalled her team. “I suppose,” she said, her gaze drifting to the “R” emblazoned on his chest, “That you want my Pokemon as well?” she asked harshly.


He glared at her, “That won’t be necessary. But I’m afraid,” he said, pulling another gun out of a holster he had had behind his legs, out of sight to her, “That I can’t let you go, either.” He pulled the trigger, and she barely had time to scream before the Tazer’s red-hot needles slammed into her, pumping her full of a thousand volts of electricity for four short seconds. She was unconscious before she hit the ground. “Area four secure!” the man said into a small radio, reholstering the small gun, “Outskirts of Goldenrod are secure. No one got away. Tagging the last one for Teleport,” he said, fastening a small tag onto her clothing, and stepped back as the long-range teleportation effect took its hold on the girl.


Steven thanked the cook, shook his hand, and continued on his way. There were so many people to know, and not enough time for him to get to know them. So far he had met the Security Crew, the Maintenance Crew, the Gardeners, and now the cooks. He smiled, then frowned as his cell phone beeped. He pulled the chrome silver device out of his pocket and flipped it open, “Yeah?” he asked, putting it to his ear, taking the required hair net off, and putting the fire red Indigo League baseball cap back onto his head, backwards, of course.


“We’ve got trouble,” it was Lance’s voice. “Saffron Town just reported an attack by a creature that resembles Mew. Ring any bells?” Steven grabbed his light brown trenchcoat from where he had put it to avoid it getting into the various foods, and put it on hurriedly. Lance didn’t give him a chance to answer the question he had posed, “Apparently we have an Altan nearby, and he’s letting us use his team to fly on on our way there.”


Steven nodded. The Altans, undisputed Masters of the Sky in every way, shape, and form, would be the perfect way to get to Saffron quickly and as safely as possible, “Thanks, but I’ve got Skarmory. I’m on my way now,” he replied.


He was about to hang up when Lance’s voice cut in, “Skarmory’s a Steel type, and will be useful in the fighting, but too slow to make it there in time. Hang on,” he said, and Steven could hear Lance talking with someone, sounded like Agatha, off to one side, then came back to the phone, “Change of plans, Agatha’s daughter just arrived. She’ll teleport us to Saffron. She’s the gym leader there, after all. One of Sabrina’s Pokemon will be there shortly,” Lance said, and the phone went dead.


Shortly was an understatement. In seconds, an Alakaam appeared next to him, and before Steven could put his cell phone in his pocket, he was in Saffron City, the Psychic already teleporting elsewhere. The other Elites were on either side of him, both busy releasing their Pokemon as fast as they could. Steven could only stare in awe at the creature in front of him. It was just as Lance had described it-lush, purple fur matted with fur, not of its own, but its victims; the trio of cranial lobes; the muscular body; the four-fingered hands-but it was even more terrifying in person.


For an instant, he couldn’t move, then the other Elites charged. Swallowing hard, he released his Pokemon, and followed his peers. He could dully hear the sound of a woman yelling orders, and a quick glance upwards revealed Sabrina barking orders from on top of a balcony, a Hypno and an Alakazam flanking her, firing as fast as they could at the creature, which hardly seemed affected by the combined attacks of what had to be a couple baker’s dozen trainers attacking it.


With a mere flick of its wrist-almost casual-a bolt of Psychic energy leveled a three-story mall, decimated within moments. Steven’s mind raced. There had to be something he could do. From somewhere, a gunshot went off, then another, and another. Each bullet was flicked away easily by the towering creature, and a bolt of Psychic energy traveling back at the shooter.


Steven stared as it paused for a moment, made a cup with one hand, then seemed to casually blow at a building that had many trainers crowded on its balcony, cheering on their Pokemon. From a quickly grown ball of pure white energy in the creature’s hand, a flurry of psionic beams flew towards the building, each targeting a different trainer or Pokemon perched on the building, and each one collapsed.


Steven stared in shock. That attack was one known as Psy Storm, and required tremendous energy. It normally fainted the user, but this Pokemon didn’t. Maybe it had something to do with the ball of energy. That wasn’t a normal part of the attack. In any event, the creature kept using Psy Storm. In came his Skarmory, and more and more Psionic beams began moving towards it, but it moved its metallic wings in the way each time and reflected each one. Steven suddenly became aware of a man with a heavy-duty machine gun that started firing at the Mew-like creature, only to receive a psionic beam to the head from the ball. Quickly, Steven picked it up, ducked behind cover, and aimed carefully. With the ball in one hand, the creature seemed unable to block bullets with the other. But the free hand could still do damage.


A wave of that hand, and his Skarmory was sent to crash into a building, making a yard-deep impression before disappearing from sight. Steven saw his other Pokemon scattered around the battlefield, all fainted. Growling softly to himself, he took aim with the rifle on the glowing sphere, and pulled the trigger.


What happened next was difficult to comprehend. Suddenly the ball seemed to fizzle, and implode in on itself. The creature looked at the suddenly very tiny sphere, which had become- to anyone close enough to tell-in the shape of the bullet, stopped at the heart of the sphere. A look of horror appeared, then suddenly the white shape exploded outward violently. A careening shine of pure white energy flew outwards in a perfect sphere, hammering into the ground, crushing window-sided walls, throwing cars, and sometimes leveling buildings.


Steven coughed, and looked up. Aside from the destruction left in the wake of the blast, there was no trace of the creature. Hurrying forward, Steven began recalling his Pokemon, wincing at the sharp pains in his legs. He wiped his forehead, and his fingers came away sticky. He looked at his hand, and, to his horror, saw blood on them. He was losing blood. He was losing blood! Suddenly he felt faint, and collapsed to the ground.



“It’s good to see you again, Mom,” Sabrina said, hugging Agatha, “I’m glad I didn’t inherit that accent of yours,” she grinned, and looked to the others, “Steven’s gonna be fine. From the blood on his fingers, I’d say he’s a bit, shall we say, squeamish when it comes to seeing blood. Well, at least his blood, for certain. He’ll be up and around, same old Steven you guys don’t know, in about an hour or so. He hit his head hard when he fell onto his Aggron.”


Lance snickered, then glanced out the window of the Saffron Community Hospital, and the humor faded. Twelve buildings leveled, over six hundred cars totaled, three thousand homeless-due either to the direct damage from the creature, or the wave of energy Steven caused-and over four hundred fifty dead. Humans, anyway. The death count for Pokemon was much, much higher. And both counts would only increase as the damage was excavated. The hospital was full, and they were actually standing in the lobby, with Steven sprawled over a bench.


Lance glanced up at the corridor. They’d have to move out of the lobby, soon, if the cots in the hall with patients on them was any indication. Lance nodded, “All right, I’ve got some people to meet about the new militia.” He said, “I’m sure it’ll get approval now. Sabrina, do you mind?” he asked.


The Psychic grinned, “Not at all,” she said, and released a Mr. Mime. Within seconds, Lance was in a board room in the Indigo Palace, where the waiting Altan military leaders were waiting for him.



Thompson sighed, and rubbed his eyes, “I don’t like this,” he muttered loud enough for the other three to hear, “The Engarans are going to invade, or maybe just flatten the whole country, whichever’s easier.” He was facing away from the table, looking out the window, longing to be young and innocent like the Kantans had been, before all this started.


“What makes you think that?” Ruffles shot back, in a bad mood of his own. A young Psychic had bested him easily in the Tinted Army’s gym, and he was still nursing his pride.


Thompson wasn’t in a good mood, and whilred around, his face incredulous, “What makes me think that?” he demanded, “I’ll tell you what! An Advanced Generation Mew shows up in the Indigo Plateau, nearly kills the Dark Elite, then kidnaps her, talking about LONT, then it shows up again in Saffron City, with a bloody psionic accelerator!” his eyes burned with frustration at not being able to do anything, “It’s just lucky for the Kantans that Steven destroyed the infernal thing.”


“Who knows what damage it may otherwise have caused,” Old Faithful said quietly, peeking up over the edge of the desk. The sight was humorous, and might have elicited a smile if not for the fact that the other three saw it all the time, and the mood the attack had put them in. “But there is another factor that we had not forseen. Johto.”


Sandra nodded, “Yeah, what’s with Team Rocket bottling up Goldenrod, then getting the Aqua and Magma leaders together deep in Ilex Forest?” she wondered aloud, waving her tail almost airily.


Ruffles sighed, “Look, it’s nothing, okay? They’re just trying to distract us, and, what do you know, they’re doing a pretty good job of it! Let’s stay focused on us, okay?”


Thompson shot to his feet, as did the Machamp, “We are not just talking about us anymore, Ruffles,” Thompson practically shouted, “We are talking about the protection of all the ideals that we hold dear. And the Kantans have some of those ideals in spades, as well as the Johtans, and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure they stay safe. Am I making myself clear?” he was shouting now, as loud as he could get.


“Gentlemen!” Old Faithful said, shooting Thompson and Ruffles each a disapproving look, “WE are here to help, not hurt each other. We are adjourned for the day.”


Sandra raised a paw, “But-“


“ADJOURNED!” Old Faithful said, more forcefully this time, and slammed his paws down on the table. Hard. The other three glanced at one another, though Redd and Ruffles tried not to glance at each other. They all knew the meeting was now over.



Bugsy sighed, and looked at Falkner, “What are we going to do?” he asked. “Goldenrod’s been bottled up by Team Rocket, Kanto was attacked by that weird Pokemon again, and the Global Police have proved useless in helping us bring in the Rockets! This has gone too far!” They were in Ecruteak, planning, or trying to plan, an attack on the Rockets to free Goldenrod, and wipe out the Rockets once and for all.


“What do you want us to do?” Chuck demanded, “We don’t have the manpower to drive off the Rockets.” He looked at his hands, and muttered, “My gym’s already tried, anyway.”


“As have mine,” Falkner said, “Their air defense is too strong. I’ve asked the Altans to back us up.”


“It’s no use,” Claire said, “My trainers tried too. The ones that got out said that they’ve got Sudowoodo in there as perimeter guards.”


“My Ghosts got in okay, although a Mightyena patrol gave them quite a scare,” Morty, the Gym leader of the Ghost types offered. All heads swiveled down to Morty, who smiled. “Got some good recon too. They have at least a hundred fifty trainers there, all armed with at least sidearms and at least three Pokemon. There’s no way that we could do this on our own. They’ve taken up all the defensible positions, and set up a Psychic barrier around Goldenrod, and they’ve cut all power and communication lines, including satellite, to the town.”


The other gym leaders stared at him, some with mouths open. Morty leaned forward, “Sometimes stealth pays. My ghosts said that they could hear you guys coming ten minutes before you actually appeared.”


Falkner frowned, “You heard my birds coming?”


Morty laughed, “No, but you were so high up it was easy to spot you almost right away. What you need to do is come in low and fast, then pop up just before you strike.” Blank looks came his way, then the looks were turned on each other, then back to him. “I took military strategy in Alto during my last vacation period, okay? Those guys SPECIALIZE in Flying types, so they know what they’re talking about. And they’ve been through at least three wars.”


The other seven sighed, and exchanged glances. Morty was single, and wasn’t still a kid. He was the only one who made trips that were educational, and not purely for rest and relaxation. “We’re going to need to be planning this assault more carefully,” he said, and he pulled a rolled up sheet of paper out of his backpack.  “Here’s the basic layout of the city and surrounding area.” As the gym leaders crowded around the map, Falkner’s palm pilot beeped. He pulled out the pointer and tapped the screen, then grinned and put it back in his pocket, “We’re getting Altan support. They’re sending their First Farfetch’d Division, the Sevententh Dodrio division, and the Fortieth Fearow Division to help us out.”


Morty nodded, “Good. Those are their elite divisions. I’m sure they’ll send a military planner as well, but it wouldn’t hurt to map out the obvious points.” He pulled out a red marker, and placed X’s on several points on the map, “Here are their anti-flyer Pokemon,” he placed several O’s on the map, “Here are their major staging points,” he carefully made a large circle around Goldenrod, “And here’s the limit of the barrier.” Morty picked up the map and put it into clips on the wall, “All right. Let’s see how much we can plan out, with us knowing this much.”


The other gym leaders all started speaking at once, and Morty covered his ears. “QUIET!” he shouted, “ONE AT A TIME!”



Sabrina choked back tears as she pulled another man out of the rubble of what had been the Fighting Dojo. How many people had died here today? How many people hadn’t needed to? If it wasn’t for Steven…she trailed off, shaking her head. She would NOT think like that. Where had that…thing gotten a Psionic Accelerator. As far as she knew, there were only five that had ever been made. One in the Kantan museum of science and history on Indigo Plateau, two were destroyed, one was in an Altan museum, and the fifth-Sabrina paled, and ran towards her gym. Oh no, oh please no!


She burst through the doors, startling a nurse Jennie, who was putting the finishing touches on dressing an arm fracture. Sabrina ignored them, and jumped onto the teleporter pad that would take her to her private sanctum. It took a few seconds for the mechanics to recognize her, and then she was in her private apartment. She jumped off the pad, slapped the hidden button, and tapped her foot impatiently as the hidden door slid ponderously open.


When she could barely slip through, she did so, and stopped short. Her face paled. It was gone. Her Psionic Accelerator was gone. Everything else was untouched, but her Psionic Acclerator was gone. It was gone. It was gone! Steven had destroyed HER Psionic Accelerator!


Sabrina’s eyes darkened. She wasn’t even supposed to be here! She was supposed to be on the Plateau, helping her mother plan her Wedding Anniversary Party! She was going to find that thing, though, and she would kill it. If it was the last thing she did. But she needed to get to the Indigo Plateau. If that thing had wanted hers, it would definitely want another close to Kanto. It was odd that it hadn’t attacked any other country yet. Sabrina grumbled and went back in her room. After the secret door was closed, she began throwing clothes into a bag. She would go to the Indigo Plateau, all right, and she’d make sure no one got the Psionic Accelerator.



Agatha sighed, and put her pen down into the pencil holder softly, but what she wanted to do was slam it down hard. All she had wanted was for Sabrina to help her plan her fiftieth wedding anniversary. Then the attack on Saffron happened, and now Sabrina wasn’t on the Plateau anymore. She rubbed her eyes and looked at Bruno, who stared back, “Um,” he began, “somehow I feel like my talents are being wasted here. If you have appetizers or something for me to try, I’m your man. But anything else…”


Agatha nodded, and smiled, “Ah, yes, I understand, Bruno. You may go.” The man stood up eagerly, and tried not to let Agatha see that he was hurrying out of the room. He did a very bad job of it. She put her head in her hands. She needed Sabrina. She was good at this type of thing.


A knock on her door made her look up. She smiled broadly. Sabrina smiled back. “Need some help?” she asked.



Lance walked out to the airfield, Steven trailing behind him. He was glad he was out here today. The sun was shining, not too warm, but not cold either. The sharp, tangy smell of petroleum products was in the air, along with the smell of warm concrete. Lance could never explain it to anyone, but it just had a certain…feel about it. Almost like a smell.


It wasn’t too far from the cargo plane that had just landed, and was just now shutting off its propellers. The jets roared by overhead, peeling apart, revealing missiles carried on the undercarriage for all to see. They were sleek, sharp fighting machines made for aerial domination, and had the blue and white emblem of Alto emblazoned on the top and bottom. The dual-engined aircraft swung around for a landing, revealing two small machine guns in the nose, each capable of firing a thousand rounds apiece.


The lower ramp of the cargo transport lowered, and what resembled a small tank rolled down the ramp. It was called an Armored Personell Carrier, if Lance remembered correctly, and had treads, thick armor, three machine guns, and a grenade launcher, in addition to the fully automatic rifles the troops inside it carried.


Another Personell Carrier rolled down the ramp, and as the first one neared Lance, it stopped. The second carrier continued to roll forward, and when they were on opposite sides of Lance, both doors opened, and a man in the light blue Altan military uniform stepped out. “Champion Lance Carter?” the man asked. Lance nodded, and the man extended his hand, “Colonel Jack Daniels of the Altan Air Force. I was told you needed some help training your new militia?”


Lance grinned, “Yes sir, Colonel. They’re green, and, to be honest, no one in Kanto knows much about military warfare. The Elites and I would be obliged if you could give us a course on military strategies?”


The Colonel nodded, “Yes sir, we’d be happy to. We’re under orders to give you anything you ask for, within limits. This is certainly within the limits. Where are we going to stay?” he asked.


Lance smiled, “I thought you might wanna stay by your birds. I’ve assigned you a section of the airport. Do with it what you will.”


Colonel Daniels nodded, “Thank you sir, we will.”


Lance, feeling dismissed, nodded, turned, and left, with Steven trailing behind him. Steven kept glancing back over his shoulder at the A-26 Warbirds as the fighters taxied in and took up positions next to the cargo plane.



Jiang Fernandez and Joan Paula Jones stood in front of the podium together, in front of a packed crowd in Hoenn. Just the mention that these two would appear together had drawn in reporters from all over the country. The possibility that they would stand together brought them in from all over the world.


Joan was dressed in her finest sea blue dress, one with the Horsea and Goldeen all over it that she had gotten just for the occasion, with Corsola earrings, and medium red high heels. Jiang was dressed in a fiery hot red suit, with a yellow vest inside the suit coat, and light red pants.


Jiang glanced at his watch, having second thoughts for the upteemth time. But there was no backing out now. The room was packed, and reporters were elbowing each other fiercely for room for anything. Jiang wondered again if they shouldn’t have gotten a bigger room for this, despite Joan’s assurances that this room would be fine. Fat lot she knew, stinking Aquan.


As if reading his mind, she glanced at him, and her expression tightened just slightly. Obviously she liked working with him as much as he liked working with her. Not that it mattered. They’d lose most of their funding if they didn’t do this. Jiang stepped up to the podium and took a deep breath. “Good morning.” He said, “Thank you for coming. I apologize for having each of you searched on your way here, but we had to maintain security.”


Jiang took a deep breath and dove into the accusations, like a Cyndaquil into lava. “Ladies and Gentlemen, We are here today to accuse Lance Jonas Carter of murder on two counts. First, the murder of Giovanni, whom he captured on his raid on the Celadon Game Corner. The Second is the murder of Karen Williams, the Dark Elite. Although the Elite Four is saying that Karen is simply out of contact, my sources say that she is nowhere to be found. That can only mean that she is dead. We, Team Aqua and Team Magma, hereby present these charges against Lance, who was acting in his own cowboy-type style justice in murdering these two people. I’m not saying that Giovanni was innocent, but he was denied a fair trial. By Lance. Kanto, you have twelve hours to remove Lance as Champion, or provide proof to the contrary. That is all we have to say.” He said, and he and the woman leader of Team Aqua left the platform amid the hail of questions.



The director of Engaran Intelligence watched the Press Conference. Everything was proceeding according to plan. He looked down at the raven-haired prisoner in the highest security cell on the globe. Soon, Karen would remember everything that she was meant to do. Soon, Karen would be back on his side. The former Dark Elite shifted slightly as he watched her. Soon, the world would be his, and with it, the power of Lont.


The director of Engaran Intelligence smiled.