A dark figure crept into Silph Company’s headquarters in Saffron City, making sure that he wouldn’t be discovered by any of the graveyard shift employees. He wasn’t worried that he would be observed, his Porygon would take care of that to that. He just had to make it there, use the disk to reprogram the personnel files, and get out. All, of course, without being caught. If he were so much as spotted, then people might recognize him, and that would likely upset the timelines, possibly even destroying the time-space continuum. Of course, he wouldn't become famous for several more years, but time travel, Celebi had told him, was ALWAYS terribly risky.
Especially with one of the Pokemon that he carried with him. It was a Porygon. These people would know about it, of course, as the Porygon Project had taken a good twenty years to develop a working model, but at this time period, they were halfway through, and the Porygons were still being programmed, and the specialized holographic emitters were still experimental. They wouldn't have a fully three-dimensional Porygon for another ten years or so. Once again, if they saw HIS Porygon, they would be suspicious, and would undoubtedly call for an investigation that would, he was pretty sure, mess up the time line a lot more than he was planning for.
It was hard to believe that he and his partner were the only surviving humans. Aside, of course, from that traitor. She had become more powerful than the Legendary that had called upon her talent. The great Pokemon had been overthrown, and SHE had insinuated her way to power. The very first thing that she had done had been to declare war on all of the legendaries, because, she said, they were far too powerful. This had launched a full-scale war across the planet, which she eventually lost. The last remaining humans, along with the Pokemon Celebi, created a time machine that would transport two humans back in time to attempt to repair the timeline. The remaining humans would remain behind and destroy the time machine and Celebi would allow himself to be killed so that no further time travel would be possible.
He understood what would happen if he failed. Humanity would die, maybe not as he knew it, but it would die, or just end in a series of time leaps to the past, attempting to change the future. He was humanity's last hope. Well, he and his partner. He could not allow the Dark Queen to rise to power. The Altan would tear apart everything his masters in what had been Kanto had striven to protect.
No, he would not let that happen. He had to kill her. He had to kill the Dark Queen before she could even begin to consolidate her power on the Twin Leagues. Of course, the Twin Leagues were still referred to as the Johto and Indigo Leagues here, eighteen years past from the year he had come. According to history, this was the only way to change the course of events.
It was his job, and that of his partner, to make sure that that wouldn’t happen. It was harder for her, though, because she was more widely known, even in this time period. In a way. If anyone were to see her, that person or persons would have to die, because if they got word out, the game would be up, and the Invasions would begin.
That could not be allowed.
The boy crept to the door, and, without a sound, it opened under Porygon’s electronic command, and the brown-haired teenager passed through. He cast about, looking for the computer that he would need, went over to it, and activated it. He heard a soft click as Porygon closed the door, and then the lights came up. Quickly, the boy’s hands moved over the keyboard, inputting the necessary commands to transfer a particular person to a particular place. Within five minutes, it was done. Poprygon appeared from the computer monitor, and coalesced into its battling form, only to be dematerialized by the Pokeball that the man held in his hand
In another ten, the boy was outside of the city, and moving at a dead run for the Saffron City’s outskirts, his weathered hat pulled low over his face. He smiled beneath the bandana that hid the lower half of his face. He’d have six years to plan the next operation. He only hoped that it took longer than that for the changes to filter through the time line, or he and his partner would both vanish, as if they’d never been.
According to the scientists who’d studied the temporal sciences, he’d have six and a half years to continue his existence, if he took the path upon which he had just begun irrevocable changes. There was no going back now. There was just the road ahead, and the hope that they’d be able to change the future for the better.
If they failed, however…
The boy shook his head, not wanting to think of such things. He would succeed. Failure was not an option. He WOULD complete his objective, or die trying.
Lorelei Belle Winters had to die.
As everyone knew, Pokemon battling came from the ancient hunting skill that hunters used using domesticating the wild creatures of the same name. Eventually, technology became available that lowered the need for Pokemon in nearly all areas life except for the military. Pokemon were used mainly as creatures of war, and, to train new recruits, the instructors had the people controlling the Pokemon battle each other. Eventually, as things settled down, the general need for a military relaxed, and Pokemon training fell into disuse.
Of course, as with a lot of things, old things become popular again, especially with the release of a specially designed, Psionically tuned piece of equipment that allowed it to capture entire Pokemon within the device. These were usually clunky, and difficult to use. Eventually, someone came up with the idea to put it in something, as the shape of the device could not be changed, or it would not work. They found a nearly round Acorn, and began implanting the device into them. These devices were difficult to make and tune, however, and always had the chance of simply killing the Pokemon, so they did not find much use, especially as a Psychic willing to allow humans to enslave its fellow Pokemon was extremely rare.
Eventually, technology caught up, and a technological equivalent came into being, one that guaranteed the health of the Pokemon. These became known as PokeCatchers, and the Pokemon training movement was born. Pokemon, up until then peaceful neighbors with humans, were suddenly being hunted, and pitted against each other against their will, due to some quirk in both the technological Pokeball and its Psionic predecessor. Humans and Pokemon went to war. It quickly stalemated, and the two sides formed a tentative peace, with an agreement that had ten major points, known today as The Agreement. In the agreement, Pokemon were granted certain rights, namely that of free will, and, in return, humans would not catch too many Pokemon, and respect “catch-free” zones, where Pokemon that did not want to be captured with Pokeballs could retreat to safety. In return, Pokemon wouldn't try to annhilate humanity.
After a few tenuous years, and more than a few battles and wars between the humans and the Pokemon, the Tenfold Agreement took hold of both sides, and things began to accelerate. Pokemon began to tentatively enjoy battling other Pokemon, and being able to be healed immediately, and humans immensely enjoyed the newly rejuvenated art of Pokemon Training.
Over the years, various leagues and conventions bloomed in various countries, and even common rules became common throughout the civilized world. More and more Pokemon began to emerge from the “catch-free” zones to be caught, and participate in tournaments.
Scientists, with the Pokemon's permission, of course, began studying these powerful creatures, and made a discovery. Pokemon's tremendous powers, both offensive and defensive, were made possible by a unique organ known as the Carentamous Assembly. Generally, there were seventeen variations, and they were given names by what it appeared their abilites were. As scientists studied further, they discovered that some Pokemon had affinities for techniques that were not of their “type.” Thus, scientists began to categorize Pokemon as having two types. Some scientists argue that while the majority of Pokemon have only two classes, some have one or two additional “minor” types, which were designated as tertiary types. However, not all scientists agree with this assessment, so Pokemon are classified with only two types.
But most Pokemon trainers don't care about the scientific aspect of Pokemon training, and simply enjoy battling each other, sometimes in front of massive crowds.
The glare of the lights, the roar of the crowd, the feeling of the rough padding underneath of her. It was enough to make a girl cry, Lorelei thought. She watched her opponent carefully, not wanting to let her opponent get the best of her. She had trained hard all year for the tournament, and she wouldn’t let him take it away now.
She was Lorelei Belle Winters, three-time champion of the tournament in the five to ten Pokemon Battling category of the Allnian National Tournament. If she won this match, then she would have broken the record for the number of consecutive wins by a person in her age group.
As almost everyone in the non-League countries knew, the Allnian National Tournament of Alto was a very elite tournament. One in which only a small percent of those that attempted to enter would actually be able to compete. Once there, the competition was stiff, and only the best would make it past the first round. The final round, as all hard-core fans of the Tournament knew, was a no-holds barred, knock-out, drag-out fight. Once all of one person's Pokemon were fainted, then the other trainer had to recall his or her Pokemon, and then the two would fight each other hand to hand. Some considered this barbaric, but there was really no risk of injuries, because with Chansey and Psychic teleporters, a person could be healed almost instantly. After the fight was over, of course.
Of course, this was an option that people generally avoided, if it was only one or more pure Pokemon Trainer, but if both were generally competent hand-to-hand fighters, the dueling was usually expected. The founders of the Allnian National Tournament did not want it to be just another contest that tested a person’s knowledge, strategic prowess, or being able to shout orders quickly; they wanted it to be an evaluation of the individual’s physical prowess.
While the competition was open to anyone from abroad, those who entered the contest were generally from Alto. The handful that made it into the tournament internationally were generally excellent scrappers. Sometimes they were boxers, and sometimes they were wrestlers, but only rarely were they purely Pokémon Trainers.
Lorelei stared at her opponent, feeling her lungs gasping for air. It had been a long match, and she wasn’t sure if she could win. If she timed everything just right, and didn’t make too many mistakes, then maybe she’d be able to win. But then again, maybe not. She noticed the gleam of determination in her opponent’s eyes, offset by the mixture of sweat and blood that poured down his face, like, she knew, the fluid that was dripping down her face as well.
Her opponent’s name was Bruno. Apparently he was a superb Pokemon fighter, specializing in Fighting types. He probably trained with his Pokemon, Lorelei guessed, or he probably wouldn’t have such quick reflexes. He had surprised her in the beginning of the match because of his sheer power. That was, really, his only weakness. He’d trained up, and now he was strong, true, but he couldn’t move as quickly as she could. She’d managed to take advantage of that, but he’d landed quite a few good hits on her.
Now it was an endurance contest. Who could last the longest. They were both losing blood, and within ten minutes, Lorelei guessed, neither of them would be able to fight anymore. But that was all right, the battle would be decided long before then. In a match like this, ten minutes was an eternity.
She didn’t have to look around to remember what the battlefield looked like. It was a raised fifty square-yard square, with steps going up to the raised area from all four sides. If either she or Bruno were to step off of the raised area (or any of their Pokemon, back before they had all fainted), they would lose.
Suddenly, the boy was charging at her. Lorelei tried to dance out of the way, but the boy was too fast. His fist struck the side of her jaw, and she flipped in the air, and came crashing down onto the ground, but was already moving her feet, trapping his legs between hers, and taking him down with her.
Lorelei rolled away, and got up, wincing as her jaw popped. She raised her fists wearily, and darted forward. Bruno was getting up, and raised a fist towards her. Lorelei, unable to slow herself down, ran directly into his outstretched arm, and was knocked down again.
She gritted her teeth, and rolled backwards, narrowly missing Bruno’s kick. When her weight came fully onto her hands, she pushed off, and, executing a flip, landed on her feet in a defensive position. Lorelei swallowed, and hoped that she was standing where she was hoping she was standing. It had become obvious to her that she wouldn’t be able to beat Bruno by martial arts, the kid was just too good. But maybe, if she used some non-standard tactics, she might have a chance at winning the title again this year.
All she needed was Bruno to attack her. She didn’t have long to wait. Within a second of her having gotten back onto her feet, Bruno was charging her. She waited until he was nearly upon her, then moved out of the way, and gave him a push. Surprised, Bruno’s momentum kept him going, and he tumbled down the stairs, and onto the ground.
The buzzer sounded, and Lorelei smiled. She had won! For the fourth year in a row! She looked over at the Pokemon enclosure, and saw the force fields drop, and her Sneasel, followed closely by the rest of her team, ran towards her. She looked towards her opponent, and found him glowering at her. Somehow, she had the feeling that some day, they would meet again. She heard some people booing her from the stands mixed in with the cheers. Yes, it had been a dirty move, but she had still won.
Then, suddenly, she was out of breath, and she could feel the impacts of the blows that she had taken throughout the battle. Her lungs felt as if they were on fire, her stomach as if someone had just run over it, and her jaw was so sore that she wasn’t sure if she was able to talk.
Then her legs gave out, and she fell towards the ground, but soft, furry hands caught her, and helped her back to her feet. She looked at her Sneasel and gave him an appreciative smile, then turned shakily to the crowd, and raised one aching arm, to their—for the most part—approving roar.
“And the winner of the Five to Ten Age Category in the Altan National Allnian Tournament is,” she heard the announcer say over the loudspeaker, and smiled, knowing that she’d just gone down in history, “for the fourth year in a row, Lorelei Belle Winters!” The girl heard the loudspeaker boom, and heard the crowd roar even louder, and she smiled as best she could. “That’s a new record, folks,” the announcer continued, “No one has ever won four consecutive years in a row in the Five to Ten Category.” She wasn’t smiling because of them, it was because once again, she had beaten the odds, and won the National Championship.
Even if she hadn’t exactly beaten Bruno. But that was how she did things. She didn’t approach things head on. She came in from the side, figured out how to beat the system, and took advantage of any minor advantages she could get. Only if there weren’t any other options, would she take a frontal approach.
And, once again, her philosophy had allowed her to carry the day. She smiled, basking in the moment. She couldn’t really enjoy it, however, because somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered when the way she lived at her life would get her in trouble.
Lorelei looked up from her bandaged arm, and up at her family’s doctor. He’d actually been assigned to her the first year she’d competed, and, since then, he’d been hired full-time. He was one of the best doctors in Alto, and had been working for the Tournament for most of his career.
True, Doctor Strobold wasn’t THAT old, she thought to herself, probably somewhere in his thirties. He was pretty tall though, but Lorelei didn’t mind that much. He was a good doctor. “There,” he said, smiling at her, “In a week or two, you’ll be as good as new. Except for the cut you got from that roll you did towards the end.”
Lorelei looked over at the large mirror in the room, and smiled at her reflection. She had bruises all over her face, her left arm was in a sling, her right was bandaged, and she had a nasty cut along her cheek. She couldn’t remember feeling it open, but Strobold had insisted that it had occurred when she had gotten into position to beat Bruno. “Is it gonna leave a scar?” she asked, raising her right hand up to touch the line of dried blood, as if fascinated by it.
Strobold shook his head, “I’m afraid it will,” he said, “There’s nothing I can do about that. If you let me get a Blissey or a Healtia in here, you’d be back to normal within a week.” He said, looking slightly annoyed that she had refused any treatment except what he could do by himself. Lorelei stared at him for a couple seconds. She didn't like Pokemon healing her, and he knew it. Strobold shook his head and chuckled, “Ah well. I don’t think there’s anything else I can do. You better get going,” he said, smiling, “You’ve got a press conference to go to.”
Lorelei grinned. Of course. She’d nearly forgotten about the Tournament Press Conference. The winner of the tournament’s age groups would host it. The Five to Ten category was the first age division to finish, so she’d kick things off. She’d have about an hour until the Eleven to Fourteen age category finished their championship, if the last several years were any indication.
Lorelei tugged at her jacket over her right arm, trying to hide as much of the bandage as she could. She hated that her left arm was in a sling, but there wasn’t much that she could do about it. She wasn't, after all, about to let a Chansey work on her. She couldn't even understand it. Unless a Psychic translated. And who knew if they translated correctly. She sat in a limousine, which was taking her back to her house. It wasn’t as much a house as a mansion, really.
She didn’t really like it, but it was a place to call home. It was the largest house on the largest spread of privately owned land on the island of Alto, but Lorelei didn’t really care. True, it was nice that she had the equivalent of her own apartment to call her own, and the mansion had its own Nurse Joy and Pokémon Professor to help her with the Pokémon she was raising.
Within a few years, she was sure, she’d be allowed to set out and try to defeat the gym leaders of the Altan League. Maybe then she’d be able to join the elite group of trainers within Alto known as the Skye Isle Club. True, she wouldn’t be truly be able to be a member until she was eighteen, but it was most definitely a worthy goal.
She glanced down at the open book on her lap, made a face, and slapped it shut. The red hue of the back cover of the Indigo League Rulebook stared up at her, and she sighed. She would have gone to Kanto in a few days if it hadn’t been for that stupid rule. She’d been catching and training Pokémon for the last several years, and now she’d discovered that the minimum age for Pokémon training was ten! Further, any Pokémon she would have caught before she was ten, she wouldn’t be able to use in the League. That meant that she’d have to start completely over, with an entirely new team.
She would enter the Indigo League, Lorelei thought to herself, but not until she was ready. She glanced across the limousine at her Sneasel, who stared back at her. He had, according to both Nurse Joy and Professor Silph, grandson of the founder of Silph Company, chosen a mate from one of the Professor’s Sneasels, and that it would be a matter of time before Sneasel’s mate had little Sneasel running around.
She shook her head, and grinned. Whoever had started that “Pokemon hatch from eggs” theory was definitely mistaken. Well, for most Pokemon, anyway. Some, such as birds and reptiles, did hatch from eggs, but the vast majority of Pokemon were born as miniature versions of their parents, with some minor exceptions.
It would be nice, she considered, to have little Sneasel. She could start up an all-Sneasel team, and have them be her starters. True, she’d have massive weaknesses to Blaziken, and other Fighting or Fire types, but for the first few gyms, she probably wouldn’t have any problems. Kanto’s first three gyms in Viridian City, Pewter City, and Cerulean City were, after all, Ground, Rock, and Water, respectively. The Cerulean Gym Leader, or, rather, the best Cerulean Gym Leader used Starmie and Staryu, so she’d have an advantage, at least for those Pokemon. Whether she’d be able to beat the others would depend upon her skill as a trainer, and how well she’d trained her team by then.
She smiled, and leaned back into the soft leather of the cushions, and closed her eyes. She tried to ignore the aching from all over her body, and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of battles in Kanto, with an all-Sneasel team, defeating trainer after trainer. She had made it to Cerulean City, and was just about to challenge the gym leader when her driver woke her up, and told her that she was at her house.
Lorelei heard her mother call her for supper, and sighed. She had just gotten started reading the rules of the Johto League, and she had wanted to get a good distance into it before she put it down. She sighed. The Altaln League would only let her use two of her five-Pokémon team, but it was better than nothing, especially because she got to choose which two to use in competition, but the Johto League, like the Indigo League, wouldn't let her use any of them.
She looked at the ceiling. Obviously, she’d choose Sneasel, but which other Pokémon? Entrophen, Duskull, Haunter, or Graveller? She’d have to think about it.
Lorelei started as she suddenly remembered that her mother had called her to supper. It would be a special supper, too! Her brother would be there. He’d been gone for several months, attending a business college. He’d graduated a week previously, and had returned to Fogh for a celebration and her tournament.
As she hurried down the staircase, she considered how amazing her brother was. Somehow, while studying hard in business college, he’d somehow found the time to get a job at Silph Company’s Management branch, and have an active social life as well, all the while maintaining a good grade point average. Brandon was a fun brother. He always brought her home something nice from his school in Hoenn, plus, the one time she’d visited him in the archipelago country, he’d let her drive his car around a parking lot. That had been lots of fun.
Now he was home, and he was going to stay home. Silph company had approved his transfer request to Alto, and he had worked his way up to nearly her father’s position. It was really quite an impressive achievement.
Lorelei heard what sounded like Nurse Joy and Professor Silph talking in the Pokemon Center, and glanced in quickly as she passed it, and grinned as she saw both of them sitting down across from each other, drinking coffee. Their relationship had been progressing romantically for several months, now, though neither apparently realized it, but this was the first time she’d actually seen them talking with each other outside of what their professions demanded of them.
Nurse Joy actually worked nearly full-time, due to her handling a fair percentage of all the non-critical cases that came into the main Fogh Pokemon Center, and it’s outlying Centers. When she had gotten back from the tournament, Silph had told her that Sneasel’s mate was pregnant, and it would be about a two months before the Sneasel babies would be born.
Lorelei couldn’t wait. She’d be out of the sling and bandage long before that, so she’d be able to take better care of them. From what she’d heard, Sneasel were the best Pokemon for getting out of enclosures. She’d have to be at the top of her game to keep track of them all. Either that, or get Professor Silph to inject sub-dermal locater chips into each one.
Lorelei jumped down the last several stairs, and hurried around the last corner to the dining room. What she saw was far beyond what she had ever imagined. Her mother and father were staring at Brandon, who was glaring at her father. Nobody moved, and Lorelei thought of the old expression about cutting tension with a knife. It was certainly accurate now.
She cleared her throat, and her family jumped, then looked at her. “Um,” she asked quietly, “Did I miss something?”
Lorelei looked around the table suspiciously. No one was making eye contact with her. Well, Brandon was, but not for very long. Something was up. The excitement that she'd had was quickly quashed by the tension. Even the prototype “Pokedex” couldn't make up for the tension. She quietly shoveled another mouthful of rice into her mouth, and reached for her glass of water.
This was very odd. The tension hadn’t let up when they had sat down to eat. If anything, it had increased. That meant that whatever was going on involved her, she guessed. But what exactly could be this bad? It was like the time her then-Geodude, having just learned Dig from an experimental Technical Machine, had dug up her mother’s flower bed.
Except then she hadn’t been quiet. She’d just yelled at her for just under a half hour. So it was something more serious, then. What could that be, though?
Lorelei swallowed the rice, took a drink of water, and glanced at her father, and noticed that both he and her mother were looking at her, but both quickly looked away. She sighed and slammed her glass down onto the table. “All right,” she demanded, “What did I do?”
Her father grimaced, and glanced at her mother. Brandon shook his head, and blurted out, “They’re moving, Lorelei. That’s what they don’t want to tell you. They’re leaving Alto behind.”
Lorelei felt her blood run cold, and looked to her father, “Is this true?” she asked quietly, forcing herself not to shout about how unfair it was until she knew whether or not it was true.
“Yes,” her father said, still not making eye contact, “We’re moving away from Alto. I can’t see us returning in the foreseeable future. I’ve been offered a job as a national supervisor. I had to take it.”
Lorelei felt the blood drain from her face, and actually hearing the words spoken from her father somehow took away all of her motivation to fight. “Don’t worry,” she heard her mother say, “It won’t be that bad. You’ll make new friends, and I hear the schools there are very good. And they have an excellent League.”
Lorelei gripped the arms of her chair to keep herself upright, and forced herself to ask the questions she’d been dreading, “How long?” she whispered, “How long until we move?”
“I gave me three week’s notice today. We’ll take a week to pack things up,” her father said, staring down at his plate, but looking as if he weren’t hungry anymore, “So just over a month.”
“But,” Lorelei said, “Sneasel’s children will be born in two months,” she whispered, “Will we be able to take Sneasel’s mate with us?”
Her parents looked at one another, but didn’t say anything. “Tell her,” her brother said coldly, “Tell her where we’re moving to, and why she can’t take any of her Pokemon with her.”
Lorelei’s head shot up at that, and her eyes were as wide as they could go. “What?” she demanded, “I can’t bring my team with me?”
Her mother took a deep breath, and replied, “Because we’re moving to Kanto.”