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Gift of the Protector: Fractured Unity

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Prologue: A New Dawn

It was the dead of night, well after midnight. Frozen in my bed, I cursed the brash sounds of thunderclaps keeping me wide awake. Cascades of rain flowed down the eves of my small apartment building in torrents. Brilliant flashes of lightning revealed these swift rivers and tumbling waterfalls to me, cloaking the entire scene outside my tiny window in purest white. Amid the immaculate display of organic photography, my every heartbeat anxiously awaited the inevitable crash of thunder to follow the bright light. Time, bridging each flash of lightning and every rattle of wooden floorboards, remained a carpeted mystery, ever-changing and amorphous as lucid dreams.

Come to think of it, this isn’t the first time I’ve been “trapped awake” while knowing I’d be better off sleeping. You see, I haven’t been able to stay asleep for the past few nights. My mind’s been racing with thoughts. Certain nights, I would stay awake in thought alone; my contemplative brooding ranging from my current situation to the cute girl at work I’ve had a crush on. Other nights would be filled with imagination, with fascinating bursts of creativity yearning for an outlet strangely absent from my life. And still others, I would drift off completely into a combination of thought and imagining, fully immersing myself into another world. A world where I went on adventures with Pokemon. Only in my recent dreams could I access these dizzy imaginings.

Dreams…That’s what they’re called. Psychologically speaking, dreams are inherently mysterious. But dreams for me had somehow changed over the past few weeks. They had evolved; morphing into a separate world, filled with color and light. It was a world I would frequently allow myself to become immersed into for hours upon hours. What made them so entrancing? For starters, the scenery around me would always change, but the feeling remained the same. Sometimes, there were expansive visions of wide, panoramic scenes. Other times, there were paradoxes; simultaneous sunrises and sunsets, concepts the eyes cannot grasp, but strangely enough, the mind can. Rarely, I would become enveloped completely by the scenery, living in a land with luscious green gardens overlooked by marble balconies dotting the hillsides, their lofty visages supported by gilded buttresses rising from a thick mist of clouds and sea. They were places I’d never been to, places so whimsically dreamt up that they would be forgotten before dawn; impossible to touch, yet indubitable in regards to their effect on me.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve done nothing but indulge in my bizarre dreams; taking naps during the day to try and escape from reality. Actually, that’s not all true. I wasn’t trying to escape regular reality as much as I was trying to escape my reality. And who could blame me? I didn’t dream since the accident. Sure, I slept a lot, but now…something was different. I felt as if I was satisfying a creative side of me, or rather allowing for creativity to take hold of me. Strange indeed, but the places felt real enough. And as for the Pokemon, they were real too. I questioned my sanity for a moment. Why did I wonder so much about what Pokemon were like when I lived in a world full of them? Let me just say that one bad experience with the creatures can really ruin your perspective. But I don’t want to be paralyzed by fear any longer—the dreams I’ve been having are too exciting to pass up! I have a life of my own to live out; wasting away and fantasizing in dream worlds won’t do much good. I can make those visions that I have real; I can overcome the past. I have to take the first step of going out and doing it myself! But if I’m going to undertake a Pokemon journey, shouldn’t I be well-rested on the dawn of my departure?

Cold wails from the passing storm allowed me to focus on something external in the world, nature’s strength was truly something to behold. I ran my hand through my light bronze hair like a comb. Then I pulled myself up from bed and whipped my feet out from under cream linen sheets and onto an icy cement floor. The floor was freezing! I made haste to put my slippers on, which I had left in the kitchen of my small apartment. As I paced around in searching, the loud crash of thunder was deafening. I trembled without volition. I hated sudden noises! My disdain derived from being startled by the unexpected. There is a lot to say about unpredictable events, especially in our world. As for the storm, we were in dire need of rain in this part of Kanto, so it was at least welcome in that regard. However, soon enough, I’d be leaving it all behind.

Pouring myself a tall glass of water, I glanced over last week’s paper. I felt disconnected, isolated even. I was on my own, with memories that were not my own. It all began two years ago. After taking the glass to my narrow lips and forcing a sip, I pushed the old newspaper aside, uncovering my diary from underneath. It was a small notebook, a durable collection of tatty parchment bound by a russet leather strap. I flipped through the pages slowly. Even my handwriting changed. What was there that hadn’t?

I turned back to my earlier entries. The first few pages were blank. I came upon text soon enough in the form of a simple question written in sharp, block like characters: “What happened before my memory loss?”

Silently, I read the next paragraph to myself; hardly remember even writing this entry. “Monday, June 9th, 21 EKNR. Recovery has been slow. I remember my name obviously. I’m Christian Feyera. I also remember up until my seventeenth year. The problem is I’m nearing twenty, and there’s hardly an adequate information trail for me to follow between then and now. No alibi, no paperwork, absolutely nothing useful! It’s as if a part of my life disappeared! What’s worse is I’m never up to date on any current events; it’s terrible. I just sort of exist now, trapped in chronic bouts of confusion. I hope that I can at least find a job to support myself now that Aunt Bethany left to go back to Agate…Her advice was to stay away from Pokemon because they caused my memory loss.”

The next entry was short and simple. “Friday, June 27th, 21 EKNR. Luckily, I managed to find a job. Though it’s nothing special, I’m focusing on paying my bills.” For a while, that’s all that really mattered to me, because it gave me security. “I have a small place where I feel relatively safe.” Too bad that complacency was beginning to fade away. Pensively, I kept reading.

Tuesday, July 1st, 21 EKNR. I’ve finally made some headway! Academic records reveal that I attended Kanto’s University, School of Genealogical Studies. I contacted the school, and they confirmed my attendance and doctorate. Imagine that? I can’t believe it! What happened to me? Where did my memory go?” I stiffened my posture, reading those words sent a chill down my spine. “It was an intensive, three-year program in Saffron City. I finished it in half the time, starting at age seventeen. I asked them to mail my research materials and diploma.”

Thursday, July 10th, 21 EKNR. This is incredible! Charizard Express Mail brought my transcripts and academic records today. I’ve earned a doctorate in Pokemon Bioinformatics! I’m published too, under the name Doctor Feyera! I’ll admit, this is all very strange. I’m happy to be learning about what happened during my gap of memory lapse, but frustrated to find that the academic degrees I’ve earned are totally useless to me! All that hard work and I can’t remember a dime’s worth of tuition! Curse my fate! Curse the Pokemon that did this to me and their wicked masters! Sometimes I become so angry I can only see in red. It doesn’t seem fair. I hardly had a chance to use my Pokemon knowledge, despite being qualified to do so. And since I hate what Pokemon did to me, it doesn’t look like I’ll be going back to researching them anytime soon.”

I thought about the oddity of having done all that schooling for naught. My diploma was somewhere in storage now. It didn’t matter; I couldn’t use it to do anything. Through memory loss, I’d been stripped of any academic prestige I once held; though that didn’t stop me from occasionally flaunting a hallow title. Call it my pride, call it a label, the writing was on the wall. It was the only proof of who I was, and who I am.

Flipping to a more recent entry, I found my handwriting had slenderized, and was a lot less sloppy. “Wednesday, November 12th, EKNR 21. I’ve been doing some information digging to unearth pieces from the past two years. Unfortunately, my current list of contacts isn’t much help. About half the names mentioned in my publication lead to nowhere, and the other half are members of the DBC’s ‘Gideon Group’. I also found out that most of my work at Kanto University took place in the form of private internships. According to the dean, I was hardly ever on campus; always working on off-site projects directed by the senior scientists and researchers instead. No luck otherwise; retrograde amnesia still has me in the dark.”

Next to that entry, I came across a clipping of myself shaking hands with a white haired man in a charcoal grey dress suit. His eyes were half closed. Faces sometimes looked familiar, but I could never quite make the jump to naming them. He may have been one of the other researchers or even a professor in charge of reviewing my work. It was taken at least a few years ago, back when I had shorter hair. I wore a narrow sapphire tie and a black suit jacket with a faint pinstriped vest underneath. A small note on the side of it said “Dissertation Presentation”. This was probably the height of my academic glory, clearly defining when I had peaked as a researcher.

I read the caption under the attached photograph, “I’ve always considered myself a researcher and a scientist at heart; even before the amnesia. I’ve had an inquisitive mind from young and at least I can remember that. I know the quest for knowledge is important, imperative even, especially now that I’m looking for answers…”

Peering over at the clock, I smiled to myself. My retentive personality might’ve been the best clue I had. “…I also know there’s much work to be done in this vast world! With a plethora of Pokemon inhabiting the planet, it’s always been a hope of humanity’s to understand them. An airtight encyclopedia depicting all of the Pokemon species in the world was a distant dream, but nonetheless fascinating. This curiosity originally led me to the path of empirical research during my early teens. Of course, all this was before I was attacked and lost nearly everything thanks to Pokemon. Pokemon are frightening creatures. Or rather, ever since the attack and amnesia, they’ve frightened me. I’ve lost faith in my ability to be around them and feel safe, even after all those years learning about them. Being psychologically barred from intermingling with them, my logic at this point is simple: I need to gain enough courage to be around Pokemon again. Plenty of trainers get along with Pokemon just fine. Therefore, I need to become a Pokemon trainer before I can interact with Pokemon. Hopefully then I can research again. And get my memories back.”

I stopped reading and stretched. In retrospect, I should probably have mentioned to the regional professor that I’ve been — for lack of a better word — frightened by Pokemon ever since ‘the incident’ two years back. The thing is, I don’t think it will be hard to fool him into giving me one; I’m half-way decent at manipulation. And besides, ever since the war professors have been handing out Pokemon to anyone with half a brain. According to the Pokemon League, the practice is good for business.

If ‘the incident’ does come up today, I’d dislike to talk about in great detail with Oak. I’d have to be quick about it, so that I don’t get too upset. I’d say something along the lines of “I’m a little nervous, I had localized amnesia after being attacked by a Pokemon. It caused me to forget nearly sixteen months leading up to the occurrence.” Surely then he’d understand my apprehension. Especially after I told him the name that this attack on innocent civilians had become known as. Everyone knew about the tragic Pokemon Sanctum Robbery!

But back to where I stood now. I turned to one of the last blank pages and began to write. I was told it would be therapeutic for my missing memories. I’m certain that one day science can help restore my memories. Actually, I have a lot of faith in that. As a scientist at heart, I have to. Pokemon can already do a great deal for us. Science is always finding new ways to take advantage of their natural abilities. In order to get better, I needed to be back at the forefront of knowledge and at the crossroads where I had left off: the place where science and Pokemon met. There was a lot to be excited about. Metaphorically speaking, I was going to be getting my wings back very soon. Writing would help take my mind off the big day ahead of me! So, I put the pen to paper and let the jet-black ink flow once more. I was going to write something corny like “Dear Diary” but decided against it; just a date would suffice, there was no need for anything more.

I wrote, “Monday, August 15th, 22 EKNR. About one year ago, I moved to the quiet, temperate town of Pallet in order to recover. I didn’t have much choice. Unfortunately, this life isn’t really going anywhere for me. I work—or rather worked—at a nearby coffee shop to pay for rent, and to be honest it’s about as unfulfilling as it’s demeaning.” I grumbled thinking about the job where I was ‘Gainfully Employed’ according to last month’s census. “For starters, the place’s name is Prevoy’s, and the stupid motto is ‘Prevoy’s Coffee: Everyone’s First Choice!’. They think it’s SO clever because they’re selling coffee to people first thing in the morning, at least they don’t require me to say that dumb phrase to the customers anymore. I convinced the manager that would probably end badly.”

I thought about finding a clipping or something, a paycheck or receipt. I needed something to prove that this was all real. I panicked about losing my mind sometimes. Memory loss will do that to you at the worst times. Especially when you’re alone with your thoughts as much as I am. The docs warned me about psychogenic retrograde amnesia relapses. Doctor Benjamin told me to write down what I can remember as soon as it comes back and to document my new experiences in a journal so I don’t forget those. Sadly, I’ve only been partially successful in undertaking either of those tasks. Then again, everything changed two years ago.

I frantically flipped through the book, but relaxed after I realized I had placed a picture of myself in a Prevoy’s apron on a prior page of the journal. Tucked in there with a paperclip, it was a small passport size identification and name card with a “P” watermark under my glowering face. I sure looked unhappy in that shot. Must’ve been taken when I first started. I laughed quietly; turning back to the page I had begun to write on, and continued to allow the black liquid to vigorously pour out of my pen in gentle arcs and curves.

“Prevoy’s. Stupid name right? I wish I could tell the owner that, but then he’d probably fire me since it’s his last name. Not that he could at this point; I’m done with that job. Gave my letter of resignation the moment my trainer’s license came in the mail. Prevoy’s…what a total flop! You see, Mister Prevoy tried to open up a chain of these coffeehouses all throughout Kanto, but it was a major failure. Overpriced beverages, packed seating, insider trading, you name it! These places were doomed to go pear-shaped before the front doors opened for the first time. All of them closed save this sorry one in Pallet. And the only reason this one is even still around is because Mister Alexander K. Prevoy himself lives here.” I laughed aloud as I finished my sentence. Sonorous thunder continued to echo in the background; it was less upsetting now that I was preoccupied.

“To think, I earned my PhD and was unable to use any of it!” I wrote, feeling my hand quiver. It made me angry. Irritated. But I had to get it out, I didn’t want to bring the baggage with me on the upcoming trip. “My frustration has a rather open scope. I’d qualify it as internally-directed disapproval, referencing my desire for success. And sadly, that once bountiful promise of success has been neutered…maybe even permanently by bastards like Team Rocket who attack innocent civilians with their Pokemon!” I shook my head in anger. Upon briefly reflecting, I realized that I was not just upset, but instead I was lacking satisfaction. I glared at the blank white apartment walls as if to focus my frustration elsewhere. “Studying Pokemon as a ‘Researcher’ had so many career opportunities, but now, thanks to recent memory loss and because of my apprehension to deal with the creatures, I’ve been nothing but restricted over the past two years. It’s a vicious cycle, feeding itself with each sunrise that whimsically passes me by. And I need to get out.” Those last lines sounded almost poetic; strange, considering I don’t have a bard’s bone in my body.

Scratching my head, I pushed down harder on the pen and continued to write, my words flowing in elegant cursive humps and dips. Strange… Writing like this was something I hadn’t done since I was a little boy back in the second grade, back when cursive was the mandatory form of written expression. Heck, I think I forgot how to write cursive and remembered it after losing all my actual important memories; my youthful memories, up until around age sixteen, are easier to recall than more current ones from ages seventeen to last year. That’s all beside the point though.

“I’m tired of clocking in day after day at Prevoy’s Coffeehouse. Greeting the same faces day in and day out. Making ‘small talk’ with people I didn’t care about; they weren’t there to see me, they were there for their morning cup of Joe. What a bunch of phonies! And man, did the customers always have something brainless to say to me about my injury along the lines of: ‘What is that? What happened to you? Did a Pokemon do that?’ People don’t understand, some scars won’t –or rather can’t– heal. I tried my hardest to cover up the oddity with my uniform’s apron, I really did. At least they could look at my face and make me feel better about it. I wish I had enough courage to tell them, ‘Gawk all you’d like to on your own time, please don’t be wasting mine though! If I want to talk to you about what happened to me, I’ll initiate the conversation. Besides, there’s always someone else waiting behind you in line, so why waste their time too?’” With shaking lips, I wrote out my bitter thoughts, forcefully venting my inner frustrations with long, airy breaths.

“Brewing batches of ground coffee beans and making beverages to satisfy my customer’s endless cravings for sugar and calories. It’s boring. There’s no spark in my life. I’m missing out. Sure, it had been therapeutic to have a routine after the attack, I could practically do my job in my sleep.” I shuddered again in my teak chair thinking about it. Quickly, I wrote down the process. “‘Pour ground coffee into the filter. Push the filter in and add hot water. Take the correctly sized cup from the stack. Pour the coffee, add the cream first, followed by: flavored syrup, sugar, or milk. Cover the lid. Wish the customer a nice day.’ It was a rhythmic routine to be sure. Straightforwardness was good in the early months following my amnesia. I couldn’t remember who I was for a couple of months and needed to perform simplistic tasks to maintain my sanity.” I paused and looked at the growing paragraphs.

The only sound came from large raindrops pelleting my window like Bullet Seeds. I peered out the window, past its black hairline crack and at the dreary rain.

I started a new line a few inches down, “Now it’s different. I’m growing out of this sheltered lifestyle. Strange and unscientific as this sounds, I feel…driven by an inexplicable, invisible force. I want to change my boring and lackluster life. I’ve had dreams about going on adventures with Pokemon whose names were all alien and strange to me. In the dreams I don’t have a blind fear of Pokemon. My best dreams always involved Pokemon. Odd don’t you think?” I asked the paper rhetorically. “Especially coming from someone who had been nearly killed by Pokemon.”

Finally, I decided to get to the meat of the matter. I let out a tight exhale, to break the rain’s monotony. “I’ve decided to go traveling on a Pokemon journey. I know, it sounds crazy but it just might work. I don’t want to have to be afraid anymore. I need to get my old life back.”

“The best way to involve myself with Pokemon would be to play to my strengths—or ex-strengths. I was a researcher with a little clout from back in the day.” I thought again about the past and pressed onwards in a strange dialogue with myself. “It gave me an idea. A quest or an adventure, keenly disguised as a field-work exercise for a scientist trying to reorganize his brain’s beaker set! I took a gander at the latest developments, and learned that cataloging Pokemon species is as big of a deal as I remember it being. I remember finding a bit of fascination in it myself; the Pokédex was one of a kind. About a month ago, I finally made up my mind and devised a plan. I had to make some arrangements for my ‘fieldwork’ with Pokemon in the wild. I knew of no one better than the Kanto regional expert, a Pokemon Professor by the name of Samuel Oak. His laboratory is conveniently right here in Pallet! Oak’s borderline famous, he even runs a Pokemon Sanctuary approved by the DBC; that’s a big deal considering all the paperwork ecological approvals require. Everyone calls Oak ‘The Professor’. Like he’s the only one! Sheesh, the man must have an ego the size of the moon.” I chuckled realizing that today was the day I actually would go and meet ‘The Professor’ in person. “But he’s earned it, and retained it throughout his years. I hope he won’t ask too many details involving my research…I don’t want to look like a fool because of my forgetfulness!”

“I’m a little nervous to be honest. Not only about meeting a Pokemon either. You see, I feel like I’ve grown to know almost everyone in this backwoods, one-and-a-half-star town. Heck, most of the people here know me because of my survival story. And yet, never have I seen Professor Oak stop in Prevoy’s Coffeehouse. Figures, he’s so busy, he probably has an apprentice or intern working as a coffee-boy 24/7.”

“After a brief exchange of letters, Oak signed me up for an appointment with him. There, I would obtain a guardian of sorts to protect me during my quest. The world is enormous and dangerous, but the Department of Biological Conservation takes their role to create a safer environment very seriously. The DBC—” I turned to the newspaper and sure enough it had their little, ornate leaf on it on the corner representing ‘greener products’. I rolled my emerald eyes, thinking, “Yeah right, greener for their pocketbooks.” “—is a major branch of Silph Incorporated. The DBC were the ones who accredited my doctorate from the university, so I can’t complain too much about them. Silph on the other hand, is about as corrupt as a corporation can get! In case I forgot to mention in an earlier entry, Silph’s pulling all the strings here in Kanto through political lobbying. The environment’s conservation is just one of the controlled aspects of the world. ”

I paused and took a short breath, flexing my wrist as I did so. “Silph has direct control over Kanto by being founded here, but their reach of influence extended globally. Over people and Pokemon alike! Starting with capture-devices, or Pokéballs, Silph Incorporated successfully secured control over many forms of technology.”

“This all took place following the Industrial Revolution which occurred approximately thirty-five years ago. Since the world stopped using Pokemon for energy, technology has grown exponentially. As a researcher, I get all excited about that because it promises future advancements. It’s amazing to think that the last two generations didn’t even have PC systems. People back then were still figuring out how to generate electricity without using Pokemon, starting with steam power. What a terribly inefficient world that would have been. I couldn’t imagine having to live back then.” I wrote, visualizing how alien the past was. “How terribly awful. It must have been a dark time for the world, but not nearly as bad as the Darkened Ages predating industrialization. While I would have hated to be alive during a war, I would have hated it even more to be born during the time before mankind’s first recorded golden age but after the Terminal War. Back then, there was no rationality; people savagely killed one another like mindless, frightened animals. They were worse than Pokemon in the wild! At least Pokemon have an ordered food chain. People in the Darkened Ages killed based on fear. Fear of differences, fear of anything really, but especially psyonics (people with latent abilities similar to Psychic Type Pokemon). Those persecutions were senseless! We could have studied and learned so much from psyonics and now they’ve all but disappeared.”

I liked to write about what I learned from history. World history wasn’t too difficult to remember, I took those classes well before attending Kanto University. My memory wasn’t completely destroyed. Rather, it was fragmented into parts that can’t quite yet make a whole. In other words, my memory is unabridged save for an eclectic facture dividing it into two. The docs call the phenomenon a “‘Fractured Unity’”. I remember up until a specific point, a couple of months before my injury, and then it all goes dark. It’s like jumping from age seventeen to nineteen in a single heartbeat, in a sudden flash of black light. At least I’m back in the light for now though.

I continued to recount my history lessons from nearly a decade ago in order to avoid dwelling on the strangeness of my situation. “While there were numerous advantages following the Industrial Revolution, it also inadvertently brought about a major conflict called the Great War. It was the largest international clash in recent history, starting twenty-six years ago—lasting four years, drawing to a close two years before I was born.”

I stopped, overwhelmed with déjà vu. Maybe I had written this before. I decided to go back in time and check. Flipping backwards, I came across a section titled “Commit it to Memory: World History”. Bingo! The text here was much more choppy and rigid. Not in style alone but also in physical form. I’d also forgotten to date it. Judging from the location of this page in my diary, it had to have been early on during my arduous recovery.

I read the first paragraph silently in my head. “There were plenty of wars in the distant past, many of them much more brutal; but our knowledge of their belligerents and weaponry is limited. Perhaps for the better since no civilization survived to tell the tale. Modern-day historians can only be certain of one thing; there was at least one war prior to the recent Great War. But to this day, the vagueness and incongruity of ancient conflict remains. Why did it happen? No one really knows. Records don’t exist. All anyone knows is that contemporary archeologists discovered several ruined settlements with technology greatly surpassing our own. Many of these artifacts, although powerful, are still not fully understood even by our best scientists. What were they used for? What was their purpose? How did they fail their masters? In time, scientists will figure it out if it leads us to an easier lifestyle so long as you give them enough time. It’s worked in the past. Chances are, without discovering some of these relics, we’d still be in the Stone Age—technically speaking. Humans have always had Pokemon to fall back on thankfully, but it’s also nice to be able to stand up on our own as an independent species. Thanks to various types of technology, modern civilization is basking in the shade of a recent Golden Age.”

Flipping the page over, I started to read the next section. “Teachers in history classes often just have us memorize that there was one war in ancient history, and the only one that mattered. Entire civilizations were unconditionally destroyed by this early and mysterious global battle, dubbed the Terminal War. Despite possessing the most advanced technology, civilizations of that era were all but wiped out. This paradox seemed to resonate with many. The antiquity of the Terminal War actually postponed conflict; the apocalyptic aftermath echoed a dull warning to humanity to this day. It wasn’t until after the recent Industrial Revolution that a grand scale conflict took place on our planet. However, the Great War was not nearly as destructive as the Terminal War. I personally think us humans never had the resources to conduct a war without Pokemon until we generated our own form of weaponry. The Industrial Revolution opened that door. It also allowed for Pokemon to be tamed, stored, and controlled by anyone with a Pokéball.”

That all sounded right to me. I remembered the history lectures from Mister McClaine back in boarding school. “The Great War began due to numerous economic reasons. Since Pokemon were no longer necessary for profitable human industry the policy of protecting them became vital to prevent over-capturing or possibly extinction—especially due in part to the severe brutality involved in Pokemon battles. Either way, Silph elected to market its Pokemon products globally, further spreading the technology. There was a surge of Kanto nationalism when there was a shift from Pokemon labor to Silph-founded machinery. Silph’s development of the steam engine, railroads, and shoreline drilling for natural oil caused this monopoly and allowed for market control.”

I nodded softly at the page as the rain continued to pour outside. Those devices were archaic from a computer’s standpoint, but the railroad system operated to this day—a combination of antiquity and functionality.

“Superior infrastructure and economies of scale in densely-populated Kanto increased the size of Silph’s market through the lower transportation costs. As the various ‘inorganic’ technologies became mainstreamed, Pokemon were no longer considered a necessity, but an advantage. This enlightenment changed the way people thought. Mankind had devised a way to exist as its own species. For instance, electricity, once thought to have been only obtainable through the means of using Electric Type Pokemon was now available for humanity to utilize unconditionally with the technology that came along with burning oil and coal in power plants around the region. Being able to freely generate power, humanity’s use of technology surged forth at an unprecedented rate.” I felt like quite the historian reading through my thorough notes on the past. Maybe I had missed my calling!

I was picking up the pace and reading quicker as the lessons came back to me in beautifully stitched together memories. The types of memories I possessed far too few of in recent years. “This surge in technological advancement gave clear advantages to larger firms such as Silph. It was all too easy after the invention of the ‘pokeball’ device, marketed under the various Silph brands: Pokéball, Great Ball, and Ultra Ball. Without Pokéballs, the world would be a very different place.”

“With booming business, Silph took over competitors in neighboring regions such as the Devon Corporation in Hoenn and the Poketch Company in Sinnoh. Of course, they let the companies keep their names. This made it appear as if there were competing firms in the Pokemon industry, but the reality was that Silph owned more than anyone would care to admit. Or count for that matter. Their patents and civil influence generated enormous profits.”

Deep down, I disliked Silph, but that was because of personal reasons. I couldn’t help it, I was opinionated! True, they made the world ‘better’ although neither I— nor anyone else with half a brain—would say they were necessarily good. They did what was good more out of necessity.

“The Kanto Government—a democratic structure established during the Industrial Revolution—endorsed Silph as a prominent attribute for the nation. Silph’s mastery over commerce and technology helped turn it into a national symbol. Legislation after legislation was passed to grant Silph greater ability to produce. Kanto, being a newly industrialized nation wanted to protect its main corporation. With more funding came more successes. That’s because Silph gave plenty of domestic benefits. At the time, alternatives to steam energy were being refined in other regions and Silph saw a method to secure permanent global market control through aggressive arbitration.”

I kept following along with my notes, “There was a great deal of dispute over resource control after Kanto became industrial. When a nation becomes industrialized, it becomes more reliant on proper business strategies and allocations of resources. However, Silph was also effectively the government of Kanto. Or at least, lobbying it up to the gills. Politics…”

“Of all the nations, the one that suffered the greatest loss from Kanto’s new technological prowess was Orre. Orre’s on the distant continent, southeast of the Kanto mainland. Orre’s region is noticeably arid, a huge desert wasteland. Orre has only few above-ground settlements in it due to the dry unforgiving climate. However, the largest problem for Orre is the rarity of wild Pokemon. I should know this fact better than most. I have an aunt who lives in the Orre region with her husband. Her name’s Bethany Hale. She’s my late mother, Valerie’s, sister. Although kind, I’ve been out of touch with her for a long time—almost a year. After my accident, she helped take care of me for the first few weeks when I returned from the hospital. I was grateful for her help. I was probably frustrating to contend with during the early phases of my recovery. She’s a saint in my mind. How she manages to live in Orre’s desert is beyond me, but it must have been what made her strong enough to help me.”

I kept reading, “In Kanto, where the Industrial Revolution originated in, Silph Incorporated was able to shift the balance of technology so that Pokemon were no longer fully necessary. For instance, generating power became much easier with the introduction of steam power. No longer did nations need to rely on the unpredictable nature of Pokemon. This was incredible, however not without consequence. When Orre citizens attempted to continue trading with Kanto through their main city of export, Gateon Port, Silph’s board of directors suggested an embargo. A nationalistic Kanto saw foreign technological dependence as something profitable. Any person knows Orre is rich in natural resources and poor in Pokemon. Therefore, Orre needed the new Pokemon-free technologies more than any other nation. Silph placed high tariffs on their new Pokemon independent technologies. They claimed that this was protectionism from international competition, making the argument that their industry was in its infant stage still and needed a high return for it to be profitable. Of course, this was not true; Silph Co. was price gouging an exploitable market.”

“Orre citizens began to rally behind the concept that they were being taken advantage of by a corrupt international power. And there was some truth to their claims. Silph’s global control over technology and the political spectrum allowed for unmatched abuse. Shortly after trading embargos were tightened, Stephanie Harqulin: the prime minister of Kanto, and her family, were assassinated by Orre extremists calling for an end to an unfair exploitation of the free market. The Kanto media blew it up, made it appear to be a full-scale invasion. Silph demanded military control in order to defend Kanto with their state-of-the-art countermeasure combat technology.” Noiselessly, I read on. “Kanto’s military was signed over to Silph’s directors, who promised a swift conclusion to the conflict. The newly transformed Kanto New Republic Army mobilized and the majority of the nation’s cities were placed under martial law, losing democratic freedoms. Through essentially becoming the reigning government and seat of absolute power, Silph could not possibly become any more involved with the Great War. Their Research and Development Branch, perhaps the same division that my father once worked for, developed a wide array of weaponry. Typically, battles were fought and won by Pokemon sparring matches. Pokemon were a lot stronger than people, and often pitied humans in a natural setting. Human beings had longer lifespans than most Pokemon, but little else to offer the beasts of the word. But technology had changed that. Research had changed that. By discovering Pokéball tech, people became capable of taming and indeed expanding the lifespans of many species of Pokemon from their wild counterparts. Of course, Pokemon come in all shapes and sizes, some being more adverse to humanity than others, but their yearning for competition remains. As superior tacticians, people could be freed from the shackles of helplessness in a dangerous world. People never developed special powers like Pokemon; and when they did, there was a prompt movement to eradicate the human anomalies. Fear has been and always will be a catalyst for witch-hunts and the like. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. That’s why research – rising above petty emotions of fear – is important, if not essential, to humanity’s survival in this world.” I sighed wondering if I could even call myself a researcher any longer; I had the will, I had the attitude, but had lost the aptitude.

I turned through the wrinkled pages and found the section titled, “Technological Rediscoveries”. Feeling the texture of worn parchment, I silently followed along by dragging my finger on the paper reading to myself, “There were a number of prototype weapons developed during the Great War, some of which still exist to this day. Many were brutal. Their ability to place power into the hands of human beings did not go unnoticed by the creatures we once coexisted with. Prior to the Great War, people relied on their Pokemon to protect them. The Great War changed all of this when the first firearms were developed. Drawing from initially simplistic designs, found in ruins of the Terminal War, our firearms rapidly evolved to answer the increasing rarity of Pokemon as human settlements expanded. Technology never seemed to stop advancing. It grew with us. Being the inquiring type, I believed it was our power; and, much like how certain Pokemon had certain abilities, humans had ingenuity. Although ‘ingenuity’ would refer to being smart enough to dig up and construct schematics from prior civilizations. Semantics though. Humans developed steam power, allowing us to access the first subterranean ruins and now we have computers capable of generating algorithms to locate new resource caches. The process uses a synthetic link between ancient technology and Pokemon. The modern hope is to somehow link humans to this chain. Who knows what we’d learn!”

I gazed down at a tiny picture I had cut out and glued into the book of an ancient rust covered flintlock pistol. I thought to myself, “What an amazing discovery!”

“Originally, the synthesized ‘firearms’ used a crude form of explosive powder to eject bullets at about a Voltorb’s lethal force. However, often times they would misfire and reloading was a deadly chore in the heat of combat. However, in the hands of a skilled marksman, reloading wouldn’t be an issue. Despite such drawbacks, to this day, firearms utilizing gunpowder have been tried and true. They aren’t issued to many people, usually just the police and wealthy or paranoid citizens.”

“Paranoid citizens,” I said aloud, suppressing a laugh because that included me. After the attack, I considered investing in a firearm for protection. “Typically, Pokemon were the best defense against other Pokemon. However, weapon technology did not cease with powder-based firearms. Silph invented the first of the RAIL-firearms a few years ago. RAIL stands for Rail Aligning Ion Launcher. Known for its long, hissing barrels—caused by the shifting metal of cooling vent plates — RAILs fire an electrical current between two parallel, internally-housed metal rails and guide charged ions onto a precise trajectory.”

Again, my eyes gazed at a clip-out of a magazine, this time detailing the first of the so-called RAIL class weapons. Its twin silver metal beams were fused together at the base. Mounted below the stock was a coiled fission box, its lustrous texture and shape reminiscent of a waning full moon. If Silph did one thing right, it was making their weapons look attractive, graceful even. And RAIL variants were so much more than eye candy. Even if it’s used for destruction, the device shows scientists how highly reactive molecules act.

“With a projectile as fine as a laser beam, but packing the punch of in excess of eighteen hundred Newtons per millimeter, the RAIL’s particle beam was dubbed the ‘Portable Ion Cannon’. There were even different molecular compounds devised to change the effect of the beam and its color. Additionally, the RAIL weapon class had cell batteries accompanying the clips, which varied in size. Typically, a smaller magnum would have less carrying capacity but was much more transportable. Rifles of course held the greatest power, and were held in high regard due to their value in combat. Their projectiles were accurate and able to pierce all but the most reinforced composite armor and Pokemon hides.”

I wondered what it would take to punch through Rhydon hide. That was top-of-the-line armor.

“Granted, RAILs were only extremely lethal at close range, the atmosphere causes the ions to disburse and lose their unified mass. RAIL guns focus a great deal of radioactively bound ionic energy upon a tiny area. They’re destructive. But thankfully about as rare as a Legendary Pokemon! To own a RAIL weapon, you need to be either really well connected or in the Special Forces. Silph could only manufacture a handful considering the rarity of the design’s base materials. Not to mention the processed ammunition. RAIL designs were based off ancient artifacts from the distant past once thought to have been lost to the pages of history. Uncovering these blueprints shifted the balance of power in the world. No longer were humans weak and frail compared to their Pokemon counterparts. The event was revolutionary, but in actuality, it was more of a rediscovery than a revolution. Semantics.”

“Regrettably, humanity’s dependence on Pokemon still remained to a certain degree. The majority of nature was forged by the wild creatures, their power over the elements had nearly unlimited potential. Additionally, humans presided over Pokemon by being superior strategists. They were not all that different, people and Pokemon. Both yearned for competition. The thrill of a battle and the rush of a confrontation were a part of their genetic encoding, a primal urge hungering to be satisfied…” The sentence had trailed off.

“Humph…” I grumbled to myself. “Guess I never finished that thought. What was I getting at? I get so distracted at times.”

Frustrated, I turned to the next section titled “Silph Co.” It had a small photograph of my father in his youth on the corner of the worn page. His suit had grown toffee-colored with time. Undeniably, I had his exact stature and prose. The caption read, “My father, Daniel West, practically remarried his job at Silph after mother passed. We don’t talk. Our terms aren’t the best. And for the most part, he does his thing and I do mine. I’ve made it clear to him that I’m no longer a West. I abandoned that name. Earning my degree as Doctor Feyera is proof.”

I turned my eyes back to the text itself, reading quietly, “Silph created everything from Pokéballs to airships. Way back when, there were a lot of company mergers throughout Kanto and Silph was the end result. It also helped that their blossoming as a corporation occurred at the start of humanity’s first recorded Golden Age. Without any regulations, Silph grew terribly large. The corporate juggernaut was able to keep any competing product off the shelves by simply buying patent rights from the authorities. Of course, bootlegging and black markets existed, but only for a very brief amount of time. After Silph was given executive power to prosecute perpetrators through the Kanto International Police Force, the quantity of such transgressors diminished all too quickly. Present-day Silph was effectively the government, military, and technologists all rolled into one. Those on Silph’s executive board were some of the most powerful people on the planet.”

I looked back at that picture of my father, Daniel West. The man looked like a personification of Silph. He had piercing eagle eyes, a face with sharp features, and a hawk nose. He combed his dark brown hair straight back. Rich, hazelnut colored eyes matched his tan complexion. He was always wearing a business suit too. “That’s exactly how I remember him,” I mumbled. “Heh…guess some things never change.”

The caption read, “I hardly knew Mister West, even without my amnesia. When I was young, he used to work for an offshore branch of Silph. To be honest, I’m not even sure if he still does, for all I know he could be on the board of directors. Funny how he’s a part of my remembered past. I won’t forget how he sent me away, enrolled me at the Pokemon Academy—a boarding school. Since then, I’ve had no reason to contact him. I’m self-sufficient and smart, a winning combination that gets me by. The saddest thing is that I don’t know whether he tried to reach out to me after the incident. He had to have known, but after all those years away from him, it seemed improbable that he cared anymore for me as his son. I’ve been lead to believe work is the only thing left in life for Daniel West. The truth is he didn’t take Valerie’s passing very well.”

I miss my family. Or, rather, I miss what used to be my family. I have a picture of the three of us that I always keep in my dark chocolate colored wallet. It’s a memento of sorts, a reminder of what used to be before everything fell apart. Sometimes I’ll flip the leather case open, and look at the faded picture when I’m feeling down. It’s preserved in thick plastic, though the edges have begun tearing with time. On the back, the faded photographer’s watermark reads the surname “West”.

Then there was my mother Valerie. She was a tall, slender brunette, with deep features adorning her silken face. Even in direct sunlight, her skin shimmered like smooth porcelain. Her straightened bangs were trimmed short of her two jewel-like eyes. Her eyes were a faded pea green, almost blue, and complementing her open, sunny smile. Next to her in the picture was Mister West, my father, frozen in a partial laugh. All of us were smiling our best on that day, blissfully unaware that this would be one of our last pictures together. Even my father wore a tight smile, and he was always such a serious man, even back before mother passed. Between the two parents stood a young boy with a carefree grin and a bright pair of emerald eyes. Me. I had a less translucent variety of my mother’s eyes, but then again, one picture might have not been an accurate portrayal. Still, I rarely needed to actually look at the photograph because the image is so well engraved into my mind.

It was too good to last. I felt a bit of pain in my chest, a sudden onset of heartburn. I hated it, but I knew why I felt that way. Finding closure is difficult; I’ve never had it completely in my life. My mother died when I was younger, although I couldn’t have possibly remembered it. I was only five at the time. After that, nothing was ever the same. My father buried himself in his work and sent me off to become a man of my own as soon as I was seven. That meant boarding school. At least he was generous enough to pay for it. There was a time when I was younger where I thought that I would’ve preferred it if he spent time with me instead. However, now I realize the foolishness of such a wish. When she died, that was it. It was the end of a family. There’s not too much else to say. Other than that unfortunate bit, my background is rather generic, but memorable up until my eighteenth year. Since then, I have been through a lot, although most of it remains a half-buried mystery.

I brushed my right hand through my bronze hair, pausing above my ear as I took another sip of water. Yes, my past wasn’t the most ideal, but at least I felt confident enough to interact with Pokemon again. There was a time where I would not even go near any Pokemon out of fear. The negativity derived from realizing that my entire study revolved around Pokemon caused me to become depressed. How could I expect to ever use my talents? I wasn’t strong, I didn’t have the greatest stamina, and I was certainly not willing to compensate for my lack of such traits by pretending to desire them. I remember bullying I endured from my peers. I never gave up. Never quit. I always came back mentally stronger and more outwitting. That was my strength. But the way I had learned to invoke such a skill was through Pokemon research. For the past two years, I thought I would never research another Pokemon again. Now, things were different. Much different. I couldn’t really explain the feeling in words. It was a steady drive to interact with these creatures—Pokemon—despite the awful experience I had in the past. It was something still a very much a part of me. Call it masochistic, call it self-indulgence, I wanted it. I didn’t want the fear to define the rest of my life.

I sighed, the glass was empty, and my chest continued to hurt.

Feeling my sternum, I felt that odd sharp protrusion. A scar from two years ago, caused by a series events I was unwillingly pulled into. According to the authorities, that day I was in a branch of the Kanto National Bank, minding my business, quite possibly making a deposit to pay back some of the interest on my university loans when a great deal of commotion from across the street drew my attention. It was the Pokemon Sanctum.

I flipped a few pages ahead from where I was last reading in the journal. Sure enough, I found an entry titled “The Pokemon Sanctum” with a picture taken after the incident. The building was charred and dilapidated. “The Pokemon Sanctum, in Saffron City’s older district, used to have religious affiliations, but prior to the robbery it was treated as more of a museum than anything else. The Pokemon Sanctum was a religious temple said to ‘house the spirit of retribution’ or something wild and along those lines.” I never understood religion personally. Now I know it’s a complete stereotype for scientists not to believe god, but it wasn’t only my rational mind that deterred me from religion. In this day and age, not too many people trusted the various faiths. Especially after the Great Purges lead by religious zealots. But that’s another topic entirely.

“The entire situation was unusual insofar as the event had taken place in one of the most fortified and well-defended cities in the entire world: Saffron City, Kanto’s capital, and seat of Silph. Until the Sanctum Robbery, Saffron had the lowest crime rates and was voted the ‘Safest City in the World’ title twenty years in a row uncontested by Pokemon Annual.”

I got up from my seat and walked over to my tiny closet of a bathroom. I took an abridged shower, careful to clean off well for the adventure ahead of me. Putting on a fresh pair of dark, denim pants and a solid grey-collared shirt after my brief shower, I walked back to the bathroom in order to dry my hair. But I forgot; I had already put the brush into storage! Guess I would have to let it fall naturally over my face. I had my mother’s hair I think. Actually, I’m not all too sure about that, her hair was a few grades finer than mine. Funny how I remember what it felt like even to this day. Despite this, I never had messy or unclean hair, even when I neglected to take care of it. It predictably adhered to the same form; unregulated, but subtly shaped despite shaggy chaos. Being knot-free made taking care of it easy, great for a guy like me. Its color is a brownish amber, with the rustic tones of a kettle’s copper mixed in and throughout. Sometimes out of boredom I try and count the different shades when my bangs cover my eyes.

Wishing the rain would yield to a bright and sunshiny day, I was disappointed to find that the puffy greying clouds hadn’t left the sky.

My meeting with Oak was in twenty-five minutes. The rain had stopped, leaving a fresh and invigorating scent in the air. With a bit of haste, I walked to his laboratory; it was about seven blocks away from my apartment building and fifteen away from Prevoy’s.

I tightened the knot on my subdue tie as I entered the large building where Oak worked. According to his secretary, the Professor was running late, so I stood in the brightly lit foyer waiting for the Professor.

Aimlessly playing with the pointed tails of my red tie, my gaze traveled to the portraits of various Pokemon hanging on the blue walls. Some of them were familiar, and others were completely foreign. I continued to observe the Pokemon diagrams and schematics, deep in my thoughts. For I too had studied Pokemon, but never before in their wild habitats; my research consisted of observation from computer monitors. Many of Professor Oak’s photographs contained Pokemon in their natural environments. It was interesting to say the very least, and it made me feel unusually happy.

“Ah ha! You must be Christian,” said a deep voice.

It definitely startled me. I didn’t jump, but my voice did sure did. “Ah! Ha… Yeah. I mean yes. That’s me.”

“Thank you for being on time. Sorry for making you wait.” I didn’t expect Oak to apologize for being late.

“It’s not a problem. I was occupied with your research.”

“Ah, well that’s great,” he said walking over and extending a hand.

“Nice to meet you, Professor Oak,” I said with a smile while shaking his elderly hand. His hand was pale, wrinkled, and rather coarse. My skin was a beige cream colored. Oak wasn’t taller than me, but then again I was tall. I think I’m almost six feet tall. That’s what I told people anyway. I was probably a fair bit shorter than that to be perfectly honest. Being frail didn’t help either.

The Professor gazed speculatively at my chest, and paused for a moment. The way the narrow projection stuck out between the second and third top buttons made it look like an oversized amulet, draped by the two curtain-like tails of my red tie. Whenever I wore a jacket, you could hardly tell it was there.

“Judging from our conversations, you seem more than capable of aiding me in categorizing Pokemon. There’re still many mysteries in the world to be unraveled. Many of them can only be dealt with…how should I say—” he put his hands together “—‘hands-on’ or ‘in the field’.”

“Of course. I want to be close to them. I want to overcome the barrier that has impeded my research.”

“In my youth, I once was like you, eager to spread my wings and soar off into adventure. Humph, those days are over though. Like I said, you seem capable, but I must warn you that it is a dangerous world out there, and more unkind than it may appear. The task you have set out to do is a long and challenging one, you’ll need more than your average dose of adventure spirit,” said the professor. He flipped through some paperwork. “Humph! You have a higher degree, but that might get in the way.”

“Hold on! I’ve struggled to come here, Professor Oak. To come back to…this. I was injured during the Sanctum Robbery and I haven’t been able to face Pokemon ever since. Even though they are what I once studied. It is a debilitating thing really,” I briefly reflected upon the prospect of working at that stupid coffee house chain for the rest of my life before continuing, “But I need this. I need to be with Pokemon again. I have hope. A wish if you will. I even dream about it sometimes.”

“You…still have a dream to raise Pokemon?”

“I—yeah,” I answered. It was the truth.

“People used to pay great fortunes to have their dreams deciphered by occultists, mediums, and soothsayers. But the truth is, we’ve had the answer all along; we’ve always known what our dreams meant. To dream is to theorize a genuine wish, young man. It’s your sub-consciousness speaking, it’s the mind at play. Tell me something, young researcher, what do you dream about?”

It wasn’t the answer or question I was expecting. “Professor?” I asked warily.

“Mmm? I’m curious.”

“Every night. Pokemon. And adventures. Last night I’m sure I was soaring on the back of a Pidgeot over spectacular distant lands,” I said recalling the feeling of wind blowing through my thick hair. “Come to think of it, the dreams had grown more vivid, I remember when they were only in black and white. That was nearly seven paychecks ago. Now I always dream in color. I can see their plumage.”

“Hmm. Dreams…” Oak stared at a window. His reflective, solemn eyes showed he was feeling commiseration. Finally, he spoke, “Come with me, I have a young Pokemon for you, Mister Fayra.”

I gave him a look of disapproval.

“How do you pronounce that anyway?” Oak asked.

“Feyera.” I emphasized my surname with a tight expression. “With a silent second ‘E’. I know it looks like Fey-era, but it’s ‘FI-rah’.”

“Oh! On paper it looks different, you’re right.”

I nodded. “I might as well be ‘FAY-RA’ since that’s what everyone at work called me. Who could blame them? It wasn’t a common name, and not even a true last name; I took up my middle name as my surname, which is why I’m ‘Doctor Christian Feyera’ according to my university doctorate and not ‘Christian F. West’ as my birth certificate would suggest.”

“You’re a West?” Oak asked.

“No. I cut off ties with family sometime in college,” I lied since it was actually the other way around; I had been the one sent away to boarding school. “I’m Mister Feyera. That’s the way it is. Christian Feyera, Ph.D.” I gave Oak a friendly smile; I was trying to be polite to him, and was pleased to see a slightly amused expression repaid on Oak’s face. “You know how many people think I’m related to that famous actress from Unova, Victina Fey?”

“Hoho, afraid I don’t even know who that is, my boy. My, I must be getting old!” The Professor laughed half-heartedly as he waved his arms up in the air to dramatize his statement. “Ha! Come along then, Mister Feyera.”

“Right away.” I did so with as much poise as I could muster! In an immodest manner, I glided along next to Oak with my curled-up nose raised as high as I could. With the educated elite, an aura of pretentiousness went a long way. Though with my head so high up in the air, seeing where I was going became difficult!

Walking with the veteran professor through the lab gave me a sense of confidence; I knew that I could help, or at the very least fill a few pages of the Pokédex for him. And I’d be getting an opportunity to see why Pokemon were becoming such a big part of my subconscious. Really, it was the best of both worlds. We had gone over some of the details in prior communications, and he was leaving it up to me to choose the scope of my project. In essence, I could decide the range of species I would study. Learn about many Pokemon, or hone in on a few species; the choice was mine. It was up to me, I was going to be studying Pokemon once more and I was filled with excitement. I thought I would be afraid of this moment, especially after my encounter with vicious Pokemon that wiped my mind during the Sanctum Robbery. But my anxiety was drowned out by a sincere desire to be partnered with Pokemon. A feeling I could not fully comprehend, yet was sublimely influenced by.

When Oak brought me to his desk, he glided his hand over a keyboard and tapped a sequence of keys. The white board mounted on the desk illuminated with light and projected a series of holographic creatures. They were on the wide-legged display table. I raised my arm and scratched the back of my head. My hair had dried at this point and it was slightly stiff despite my neglect to care for it this morning.

“Ah! And here we are!” My attention was pulled back to the computer-generated three-dimensional figures in front of me. “Out of these three starting Pokemon, you can pick only one; choose wisely,” the Professor dryly stated.

He saw my apprehension. Darn! If only I hadn’t flinched. Quickly, I made an excuse. “Sorry. Just got the chills, you know?”

“I know, it’s an emotional time. This is a big step forward for you.” Carefully, he told me, “They are contained in Pokéballs, these are just holographic previews of their biological anatomy.” There was an amphibian that had a symbiotic relationship with plant life, a tiny turtle with a sturdy shell, and a bipedal salamander with a flame-tipped tail.

“Hmm…Pokemon…” I felt a peculiar connection as I ran my outstretched arm through the projected light emerging from the Professor’s high-tech desk. As I passed my palm through the rays of light, the warm energy enriched my experience.

“You alright?” Oak asked me.

“I’m…fine.” I tried to keep a positive expression on my face. “I’ve never traveled with Pokemon before. I researched the creatures however, their behavior and physiology. I studied them. Intensely. Shame I have difficulty remembering details…”

“Ah. Well, once you settle on a choice pick up the Pokéball of the Pokemon you want.”

“Okay.” Little time passed before I settled on the fire lizard, after telling Oak, he handed me a red and white capture device. “My very first Pokemon!” I told myself, fighting the butterflies. I couldn’t run away now. I’d come to close to overcoming this fear. I clicked the stasis switch with a nervous finger. Violently shaking, the orb split in two and released an orange reptilian-like creature known as “Charmander” or biological species Ignis Caudata.

I gasped. Not out of fear. The Pokemon was, I dare say, rather charming despite its razor sharp claws, glistening fangs, and fire-producing tail. He looked scary at first, but his chubby features did downplay his predatory features. The Professor assured me that these creatures in his possession were fully domesticated, raised in the Pokemon Sanctuary he founded years ago.

I continued to stare at the small creature. I needed a protector, a Pokemon to guard me on my journey and it seemed to me that this was my best option. I chose a Pokemon with Fire typing since personally I’ve never been a fan of darkness. I smiled as I looked at my new Pokemon intensely. The fear was gone. Or at least being repelled. I began to feel comfortable. It wasn’t that bad. The Pokemon wasn’t going to hurt me. I never thought it’d be this easy. I was no longer afraid because here I was flooding myself with genuine interaction.

It bent its small head up, wrinkling his chubby neck as he did so. I flinched ever so slightly as the Pokemon gazed at my figure with his bright blue eyes. Seeing me flinch, the Charmander also recoiled somewhat, probably unsure of what I was even doing. I could only imagine the creature’s apprehension, it could rival my own. Here he was being given away to someone who’d lost their marbles, a Pokemon researcher with nothing left!

But I had to do this. This was a way to overcome my fears. I relished the moment and slowly lowered the Pokéball, trying not to look as timid as I actually was the entire time. I forced a smile.

“You should give him a name,” Oak said in response to my positive reaction. At least I hadn’t freaked out like I thought I would.

“A name?”

“Yes, you can’t be calling him ‘Charmander’ when he’s an individual just like you and me! Ho ho! Imagine if I called you ‘Human’, Mister Feyera!”

“Umm… Sorry, in the researching world I suppose I never thought about it that way.” Puzzled, I continued to stare at the salamander-like Pokemon, racking my brain for a fitting name. What could I possibly call him? Definitely something starting with a B. That just felt right to me. I wanted to give him a name to reflect that. Maybe Bryce? No, he was a friend from boarding school. Bryant, nah that was too weird. Ah, yes! I had it, “Brucie,” I said, “looks like he’s energetic and competent as well.”

“Very good,” Oak replied, stiffening his posture. “Take good care of Brucie, don’t let him perish. Keep him safe for as long as you can. He’s your protector, but you are also his protector. Pokemon and their trainers work as a team. You used to do research projects so I’m sure you are fully aware of the importance of cooperation. ‘There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’’, keep that little phrase in mind on your journey. Now, if you don’t mind I need to go and attend to other business, I’m a busy man as you know. Good luck, Christian Feyera.”

“Of course, and thank you again!” I doubt that Oak even heard those last few words. His hearing was diminishing in his old age.

I never felt such a wave of excitement; I had my own Pokemon as my partner now and could actually explore the wilderness outside of Pallet town. I had not stepped more than two feet outside of the lab before I heard a stern and elegant voice stop me. “Excuse me! Where might you be heading, young man?”

I turned to the source of the voice. It was a rather gorgeous looking professor. She was adorned in a lab coat, and yet her natural beauty shone forth. One could not miss her long thick red hair. Besides this, I noticed that her frameless glasses concealed a silvery blue set of eyes. She was definitely in her mid-twenties—a few years older than me. Her tall figure accentuated her slender frame.

She was gorgeous! I felt my face flush beet red, but played it off as if I had been startled. “Oh! Sorry, you gave me a start! I’m Mister Feyera, I am on a Pokemon journey to aid the Professor in categorizing pages for his Pokédex. I just finished filling out my identification and Professor Oak gave me a Pokemon to protect me,” I said grasping the Pokéball containing my Charmander.

Rotating her wrist, she smoothly continued, “Ah a researcher turned into a trainer, intriguing. My name’s Lorelei Carese, you must be Christian Feyera!”

“Pleasure!” But I raised an inquisitive eye. “Where’d you hear about me from?”

“Oh! The Professor talks about you more than you’d think. He shared with me one of your dissertations a while back. ‘Concerning the Paranormal’ was the title. You’re that Feyera, right?”

“Yeah. You can call me Christian if you want to,” I said with a smile. “Whatever’s easier. I go by Chris too…”

“That’s so dreadfully informal. Ha! I’d say it’s personal even!” she joked lightheartedly. Her chest bubbled with the muffled flirty laughter. “It’s an honor to have a degree like yours, Doctor Feyera,” she repeated.

I blushed. My past life’s reputation always seemed to precede me in scientific circles. Too bad my formal (and former) title— ‘Doctor Feyera’ —was as hollow as the apartment I was moving out of! I had to quickly downplay the title or risk embarrassment. “Yes, I have a doctorate, Miss Carese, but I’m Mister Feyera—”

“—Lorelei is fine, doctor,” she said with a sunny smile. “Unless you’d rather be formal with me.”

“No! I mean…if you didn’t want to be formal—that’s okay, but even if you did, then that’s okay too!” I was beginning to sweat. “Err…umm never mind! I’m getting off track!”

“Want to tell me about your work? Why did you pick your dissertation’s topic?”

“‘Concerning the Paranormal’—*sigh* that was a report on amplifying certain Pokemon powers. I got credit for theory behind a project involving genetics,” I said, prudently leaving out the fact that I couldn’t remember the theory, much less comprehend it! That dissertation was the only key to what I did during my forgotten past, and I couldn’t understand the first fifty words! Strangely, some of its citations led me to old rhetoric involving the theoretic splicing of Pokemon abilities and traits. However, I was not going to ask someone to explain my own theories to me! At least I had some pride left; at least I understood the gist of what my project was about.

“Theory?” she asked girlishly. “And genetics?”

“It was a collaborated effort of strictly hypothetical research, Lorelei.”

“There wasn’t any experimenting? Only calculations?”

“On my end, yeah, I’m a numbers guy,” I shrugged. “If there was a trial project that followed, it probably ended in failure. I haven’t heard a word about anything. There’s no trace of what happened. And, believe me when I say I’ve tried to find answers. I’ve tried hard to retrace my steps.”

“Mmm mmm,” she hummed, pulling out a small PDA and quickly typing a search. “…Well, isn’t that something!”

“What is?” I asked.

“According to my feed, an excerpt from your dissertation was recently featured in an article on evolution concerning Psychic Type Pokemon published by the DBC’s Gideon Group. Ha! Aren’t you a smart one!”

“Wow…” That was quiet the honor, but the problem was whoever had written that dissertation, this ‘Doctor Feyera’, had vanished along with my memories. No doubt I was that very same man, but I had been emptied, drained of whatever had made me an academic doctor in the first place. I knew I could no longer satiate Lorelei’s inquisitive demeanor! What would she think of me if she found out I was basically a hoax now? Quick, baited breaths interwove into my response, “Um…I mean…there are fewer limits present in Psychic Type Pokemon, especially considering their mental mind frames.”

“That sounds like quite the challenge. Intriguing that you study the least understood of all the Pokemon Types,” she said. Placing her slender hand on her curvy hip she reiterated, “Fascinating to study, I’m sure.”

“Studied,” I said correcting the tense she used. I was no longer researching after all. That had ended when the Sanctum incident took place. Now I was just trying to become more accustomed to Pokemon before I could even think about possibly working in a laboratory with them again. I was taking small, incremental steps.

“Not a fan of them anymore?” she asked pointedly. “Something bad happen?”

“Uh…” My gaze traveled down from her eyes for a moment. I rubbed my temple casually saying, “…Psychic Type Pokemon were a field of study during my research days. They tend to be scientifically understood in a manner that’s similar to how we understand people. Both can be observed and understood based upon their psychological states.”


“Unscientifically speaking, I think so.” I said to her, averting her direct stare. “Mental projections, psychology, psyonics…there’s a link. Pokemon and people, they’re different, but there must be similarities.”

“That reminds me of a friend of mine from Saffron,” she nodded. “People who possess psyonic powers are very much like Psychic Type Pokemon, no?”

“Umm…Right, I believe.” Personally, I didn’t even know of a single psyonic; society did not take kindly to the so-called ‘mindcraft’. That word made me cringe; psyonics were about as magical as Pokemon, but a great deal rarer. “There has to be an explanation out there. Psyonics have something to do with physical manifestations of the brain’s processes, emitted outward into the world—a rare sort of ‘sensory output’: the reverse of our five senses.”

“Ooh. Sounds like a reversed mental process, doctor.”

I flushed again, scratching my head in order to conceal the discomfiture present on my face. “Um, you don’t need to call me ‘doctor’…I’m only a researcher.” I felt like a guilty charade.

“Tee hee. You’re humble too, mister. Say, I’m curious, where did you obtain your results from?”

“Well…” Frustrated, I tried to ramble my way out. “I lived at the Pokemon Academy boarding school before moving to Saffron City. There, I attended the Pokemon University for a year and some change. Got involved in genetic theory. I graduated early, got straight into research, and found myself working for a privately owned branch of the university’s graduate program. I think it was called Evercrest or something silly down in the tropics. Whatever. It’s all in the past.” Truth be told, I didn’t know if I was chasing phantoms or not.

“You make it sound like your research team wasn’t the slightest bit important to your research!” she joked innocently. “Come on, what were the details behind your research? I want you to tell me all about it!”

“…! I don’t—can’t remember it.” My tone grew serious. “Lorelei, my life changed when I was eighteen. Do you recall the Sanctum Robbery two years back?”

“I do.” She looked concerned. “I was dispatched immediately to the situation. We knew they were with Team Rocket. But between you and me, we still haven’t ascertained much information. We do know this however: they were collaborating with another organization. Unfortunately, the trail ran cold after that.”

“Wait, were you there at all? When it happened…?”

“No.” Shaking her head, her clear, solemn complexion answered my quandary. “Only after it was too late. They stole a myriad of ancient artifacts, all of relatively low value. Yet, it escaladed so fast into a devastating ordeal. Why such cruel violence? I just don’t understand.”

“If only the Elite Four had arrived in time to stop them…” I said. Lorelei swooping in along with the rest of the Elite Four would have certainly changed the violent outcome.

“My father still is trying to track down the criminals who destroyed the Sanctum,” she somberly said, pushing her frameless glasses up further along her long, narrow nose.

“Your father?”

“Yes, he’s Kanto’s High Justice, who’s been working with the D.A. in Saffron. Too bad the criminal trial against Team Rocket has ground to a halt… But go on with your story.”

“Right…Not that I remember any of this but this, but I had apparently gotten too close to the turmoil and was taken hostage by the Rockets during the robbery,” I said to her gentle face. “Amnesia is a strange thing, you’re told everything and have to take it all on faith.”

She nodded, clearly intrigued by my rendition of the story. Although it wasn’t really my version; it was what I had been told after the events transpired and I lost my memory.

“According to witnesses, I was just a bystander following their instructions to stay out of trouble. Something went terribly wrong however. Their robbery went south when a man defied their demands and decided to try to be a hero. This unnamed opposition tried to take down the organized syndicate invading Saffron City with his loyal Pokemon. That’s when everyone found out the robbers stealing from the Sanctum were professionals. Their business was not petty robbery. They had Electrode; they came to fulfill a contract, and were prepared for resistance. Rockets, in all of their sick brutality. To clear out any opposition, they ordered their Pokemon to destroy themselves in a violent attack.”

Lorelei looked down. “A lot of people died.”

“It wasn’t like in the movies, the criminals actually prevailed,” I said grimacing. “Everything happened so fast. And then I got hit by close by debris.”

“You are lucky to be alive, Mister Feyera,” Lorelei responded as her glance shot straight through her frameless glasses and into my own pair of eyes. “The Sanctum was destroyed from that explosion.”

Swallowing hard, I kept talking, “Yeah I know. There was a huge explosion. Twenty-four killed outright, seven died from injuries, and I was among the eleven known survivors. And that’s only the number of bodies actually found. Who knows how many were instantly vaporized?”

“Don’t think about it,” she recommended.

“I’m unable to not think about it, it changed my life; I want to know, I want closure. And yet I can’t remember any of it! I was told everything.”

“You were?” she asked looking me over. “Just…told?”

“I woke up with satchel and debris penetrating through my sternum bone. Most of it was removed except for a thin crimson crescent shaped fragment, which had securely embedded itself too vertically deep into the marrow to take out.” I pointed to the obvious piece on my chest. It wasn’t too large either, maybe four and a half inches top to bottom and protruding only about three outwards at the height of the arc. Sometimes it makes clothing look funny, so usually I just allow it to stick out by cutting a small incision in the upper center of my shirts.

“That? You’re still scarred?”

“Ah yes, I had thought about getting it removed. The problem is that it’s anchored into the bone marrow, attached even,” I said with a sigh.

“You’re kidding!”

“Wish I was. In a years’ time, the bone grew around it. That was the healing process, I couldn’t go under the knife thanks to the amnesia, meaning no pain-killers for surgery.”

“Anesthetics?” she corrected my lay terminology with a laugh. “You mean anesthesia right?”

“Yeah…I forgot what it was called. Point is, there’s no pulling it out. Humph! That would at least prevent it from being snagged on something…and save me from ruining perfectly good shirts!”

“There’s no way?” she asked endearingly. “The good physicians out there weren’t able to do anything to help you?”

“No they weren’t; not in my case, not without high doses of sedatives. I’m at a high risk for total memory loss. Even if I wanted to go through with the potentially mind-clearing procedure, on the physical side it would be far too dangerous to saw off the piece, given the close proximity to my internal organs.”

“What…what is it?” she whispered.

“It’s a metal alloy, a Pokemon’s substance, stubbornly strong too. Electrode are tough blighters.”

“They’re deadly living bombs, you’re lucky to be breathing.”

She didn’t need to tell me that. I was on death’s door thanks to their Explosion attack. “What’s worse is I have my heart and blood vessels all right there. X-rays show arteries twisted and tangled around it. The force of impact was enough to change local anatomy, before I even healed. And with all the internal scaring…it’s a delicate thing.”

“So an incision isn’t possible?” she asked as her glasses reflected some sunrays into my eyes. “Filing?”

“No. If it shook too much due to some operation trying to saw it down, the vibrations might cause a rupture in one of my pulmonary arteries, lungs, and erm whatever else is behind the sternum bone,” I grumbled. She gave me a confused look. “…The scientific term escapes me,” I said after a brief silence.

“Your heart?”

“Oh right,” I said embarrassedly. “I knew that.”

She nodded, satisfied to hear an explanation for the oddity on my body. She raised her glasses again with her pointer finger, higher on her trim nose. I found it to be slightly attractive.

“Maybe one day I’ll recall the whole story but it seems unlikely without therapy. And I’m healthy otherwise. Considering the circumstances, like you said, I am just lucky to be alive.”

“True, it was terrible indeed. I can’t believe Team Rocket resorted to using Electrode as sacrificial detonators; life is more valuable than material goods,” she sighed.

“I’ll tell you what, I can believe it. Team Rocket is inherently evil. I hate them all; I was permanently scarred by their worthless Pokemon!” I was feeling really upset about the entire chain of events, and even more upset by the fact that I could not actually remember them. “I was only told what happened. It was incredibly frustrating. It was like waking up months older and in a battered and unfamiliar body.”

She tried to comfort me, “You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Peh, even so, I don’t believe in falsehoods like fate! *Sigh* Serves me right, I should’ve done something…anything…to avoid this,” I grumbled. I felt guilty, I had probably been too cowardly to stand up to them, I was weak; I hardly stood up to anyone for anything. But I wasn’t about to tell Lorelei that! “You know I wouldn’t allow it to happen again now that I’ve been given a second chance.”

“Second chances can sometimes make you softer…You look okay though,” she said as she continued to study me.

“Appearances can be deceiving, Lorelei; but I try my best to put on a good show.” I thought about the shard embedded in my chest once more. “In addition, there was the psychological impact. It took me a while to overcome my fear of going out after the attack. Only recently did I decide to interact with Pokemon again. If you’d asked me immediately after the incident, I would’ve told you I wanted nothing to do with Pokemon ever again.”

“And yet here you are!” she laughed. “On the dawn of your departure, the start of an adventure to interact with Pokemon. Sounds like you’ve turned around quite a bit! You didn’t let that change you,” she said pointing at the crystal partially concealed behind my necktie’s fabric.

Did the injury really change me? I couldn’t tell, however it did give me a fair deal of vengeful spouts. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s life I suppose. I’m stronger now,” I said, pressing down on my silk tie. That was my style now that I had a wound to cover up, and besides, anyone looks better when dressed professionally. Moreover, what else could I wear besides my professional clothes? This was a research investigation first and foremost!

“Seems like you’re well on your way, Mister Feyera. But please be sure to remember exactly what it means to be a Pokemon Trainer. You have a great deal of responsibility now. Battles can be merciless. You’re not only responsible for your own life, but also the lives of your partners,” Lorelei said. “It’s a dangerous but rewarding challenge. The Pokemon League privatized trainer licenses, battles, and badge collecting as a means to promote commerce and to encourage traveling following the Great War’s aftermath, but –wouldn’t cha know!–, it’s developed a high-stakes, competitive edge on its own.”

It was my turn for questions. “Do you mind me asking why you’re here?” I asked.

“Ah, curious aren’t you? Well, the Pokemon League needs me to conduct an investigation!” she said. “And I just happen to be their expert on the matter.” Her pretty face seemed proud of her position.

“You’re joking! The Pokemon League needs you here in the backwoods town of Pallet?” I asked, completely stunned. “Why on earth would you need to be doing that?”

“Ha ha. Yeah, yeah. It’s top secret governmental business and all that!” she chuckled and moved her slender hand to cover her open smile, “Kidding, it’s much less interesting than I am making it out to be.” She winked at me. “Mister Feyera, perhaps one day I’ll see you again and we can talk some more.”

“Hey, that’d be great.”

She raised an alluring eye. “Tell you what, get that Pokemon of yours trained, and we can have a little contest of wits.”

“What? Really? You and me?”

“Yes, together. I’m a Pokemon trainer, and one of the best! Run your little errands for Professor Oak and you’ll eventually need pass the Pokemon Gyms in order to find new Pokemon. So, why don’t you earn some League Badges while you’re at it? It would make me proud to see from the young doctor!”

“P—Proud?” I asked, unsure of what would make her proud of me. “I’m Mister Feyera now,” I said, slowly shaking my head. “I really am not anyone special. At least not anymore. But I have my hope; I believe I can get my memories back by researching Pokemon again!”

“Yes, you’ve been through a lot; it’s a challenge that’ll help you take your mind off things. I’ll be waiting for you at the end of that road though.” She lifted a heavy lidded eye. “Should you make it that far, of course…”

“Uh huh.” It wasn’t really first date material, but I popped the question anyway, “Say, do you suppose maybe we could go out for a drink?”

“A drink?” she asked skeptically.

“Yeah…” I paused; my palms were on fire with nervousness. “Maybe some coffee…?”

“Oh! Haha, of course, why not?” she replied lightly. “That would be a great idea!”

YES! I wanted to shout, but I refrained. “Ahem, well there’s no way I’d pass an opportunity like that up! This gym challenge will be over in no time.”

“Hmm… The challenge isn’t easy, nor is it for everyone,” she said with a faint smile. “In any event, there’s a small Pokemon Gym to the north of here in Viridian City, on the way to Pewter. It’ll give you more control over your new Pokemon. I’m sure you’d like it.”

“I guess I could,” I said. “What could possibly go wrong?”

“That’s the spirit!”

“I hope Professor Oak would be okay with me doing that. Come to think of it, hadn’t his grandson done something like that years ago?”

“I don’t follow The Professor’s family life, but I’m sure you could do it! Make it a hobby, no big deal. Do it for me,” she said winking. “I love seeing new trainers take the challenge, I’m sure you’ll do great!”

“Thanks Miss—I mean Lorelei.”

“Hey don’t mention it, it was nice to meet you before you became famous, again!” she said with a chuckle. “You know, it isn’t every day I come across a Pokemon researcher. Or researcher-turned-trainer for that matter, most of the lab coats stay in the laboratories if you know what I mean. You’re rather unique, I like that!”

Unique? I didn’t want that. “Thanks I guess, but I’d say it takes one to know one.”

“Hey, don’t look at me like that, I meant that to be nice.”

“Mmm,” I said with a friendly smirk. “Well, I can say the pleasure has been all mine. Glad you enjoyed our conversation as much as I did.” I tried not to make it as awkward as it sounded.

“I’m looking forward to seeing your face again over our coffee, Mister Feyera,” Lorelei said as her busty hair blew in the wind of the beautiful day. “Ta ta!”

I sure could use motivation to do what I was about to do, and a promised date with her was more than enough. Lorelei turned around and began to walk off; I could imagine the rosy smile on her lips. The cool scent of her coconut cream perfume was lovely; tropical scents were among my favorite things, though I couldn’t tell you why.

Excitedly, I went back to my apartment to pay my final occupancy bill to my landlord. Gee, it would be great to have him off my back. Mister Austin always had something to say to me about paying in a timely fashion; I didn’t understand the problem, I always paid him monthly, just not always on time. “Big deal,” I thought, “I’m not as punctual as I used to be. Besides, it’s his fault for trying to collect in the middle of the month! Who does that?! *Sigh* Okay.” Sealing the cash-filled envelope containing most of my recent paycheck from the coffeehouse job at Prevoy’s, I felt a surge of relief. I was done here. “Moving on.”

I had transported all my research materials and texts into storage for the time being, so the room was vacant except for a few bare necessities. Now that I think about it, the sheer size of some of those academic tomes could have made a set of furniture. Most of them are written in another language, with so many scientific terms. Memory loss is a terrible thing. I still recall some basics such as the scientific names for discovered Pokemon species. But other things that I learned while interning are completely forgotten. When packing up last week, I remember picking up a book on advanced cellular bonds and practical ways to manipulate such components at the molecular level. To say that I was stumped would be putting it mildly. I hadn’t the foggiest if half the words on page one were even written in English! All I could do was laugh, throw the text into a cardboard box, and continue packing without giving it a second thought.

I was naturally intelligent and, ironically, that’s what frustrated me. I only lost my memory after all, not my brain. Facts were gone, but my ability to analyze wasn’t impaired in the slightest. And, being a somewhat smug researcher, I didn’t want to have to go back to the university and relearn everything that I had forgotten. Instead of doing that, I saw this as a golden opportunity to face my fear of Pokemon and get out of this dead-end life. It had taken me long enough, but here I stood on the threshold of a Pokemon journey to call my own. I picked up my backpack, full of supplies I would need for the quest including my belt holster. I loosened my necktie’s knot for comfort, this wasn’t going to be a stuffy day indoors! Finally, I bolted the apartment door shut, very eager to begin my adventure.

It was time to head off north towards Viridian City. Still, my heart was aflutter from Lorelei’s flirtatious body; the prospect of her saying yes replayed over and over in my mind, causing my chest to feel airy. I was so full of happiness! I found the bright sunlight invigorating as I walked north towards the edge of town. Some of the sunlight reflected into my eyes, obscuring my vision slightly. Must have been the shrapnel. Then again, it could have been reflected off the puddles from the earlier rain.

Ignoring this minor peculiarity, I stared off into the distant mountain range to the north. I felt ready to depart from Pallet Town and begin my quest. Despite all of my fears and worry, there was desire. Desire itself was allowing me to overcome my irrational fears. The very idea of being able to interact with Pokemon once more annexed positive thoughts, multiplying the sanguinity ceaselessly with possibility upon possibility, the possibility of possibility itself was daunting. Strangely, I was not overwhelmed by this flood of optimism. Instead, I was hopeful. I wanted to feel this way forever.

That was my dream.

It would be the first of many.