Outside of Birmingham, Alabama Sunlight shone through the canopy of the forest, flooding patches of grass and plants with its natural radiance. A young boy, dressed in brown shorts, a blue t-shirt, and a baseball cap, ran excitedly down a path of woodchips, his attention caught by something a short distance away. He burst out of the forest and into a verdant meadow, the smile on his face growing with anticipation. There, in the center of the small clearing, lie his target: a canine with sleek, gray and black hair, gleaming red eyes, and vicious fangs. The creature, whose appearance was somewhere between that of a hyena and that of a wolf, lifted its head slightly and gazed lazily at the boy. It lowered its head once again, obviously perceiving no threat. "A wild Mightyena!" The boy cheered joyfully as he reached for a red and white sphere attached to his belt, "It must be my lucky day!" He hurled the sphere into the air, and it opened on a small hinge, releasing a burst of red light. As the light hit the ground, it took form and began to materialize. By the time the ball returned to the boy's hand, a small, brown-haired primate with a flame at the tip of its long tail had appeared. It stood steady on its feet, and raised its arms as it formed fists with its hands. "Monferno, use Mach Punch!" The blonde-haired boy commanded. The fiery-tailed monkey complied, charging towards the dark canine with its right fist raised. Despite its apparent apathy, the wild Pokemon was not oblivious to the oncoming attacker, and slowly rose to its feet. The primate was now within range of its target, and it drew its fist back, preparing to strike the lupine hyena. Suddenly, to the surprise of both the attacking Pokemon and its trainer, the wolf Pokemon lunged forward, taking the monkey by surprise and knocking it to the ground. The wild Pokemon's eyes had changed, now, rather than appearing lazy and uninterested, they seemed to overflow with murderous intent. Its forelegs pinned the primate's arms to the ground, and saliva dripped from its fangs, landing on the predator-turned-prey's cheek. The Mightyena raised its head to look at the Monferno's trainer and let out a fierce growl, signalling its intent. "Monferno, return!" The boy nervously shouted as he realized what grave danger his Pokemon was in. His arm shook furiously as he lifted the arm that held a Pokeball in it, but unlike him, the wild Pokemon was not slow to make its next move. Without warning, it dashed forward, freeing its previous prey from its grasp as it directed its attention towards its new target. Before he realized what was going on, the trainer was on the ground, stuck in place by sharp claws pinning his shirt down. "Please don't hurt me!" He screamed in fear. The Mightyena lowered its head until the trainer could feel its warm breath on his fear-stricken face. It opened its jaws. "You're the worst kind of human," It uttered in a feminine voice, "You're a Pokemon Trainer." "AAUGHHH!" Prologue: Part One: Pokemon Pokemon. At first, we knew it only as a video game. A television show. A card game. Little did we know, it was much, much more than that. For decades, humans had pondered the concept of intelligent life on other planets. One human knew the truth. His name was Satoshi Tajiri. Tajiri was well known as the creator of the Pokemon franchise. But he did not create Pokemon. He merely introduced them to us as imaginary characters in a series of video games. No, Pokemon have existed since long before they were introduced to humans. They inhabit a planet in a galaxy not far from our own. We call this planet "Monplan" - Monster Planet. The inhabitants of Monplan, "Pokemon" - Pocket Monsters (as we call them), were aware of our existance for centuries before we were aware of theirs. It was only in the year 1991 that they decided to contact us. At first, they only contacted one human - Satoshi Tajiri. Tajiri was chosen by the high council of Monplan for several reasons. He was an aspiring video game designer with a love of nature and a creative mind. A representative of Monplan - a Pokemon of the species known as "Alakazam" - traveled to Earth to meet with the human that the high council had chosen. This Alakazam - the "PokeProphet", as he is now known - appeared before Tajiri one day. While most people would be frightened at the sighting of such a strange creature, Tajiri was intrigued. He conversed with the PokeProphet, who had a thorough understanding of the Japanese language. The PokeProphet told him about Monplan and its hundreds of different species. The prophet told Tajiri that he had been chosen to introduce Monplan's creatures to Earth in the form of a video game. Tajiri was more than eager to comply, and so, after five years of development, Pokemon Red and Green versions were released in Japan. The Pokemon franchise was a huge success. Soon after the electronic games, a television show and a card game followed. Every year, the spectrum of the franchise widened. While the original games included only 151 species, the PokeProphet gradually introduced more and more species to Tajiri - and so, new "generations" of Pokemon were released in 1999, 2002, and 2006. There were many aspects to the Pokemon franchise, but none was more popular than the Trading Card Game. After the release of the Diamond and Pearl expansion in 2007, the game's popularity grew exponentially each year. It peaked in the year 2020, and it was officially recognized as the second most popular sport in the world. I myself was a world-renown player of the Pokemon Trading Card Game, and a seven-time World Champion. Outside of the Pokemon empire, the Earth continued to turn as normal. War was more prevalent than ever, and the economy of nearly every country was slowly declining. Then, in 2022, something happened that changed the face of the Earth forever... Part Two: Invasion In 2022, the inhabitants of Monplan decided to travel to Earth, and did so in great numbers. They came in a single vessel, spherical in shape, and no bigger than the spaceships designed by humans. Many Pokemon were able to fit in the single ship thanks to the pinnacle of Monplan's technology, a concept that was incorporated into the Pokemon Video Games - Pokeballs. These wonderful devices convert mass into energy, then store that energy within themselves. On the voyage to Earth, the majority of the Pokemon were stored in these Pokeballs, though some needed to stay out to maintain the ship. The spacecraft landed in the United States of America - just outside of San Diego, California. When it landed, a cloud of dust shrouded the highly populated area. Some say it spread well past the Mexican border. But when this ship first landed, the dust was the least of people's concerns. The ship opened, and everyone present at the Town and Country Resort was astonished by the sight of the very creatures printed on the cards in their hands. The location of the spaceship's landing was no coincidence - it had landed within the grounds of the resort at which the 2022 Pokemon Trading Card Game World Championships was being held. I know because I, of course, was present. Before anyone could even begin to comprehend the presence of the otherworldly vessel, the first Pokemon were in the convention hall. Leading them was none other than the PokeProphet himself. Every human in the room was still. Even those individuals with the greatest imaginations, the greatest ability to accept what was in front of them, did not so much as turn their heads for several minutes. When heads did begin to turn, they turned to only one man. Satoshi Tajiri. The only man in the room who was not surprised. In fact, on his face, he wore... a smirk. And he uttered these words: "I knew you would come." Select humans - mostly judges and players with high skill - were allowed to board the Monplanian ship and speak with some of the officials. Meanwhile, the other humans were forced to stay in the convention hall, under the strict supervision of several powerful Pokemon. Even Tajiri was shocked to see that the number of Pokemon that had traveled to earth was far more than expected - over two billion. One Pokemon for every three humans on earth. Part Three: Government / Culture Surprisingly, the high council of Monplan suggested that the two species - humans and Pokemon - live in peace. When the countless other species on earth were brought up by one human, the subject was laughed at and dismissed with four words: "Survival of the Fittest." The high council informed the humans of their plans - their demands, really, but that term has such a negative connotation. They would keep out of our political and economic affairs. They set up a fortress in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and stayed there. The rest of the Pokemon, however, had a different fate. They would essentially replace our old animals. Many would live in the wild, some would be kept as "pets." But, of course, there were major differences between Pokemon and earth animals: Pokemon had much more destructive power. Luckily, Pokemon are naturally peaceful creatures. Even the most powerful species, if left to grow on their own, do not have an innate desire to destroy. It is only if corrupted by humans that they will intentionally try to harm people or destroy cities. It is for this reason that only humans over the age of thirteen, who have acquired a special license, can catch and train Pokemon. To be issued a license, you must pass several tests, testing not only your intellect, but your intents as well. Unlike human-administered tests, these tests of character are hard to fake - they are administered by psychic Pokemon with the power of empathy. This process is not flawless, of course, but those who use Pokemon for evil are almost always found and brought to justice. Many humans were at first skeptical of how this radical change in the style of life would work, but it proved to work better than expected. Evil did not exist - at least, not on a large scale. It was as if the mere presence of the powerful Pokemon instilled fear into the hearts of criminals. Of course, every country's government employed armies of psychic Pokemon to monitor their country, in case crime did take place. Much to everyone's surprise, the high council's plan worked. Personally, I do not know how it worked, but I am not complaining. Crime rates are at an all time low. War is nonexistant. Economies are flourishing in every country. It was an unbelievable success. The little influence that the Pokemon had over politics had caused a worldwide utopia. As for Pokemon from a cultural aspect, almost everyone that is old enough has at least one Pokemon. Older folk do not usually use them for battle - though there are exceptions, of course. They might use them around the house, or just as friends. In the younger crowd, however, almost everyone uses them for battle. Many organized tournaments exist, as well as fun battles. And, of course, wild Pokemon can be captured and collected. Several significant court cases have raised questions about the ethicality of Pokemon, particularly about how some Pokemon rule over us while the others serve us. There were certainly some points to be made, but questions about Pokemon died down when a new source of mystery appeared: Demi-Pokemon. Part Four: Demi-Pokemon When the Monplanian ship landed, no one paid any attention to the dust that it brought with it. Perhaps we should have. About a year after the landing, once everyone had begun to adapt to the presence of Pokemon, it happened. People that had been in the area when the ship landed began to develop strange... symptoms. These people now have the power to transform into Pokemon at will. Scientists immediately began running diagnostics on people that developed this ability, and found one chemical present in all of their systems. This same chemical had been found in a sample of the dust that spread when they ship landed. These people, known as Demi-Pokemon, are dangerous. Regular Pokemon are not psychologically geared towards intentionally trying to cause harm. Demi-Pokemon have human consciousness, and as such, may use their powers for evil. If only those who had been present at the World Championship tournament developed these powers, there would be no problem. They could easily be tracked down and monitored by the government. But that is not the case. Every day, more and more Demi-Pokemon are found. Now, thousands, if not millions, are affected. I can only wonder what this will mean for the future. -- Pokemon and Demi-Pokemon, Tsuguyoshi Yamato, 2025 Chapter One: Beginnings Milwaukee, Wisconsin An old woman paced back and forth in front of the clean, green porcelain surface on the wall. She wore a neatly pressed red suit with yellow buttons lining the center. Her thin, wispy gray hair was tied up in a bun above her head, and a pair of blue-framed glasses adorned her face. “Who can tell me in what year the International Demi-Pokemon Hunting Act was passed?” She asked in a surprisingly firm voice, turning to the two dozen high school students, sitting in perfectly aligned rows and columns of school desks, who faced her. Almost every student had at least one book or binder or sheet of paper on his or her desk, and some even had all three. The room was quite plain and minimally decorated: the teacher’s desk sat in one corner, bedecked with a desktop computer, a wire-frame tray containing a stack of papers, a small white coffee mug containing various writing utensils, and a stapler. Above it and slightly to the right was a small television screen on the wall. In the opposite corner was another large desk, this one having nothing but a computer on it. The untarnished, dull green chalkboard sat on the wall that connected the teacher’s desk to the door, and the only decorative item on any of the other three walls was a single poster. It depicted a pink and yellow feline creature with a small body, large ears, and a large pink egg shape at the end of its long tail. It wore a yellow crescent pattern on its face, as well as a worried frown. It was hanging by its tail from a tree branch at the top of the picture, and it appeared to be in great danger of falling. At the bottom of the picture, large red letters read “Hang in there!” Several hands shot up from the block of students to answer the teacher’s question. “Mr. Dragoo.” The elderly instructor said. Every raised hand fell, and the teacher looked at a brown-haired boy, clothed in a light green t-shirt and tan pants and wearing a green bandana around his left arm, sitting in the row at the back of the classroom. His chair leaned against the nearby wall. “I-I didn’t have my hand raised.” He said in a surprised tone as his chair fell to its normal position with all four legs on the floor. “I’m well aware. Please answer the question.” “Alright then…” The student paused, “That’d be… nineteen eighty-four.” A low level of laughter arose from the majority of the class. “Mr. Dragoo, Demi-Pokemon did not even begin to appear until the year two thousand and twenty-three.” “Oh, right, I knew that.” The boy was obviously uninterested in the subject at hand, for he had to use his arm to prop his head up. “Can anyone else answer the question?” The teacher asked again, "Yes, Ms. Delarose." An incredibly pale-skinned girl with sandy brown hair stood up from her seat in the front row. She wore a baby blue t-shirt with a golden star in the center of the chest area, brown pants, and a necklace made of large, red and blue wooden beads. "Two thousand and forty-six," The female stood up so that her quiet voice could be heard by the students behind her, "After over twenty years of increasing violence, a group of radical extremist Demi-Pokemon laid seige to Washington, D.C. In response, the Monplanian government stepped in and drafted the I.D.P.H.A. so that the tragedy would not be repeated." The student returned to her seat after completing her answer. "Very good," The aged educator said, "And who can tell me what branch of international government was created by this treaty?" She paused to allow the students to raise their arms, "Mr. Arnold?" "The Tracking Branch." Answered a bespectacled boy with curly dark brown hair. "And what is the purpose of the -" The teacher was interrupted mid-sentence by the electronic ring of the school bell. Students that had been intently watching the clock had anticipated the noise, for they were already out the door by the time it finished ringing. "I suppose we'll have to finish this lesson tomorrow." The instructor sighed as students eagerly rushed out the door. "Let's go, Onix!" The brunette boy that the teacher had referred to as Mr. Dragoo threw a small red and white sphere into the air. Red light shot forth from the opening ball, and a large, snake-like creature, almost thirty feet in length, materialized in the wide field of dirt behind the school. The snake's body was composed of large gray boulders that decreased in size from head to tail. A craggy face and a jagged horn marked its head. Several dozen other students were releasing various creatures of their own into the holey field. "Where's Jimmy?" The girl that had been addressed as Ms. Delarose asked as she tossed a brown satchel that she had been carrying into the air. The rocky creature lowered its head, catching the girl's bag on its horn. "I don't know, but he'd better get here fast," Her companion replied as he loaded his own bookbag onto the Pokemon, "The Subterra's gonna be heck if we don't leave soon." The Subterranean Expressway, or Subterra, was one of several relatively new transportation options that the students' generation was only the first or second to experience. The first Subterra was constructed in 2054, shortly after motor vehicles fell out of usage completely. "Ah, there he is," The female student said as she pulled herself onto one of the boulders in the snake Pokemon's midsection, "Hey! Jimmy! C'mon, we gotta get going!" "Coming!" Jimmy yelled back and began to run faster. He had very short hair, but the little that he did have was about the same color as Mr. Dragoo's. While his friends simply wore t-shirts, he also wore an unzipped red jacket over his yellow shirt. He wore gray cargo pants and fingerless red gloves, and certainly stood out more in a crowd than his friends. He approached the stony behemoth and quickly hopped aboard its back. "Everybody hang on!" The creature's owner shouted. The titanic beast slithered over to a large hole in the ground and dove down, disappearing beneath the surface along with its three passengers. Dallas, Texas "I'm home!" The door of apartment number 9 swung open, unlocked by a small golden key. A tall man with a silver ponytail and emerald eyes strode into the room, removing his key and closing the door behind him. He wore a black wifebeater, a brown leather bomber's jacket, and blue jeans, and looked to be in his early twenties. The apartment was fairly simple in design; the door opened up into the kitchen, which contained everything necessary for heating, cooling, and storing food; next to the kitchen was a living room, furnished with a sofa (on which a blanket and pillow had been laid out), a reclining leather chair, a coffee table, a computer desk, and a television screen built into the wall; and a short hallway extended from the living room to a single bedroom, with a bathroom halfway between the two. The coffee table had been moved to the side of the room, and a teenage boy stood in the center of the room. A sleekly designed metallic helmet adorned his head, and he wore white gloves and boots. Wires ran out of the back of the helmet, the fingertips of the gloves, and the inside of the boots, all connecting to a small silver and green cube in front of the television set. The boy was swinging his arms around as if he held a sword in his hand, but the weapon was nonexistent. The screen of the television was completely white; the game's visual display was shown only on the visor of the helmet that the boy was wearing. "Playing games again... of course." The older boy sighed as he removed his jacket and placed it on the back of a chair that stood next to the kitchen counter. He walked over to the leather chair, still undetected by the entranced boy. He picked up a small silver bar that had been occupying the chair and pressed a button on it several times. "Hey! What happened to the sound?" The younger boy asked and began to look around, even though he could not see the room in which he was standing. "You finish your homework yet, Flint?" His senior asked. "Oh, Grayson, it's just you," The teenager said with a sigh of relief, "I thought the TV was busted again. Yeah, I finished my - oh, crap!" Instantly, he began to slash once again with his imaginary weapon. "Dang, didn't hear that thing coming... good thing it was a weakling." The junior boy said after a few moments of vigorous cleaving. "Anyone call while I was out?" Grayson inquired. "Yeah, Kayden left a message," Flint replied, "Wanted you to meet him and Rachel at Reunion Tower so you could catch the five thirty light train." Grayson glanced at the clock on the wall. "It's five fifteen now!" He rushed towards the door and hurriedly grabbed his jacket. "Hey, it's not my fault you don't have a cell phone... hey, turn the volume back up, will ya?" Flint's request went unheard, for his brother had already left the room. Reunion Tower, located in downtown Dallas, was one of twelve towers, collectively known as the Re Towers, located within roughly one square mile of each other. It was the original of the towers, constructed in 1978, nearly 60 years before the second tower. Grayson ran toward the tower, occasionally checking his watch to see what time it was. "Five twenty-four... I could still make it." Grayson thought as he approached the giant microphone-shaped tower. He began to run across the street just in front of the tower, not paying any attention to the traffic. Cars were no longer used, but many people with fast-moving Pokemon still traveled on the streets of old. He narrowly avoided being hit by a fast, yellow, spiky fox-like Pokemon, and received an unfriendly exclamation from its rider. "Hey! Grayson! Over here!" Came a female voice as Grayson reached the far side of the street. Standing in front of the tower's front entrance were two figures, one male, one female. The male had short black hair; wore thin-rimmed glasses, a neat white shirt, white pants, and black dress shoes; and was obviously of asian descent. The female was slightly shorter than the male, had blonde pigtails extending to just below her shoulder, and had a plethora of freckles on her face. She wore a blue and white checkered crop top, blue jeans, and brown leather boots. She waved her hand in the air, attempting to attract Grayson's attention. Grayson nodded his head to acknowledge the wave and jogged over to where his friends stood. "You're certainly cutting it close." The other boy, Kayden, said, glancing at his watch. "I didn't get home untill fifteen minutes ago," Grayson explained, "I got here as fast as I could." "Well, let's get going then, shall we?" The triad began to walk toward a nearby train station, where a shiny, red metal train was pulling up. While cars and other personal motor vehicles were no longer used, trains and subways were still used for mass transportation. When the Earth's supply of gasoline ran out, they had shifted to electric power, and were now primarily powered by electric Pokemon. As the sliding doors opened, the three entered an empty car near the middle of the train. "So, where are we going tonight?" Grayson asked his companions. "Hmm... let's go to the Virtucade!" The female exclaimed enthusiastically. The train doors shut. "Again?" Kayden asked with a sigh. "Oh come on, it'll be fun!" The train began to move, headed for its next destination. Osaka, Japan An unusually overweight man with short black hair sat on a tatami matted floor, sipping tea from a small gray glass. He wore a simple white t-shirt and black pants. He intently watched the television set in the wall, unable to remove his eyes from the electric box. Two large men were grappling in the center of a white ring, wearing the traditional kesho-mawashi of a high-ranked sumo wrestler: colorful belts with embroidered aprons in the front. A much lighter man in a purple and white silk uniform, obviously the referee, walked around the arena. The camera occasionally shifted its focus to the crowd watching the match. Suddenly, one of the wrestlers, wearing a dark green apron with brown and gold designs on it, forcefully pushed his opponent, causing the latter to fall to the ground. "And Koga Ando goes down! Yamaguchi Gousuke is the winner of the tournament!" The crowd of fans went wild with applause and cheering. "Watching your last match again?" The man with the tea turned to see a lighter man with spiky black hair behind him. The thin man wore a white jujitsu uniform, tied with a black belt. "Oh, Hayato, I didn't see you there," The heavier man responded, "Yeah, it was on TV, so I thought I'd watch it. See if I did anything wrong." "You won the tournament, of course you didn't do anything wrong." "It's like the elder says, learn from your victories as well as your defeats." "Well, if you keep winning, you're bound to get that promotion to yokozuna soon." "You think so?" "Of course! You're way better than all the other ozeki. Just remember to keep up your training, and you'll win the next tournament for sure." "Thanks, Hayato!" A large, dumb grin grew on Gousuke's face, "Hey, how about you? You had a match yesterday, right?" "Yeah..." Hayato scratched the back of his head and sighed, "I lost again." "Don't worry! You're just in a slump! You'll start winning again soon!" "I don't know..." "Or, you could start eating more, and become a rikishi like me!" "Hah, don't count on it," Hayato laughed, "There's no way you'd catch me running around and tackling people in my underwear like that." "It's not underwear!" Gousuke huffed. "Well, I've got to get going," Hayato said, "No doubt you're supposed to be training right now, too." "Oof, probably," Gousuke slowly stood up, "You going to come watch me on Saturday?" "Of course!" Hayato opened the room's sliding door, "See ya later." "Bye!" Chicago, Illinois A group of five men in their thirties and forties were gathered around a small wooden table where playing cards and colorful circular chips had been laid out. The room was dimly lit, and the staircase leading to a higher floor combined with the lack of windows made it obvious that it was a basement. Sports memorabilia from the late 20th and early 21st centuries and the heads of animals from the time before Pokemon arrived on Earth lined the walls of the small room, and a musty smell wafted through the air. "All in." A clean-shaven man in his early thirties pushed the mountain of chips in front of him closer to the center of the table. He was the best dressed of the group, wearing a fancy white dress shirt and light gray pants. "I fold." Said the man to his left as he turned the two cards in front of him face up and threw them towards the deck. The two men to his right had already forfeited their chance of winning the hand as well. "I'll call." The fifth man, the oldest in the group, said. He pushed his own pile of chips, slightly smaller than the younger man's, to the center. One of the men that had already given in flipped over the top card of the deck, the king of spades. It joined the other four previously revealed cards on the table; the ten of spades, the nine of spades, the ten of hearts, and the three of hearts. "Four of a kind." The older man revealed that the two cards he had been holding were the ten of diamonds and the ten of clubs. "Well, it's hard to beat a hand that good." The younger man said with a chuckle that seemed to admit defeat. The older man reached for the large pile of chips. "Hey, now, I didn't say I couldn't." He revealed his own hand: the jack and queen of spades. "Son of a...!" The elder man slammed his fist on the table, causing one of the higher stacks in the pile of chips to topple over, "Dangit, Percy, you're going to rob us all blind." "Now, now, it was a good hand, Johnny," The fancily-dressed man raked in the mountain of chips, "These things just happen sometimes." "Hmph." The man that had just been eliminated from the game grumbled. "Someone turn on the radio." One of the other men held up a small remote control and aimed it at a silver box resting on a small table nearby. "You're listening to ninety-six-three, home of the best music from the start of the millenium." The radio announced. "My god, not that garbage," One of the older men complained, "I can't figure out why these kids like that stuff. It's eighty years old, for god's sake." "I don't know, I think it's pretty catchy." Percy replied. "Alright, folks, now it's time for what you've been waiting all week for," The speaker on the radio said, "The chance to go on tour with one of today's hottest century start rock and metal revival bands, Chicago's own Retrograde Darkness! Caller number eighty will get a chance to answer a trivia question about the band, and if they get it right, they'll win the trip! Are you ready? Call three one two, nine six three, five five, five five. The phones are open... now!" "Are you seriously trying to win this thing, Percy?" One of the men asked. The well-dressed young man had pulled out his cell phone, and was dialing the number that the radio had given. "The chances are one in a million!" "I'd say they're probably closer to one in eighty," Percy replied, "Now shut up." "Congratulations!" Came a voice from the other side of the phone line, "You're the eightieth caller! Please stand by!" After a few seconds, Percival gave his name and some other information to the person that had answered his call. "Alright! Looks like we've got our eightieth caller!" The man on the radio announced about a minute later, "It's Percival Goldman, from right here in Chicago! Say hello, Percival!" "What's up?" Percy replied. "Well, it could be your popularity among the ladies, if you answer this question correctly!" The radio personality said cornily, "Alright, we all know that Retrograde Darkness is famous for some of its rock and roll songs from the start of the century, but even some of the most dedicated fans don't know who originally performed those songs! For the chance to go on tour with Retrograde Darkness, who originally sang their song, 'If Everyone Cared'?" After a short pause, Percy made his guess, "Let's see... I think that would be... Nickelback?" "That is correct!" The radio host exclaimed in an overly excited tone, "You've won the trip!" "You are one lucky guy, you know that?" Johnny commented. Outside of Birmingham, Alabama It was nearing dusk. A crowd of at least five thousand strong had gathered in a large, grassy clearing. The clearing was surrounded on all sides by a dense forest, and a raised rock platform in the center of the open expanse formed a sort of natural stage. The colorfully dressed masses had gathered around the stage, and roughly a dozen people stood upon it. A troop of purple and yellow, semi-humanoid Pokemon with large mouths and cannon-like appendages were stationed around the edges of the clearing. These were Exploud, and their cannons did not shoot projectiles - they shot sound waves. These Pokemon were being used to create a soundproof barrier around the field, so that the loud sound of the speakers on the stage could not be heard by anyone other than its designated audience. A dark-skinned woman with long, messy black hair that looked to be in her late twenties had taken to the center of the stage, and held in her hand the microphone that was wirelessly connected to the speaker system. She wore a mostly gray fur coat with black edges around the bottom and sleeves, black pants, and black shoes. Her face was decorated with black paint in the shape of an inverted triangle under each of her eyes. "My brothers and sisters!" She exclaimed into the microphone, "The age of the oppresive humans is over!" The crowd cheered wildly, eagerly anticipating an elaboration. "Since the day that Pokemon arrived here on earth, they have been nothing but slaves to the humans! Even before the Monplanians appeared, humans acted as if they were the greatest race on this earth, taming the creatures of the pre-Pokemon world! But Pokemon are equal, if not superior to humans! Has our kind not proved that?! And yet, what have they done to our kind? They hunt us down like monsters! There must be an end to this injustice!" The crowd's cheers and applause grew louder in support of the speaker's message. "We will rise up, my brethren! With the support of all those that are like us, we can topple the human empire!" The level of applause reached a fever pitch, "And now, let us all join in for the reading of the National Anti-Trainer Union's pledge! Here he is, the official reciter of the pledge, your vice president and my husband, Lucas King!" The strong-voiced female handed the microphone over to a white-skinned man with black hair that extended to roughly his shoulder level. He wore a yellow t-shirt, a zipperless blue jacket, blue shorts, black gloves, black boots, and a blue baseball cap with a black line running down the center of it. "Thank you, Mikayla. Now, let's all recite the pledge." The man's voice was shakier than his wife's, and it was obvious that he had less experience with public speaking, but the silence of the crowd indicated that he was respected despite this. "All beings are created equal," He began. As he started the second line, the masses joined in, "Be they human, Pokemon, or both. Our mission, as respectable beings of this planet that we share, is to promote unity and equality for all. Those that believe that they are superior to others must be taught the error of their ways. The world must learn to stop living in fear of our kind. We will strive for a world where humans, Pokemon, and Demi-Pokemon can live in peace. I will do my part by spreading the word to my fellow Demi-Pokemon and by increasing awareness about the evils of trainerhood. I will never lay my hands on the wretched device known as a Pokeball. I will never compromise the safety of this organization by leaking proof of its existance to any humans. If we follow these rules, and work together, we will soon live in a world where our three species live in peace!" As the pledge finished, the crowd began to cheer once again. The tone of the man's speech was much calmer than that of the woman's bold declarations, but both were listened to by the anxious crowd. "Thank you, Lucas!" The dark-skinned woman said as she took the microphone back from her partner. "Now, my friends, it is time for us to adjourn for today. You will all be informed of the time and location of our next meeting via word of mouth. And please, tell all of your fellow Demi-Pokemon that have not yet fallen to the government about our glorious organization! Peace shall prevail on Earth!" The crowd went wild as Mikayla walked off of the stage, followed by Lucas and the others that had stood there. As she stepped onto the lower ground, a man dressed in white and brown clothes approached her. "We've identified a spy, ma'am." He said in an official, businessy tone. "What a surprise." Mikayla replied sarcastically. "Would you like us to handle it?" "No... I think I'll take care of this one myself." An evil smile grew on her face, and she licked her lips hungrily. The man guided her down a path through the crowd that had been cleared for her, leading her to where the spy was. He sat on the ground, surrounded by four men with stern, emotionless expressions on their faces. The supposed spy's behavior was not reminiscent of that of a spy; he sat on the ground in an almost feedle position, whimpering to himself. "This guy is the spy? Are you serious?" She approached him and crouched down to his level. He briefly looked up to meet her gaze, sniveled, then looked back to the ground. "He sure doesn't look like he's working for the government." "Regardless, we can't let him go after..." "Oh no, I never said anything about letting him go." She moved her head in closer to the prisoner's, close enough so that he could feel her warm breath on his face. She opened her mouth further to reveal to the man that her teeth were rapidly becoming long and sharp. "Oh god... please, no!" -------------------------------------------------- Ok. So, as I've said before, this isn't in any way related to EL and ELOA. It's completely new. Now, as I have done with every chapter of my fanfics, the post-chapter notes: Note: It's only the first chapter, and already there's been a reference to the book 1984 (this one should be obvious) and to the TV show Heroes (considerably less obvious). Note: "Re" in the "Re Towers" is pronounced like the japanese letter rather than spelt out - "reh", not "are ee". Note: Naturally, if this was a real show, the characters in Japan would be speaking Japanese and there'd be subtitles and whatnot. Yknow, like Heroes does it. Note: All names referenced in Japan, for example, Yamaguchi Gousuke, are in the Japanese order - Family name first, then given name. Note: Yokozuna is the highest rank a sumo wrestler can attain. Ozeki is the second highest. Note: Rikishi means sumo wrestler. Note: The "Kay" in Kayden is pronounced "Ka-i" like in "sky", not like the abbreviated form of "okay" Note: I know this is set several decades in the future, but there aren't going to be a ton of technological and cultural advancements. Those aren't really the focus of the story. Plus, I think it's pretty common among authors of novels set in the future to not focus much on drastic differences in technology and whatnot - Orwell (1984) hardly mentioned any technological advancements at all (Except, of course, for Telescreens), and Huxley's (Brave New World) ideas were relatively limited considering that his novel was set 600 years in the future.