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Roots // PG-13


Fiery Blaze Lucario
Your fic is sooo good. i was inspired to plan another fic after my first fanfic was locked and deleted.
Oh yeah, when will yu post chapter 40? its been a long time (srry if i will shout but here's mah request):
(oh yeah could u add me in ur pm list? I'm shy so i made this one size :p)

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Hey there. I'm almost done with the chapter, I just need to edit a couple of scenes. The main reason this one's taking a bit long is because, for whatever reason, I'm obsessing over description and phrasing. Sometimes I feel like I should be going into details, other times I feel like I shouldn't... stuff like that.

I'm aiming to get it up before the end of March. I'm sort of getting tired of posting one chapter a month, because I feel like I could be going a lot faster. :p

I'll add you to the PM list, in the meantime. Thanks for reading!

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer

Over in the Jubilife suburbs, the morning of July 13th had dawned in a rapid flash. For the first time in a while, the Rowan house was bustling — alive with the sounds of voices and movement from a crowd of guests downstairs. They consisted of Patricia’s friends and neighbors, many of whom had been involved with the neighborhood search for Michael, others who had tagged along to the community gathering. They coalesced in the living room, where the TV was playing a news report, its audio mixing in with sounds of conversation. The tables were covered with an assortment of snacks and drinks, some of which Patricia had prepared, others that her guests had brought in.

For a few hours she had switched from mingling with the crowd to scurrying to the kitchen to replenish empty bowls, before she finally took a break to do the dishes. She was now scrubbing the remnants of fried potatoes from a skillet, while trying to keep tabs on what the people on TV were saying.

Unfortunately, she had been asleep when the GASP unveiling had aired, and so she had missed much of the initial craze that followed the next day. She had calmly gone about her routine, and had even planned to get some shopping done in the city, when Betty Arlington called to ask her opinion on the news. Patricia had turned on the TV in confusion, and in a matter of seconds, fell dumbstruck onto the couch, losing all desire to get up from it.

The GASP alliance was truly shocking — not so much from the fact that two corporate rivals had joined forces, but more because of the pokémon that represented their common goal. Patricia’s skin crawled at the thought of an alien creature being brought to Earth, both because their safety could be put into jeopardy, and also Deoxys’s. She had always held a firm opinion that the less people meddled with the extraterrestrial world, the better. God knew what was out there, first of all, and second, she couldn’t imagine any real need for exploring it. But she supposed that the scientific community craved space travel for its novelty, and as long as their ventures stayed within the realm of controlled observation, she was fine with them. But landing Deoxys on Earth was pushing the envelope.

Nevertheless, Patricia hung on to the reporters’ every word from that day forward. She dutifully tuned in every morning to watch the story develop, and like many other people in her suburban community, found herself staying in the house for hours on end. It wasn’t until the GASP press conference was announced that she recalled her resolution to get life going again, and organized a few get-togethers at her house, both to catch up with the news, and to apologize to her friends for withdrawing herself.

Although this morning’s program was mainly dedicated to repeating previous coverage, it also revealed more about the Sunyshore protest, which Patricia already knew would outshine the conference in the public media. The supply of chips was rapidly being depleted by her most boisterous guests — Cory and Brendan — who occupied the armchairs directly in front of the television. They hadn’t missed a wink of coverage since the unveiling, and were now having a heated debate over the sound of the reporter’s words. The adults lingered in their own circles, sipping juice and chatting, while some younger children played on the floor, their attention divided between television and toys.

Patricia finished cleaning the skillet and was about to take some dirty plates, when over the hiss of the faucet she heard the doorbell ring. Patricia dried her hands and went to open the door, and saw Barbara Maxwell on the front steps, holding a basket stuffed with wrapping.

“Hello, Patricia.”

Patricia smiled. “Hi, Barbara.”

The two women embraced, and Mrs. Maxwell proffered the basket. “I brought some fruit and chocolate for you, if that’s okay.”

Patricia nodded. “You didn’t have to, but if you insist…” She gestured for Mrs. Maxwell to enter, and the woman placed the basket onto the dining table. From the living room, Cory and Brendan looked to see who had arrived, and upon seeing their teacher, they quickly turned away. Mrs. Maxwell chuckled.

“Part of me is glad this happened in the summer,” she said. “I think I would have gone crazy if it happened during the school year. Even my kids can’t tear themselves away.”

Patricia gave a small smile. “By the sound of it, everyone’s either having their hopes and dreams crushed, or their wildest fantasies turned true.”

“Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

“And those news companies must be having a ball,” Patricia continued. “They hardly show anything that’s not about GASP. Every time I turn on SNN, it’s always either a debate between the anchormen, or a talk show with a crazy conspiracy theorist.”

Mrs. Maxwell shrugged. “You can’t expect much else, though. Nothing this big has happened in a long time, so they’re bound to make a hype over it.”

“Oh, of course,” Patricia replied. “But my only problem is when they put more energy into the commentaries than the actual reporting. It’s almost like these networks are competing for attention — who can air the craziest stories, generate the most gossip, and make the most money.”

A humored twinkle appeared in Mrs. Maxwell’s eyes. “If you think it’s bad now, then just imagine what would happen if they really did bring Deoxys home.”

“I don’t think I even want to go there.” Patricia chuckled. “But I know if Michael were here, he’d have run through every case scenario by now. He’d be talking about it nonstop.”

A moment after she said this, her face fell somewhat, and Mrs. Maxwell placed a hand on her arm. “You’ll find him. Don’t worry.” She gave a moment’s pause, her gaze steady on Patricia. “How long has it been since you’ve heard from the police?”

“More than a week… I’m starting to think they dropped the case. They’ve been searching and searching around Jubilife, but they still haven’t found anything after all this time. I just know he’s not there anymore, but they keep insisting on finishing their investigation in the city.”

“What makes you think he’s not there?”

Patricia gave a somber smile. “Why would he stay in a city that’s only ten minutes away from his house?”

“Maybe in case he thought of coming back.”

“I don’t think he was meaning to come back,” Patricia said. “Michael’s the type who follows through with his decisions.”

“Was he angry at you when he ran away?”

Patricia nodded.

“Do you think he still is?”

“I’m not sure. But I should’ve seen it coming… it’s something that’s been going on for a while now, though we could gloss over it for such a long time that it fooled me into thinking we put it behind us.” She sighed. “I guess this must be Michael’s way of dealing with it.”

“Then I think everything will be fine,” Mrs. Maxwell said. “No matter how angry he was, he’s not going to forget you’re his mother.”

Patricia made no response to this, and the two of them settled into silence, listening to the hum of the television from the other room. Moments later, the doorbell rang, and Patricia gave a little jump.

“That’s strange. I wasn’t expecting anyone else.”

She went to the door, and opened it to reveal a tall, dark-haired man standing on the steps. He was wearing a hat, which he took off immediately upon seeing her. “Mrs. Rowan?”


“My name is Sylvester Bode. I’m a private investigator with Jubilife PD.”

Patricia’s heart fluttered. “Is it about Michael? Do you have any leads?”

“We do,” said the man. “But I have to speak with you alone.”

“Of course. Come inside.”

Patricia led him into the kitchen. Catching her gaze, Mrs. Maxwell nodded in understanding and left the room. Patricia motioned the man to the dining table, and sat down in the chair across from him.

Bode placed his briefcase on his lap and took out a folder. “We have sources to confirm that Michael was indeed in Jubilife City,” he said. “We asked a certain Fran Harris in a bookshop, who identified him by a school picture, and said that he passed through her store carrying a caged Stunky. Does that sound familiar to you?”

Patricia nodded. “Yes… yes he did have a Stunky with him. But I assumed he’d have gotten rid of it...”

Mr. Bode opened the folder to reveal a small stack of papers. “In any case, we’ve searched the city multiple times and found nothing. So it’s likely that your son has moved on to someplace else.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Patricia said. “But why did it take you this long to come to the conclusion, when I phoned the Police Department about it a dozen times?”

“Because up to this point, we had no leads,” Bode answered. “We weren’t sure what your son planned to do, so we had to examine every possibility. Now we’re not only certain that Michael isn’t in Jubilife City, but we also have a good theory on where he might be.”

“And what is that?”

Bode paused. “You gave us information a while ago that you took Michael to get a starter pokémon. Is that correct?”

“Yes, it is.”

“By our estimates, it’s likely that Michael may be disguising himself as a pokémon trainer. What, with the Gym season underway, and it being a Tournament year… I understand you were reluctant to consider the possibility, but it’s a highly convenient and logical disguise for a teenager traveling alone. Trainers can roam by themselves without any trouble from the authorities, and can be found in virtually any location — caves, forests, city streets… It’s all considered normal for them, and no one would consider them to be runaways.”

Patricia tapped her fingers against her cheek. “Do you have any evidence to conform this, or is it just a theory?”

“Not so much a theory anymore,” said Bode. “I took the liberty of traveling to Oreburgh, the first Gym town. And I found from the leader that there was in fact a Michael Rowan in the record book. Your son battled Byron and won on May 31st.”

The investigator slid forward a paper, and Patricia looked down to read it. It was a photocopy of a Gym roster, and in one of the numerous lines, she saw Michael’s name and battle date written in the Gym leader’s hand. She looked up, startled.

“This gives us a much clearer idea of Michael’s trajectory,” Bode continued. “There are only eight Gym cities in Sinnoh, and the standard progression is Oreburgh, Eterna, Hearthome, Solaceon, Pastoria, Sunyshore, Canalave, and Snowpoint. All I would have to do is check the Gym rosters in each city, and if they say that Michael already battled there, I’ll move on and search the next one. By the time I hit the city where Michael isn’t in the records, there will be a high probability that he’s either in the city preparing, or is in the process of getting to it. In which case I would immediately give a warning to the local police, and work with them to find him.”

It took a while for Patricia to process the information. Michael, a pokémon trainer? The same boy who had never shown the slightest interest for raising pokémon, suddenly battled a Gym leader and won? She didn’t know whether to be amazed or horrified. But the more she thought about it, the more sense it made. He did have a Stunky with him. Maybe he’d seen a couple of trainers in Jubilife and decided to take up their disguise. Whether he liked pokémon or not, Michael would surely have found a way to adapt.

Patricia sat in silence for a moment, twirling a lock of her hair. “Now that you mention it… I went through Michael’s room the other day, and I didn’t see his starter’s pokéball anywhere. First I thought that he’d hidden it somewhere, but maybe he took it with him.”

“What was his starter?”

“A Turtwig.” Right then, Patricia remembered something, and added: “Only, it was colored differently. From a regular Turtwig, I mean. It wasn’t green; it was more bluish, and it had a yellow shell.” She paused, and chuckled. “He thought it was defective.”

Mr. Bode took a pen from his shirt pocket and jotted down the information. “Thank you, Mrs. Rowan. I don’t know much about pokémon coloring, but since it tends to be uniform, there’s a chance that Michael’s will stand out. This information will be of tremendous help.” He put the folder back into the briefcase and rose from the table. “Now, with your consent, I will leave to begin the investigation. I plan on leaving for Hearthome City immediately, and depending on what I find there, I will either stay or move on. ”

Patricia looked up. “But what about Eterna? You said that Eterna is supposed to be the city that comes after Oreburgh. I know it’s been… destroyed… but you don’t think that that could have affected anything, do you?”

She fixed her gaze on him, and for a moment, Bode looked back at her without speaking.

“I understand your concern. But at this point, the best thing to do would be to check Hearthome. If Michael has battled the Gym there, then we can be certain that he moved on to Solaceon. If he hasn’t, then I will search the city, and as a last resort, inquire into the whereabouts of the evacuated Eterna residents. In that case, I am certain we will be able to find Michael among them.”

Patricia began to twist her gold necklace uncertainly, but finally nodded.

Bode placed a business card onto the table, containing his name and title. “From now on, the case rests in my hands, and if you should ever have a question or concern, you can call the Police Department and they will connect you directly to me. Each time I stay somewhere, I will give them my location and telephone number, so that if anything comes up, you can let me know.”

“Thank you,” said Patricia.

Bode inclined his head. “I will, of course, call you periodically to let you know of my progress. For now, good day.” He placed his hat back onto his head, and left the house.

Moments later, his car pulled out of the driveway, and with a loud vroom, sped off down the road.


Back in Hearthome City, at that very same moment, Nancy Bryan stood at the door of her hotel room, switching her gaze from the handle of her luggage bag to the sunny, busy streets in view outside the window. The room was abuzz with sounds of scuffling and slamming doors, as her teammates finished their final stages of packing.

“Guys, hurry up! We board in half an hour!” she called.

Moments later, Ned and Tom hustled into the front room with their duffel bags and luggage cases, giving the area a final sweep for missing possessions. They adjusted chairs and closed cabinets, and when they reaffirmed that nothing was lost, they joined Nancy by the door. The only one that remained was Bobby, who was fixing his hair in the bathroom.

“Come on, Bobby, hurry up!” said Ned.

“Almost done!”

The lights in the bathroom went out, and Bobby rushed to grab his things from the hallway. Once all four of them had assembled, Nancy led the way downstairs, where they checked out of the hotel and turned in their keys. In a matter of minutes, the crew was back on the open street, cutting through the crowds on their way to the Hearthome City Rail Terminal.

“Are you sure it’s a good idea to go to Sunyshore now?” asked Tom. “If you think we can make a story out of it, Nancy, we’ll get trampled like ants—”

“I told you, it’s not about the story,” Nancy replied. “Consider that gone. Heck, consider it gone since GASP united. The networks won’t talk about anything else for months.”

“And of course, they have to have it all to themselves,” said Bobby. “It just goes to show that they’re using us. They tell us to give them stories, but at the same time, the minute something big happens, they snatch it up.”

Nancy shrugged. “No point in being sore about it now. If anything, this might force SNN to give us an extension, because they know we can’t do much to help ourselves. Once the hype dies down, we’ll just ask them for another few months. It’ll only be fair.”

“So what are we going to do in Sunyshore, then?” asked Ned. “I know it’s the protest and all, but do you have an actual plan?”

Nancy sighed. “Whatever SNN is painting it as, the protest is going down in history, and I think we should be there to see it happen. And plus, Sunyshore’s pretty much the place to be right now. People are going to be coming in from all over the country, just for the chance of advertising themselves to a global audience. They’ll be renting booths, they’ll be spreading ads, even after the protest is over. So, when all the big networks leave, we’ll have dibs on all those little things that happen after. The kinds of stories the big guys won’t focus on.”

Bobby smiled. “Sounds cool to me.”

Ned and Tom followed with nods.

“All right.” Nancy looked up and saw the rail terminal growing bigger in the distance. She checked her watch. “We’re right on time. Let’s go!”

They stepped through the doors of the building and made their way to the check-in booth, joining the end of a line that snaked through a maze of red velvet ropes. Sunyshore was Sinnoh’s easternmost city, located at the very edge of the coastline, and due to distance, there were no direct train rides from Hearthome. Instead, they had to book a connect ride through another city. After weighing their options, the team had finally settled on the least-crowded route: Solaceon.

Once they had checked in and confirmed their space on the train, they sat down in the waiting room. Tom took a newspaper from a nearby table, and Bobby turned to the TVs, which were showing coverage and commentary on the GASP press conference. “So. The beast finally has a face.”

Nancy smiled.

“And there I was, thinking that Team Galactic workers had green skin and four arms,” Ned replied. “Turns out they were human all along.”

“Yeah. But Allan Knight stole the show,” Bobby said. “Had all those reporters laughing their badges off. And I don’t know if you guys noticed, but he’s been wearing the same tie to his press conferences for months. It’s the one he wore in honor of the Mossdeep University’s seventy-fifth anniversary. That’s spirit right there.”

Tom flipped a page of the newspaper. “You should see the stuff they’re writing about him, though. ’Allan Knight uses revenue to purchase tenth automobile.’” He held up the article, showing a picture of a car standing in a driveway framed by palm trees.

Bobby squinted. “Yeah, and since when does Mossdeep have palm trees? That’s right, never.”

Ned nodded in agreement. “I wouldn’t pay attention to those things if I were you.”

“Yeah, but still, it’s interesting to see sometimes what they’re writing,” Tom said. “I’m trying to… you know. Compare.” He reached discreetly into his duffel bag, and pulled out a corner of a transparent folder, where he kept the article he had received from the stranger.

Nancy slapped him on the arm. “Put that away!” she hissed. ”Are you out of your mind?”

“Nancy, calm down. No one knows we have it. Everybody’s printing crazy stuff, it’ll blend right in—”

“No it won’t! You don’t get it, Tom, if that thing gets into the wrong hands, we’re done for!”

“Because it’s the truth, you mean?”

“Because… because we don’t know yet! We don’t know if it’s the truth, and if it is, we should guard it even more, because—” Nancy trailed off, lost for words, and after sweeping her gaze around the room, fell pointedly into silence.

Tom continued to look at her. “What?”

“I’m not answering.”

He nudged her elbow. “Come on, I’m waiting. Tell me — what?”

“Tom, we are not having this conversation now. If you haven’t noticed, there are people here.”

Tom rolled his eyes. He zipped up his duffel bag crossed his arms, and the team sat in silence for the next few minutes. When their race was called, they filed through the gate with the other passengers, and locked themselves in a compartment near the very back of the train.

“All right, Nancy, tell me,” Tom continued. He sat down across from her and put the article onto table between them. “Why shouldn’t we circulate this? If Team Galactic were on the hunt for naysayers, they’d have arrested a fourth of Sinnoh.”

“They don’t arrest people just for the heck of it,” Nancy said. “What they would do, I think, is arrest people who pass around information that directly interferes with their projects!”

“And if it’s true information? That would mean that Galactic’s got a whole operation planned that no one knows about. If you ask me, I think there’s more reason to be afraid of that than the slim chance of them discovering that we were the ones who uncovered it. Not to mention, we’d be doing people a hell of a favor, because so far they’ve all been led to believe that Galactic is doing everything for their sake!”

Nancy shook her head. “Tom, stop playing hero! Even if the article were true, there’s no way the public would believe us if we just suddenly came forward with it. But Galactic would notice, and they’d shut us down before we could make another peep. If you really want to spread it that badly, then we should at least pass it on to more experienced hands and let some bigger news company deal with it.” She looked down at the document, arms crossed. “And for another thing… honestly, I don’t believe it.”

Tom frowned. “Why not? What’s there to doubt?”

Nancy sighed. “We went over this already. You can’t just accept articles from people on the street and assume they’re true.”

“Yeah, we don’t even know who the guy is,” Bobby put in. “What was his name again?”

“Alfonso something. I keep forgetting.” Tom rubbed his temples, then suddenly brightened. “Helfer! Alfonso Helfer!”

“And who did he work for?”

Tom thought for another moment. “Briney Hardware Ltd.”

“And how would a hardware guy magically have top-secret information about Team Galactic?”

“I don’t know. I just have a feeling he’s right.”

Nancy pursed her lips. “Feelings won’t get you much here, unfortunately.”

Tom opened his mouth to reply, but didn’t appear to know what to say, and was left looking at his companions in silent stubbornness. In response, Nancy leaned her head against her hand. “Look. If it’s bothering you that much, let’s do a background check on this guy. We’ll find out who he is, for starters, and then we’ll decide if he’s a reliable source or not.”

Ned raised an eyebrow. “And how are we going to do that?”

“Well, to start with, we should find out more about this Briney corporation. Who knows, maybe it’s a secret subsidiary to Team Galactic.”

Tom nodded. “All right. I’m up for that.”

“Then, we’ll check some news databases,” Nancy continued. “See if Alfonso’s written anything else, or if he’s a one-hit wonder.”

Bobby snapped his fingers. “Hey, why don’t we check the press office in Solaceon? The train to Sunyshore won’t leave till evening, so we might as well spend our time doing something productive. The public records are bound to have stuff that was written over the past two years, at least. We might even be able to search by name, if he publishes independently.”

“But we don’t know how much information they have,” Ned said. “What if we won’t have time to finish looking? Would you guys rather delay our ride to Sunyshore?”

“We won’t be delaying it by much,” Nancy replied. “I don’t think it’ll take us more than a day to find out if Solaceon has anything. And besides, the protest’s still a week away. I’m sure we’ll be able to find a place to stay.”

“Well, okay.” Ned shrugged. “So it’s settled? Team agreement?”

Tom nodded, and Bobby snapped his fingers. “Right-o.”

With that, the members of the news crew settled back, prepared to wait out the rest of the ride. But moments later, the silence was broken by Bobby, who reached into his flap bag and pulled out a deck of cards.

“Hey guys, look what I brought.” He dangled the bag in the air, spilling the cards out into his palm and laying them out on the table. The other three fixed their gazes on him, just as he began to stack the cards into a tower, and as one the team made sounds of humored annoyance.

“Great. Not that again,” said Nancy.

“You’ll cover the whole table and we won’t have room to do anything else,” said Tom.

Bobby shrugged. “Or you guys could stop being strangers and we could all play a game. Come on.”

Nancy rolled her eyes, but eventually they all agreed.

Their four hours passed uneventfully, before the train finally stopped beside an outdoor platform, bordered by stone archways and covered by a canopy roof. From her seat, Nancy could see sparse buildings crop up from the distant hills, the beginnings of a town that had emerged from the vast, grassy landscape.

Once they got off at the terminal, they immediately went to the concierge booth to find a place to stay. They decided on a small inn that was near the city center — or whatever could have substituted for a city center in the current surroundings. Unlike the wellsprings of activity that Nancy was used to, Solaceon was sprawling and diluted, like an overstretched garment whose threads had thinned in some places and bunched together in others. Instead of there being specialized food stores every two blocks, there was one market square that sold everything, and instead of squares, fountains, or art displays, the bulk of the empty space was reserved for pokémon pastures.

On the upside, the city roads were simple and efficient, and the team found the News Press in a matter of minutes. To Nancy’s relief, they did have a storage database, but after hours of leafing through boxes and feeding data cards into a massive computer, the team became certain that there were no other publications made by Alfonso Helfer.

Nancy looked at the mounds of papers they had piled onto the desk, and crossed her arms. “Just as I thought. The guy’s a mystery.”

“He could be a pseudonym, though,” said Bobby. “Maybe he wrote all his other stuff under a different alias.”

Nancy cringed. “Yuck. I hate it when that happens.”

She and Bobby cleaned up the table, and stepped out of the archive to wait on Ned and Tom, who were checking the other half of the room. The two emerged to join them minutes later, but with similar results.

“Nothing.” Ned curled his fingers into a zero.

Bobby narrowed his eyes in disbelief. “So in that entire room, there’s not one other article written by the same guy?”

Ned shook his head. “Nope.”

“What about Team Galactic?” Nancy asked. “Did you find anything that had to do with them? All Bobby and I could find were newspaper articles.”

Ned shrugged, indicating that their situation was the same. He turned to Tom, who was standing with his hands in his pockets, and seemed to be thinking something over.

“Well, this means that Alfonso’s either using an alias, or never wrote anything else at all,” Tom said, and looked up at his companions. “We could go through all the news articles and editorials about Team Galactic and see if we can detect similarities in style…”

Nancy shook her head. “But what would that tell us?”

“If he wrote anything else that supplements what we already have?”

“Guys, I think we’re getting off-course,” Ned cut in. “We came here to find out who Alfonso is, not how much stuff he’s written. Even if he has hundreds of articles, as long as he’s just a name in a by-line, we won’t be able to tell anything about his credibility. I think we should look into that Briney corporation.”

Nancy checked her watch. “We won’t have time to get all that in before the train ride.” She sighed. “We’ll have to stay another day, then.”

Tom looked at her, Ned, and Bobby in turn. “I think we should see this to the end. What about you guys?”

Nancy shrugged. “We might as well.”

“I’m fine with staying,” said Ned.

“Me too,” said Bobby.

Tom gave a nod. “All right.”

The four of them left the building and stepped back into the outside air. It was already past noon, and the full heat of day had set in over the town. All around them were the noises of passing townsfolk, and slow-cruising cars with wagons attached to the back. In the distance, herds of Miltank were grazing in a field, tails swishing in contentment.

Bobby surveyed the surroundings, and whistled. “So. Who’s up for some big city fun?”

Last edited:

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Hundreds of miles away, Sylvester Bode’s car was speeding down the highway, which snaked like a lone gray strip through a sea of green nature. As he moved eastward from Jubilife, the grasses of Route 203 thinned to reveal bare, rocky terrain, which gradually rose up on either side of the road to form a landscape of jagged hills. Occasionally, hikers could be seen roaming the higher peaks, hacking into the walls with pickaxes. Pokémon flitted between the trees, and trainers appeared not so far behind, carrying sunscreen, shuffling through their item bags.

Oreburgh itself was nestled in a crater-like space, surrounded on all sides by rocky cliffs, which grew taller and denser the further one looked. Bode passed through the city without stopping, letting the rustic buildings and mine-pulleys rush past him in a blur, before he turned onto Route 207 and headed straight for the mountains.

Trains weren’t the only way to cross the Coronet border. There was a network of tunnels that had been dug through the mountains long ago, which curved with the natural structure of the caverns, and had since been modernized with pavement and reinforcements. The routes went on for hours of nothing but rock walls and ceiling, illuminated by electric lamps, which even for an experienced driver was a nerve-wracking sight.

After passing through the tunnel, Bode emerged into Route 208, which was attached to one of the lesser peaks and looked out over a river far below. To his left, a waterfall cascaded from a cliffside, audible even through the rush of passing cars. As he continued, the road slowly sloped down to ground level, leading to a section of flat land and trees, which thinned in turn as the big city drew closer.

Bode veered onto the first exit leading into Hearthome City and entered the main flow of traffic, spending the next few minutes navigating to the Gym. When he found the facility, he pulled immediately into the parking lot, and entered with his briefcase in hand.

Upon stepping into the room, Bode was greeted by the gazes of several trainers, who sat on benches that lined the walls. The front room itself was a puzzling sight — it was dark and featureless, save for two pokémon statues that stood on either side of the doorway. Yet the trainers seemed to have no doubts about what they should be doing, and sat patiently as if awaiting a call.

Bode thought of asking the them where the receptionist was, or if there even was a receptionist, but in the end decided to figure things out for himself. He proceeded into the building and reached a hallway, which was lined with closed doors on either side. Sounds of battling echoed through the empty space, but there wasn’t a single person in sight. Bode paced around the corner, and his eyes found a short staircase, which he immediately climbed to reach a second floor. This one looked promising — it had a table. A lady sat behind it, making notes in a clipboard. When Bode approached her, she looked up, and he immediately took out his badge.

“Sylvester Bode, Jubilife PD.”

The attendant perked her eyebrows. “You’ve come a long way. How can I help you?”

“I’m here investigating the whereabouts of a missing child. Has Michael Rowan passed through this Gym recently?” Bode took out a card with the boy’s photograph.

The attendant frowned. “He looks familiar… but I can’t tell you much. So many kids pass through here that we hardly remember anything about them. But I can give you his battle dates. By law, we have to keep the history of all registrations till the season ends.”

Bode nodded. “Please.”

The woman stood and entered a side room, coming back moments later with three clipboards. “Here are the records for last week, and two weeks before that.”

Bode thanked her, and went to sit on one of the long wooden benches, using his knee to elevate the papers. He spent a few minutes flipping through columns of hand-scrawled names, till he finally saw one that mattered — Michael Rowan, 13th June.

He returned to the attendant and gave back the clipboards. “Thank you. I’ve found what I needed.”

The lady smiled. “Not a problem!”

“Michael Rowan battled this Gym on Monday, June 13th. Can I ask you, how long do trainers usually take to travel from one Gym to the next?”

The lady shrugged. “It’s different for everyone. Some kids breeze through the Gyms in a single season, and others spread their League challenge across several years. And a kid’s pace can vary in a single run, too — he might find one Gym harder than another, and stay to train longer.”

Bode took this in, and nodded. “And in what kinds of places do the children train? Does each Gym town have designated places, or do the trainers just roam about the city like everyone else?”

“No, Gym towns usually have special accommodations, like the Trainer Hotels. Those have battle rooms, courtyards, and lots of League services, so kids prefer them to regular hotels. And if I were you, I’d check all the League-sponsored establishments in an area too, like souvenir shops, arcades, things like that. Most trainers gather there at least at some point during the day.”

“All right. Thank you.”

But as Bode was about to step away, he became aware that the woman had fallen into deep thought, her gaze shifting from the hat in his hand to the wall behind him. “Hold on… could you show me the picture of the boy one more time?”

“Of course.” Bode gave her the photograph, and the woman looked it over. Her eyes flashed with recognition.

“That’s it, I remember him now! No wonder he looked familiar. He and his friend were the ones who came with Bertha Herrida.”

Bode drew his notebook in a flash, uncapping his pen. “Bertha Herrida? Who is she? And you said Michael was traveling with a friend?”

The woman nodded. “Yes! Bertha Herrida is the Gym leader of Eterna Town, and she’s escorting Michael and his friend to all the Gyms. I’d tell you why if I knew, but that’s not in my sphere of duties, and I had nothing to do with it. All I know is that she came to watch their battles, because they battled on the same day, and left with them for Solaceon.”

Bode wrote all of this down. “And what was this friend’s name?”

“Hold on.” The woman began to flip through the clipboard, and ran her finger down the list of names. “I know that boy battled Mr. Bradford on the same day… and his was one of the first battles that morning, too…” She thought for a little while, then made her decision with a nod. “It has to be Henry. Henry McPherson.”

Bode jotted down the name. “This will be of tremendous help. Thank you, again.”

The woman inclined her head. “Good luck, Mr. Bode.”

After leaving the Gym, Bode drove around the city some more, seeking out all the League-related buildings just in case before he departed. Despite the city’s size, there were few of them — just the hotel, a battling center with rental rooms, and a boarded-up Game Corner. Finding nothing in any of them, Bode refilled his gas tank, and left immediately for Solaceon.

The second drive was more pleasant than the first one, for the highway was straighter, and the nature tame and scenic. But Bode was quickly losing daylight, as he saw by the reddening sky, where the sun was beginning to dip low towards the horizon. His watch seemed to speed through its cycles, showing four o’clock at one moment, then five, then six…

In the end, he arrived at Solaceon at seven o’clock, when the last afternoon hues were fading to evening blue, and the lamps on the streets were beginning to flicker on.

After parking his car in a public lot, Bode stepped out with a map and tracked down the Pokémon Gym. His destination was a long, cream-colored building, with a main area and two long wings on either side. Bode quickened his pace, but on his way to the door felt his shoulder bump sharply against someone else’s. He looked askance to see a man, who appeared to be in his late twenties, and had curly brown hair.

“Sorry,” Bode said. “Were you about to go in?”

The man looked stricken. “Me? Oh, no, I was just about to go, uh… over there. Heh.” He jerked his thumb awkwardly to the side, and ambled off.

Bode watched as the man started down the sidewalk, then he shook his head and proceeded to the door.

Inside, the Gym was a chaotic pit of noise and movement. Trainers scurried about like ants from all directions, paying no mind to the darkly-dressed character who had stepped into their midst. A television set stood on a table to the side, playing the news, which several kids were watching from the ever-present waiting benches. Bode's eyes alighted upon the front counter, where three attendants were hard at work, writing documents and making phone calls. He approached, and caught the eye of the woman who seemed the least busy. She was standing to the side, quietly sorting through a stack of papers.

Bode inclined his head to her. "Hello. Is it possible for me to speak with the director of this facility?"

The woman's gaze was steady, yet guarded. "That would be me. How can I help you?”

"My name is Sylvester Bode. I’m a private investigator from the Jubilife City PD. I’m currently searching for a boy named Michael Rowan, age thirteen. My sources inform me that he passed through here sometime after June 13th. Was there recently a boy in your Gym who looked like this?" He held out Michael's photograph.

The woman looked down at it for a few seconds without speaking. “Yes. Yes there was.”

“In that case, may we speak in private? I need to ask you some questions.”

The woman nodded. She stepped out from behind the counter and led Bode down a long hallway, where she gestured him inside an office, dominated by a desk and bookshelves. Closing the door, she stepped before her chair, but did not sit down.

"Now we have complete privacy,” she said. “Now please tell me, what sort of investigation are you conducting and what does it have to do with him?”

Bode cleared his throat. "As I said, I am a private investigator from Jubiife City. I was sent on behalf of Michael’s mother. Michael ran away from home on May 28th, carrying a Turtwig and a caged Stunky. I have evidence that he is now traveling Sinnoh under the guise of a pokémon trainer. I’ve visited the Gyms in Oreburgh and Hearthome, both of which have Michael Rowan in their records, along with a boy named Henry McPherson. A staff member at the Hearthome Gym recalls the boys traveling together. Did they come to your Gym together as well?”

The woman was silent for a moment. "Yes, they did.”

Bode continued. "How long ago was this, precisely?”

“About a week. They both battled me on the same day.” The woman took out a notebook from a desk drawer and flipped through the pages. “June 28th.”

“And what pokémon did Michael have with him?”

“A Turtwig, a Machop, a Metapod, a Goldeen, and a Chatot.”

Bode perked his eyebrows in surprise. That many?

But he made no comment about it, and simply wrote the information down. “Now, how would you say he battled? Did you feel that he took the League challenge seriously, or did he give off the impression that he was scattered, perhaps overwhelmed from his journey, and didn’t know what to do?”

“Not at all. He was just like any other trainer. As a matter of fact, he and his friend were one of the few who did take the League seriously.”

Bode nodded. “And his pokémon — were they well-trained? Did they seem to have a genuine bond with him, or could he perhaps have stolen them from the streets, or borrowed them from someone else?”

The woman continued to look at Bode, then suddenly her focused demeanor broke and she began to chuckle. “Oh no… with a bunch like that, there’s no way... He definitely had an influence on them. Maybe them on him too.” As her laughter faded, her gaze trailed off to the side, as if glimpsing a memory.

“Mhm.” Bode kept writing. “And what about his friend? What pokémon did he have?”

The woman looked at him again. “Is he a runaway too?”

“No, but I want to impress upon you the seriousness of this matter. It could very well be that Henry is fully aware of Michael’s status and is helping him evade the authorities.”

“Something I could hardly deduce from battling them.”

“Perhaps.” Bode took a moment to read over his notes, then continued. “I also have another question. Did these boys have anybody else traveling with them? A Gym leader, perhaps? I was told in Hearthome that the boys were traveling with the Gym leader of Eterna Town.”

The woman gave another pause. “Yes, they were.”

“Could you perhaps tell me how this might have happened? Why would Michael Rowan, from what you know of him, decide to travel with another trainer and a Gym leader? Why would this Gym leader have felt a need to escort them to every Gym city?”

The woman frowned. “These questions are starting to stray from your point. As I understand, you’re here to know about the whereabouts of Michael Rowan. And I told you: Yes, he was here at my Gym. Yes, he battled me, and won, and typically when trainers beat Gyms, they move on to the next town, which in this case would be Pastoria City. So I think you’d best go there.”

“With all due respect, I need to work as quickly as possible,” said Bode. “Given that Michael has traveled with Henry and the Gym leader of Eterna Town through at least two cities, it is likely that he will continue doing so in the future. Since I doubt that a Gym leader would knowingly assist a runaway, my guess is that she either does not know of Michael’s status, or has guessed it and is perhaps planning on turning him in. From what I know of the League, Gym leaders don’t travel with two trainers for no apparent reason. That is why I must know — did you ever encounter this Gym leader in Solaceon, and if so, what appeared to be her purpose for being with the boys?”

“With all due respect to you,” the woman replied, “the reason why the Gym leader is traveling around the country is between her and the people she confides it to. Me being one of them, I cannot disclose it. All I can tell you is that she doesn’t know that Michael is a runaway, because if she did she would have confronted him about it, and would have either turned him in or refused to travel with him further. I’m not so sure about his friend, but if they are friends, then I doubt you can count on him informing the police. Now if you have nothing else to ask me that pertains to this, then please leave while I’m asking nicely.”

Realizing the futility of pressing her further, Bode excused himself, and left the Gym. He placed his hat back onto his head and set off down the street. It was too late to get anything else done in Solaceon, so he decided to search for an inn and settle down for the evening. He’d continue searching the League-related buildings in town the next day, though if they proved as perplexing and impenetrable as the previous two Gyms, he’d have his work cut out for him.


After the investigator left, Lona went back to the front desk and resumed her work with the papers. Over in the hallways, her staff were closing up the battle rooms, shooing out wandering pokémon to bring them back to their owners. Many of the trainers who had been in the lobby before had left, leaving a handful who were waiting on friends, or just getting out of supplementary battling lessons.

With the dawn of a new week, the previous cycle of faces had renewed itself, and now her Gym was filled with a new inflow of kids who had come in from pervious towns. This group was smaller, as it always was when the summer neared its end, and as a result many battle rooms stood vacant throughout the day, giving the staff more time to catch up with office work. Lona, too, found herself with fewer battles to supervise, but instead of lurking about the offices or going out into town as she had done in previous years, she immersed herself even more in the facility’s proceedings. As always, the kids’ reactions varied — but there was something in their Gym leader’s presence in the lobby and occasional visits to battle rooms that shattered the illusion of formality, and made them oddly easygoing. They seemed to find peace in the routine of partner and staff battles, even through the current days of mania, when conversations about GASP and Deoxys pervaded the air.

For the few that had been left over from earlier, Lona’s new habits were both relieving and puzzling. It was common knowledge that there had been a recent drama that had impressed an effect on her, though it seemed she had decided to forget it for the time being and get on with her routine. To her trainers, she became more like a distant mother, who held them up to the same strict standards, but showed her benevolence up close.

Lona continued her work for a few minutes, only partially paying attention to what was going on around her. Suddenly the front doors swung open, and she noticed a large figure step in, significantly taller than the trainers. At first, she thought it was Bode again, but when she looked up, she saw it was someone else — it was a man in a collared shirt and jeans, with a cap of unruly hair that he had tried to tame with gel. A second passed, and she finally recognized him. It was the man she had been seeing frequently around town over the weeks, in the most inconspicuous places. But he rarely lingered long after she entered them, and if he did look at her, he always did so from afar.

Now, his sudden proximity to her made her feel oddly disjointed. She had never talked to him before, and had never even come close to an interaction, if she didn’t count the time when she had returned his book from the Daycare Center. That day, she had come to talk some things over with the manager, since their facilities shared funding, when she had passed by the front room and saw that same man enter with a box of books. He had set them down, started to talk to the attendant about them, when Lona had stopped before the doorway. She didn’t remember the details, only that he had left rather quickly, leaving behind his donations to the daycare — which coincidentally had some important notes mixed in by mistake. Lona had offered to return them, which she did that same day, slipping them into his mailbox. She had assumed she would never see him again after that. But here he was, for once looking directly at her, an with no doubt in her mind that they recognized each other, Lona felt, for once, that she didn’t know what to do.

She lowered her gaze slowly and pretended to busy herself, while the man finally detached himself from the doorway and approached the counter. He nodded up to her. “Hello.”

“Hello,” Lona returned. She lowered the papers she was holding, for she had started to fumble with them. Before the silence could stretch too far, she spoke up. “Is the League your calling?”

The man smiled sheepishly. “Hah. No, I actually… got a note from you.” He took a note from his pocket and showed it to her. It had been written in pen, with letters that bore an odd resemblance to her own.

Lona lifted her eyebrows. A question rose in her mind, but after a brief mental battle, she felt something sweep it aside, like a breeze. She fixed her gaze on him again. “Well… I’m glad you came.”

The man seemed to relax a little, and took a look around. “So, you work here?”

“I’m the Gym leader.”

The man’s eyes widened. “The Gym leader? The notorious Gym leader of Solaceon, who’s got every trainer in town dead-set on beating her?”

A small smile worked its way up Lona’s face, and she shrugged. “More or less.”

The man tapped his fingers against the counter. “Well, I don’t know how you’ll react to this, but I’m the one who helps them. I’m a move tutor. Kids come to me every now and then and ask me to help make their pokémon stronger, and I teach them new moves. I guess that means I’m in enemy territory right now.”

“Really?” Lona’s smile widened. “And do a lot of kids come to you?”

“I see a few new faces every week. But I don’t advertise. Word always spreads by mouth.”

Lona nodded. “So that’s why you had all those pokémon books... Felina at the Daycare told me she loved them, by the way. They’ve helped her with feeding and keeping the pokémon active, and they’re even interesting to trainers who come in sometimes. So, I guess I should thank you on her behalf.”

“Then tell her she’s welcome, on my behalf.” The man chuckled. “I had a lot of books left over from years ago. I went through a bunch of phases before I decided to focus on move mechanics, and I guess I’m too much of a bookworm to throw anything away. At one point I was interested in pokémon diversity, so I read up about that, and later I got it in my head that I wanted to study breeding. I was never much of a battler, though.”

“And I’m not much of an academic,” Lona admitted. “But you know, I’ve always been interested in that sort of stuff. I think it’s great that some people study pokémon professionally. It makes you wonder if someday they’ll find out what trainers don’t know, or if pokémon training will help them take their science to a completely different level. ”

The man listened attentively, and Lona was about to say more, but right then she became aware that she had zoned out for a full minute, and that some trainers were already watching her curiously. Lowering her head a little, she sighed.

“If you want to talk, then let’s go outside.”

The man nodded. “Right.”

They left the Gym together and went to stand in front of the left wing, out of the way of passersby. They hung in silence for a while, looking out at the trees that framed the dimming sky. Then the man turned to her.

“I didn’t get your name, by the way.”

“I’m Lona.”

He extended a hand. “I’m Ted.”

They shook hands, and another pause fell over them. Ted’s gaze trailed down to the jacket tied around Lona’s waist, which had been hidden behind the tall counter. “That’s a nice jacket,” he said, after a while. “Is it a fashion statement?”

Lona smiled faintly. “No. My mother made it for me. It’s something I keep to remember her by. She was serious about the League too, in her own time, and I guess I always wanted to follow in her footsteps.”

“Ah. So you wear it at work to keep yourself focused? An eye-on-the-ball kind of thing?”

Something in the way he said this made her chuckle. “Yes, something like that.” But then she cast her gaze off to the side. “I don’t always know how well I do it, though.”

“Well, by the looks of it, you have your trainers really working hard. The kids who come to me are really motivated to make themselves stronger, and some of them even say that if it hadn’t been for this place, they wouldn’t have ever gotten interested in the mechanics of battling.”

Lona lifted her eyebrows. “If that’s true, then I’m glad.”

Ted smiled. He looked out at the street for another minute, then turned back to her. “Are you from Solaceon? I noticed you don’t have the accent.”

“Born and raised,” Lona replied. “But I left for a long time. I went to challenge the League when I was sixteen, and by then I already knew I wanted to make a career out of it, so I thought that to have a better chance I should get to someplace like Snowpoint or Sunyshore. And, I guess, I wanted to shake off the stigma of being a farm girl, so I started learning to speak differently. But when the Gym opened up here, I had a sort of epiphany, and decided to apply to become the leader.”

Ted took this in with a nod. “I’m not from here, originally. I was born in Emeragrove, then I moved to Floaroma. I settled down here once I decided to make it my business to help trainers. And, well, because I got a job offer at a school. I teach there a couple times a week.”

“So what’s your specialty? Just moves?”

“Move and physiology, yeah.”

“You must be following the news about Deoxys, then.”

“I am. At every chance I can get, too.” Ted looked up at the sky, and his expression was touched with contemplation as his eyes scanned the vastness. “The first extraterrestrial pokémon known to mankind… it’s unbelievable.”

Lona nodded. “It is.” She crossed her arms and looked up at the sky too. “But I do hope those scientists know what they’re doing. I have a feeling that if they bring that thing to Earth, there’ll be no going back.” She paused, and felt another smile work its way up her face. “The kids can’t get enough of it. They like to talk about a zombie apocalypse, or how Deoxys will come down and transfer its powers to all of Earth’s pokémon. But they really do care about it… They’re always concerned about what’s going on in the news. They know it’s not a good idea to make any sort of decision on the blind.”

Ted lowered his head, and their gazes met again. “In that case, we better hope that GASP cares about pokémon as much as trainers do.”


As she surveyed their darkening surroundings, Lona looked down at her watch. “I better go. We’ll be closing up soon, and I have to get home.”

“We should meet again sometime.”

“Definitely,” Lona said. “If you want… we could go get lunch tomorrow. I’d love to hear about what other books you have. And of course, get you to confess your secret Gym-beating plans.”

Ted chuckled. “All right, then.”

Lona returned it with a smile. She stood in place for a while, though she felt less awkward than before, and turned to go back to the Gym.
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Fiery Blaze Lucario
Lol, i like that officer who is searching for Michael
(wonder if he is a antagonist?)
Lol, I'll be suprised if Micheal figured out if his Trainer ID is fake (or will he?)
Overall, good chapter!
(I didn't see some Michael and Henry action though)

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Bode isn't an outright antagonist, though for Michael, he's certainly an unwelcome addition. He's trying to snatch Michael out of whatever place he's in, and put him safely back into the confines of his house. Bode's role is limited to that, so he won't get as deep a development as other characters, but I think he's still an interesting personality. I'm glad you enjoyed him so far!

The point of this chapter was to get the side plots up to speed with the main one, so for more Michael and Henry, you'll have to wait for the next one. I'm already working on it, so it should be up soon.

As for Michael's fake trainer card, that will prove very important, very soon.

Thanks for reading!

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Hey everyone! This chapter's short, which is a breather (at least for me). I tried to loosen up a bit and let the writing flow for this one, because lately I think I've been focusing so much on padding things up that I'd lose my handle on the pacing. Or maybe it's an illusion. In any case, I consider this chapter ready as it is, since I didn't intend for any other events to take place in it. Nevertheless, it's an important one (even though I always say that).

Hope you like it!


“Good afternoon, Sinnoh. This is Teddy Ray live with SNN, bringing you the top news of the hour. Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the hot topic of the moment is the GASP press conference, which aired last night on televisions all across Hoenn and Sinnoh, providing the world a first-ever glimpse into the space organization’s future plans. But now, it appears that those plans could be facing their first serious challenge, one that has come from an unlikely source— the Pokémon Rights Activist Group of Sinnoh. Founded in 1943, the PRAG has grown from a humble, underfunded organization to a self-sustaining entity with thousands of members nationwide, one that makes itself known on a yearly basis through fundraisers, charities, and legal campaigns. It was through their efforts that in 1952, the Pokémon League introduced an ethical code for pokémon trainers, and in 1955, the federal government passed laws to regulate the use of performance-enhancing substances like Rare Candies. The PRAG’s voice is one that never quite goes out of a Sinnohan’s ears, and perhaps in some cases, for the better. But never before has an activist group achieved notoriety on such a level. As of this moment, the PRAG might be getting even more attention than GASP itself. Now, we take you live to the site of their anticipated protest, where the events of next week will unfold.”

Right then, the scene switches, and a skyline of large, pillar-like buildings appears from a watery horizon.

“Sunyshore has famously been called the most modern city on the planet. In 1953, it became the first to implement the large-scale use of solar energy, installing solar panels on the roofs of official buildings to help power them in the summertime. The design of these panels derives from technology developed by Team Galactic, whose spacecraft draw a portion of their power from the sun’s rays. The technology was gradually perfected through a close correspondence between Galactic and city officials, and now, entire residential communities feature solar roofs, which partially provide for many utilities like hot water.”

Crowds. Cheers. The camera zooms in on a group of civilians, where a man stands up close, speaking into a microphone. “I find it ironic that a city that uses technology created by the space program is hosting a protest against the space program.”

“Sunyshore also features the most versatile and efficient subway system in Sinnoh, with over a hundred different stops that make it possible to travel to nearly any point in the city. Needless to say, the Pokémon Rights Group had no reservations in choosing their location. It’s a city built to keep itself moving.”

The camera gives an aerial view of a large, open square, surrounded by acres of green grass, staring out like an eye from the sea of surrounding buildings.

On July 23rd, the entire world will have its eyes set on a single place — the Grand Assembly Square, located in the heart of the city. Previously known as the site of music festivals and world fairs, it has now been given yet another role to play, this time as the center stage of a global movement. It has all the equipment for the job — a ten-acre field, movable stages and stands, and access to all major modes of transportation. In a matter of a few days, this blank canvas will be transformed into the epicenter of city life.

“… Of course, the protest isn’t everyone’s top priority. The city continues to enjoy a prospering market season, when importers from all over the world show their collection of novelties, popular among trainers and townsfolk alike. Plans are underway to update the design of skyscrapers, using new innovations in architecture to increase height, as well as durability during summer storms. I think it goes without saying that, whether it’s before or after the protest, Sunyshore will remain the golden beacon of Sinnoh’s eastern coast, its beauty shining forever on.”


Thump, thump… thump, thump…

Michael’s shoulder was pressed against the shuddering wall of a high-speed train. After a long period of dozing, he slowly opened his eyes, straightening his posture as he tuned back into his surroundings. The darkness outside the window had given way for a line of flickering lights, indicating that the station was fast approaching.

Moments later, there came the sound of crackling static from the loudspeaker.

“Attention. We are arriving at the Golden Bay Rail Terminal in Sunyshore City. Please remove all valuables from your compartment as you leave the train.”

From the seat across from him, Shella clasped her hands together. “I can’t wait to see it. I heard Sunyshore is beautiful!”

“And big,” Bertha replied. She had a map open on her lap, and was looking through a visitor’s guide she had gotten from a stewardess. “It’s got lots of attractions for trainers. Museums, workshops, community centers…” She looked over to the boys and smiled. Michael didn’t respond. Beside him, Henry cast his gaze off to the ceiling.

“You guys are awfully quiet,” Shella remarked. “How were your battles with Marie? Was she tough?”

Henry shrugged. “Yeah. Pretty tough.”

“I wonder who the leader for this one will be,” Shella continued. “Do you know them, Bertha?”

Bertha shook her head. “Nope, and neither does Marie. She said he was new, and for some reason he came to replace the old one. The weird part is, I think I might’ve met the old Leader once. I can’t remember his name, though.” She folded up the brochure and put it back into her folder. “At any rate, we’ll meet the new guy today. I already have the Gym’s address, so after we book our rooms, it’ll only take a few minutes to get there. After that, you can I can get started on petition business.” Bertha took out another sheet of paper and showed it to Shella. “See this? It’s a permit to set up our own business space at the protest. Marie helped me get it from the League Office. We’ll have our own tent and table, so the guests can come up and sign.”

Shella beamed. “Wow, that’s wonderful!”

Michael grumbled. Hardly a day had passed, and already Shella and Bertha were the best of friends. That whole ride, they had been talking nonstop – first about Bertha’s work, then Shella’s own job back in Hoenn, and other random things encompassing clothes, music, and cities. Maybe it was a girl thing.

After a few minutes, the train slid to a steady stop, and compartment doors began to slide open all along the hallway. Shella led the way out, and Bertha followed behind the boys as they entered the main flow of the crowd. The four of them stepped out of the train, sticking together in a tight clump as the rest of the passengers spilled out onto the platform. They took an escalator up to the main level of the station, which was a bustling conglomeration of signs, ticket booths, and fast food restaurants. Bertha seemed to have a good idea of where she was going, so they managed to bypass the customer service lines and step immediately out onto the open street.

Sunyshore was a mix of styles and colors, embracing them on either side with bulky concrete buildings and an endless array of windows and signs. Shops were lined up with hardly a foot of wall space in between, some standing open to welcome customers from the streets, others boarded shut and taped over with construction company logos. The roadways were clogged with cars of every type imaginable, from sleek, classy models to freight trucks, which together created a fog of noise that permeated the air like no pollutant could have ever done. A taxi would have only hindered their progress.

As Michael walked, he noticed that the sidewalks proffered benches at every opportunity, from bus stops to casual resting places, and that they were always covered overhead by strange flat roofs on metal stilts. When he passed them, they were suddenly struck by the glare of the sun, revealing rectangular grid patterns that glowed against the black surface. Solar panels.

The more he looked around, the more of them he saw. They were hidden in the most inconspicuous places, like window shades, and the tops of traffic lights. He would have marveled aloud at them, but he doubted whether his companions would have even heard him speak. Over the sounds of cars and people, everyone’s head seemed to be buzzing with that frantic rush that takes hold in a big city, when one can’t help but hurry because everyone else is.

Bertha led him, Henry, and Shella through a winding path of streets and intersections, till at one moment she stopped suddenly and pointed ahead. “There it is!”

The Pokémon Trainer Hotel jutted out unimpressively from a gap between the regular buildings, its property enclosed by brick walls. It was fatter than the previous hotels, and took up a greater slice of the street, which was apparently due to the fact that Sunyshore was a popular departure point for the Elite Four Island. Rumor had it that Ricky Sheldon had slept in one of the rooms on the day he challenged the Elite Four, and had made a carving somewhere that read: Ricky Sheldon — Champion. Now, trainers everywhere were trying to find that room, hoping that old Ricky’s luck would rub off on them.

The group of four hastened inside, and entered a bustling lobby with two counters and a medley of doors. Michael and Henry hung back in silence while Bertha booked their rooms, one for her and Shella, and the other for them. To Michael’s dismay, they turned out to be right next to each other.

Bertha gave them all a few minutes to unpack and gather their necessities, then she rounded them up and set off to find the Gym.

They took the subway this time, traveling all the way to the eastern outskirts of the city. After several minutes in darkness, the train suddenly emerged into full daylight, where from Michael’s side, the image of a low, rocky shoreline spilled into the windows. The city center was a far cry away now, and they were riding through a calm suburban area, where buildings were lower and sparser.

When they got off, they passed through the station and set off after Bertha down a quiet street. Here, the businesses consisted mostly of cheap restaurants and convenience stores. Somewhere in the distance, Michael could see a collection of houses, the start of a residential district. They were also startlingly close to the shoreline, for in the gaps between the buildings to his left, he could see nothing but open sky, and occasionally heard the rush of waves over the sound of passing cars.

“Well, this is it. The last strip of civilization before the open sea.” Bertha smiled, and stopped to study her map. “If we keep going east, it’ll be nothing but water, all the way till we reach Kanto.”

“Whoa.” Henry blinked as he looked over the distant houses, whose roofs were individually silhouetted against the clear, yellowing sky.

“It seems like an odd place to have a Gym,” Shella remarked. “Especially since it’s so far away from the hotel.”

“That’s how it is in a lot of big cities,” Bertha said. “But really, it’s no problem for trainers. Most of them even prefer bigger Gym towns, since they have more resources they can use to help themselves.” Her eyes swept their surroundings a final time, then she kept going.

The Sunyshore Gym turned up at the end of that block, standing on a side of the road all to itself. It was a long yellow building with round windows, accented by a few trees and neatly-trimmed grass.

A yellow submarine, Michael thought grimly.

For some reason, there was a child’s playground close by, where lots of little kids were running about and shouting. The sounds were jarring to Michael’s ears, and he avoided making eye contact with them as he followed Bertha to the doors.

Inside, the Gym resembled a school science lab, with white, tiled floors and flat ceiling lights. The walls were covered with posters about electricity, detailing safety rules and applications. A door hung open on the far left side, revealing a room full of craft tables and display equipment.

Without a word, Bertha approached the front counter. The table was built into the wall, and closed off a large opening that revealed an office room. One woman sat inside. She was dressed like a clinic receptionist, with a long white coat over her regular clothes. Seeing Bertha, she scooted her chair over to her, and the two of them talked. Finally, the attendant turned out of the room, and her head reappeared moments later from the right hallway. “Okay, Miss Herrida, follow me!”

She beckoned, and led them down a long series of doorways. She turned into one of the open rooms, which was furnished with some bookshelves, tables and chairs.

Inside was a young man who stood with his back to them, consisting of a head of light hair, a shirt collar, and a long white lab coat that hid most of his frame. He was standing on a stool before a blackboard, adjusting a banner that read: ‘Welcome Parents of Sunyshore Elementary!’ The attendant rapped her knuckles on the doorframe, and the man jumped, accidentally losing his grip on one of the pins. It plunked to the floor, and the banner sagged over the man’s head as he stooped to pick it up. Michael was reminded of Professor Emerson, and felt a pang of pity.

The man muttered as he tried to locate the pin, twisting and turning in an attempt to keep a hand on the board. “Just a second, just a second, hold on!” He found the pin and tacked the poster back into place. He rubbed his face, as if that had taken a significant amount of effort, and stepped down from the stool. “Graduated from the best academy in Rustboro and they have me putting up posters…” With a sigh, he approached his guests. Up close, Michael saw he was in his mid-twenties, though from afar, the man’s exhaustion had seemed to age him. “Yes? What can I do for you?”

“Sir, this is Bertha Herrida from the Eterna City Gym. And these two trainers are here to schedule battles.”

“Bertha Herrida?” The man rubbed his chin. “Bertha Herrida… ah, with that petition? Yes, I remember now. You don’t have to tell me anything, Mr. Bradford from Hearthome already explained it to me. Unfortunately, there’s no way I can help you.”

Bertha blinked. “What? What do you mean?”

The man waved her down, as if to quell a rising flame of protest. “It’s nothing to do with me, now, don’t think I’m saying this out of resentment, because I mean it in the nicest possible way. I can’t support your petition because, first of all, I’m not a citizen of this country, and second of all, I’m technically not the leader of this Gym — I’m only filling in — so getting involved with a petition would create a big legal mess and lots of paperwork that I think neither of us have the time to sit through. So, with all due respect, I think you’d best move on.”

Bertha shook her head. “If you’re not a Sinnoh citizen and you’re not the Gym leader, then who is?”

The man winced. “I am, I am the Gym leader, just not the Gym leader. I’m filling in for him, I already told you. I can hold battles and give out badges, but not sign petitions. I’m doing a sort of foreign exchange program with the person that’s supposed to be here. The way it works is that I stay here as leader for a couple years, and in the meantime he goes to my Gym. In Mauville City.”

A smile broke across Shella’s face. “You’re from Hoenn? So am I!”

The man gave a comical bow. “Yes, yes, that’s me, I’m the foreigner. Visitors always take care to remind me of that whenever Team Galactic strikes a victory of some sort… then they wonder why I don’t give them or their child a Gym badge. Haha!” The man chuckled, then dispelled it with a shake of the head. “But no, that was a joke, don’t worry, I obviously give badges to people who earn them. Then I kindly remind them that if it wasn’t for Team Rocket’s early work, we wouldn’t have even gotten into space! Hah!” He let out another guffaw, arm folding over his stomach. When he calmed down, he turned to Bertha anew. “So if you’re looking for all eight Sinnoh Gym leaders to sign your document, you’ll have to contact my colleague in Mauville. I’m sure he’d be happy to help you.”

Bertha nodded. “All right, I guess that would be fine. Is there any way you can get me in touch with him?”

“Of course. I have the number. We just gotta get the codes right and fiddle around with the operators. Long distance calling was never my favorite thing in the world, but fortunately in Hoenn I got enough practice with it.” His gaze focused away from their faces and he gave a slight grimace. “I’m telling you, being a Gym leader in Hoenn is nothing like being a leader in Sinnoh. The Gyms here are all like little islands; I could go a whole year without letting the League Office know I exist. But if I telegrammed my quarterly Gym report one day late in Hoenn, they’d fine me.” He shrugged. “I guess there are some perks to being isolated, though. You don’t have to comply with silly regulations on decorations, or deal with people coming in every year to measure the exact dimensions of your battle rooms. I’m telling you, there’s a fine line between central planning and obsessiveness.”

He trailed off, and after a period of silence, Bertha checked her watch. “So, do you think we can we make the call right now? I’m not sure what time it is in Mauville…”

“Four hours behind, so the battle day is just getting started,” the man replied. “But I don’t think he’ll mind. He’s usually pretty free in the mornings. And the call will only take a minute or two to set up.”

“Perfect,” said Bertha. “I’m just in a semi-hurry right now, because I need to be certain I have his backing before the Gym season is over.”

“Don’t worry, don’t worry, you will. Now, what else was it you wanted? Ah, trainers, right?” The man looked at Michael and Henry. “Here to battle? Good. We can’t do it today, though. I have an information session I’m supposed to give to some school parents, about how the Gym can help supplement their kids’ science classes and whatnot. So we’ll do it tomorrow.”

Michael’s eyes flew open in alarm. “But we haven’t even trained yet!”

The man responded with an equally bemused expression. “Then why did you come now? Bah, I can’t fathom this whole ‘booking’ nonsense. If you’re ready, you come to the Gym and battle. If you’re not, you wait until you are. Why should you assume that in ninety-six or however many hours you’ll suddenly be ready to battle me, just because you booked it?” He shook his head again.

“I’ve just come to introduce myself,” Bertha said. “These boys are with me. My schedule has nothing to do with theirs, the only exception being that we prefer to leave the city together. From my experience, it takes them about a week to prepare for their battles. Do you think we could have all the paperwork with your colleague done by then?”

“Of course. I don’t see why not,” said the man. “We’re all pretty busy at this time of year, but he has staff too, and they’ll work something out. Worst comes to worst, if you’re out of the city, he’ll just mail all his signatures to me, then I’ll give them to the League Office and they’ll transfer them to you. And as for your battles—” he turned to the boys “—just train however you feel like it and come battle me when you’re ready. If you want to do it next week, though, make sure it’s not on the day of that protest. I’d appreciate your rebellious spirit, but I probably won’t be in that day. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably stay home with the curtains drawn, because the noise will probably be so colossal, I’ll think there’s an earthquake.”

Michael and Henry chuckled. Bertha smiled. “It’s all right. We’ll be at the protest.”

After a moment, the man nodded in understanding. “Of course. Publicity. Get it any way you can…” He pressed his finger to his chin and began to turned around in place like a Psyduck. “What am I forgetting… no, I don’t think there’s anything. Is that all?”

Bertha inclined her head. “Yep.”

“Okay. Now for your phone call, go run with Julia and she’ll set it up for you. My name’s Wattson, by the way. Pleased to meet you.” He extended a hand, and Bertha shook it.

“Thank you.” She gave him a nod, and turned aside. “Shella, you can come with me. Boys, you can either both tag along, or I take one of you and the other waits here.”

Michael shrugged. “I’ll pass.”

“Okay then. Henry?”

Henry paused. “Um, I’ll go.” He cast Michael a glance, then went off with Bertha, Shella, and the attendant.

Wattson didn’t seem to attach any significance to their exchange. He went back to the blackboard and smoothed the banner to his satisfaction. Then, he bent down to a box and began to shuffle through the items, taking out some wavy paper borders and a stapler.

In the meantime, Michael sat down at one of the chairs and draped his arms over its back. He watched Wattson for a few moments, as he stapled the borders together and attached them to the blackboard. His motions were careful and exact, like those of an experienced arts-and-crafts teacher, and periodically he stepped back to make sure everything was aligned.

Once the silence had started to stretch, Michael spoke up. “So, who’s the leader that’s normally here?”

Wattson looked askance. “Oh, he’s a right swell guy. Name’s Kirk. Grew up right here in the city, and he’s been interested in electricity all his life, just like me. We still write every month to let each other know how it’s faring on the other side. He likes calling me Watt-son. I counter back by calling him Kirk-hoff.” He began to chuckle, evidently expecting Michael to follow suit. When he didn’t, Wattson frowned. “What, you don’t know Kirchhoff? Laws of electric circuits?”

Michael cracked a smile. “Enough to get an A in science.”

Wattson shook his head, half-closing his eyes. He took out another handful of paper frames and began to staple them together.

“So why did Kirk leave?” Michael continued.

“Well, first I thought it was because he wanted to see Mauville,” said Wattson. “That was me flattering myself. It’s a good city. A lot like Sunyshore, too, though it’s a bit cleaner. Nice shore, clear sky... Of course, then I got here, and found the real reason.” He slammed the stapler closed over the seam of two segments. “This place is a circus. Construction — nonstop! That primary school — right down the street!” He pointed out the window with his thumb. “I’ve got kids coming to that playground every day, all afternoon, screaming their heads off and pushing each other off swings. Some of them wander around here, naturally, so to keep things going when it’s not Gym season, we double up as a sort of learning center. You probably saw that we have a little science exhibit in the front. Well that’s not all of it; there are more rooms, and other rooms that are battle rooms in the summer and lab rooms in the fall… well, and what do you think? If you’re educating the kids, you’ll get parents from the school calling you up about day camps, teachers asking about field trips, and all that stuff. That’s for the older kids, obviously, the ones that are almost old enough to be trainers, so there’s the added benefit of getting them interested in the League. But the young ones?” Wattson flicked his hand. “They can’t tell a pokéball from a baseball. And it doesn’t matter to them. It’s their age; they can’t help it.”

He continued attaching the frames while he talked, and when he had covered the whole perimeter of the board, he tossed everything back into the box and lifted it off the ground. “If you don’t mind, kid, could you open the door?”

“Sure.” Michael got up and held the door. Wattson hobbled out with the box in his arms, then disappeared into another room. He returned a minute later, peeking his head into the doorway. “If you want, you can go outside,” he said. “You don’t have to sit staring at the wall the whole day. Not like me.”

After a moment, Michael nodded. “Yeah, I guess I’ll wait for Bertha to finish.” He lifted a hand. “Later.”

Wattson gave a wave, and Michael left the room.

He drifted over to the lobby, where he case a fleeting glance to the craft room, then continued through the front doors. He set off down the sidewalk and began to pace around the lawn of the Gym, hands in his pockets. The noise of rushing cars was quieter here, and the street was wide and empty. Wanting some company, he slipped his backpack down his arm and took out a pokéball. It was Butterfree’s. The pokémon dove out of the capsule, and he held out his arm for her to settle down.

He watched her flutter her wings for a moment, getting a feel for the outside air. Her vivid colors stood out against the dim-green crowns of the surrounding trees.

“So,” he said. “You like Sunyshore?”

Butterfree clicked her jaws.

“Can’t like it if you haven’t seen it, brainy.”

Michael walked over to the playground, which had thankfully emptied, and was now clear save for a small group of kids. They were holding a conversation over by the sandbox. Michael walked around the playscape with Butterfree at his side, taking care to steer clear of them. He never knew what to say to children. He appreciated mothers’ efforts at liking every child in sight and acting interested in what they were up to, but he knew he could never do it himself.

He sat down on a swing and let Butterfree go, where she went to skim over some flowering bushes. She came back moments later and settled on his lap, her fangs dripping with honey. Michael smiled.

“You like flying, don’t you?” he said. “Must feel good, not having to crawl around everywhere anymore. And knowing that no one’s ever gonna step on you in battle, either. All those guys who looked down on your before are regretting it now.”

Butterfree fixed her gaze on him, and he nodded for emphasis. Then, after a pause, he frowned. “I would’ve used you for my battle with Marie, you know, if you evolved sooner. Now I don’t think I can use you for this one. You’re part Flying. That makes you weak to Electric.”

Butterfree tilted her head to the side, and Michael snorted. “You don’t even know what that means, do you? And come to think of it, I guess it wouldn’t matter to you. You’re on top of your own world now. You have everything those Caterpies could ever dream of.” He gave another pause, then an odd thought occurred to him. “I wonder if you even knew you’d evolve. I guess not; Caterpies live with Caterpies. Butterfrees lay the eggs, but then they just leave them. They gotta grow up and fend for themselves.” Here, he smiled wryly. “I guess we’re not so different then, are we?”

Butterfree murmured something in reply, though he couldn’t make sense of her deep-throated buzzing. He bent his head back and looked at the dimming sky, pretending she had said something deep and profound.

At that point, Butterfree fluttered off his lap and settled into the grass nearby, lying on her stomach with her wings spread out at her sides. After a few uneventful moments, Michael looked back at the kids again. They were now squatted in a tight circle, keeping perfectly still. They could have been five, or six.

They stayed in their places for a while without moving, and Michael was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with them, or if they were sharing some illicit secret. But right then, without warning, the kids jumped apart and began to run across the playground, like free-flying particles from a nuclear explosion. One boy lagged behind the rest, and from the way he turned on his toes and lunged after the others, Michael deduced it was a game of tag.

The boy tried chasing down two girls, who led him to the slide then split off in separate directions, leaving him torn between two paths. He turned around and began chasing down another boy, who cleverly dove into a jungle of monkeybars and somehow managed to crawl out from the top. He continued to run away, coming close to Michael’s vicinity without realizing it. The boy looked over his shoulder, and when he saw the chaser in pursuit, he quickly turned away, and looked down just in time to notice Butterfree lying on the ground. He gave a gasp and swerved to the side, coming inches from stepping on her wing.

Michael stood up. “Watch it!”

The kid looked at him, then ran away without saying a word. Butterfree lifted herself from the grass, dusting the blades from her body, and floated onto Michael’s shoulder.

The boy, meanwhile, had attached himself to a group of three, running for the merry-go-round. As the chaser closed in on them, they jumped on the ride and began to spin it. The chaser stood still for a few moments, evidently calculating the right moment to climb on, but just as he began to approach, all four kids jumped into the air. Three landed on their feet, but the brown-haired boy from earlier wasn’t so lucky — he landed on his hands and knees on the concrete, then rolled onto his side with a pained cry. His friends all skid to a stop, their excitement freezing as his sobs filled the yard.

Before any of the others could move towards him, the door to the Gym burst open, and Wattson came running out with the receptionist.

“Blast it! How many times do I have to tell you kids to be careful?”

Two of the boy’s friends helped him to his feet, and Wattson’s receptionist bent down to examine him. After muttering something to him in a soothing voice, she whisked the boy off to the Gym, and Wattson beckoned for the rest of the group to approach. He cast a glance at Michael, and shook his head in exasperation, as if this proved a point. Then he sighed. “Did you see what happened, by any chance?”

“They just started playing tag,” Michael said. “Then a bunch of them got on that thing and one of them fell off. It was an accident; no one pushed him or anything.”

The children looked from Wattson’s face to Michael’s, not saying a word.

Wattson appeared too scattered to doubt him. “All right. You kids, be careful. If I see any of you acting up again, I’ll call… well, I’ll make sure your parents know about it. Now get!”

He pointed to the street, and the kids dispersed, running off to wherever their homes were. Wattson turned back to the Gym, and Michael followed, Butterfree hanging on to her perch. When they returned to the lobby, he sat down in a chair, while Wattson disappeared into the hallway. Meanwhile, the boy with the scraped knee was being led into the office, now with some gauze bandaged over the wound. The attendant took him behind the counter and lifted a phone to her ear.

“What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Wake,” the boy mumbled.

The lady asked him for a telephone number, and twirled the rotary to dial it. When the person on the other end picked up, she recounted what had happened, then gave the phone to Wake. When the boy had finished talking, he emerged from the hallway and sat down along the wall opposite Michael. After a moment of tapping his toes together, the kid looked up.

“Sorry I ‘most stepped on your Butterfree,” he said.

Michael shrugged. “It’s fine, I guess. She’s not hurt.”

The boy did not respond, but sat with his arms crossed till his mother arrived. She pushed through the doors and took him down the hallway, where they met Wattson. Michael heard bits of their conversation:

“… I know, I know, it’s just that we live hardly a minute away and this is his favorite place to go. Yes, I understand. He really likes pokémon, too…”

“… but I have to emphasize that this isn’t a daycare center. We’re in the middle of the Gym season, so my staff and I won’t always be around to watch over your son. He’s perfectly welcome to spend time at the Gym, but he has to be careful around other trainers.”

The last thing Michael saw was the mother whisking the boy away by the hand, and the doors of the Gym closing behind them.

Minutes later, Bertha emerged from the hallway, looking delighted. Shella and Henry followed her, stopping as she turned to Wattson.

“Perfect! I just got off the phone with Kirk. He’s willing to back my petition. All I have to do is mail him a copy, and he’ll write the letter.”

Wattson inclined his head. ”Good, good.”

He and Bertha shook hands, and Michael got up to leave as they neared the exit. Seeing Butterfree, Bertha gave a surprised smile. “Hey, you didn’t tell me Caterpie evolved. She looks beautiful!”

Michael shrugged. “Yeah.” He took out Butterfree’s pokéball, and somewhat grudgingly sent her back.

In the meantime, Bertha waved Wattson goodbye. “Well, we better get going. Thanks for everything!” She led the way out of the Gym, and Michael followed after.

Once they were all outside, Bertha stopped them in the middle of the sidewalk and let the three teens assemble around her. “All right. You boys have two options now. One, we can all go somewhere and spend the rest of the evening in town. Two, you can go back to your hotel room and stay there, not going anywhere else. Your pick.”

Michael exchanged a glance with Henry. “Uh… hotel room?”

Henry nodded his agreement.

Bertha’s shoulders drooped. “Aw, you’re no fun at all. I was hoping you’d pick the city. I had such a neat museum in mind... But I guess there’s always tomorrow.”

Shella frowned. “And we won’t be able to leave the hotel for the rest of the day? Why is that?”

“Oh, that doesn’t apply to you. Don’t worry. You can go anywhere you want. These two just need to learn a lesson.”

Shella looked at the boys, and attempted a smile. “Well, okay.”

With that, they set off for the subway station. Michael trailed a few steps behind Bertha and Shella, but though Henry was at his side, for the first time he found himself at a loss for what to say. He cast the boy a glance, and found a similar trapped expression on his face. Michael gave an inward grumble as he looked back at the street. It was going to be a long week.
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New Member

Excuse me I was having a moment...

Anyway I have been reading this fanfic for a while now and I just signed up! This is-by far- the best fanfic I've come across. The battle scenes are realistic, there are only minor nitpicks and the character (people and pokemon) development is amazing. Since it would take a super long time to review all 41 chapters, I'll just review 41! I don't nitpick so if I review I will just express concerns and things that you did well.

What I am really concerned about is Micheal's trainer card. If Bertha figures this out like she did with the chart than she might think that it was intentional. I love how you portrayed Sunyshore! I feel a bit bad for Michael and Henry. Why is the chart so illegal anyways? It's just a strategy and it doesn't seem like cheating... I'm also quite curious about the protest and how it will go. I hope that nothing happens! Good luck Michael and Henry, because you're probably screwed....

Look at me rambling.......this is a wonderful fanfic with few nitpicks like spelling, grammar, etc. I can't wait for the 42nd chapter, are you almost done with it? You also inspired me to make my own pokemon fanfic and I really hope you check it out (when I put the first chapter up in a week or two). Oh! Also add me to the PM list! Can't wait to see more of Ringo


EDIT: Forgot to mention that I want to see some more Ted/Lona is the next chapter(s) hehe
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New Member

Excuse me I was having a moment...

Anyway I have been reading this fanfic for a while now and I just signed up! This is-by far- the best fanfic I've come across. The battle scenes are realistic, there are only minor nitpicks and the character (people and pokemon) development is amazing. Since it would take a super long time to review all 41 chapters, I'll just review 41! I don't nitpick so if I review I will just express concerns and things that you did well.

What I am really concerned about is Micheal's trainer card. If Bertha figures this out like she did with the chart than she might think that it was intentional. I love how you portrayed Sunyshore! I feel a bit bad for Michael and Henry. Why is the chart so illegal anyways? It's just a strategy and it doesn't seem like cheating... I'm also quite curious about the protest and how it will go. I hope that nothing happens! Good luck Michael and Henry, because you're probably screwed....

Look at me rambling.......this is a wonderful fanfic with few nitpicks like spelling, grammar, etc. I can't wait for the 42nd chapter, are you almost done with it? You also inspired me to make my own pokemon fanfic and I really hope you check it out (when I put the first chapter up in a week or two). Oh! Also add me to the PM list! Can't wait to see more of Ringo


Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Hey there! I'm delighted to have you reading, and I hope you stick around the Fan Fiction forum!

As of now, there's no way Bertha can tell that Michael's trainer card is fake. It looks just like a valid trainer card and has its own number, which allowed past Gyms to keep record of him, use basic number-out-of-the-hat methods to assign him battle partners, and stuff like that. But the important thing to note is that the Gyms can't check the database of registered trainer card numbers to confirm that Michael is indeed a legitimate trainer, because that requires massive computer rooms, and long searches to check just one batch of incoming trainers. Naturally, Gyms don't have the time or the space for that, so to a certain extent they have to trust that all their trainers are legal trainers. Unless they do something reckless like show up with a homemade laminate with a school photo taped on.

I don't want to say too much about this, because Michael's trainer card is a card I'm going to keep close to my chest for now. (Haha, get it? xP) All I'm going to say is that Michael has been lucky so far. Not particularly aware or concerned, but lucky.

As for the chart, it isn't illegal in and of itself because, as you pointed out, it's a matter of individual strategy. The League obviously can't stop a trainer from cataloging type combinations for themselves if they choose. But what is illegal is what Michael has been doing with it. He's been getting information about Gym leaders' teams and using the chart to devise formulas for beating them, which can technically be shared with any other trainer. Regardless of how many people he's shared the information with (which isn't many), Bertha wouldn't think twice about confiscating something used for that purpose.

I wasn't too clear on this point in the beginning of the story, because to be honest, I had a different perspective on the issue of type advantages when I was starting out. Unfortunately, there's a lot of residue from my old mentality left in the earlier chapters, which is why I'm working on revising them. (While we're on the subject, I've finished revising Chapters 0.1 - 0.3, so those are in their final forms. For those who haven't noticed, I hope you'll check them out!)

As for Chapter 42, I'm still working on it. Your wish will be granted -- Ted and Lona will make an appearance; all I have to do is turn a scene outline into an actual scene. :p I'm hoping to get it up before the end of May and finally end my streak of one-a-month chapters.

With all that said, welcome aboard the PM list, and thanks for the review!


New Member
Oh okay I didn't know how that was checked and all but that makes sense...however if Bertha heard the news about the fake ID shop being closed down she might get suspicious and try to find out. I can tell that she would be a character to do that.

I'm excited to see how you play that card (cheesy pun -check!) in this fanfic

Oh okay....I guess I can understand how that may be illegal but I think Bertha overreacted a bit. She should keep a closer eye on them but she is completely restricting them from doing anything....poor Shella must be so confused...

I'll make sure to check out the updated chapters as well! How many chapters do you think there will be?

Awesome! I'm looking forwards to seeing some more Roots for sure!

Thank you for that warm welcome!


Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Though I have the rest of the story planned pretty much chapter-by-chapter, I can't tell you how many there will be, because that would imply certain things about the ending. But I will say that we've passed the halfway point, numberwise.

A while ago, I really wanted to finish Roots by the end of this year, but now I know that that's too ambitious a goal, considering my writing speed. I'm not going to rush the chapters just to meet a deadline, of course, but I still want to devise a strategy to avoid those several-month-long pauses I have a habit of sinking into.

I won't edit all the chapters, by the way. I'll probably stop somewhere in the twenties, since by then I was already writing with a mentality similar to my current one.

You'll get to see Shella's reaction to Bertha's little arrangement in the coming chapters. An unfortunate side-effect of splitting up Michael and Henry is splitting up her and Bertha too, after all. :p

I also forgot to mention that I think it's great that you were inspired to write your own story! I'll definitely check it out when you get around to posting it. :)


New Member
Awesome! That makes sense...I guess I'll keep working then. I have the general idea in mind but it might take a while to put it all together and plan the plot out so it doesn't take as long as the first one will be...I'll be sure to mention when it's posted and I hope to see a chapter in the near future!!


Fiery Blaze Lucario

Now for the reviews (which is actually not a review but a outlook on the chpter):

Your putting of the chapter is great. I can even barely hear their voices :p I like your idea of putting Crasher Wake there as a child, and interacting with him (or is it really Crasher Wake? Pls notify meh) I also like how you switched Wattson and that gym leader. I'm expecting to have the battle next chapter.
Oh yeah, about that trainer card,
Is someone ging to inform him? Or he will find out soon?

In the meantime, wynaut have a drink?

(Gives a Wynaut and a drink)

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Your putting of the chapter is great. I can even barely hear their voices :p
I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that the way I wrote the action was good enough for you to hear the characters speak in your head? If so, I'm glad my work paid off! If not, please point me in the right direction. :p

And yes, Wake is the future Crasher Wake. We'll be seeing him again.

The battle isn't going to be next chapter, unfortunately, as Michael still has training to do, and a bunch of other adventures he could get into along the way. (And besides, we still have to check back in with Nancy.) As for the trainer card, there's no one who can inform him, since no one knows. Apart from the man in Hearthome who gave it to him, but he probably doesn't even remember Michael. So Michael is in the clear, for now...

Thanks for the review!

P.S. I'm almost done with Chapter 42. I'm expecting it to be at most a week before I post it. Stay tuned!

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
Said I'd take seven days and I took seven days. xP Hope you enjoy!


The morning after his interview with the Solaceon Gym leader, Sylvester Bode took a drive around the town, checking all the League-related buildings before leaving. He had reported to the Jubilife PD that he would be in Pastoria within a day, though now, in the back of his mind, he wondered if he would find anything there at all.

Judging by the current pattern, Michael Rowan was a swift and efficient traveler. He had swept through four Gyms in little over a month, and by now, could be two, even three steps ahead of him. For the first time, Bode, with his car, resources, and contacts, was finding himself outmatched by a kid on foot. And he didn’t like the feeling it was giving him. While he drove circles around blocks and barged into pokémon obedience classes, Michael could have been departing for his next city that very minute.

Unfortunately, Solaceon was full-to-bursting with League-related facilities, some of which weren’t labeled with the pokéball logo at all. Aside from the Pokémon Center and Pokémart, there were dozens of other buildings and streets where trainers crowded, which would force Bode to swerve from the main road and writhe around for a parking spot. He found a Daycare Center wedged between two barnhouses, some specialty item stores dotted along a shopping street, and a tour center offering sightseeing events. These places were blended so well with the rest of the town that, for someone who didn’t know any better, the whole place might as well have been one big trainer theme-park.

But the longer Bode observed the trainer lifestyle, the more he grew aware of one important fact: The League kids operated entirely within their own world. Wherever they went, they were always either with other trainers or by themselves, and treated the average townsfolk as if they existed in a separate dimension. Every town had facilities that catered to trainers’ needs, so they never had to guess, or stray too far from familiar places to find help. This was likely why they could travel so fast through the Gym towns.

By the time Bode drove onto the highway leading out of Solaceon, he’d resolved that he needed a change of tactics. If Michael Rowan had been in the League for this long, he had doubtlessly immersed himself in trainer culture, and learned to do things exactly like the other trainers did. So, in order to pursue him, Bode would have to do the same.

He reached the first exit to Pastoria City a little past noon, but once he turned to leave the highway, he was stopped by a large traffic jam. Up ahead was a seamless river of shiny-backed cars, which curved with the road and trailed all the way into the city. The other exits up ahead were in a similar condition.

Bode dropped an arm from the steering wheel and let out an angry breath. He turned on the radio to see what the fuss was about, and learned that the city was experiencing an enormous influx of travelers. With the Sunyshore protest only ten days away, many other Sinnoh cities had decided to take up the flame and broadcast events of their own, telling their side of the Galactic story. For a full two hours, Bode listened to the Pastoria stations babble about a multi-themed festival that would be taking place during the protest, where civilians would be able to watch the proceedings in Sunyshore and shout their own messages for the world to hear. All the while, he inched his way down the road in a rhythmic sequence of starts and stops.

“… and we’re doing to be seeing a higher-than-usual concentration of people, so traffic could get heavy, especially around midday…”

“… for the benefit of the city’s trainers, the Pastoria Trainer Museum will be holding a small tournament the day prior, giving five lucky winners a chance to speak with the press…”

“… to which Marie Wickham, leader of the Pastoria Gym, had this to say…”

Bode’s head snapped up. He tightened his grip on the steering wheel and looked around, making sure the other cars were still standing. Then he tuned back into the radio, just as the recording of a woman’s voice came on, giving a commentary about something that was going on downtown. When the recording ended, the announcer’s voice returned, but by then Bode’s mind was spinning a thread of its own. He already knew the Gym leader’s name. If anything, that was a start.

But it proved to be the only good sign that whole day. Even beyond the traffic blocks, Pastoria City was crowded and chaotic, at a magnitude that far overwhelmed Jubilife’s. His only option was to get a hotel and a map, since zipping through the roadways would be a perilous waste of time.

Bode learned that the majority of Pastoria’s trainer attractions, including the Gym, were located in a square all the way on the eastern side of the city. So he parked his car in a public garage, paid for several days in advance, and took the subway to the Trainer Plaza.

There he found the Gym, the Pokémon Center, and every imaginable trainer necessity laid out before him like a gift from the heavens. Bode let out a breath and quickened his pace towards the Gym, nearly breaking into a run by the time he reached its doors. But upon entering, he found that the management was in shambles. The Gym Leader was downtown, and all the attendants were busy with a group of townsfolk, which was so big that it nearly crowded the trainers out of the lobby. The visitors were trying to get tickets to a private showing of the GASP protest, which would take place in the Gym and would only be open to a select number of people.

For sheer lack of standing room, Bode squeezed his way through to a side lounge and sat down at a chair, where he waited almost an hour for the crowd to clear. Once enough people had left, he entered the lobby again and locked eyes with the first available staff member he saw, a woman with poofy brown hair. He hailed her with a raised hand.

“Excuse me! Do you have a moment?”

The woman pursed her lips nervously, but approached. “Sir, if you’re here for the tickets, you’ll have to get in line. I can’t help you any other way, I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine, I’m not here for the tickets. I’m here on behalf of the Jubilife City PD, looking for a boy named Michael Rowan.” Bode flashed his badge. “He is disguising himself as a pokémon trainer, and I need to see the records for this Gym to see if he’s passed through here.”

The woman’s face brightened. “Records? Sure! Just follow me.” She led him through a door behind the counter, which revealed a back room filled with file cabinets. She opened a drawer of clipboards and began to search through it, biting her lip. “Um, which week do you want, specifically?”

“Anything after June 28th.”

“Gotcha.” The woman read off the tabs on the dividers, which were labeled with dates, and pulled out three clipboards. She searched through them one by one, then shrugged. “Sorry, there hasn’t been a Michael Rowan here yet.”

Bode’s eyes flashed. “Thank you.”

He left the Gym at a lively pace, lips spreading into a smile. Taking a look around the crowd that populated the plaza, he saw a seemingly endless array of faces and colors. Some kids looked like they had just come out of elementary school, and others were nearly in their teens. They all walked around with varying emotions, varying styles, together giving off an almost wordless cloud of noise.

Bode’s next stop was the Trainer Hotel, where after a long negotiation with the staff, he was allowed a single-bed room that was usually reserved for overflow. He asked whether Michael had checked in yet, and the clerk replied with a nod.

“Yes,” he said, showing Bode a clipboard. “June 29th.”

Bode nodded and thanked him.

He proceeded to his room, noting passing trainers in anticipation, as if Michael could appear from a side hallway at any moment. But Bode would move slowly. He would start by alerting a few select individuals —Pokémon Center nurses, hotel staff, store vendors — and spin around Michael a web of eyes. Then he’d tighten the strings, and get the boy in custody before he took a single step into the battle room.


Meanwhile, just a short train ride away, the town of Solaceon was in its midday swing. The streets were bustling with cars and wagons, and the clock tower in the main plaza had just struck one.

Directly behind it stood the city hall, a building resembling an overinflated house. It was decorated by a colorful garden and had a large, welcoming porch, but it was the most modernized place in the city, with a computerized database and slick steel doors protecting the archives. All of these things made a positive impression on Nancy Bryan when she arrived, but the more time she spent inside, the more she felt the tiny rooms close in on her, and the text of the documents blur into one big pool of nothing.

Determining a company’s existence was hard enough in itself. The collection of officially-registered companies was stored in the government database in Snowpoint, which had the fastest computer system in Sinnoh, but the amount of information was so vast that it would still take many hours to sift through it all. On top of that, getting access to the archive could take months, so for most people, the only option was to manually search through government-published registry books. Those could be found in any official library, and classified registered companies by their type of service. Sixteen volumes were published annually, one for each district of Sinnoh, and if a city was well-connected, it would also have a supply of manuals from districts nearby.

But Solaceon’s collection was far from extensive, and its specialty was far from hardware.

Nancy sat for what felt like days at the desk in the record room, scanning through the lists of the Solaceon district, while Ned shuffled through boxes behind her, trying to locate the other ones. In the meantime, Tom and Bobby were at the press office, where they were restarting the previous day’s search, this time focusing on finding Briney. She, the smart one, had volunteered to go to the city hall that morning, where she thought she’d be able to finish the search within an hour. Five of them had passed.

The only solid information she and Ned had been able to gather was that hardware companies had to have suppliers, who provided the plastic, the metals, and the wires from which they’d build their machines. There was only a small number of them in East and West Sinnoh, so the teammates switched tactics, calling major suppliers in the East and asking if any of them did business with Briney Limited. But after talking with eight companies, no one had so much as mentioned Briney’s name.

Towards four o’clock, their brains were fried, and distant objects in Nancy’s vision had become smudged. They both called it quits and went to a café across the street, where they sat for a well-deserved meal.

After rushing through their food for a while, they both recharged enough of themselves to make eye contact again, and settled back.

Ned gave a sigh. “Well, that was brutal. And those were only the major suppliers in the East. Technically we still have to check the small ones, and all the others over in the West. That is, assuming Briney isn’t one of those super-integrated companies that are their own suppliers.”

Nancy pressed her hands to her forehead and shook her head. “That’s too much. We can’t possibly pin down every single supplier in Sinnoh. Either we’re doing something wrong, or this job needs more work than we can put into it. Personally, I think it’s the second.”

Ned nodded. “We’ll be in a better environment when we get to Sunyshore. It’s one of the biggest cities in the country. They’ll be bound to have more resources.”

Nancy let out a breath. “Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s way too pokémon-themed here, for one thing. I honestly didn’t believe that guy when he said that three of the back rooms were for League documents, but now I do. I guess people here are just focused on different things.” She began to play with her napkin, crumpling it then tugging it out by the corners. Then, she looked up. “But so are we, you know. Our first goal should be getting a story. It would be nice to uncover a Galactic fraud along the way, but we can always go back to that once we’re back in our office in Jubilife.”

Ned gave a shrug. “I’m just thinking of ways of convincing Tom to leave, instead of staying another day.”

He gave a smile, and Nancy chuckled, albeit tiredly.

Once they were done eating, they set off for the press office, where they had agreed to meet at the end of the day. The crowd had cleared for the afternoon, leaving the parking lot empty, and the building quiet and calm. The only other people there were a man and woman, idly browsing the racks of newspapers that hung from the walls.

“I wonder if Tom and Bobby got anything,” Ned whispered.

“If we couldn’t get anything in a city archive? Probably not much,” Nancy replied.

Still, for a tiny press office, they were taking a long time. She and Ned checked the inner rooms, but they were either locked or empty, so they went back to the lobby and waited.

Nancy turned her eyes to the collection of newspapers, which held the usual supply of tabloids, mixed with respectable papers like Sinnoh Post and The Hearthome Times. A variety of other issues were meant for special audiences, like knitters or breeders. Up above, the walls were lined with framed articles that marked historic events, both on a community and national scale. The last frame in the row held the article from Sinnoh Post that had announced the GASP unification. Beneath it was a brass carving: June 30th, 1963. Nancy smiled to herself.

Nearby, the couple was also moving along the display, talking in sparse, hushed voices. The woman was reading the framed articles and the man was searching for something among the racks, fingers skimming over the issues.

“It should be around here somewhere…” he murmured. Finally, he stopped and pulled out an issue. “Ah. Here.”

He smiled and handed the woman a copy of The Hearthome Times. “Item Evolution, by Michael Rowan.”

Nancy felt a tiny jolt, and turned ever so slightly on her heel to take a look at them. The woman had begun to read the article, lifting her eyebrows. “Huh. That’s interesting…”

“I saw it a while after he left,” the man said. “I had the issue lying around, but that was the first time I noticed what he wrote. I was really surprised. I knew about the Pikachu experiment, but I never thought there was a connection between that and moonstones.”

“The funny thing is, I knew some trainers who talked about items that could evolve pokémon,” the woman said. “Back then, it seemed like a complete mystery. And no one could ever tell which pokémon they worked on.”

The man pursed his lips in admonishment. “I wish I’d noticed it earlier. I could’ve asked the boys about it. His friend had a Clefable, so I think they definitely got their hands on a moonstone at one point. But where did they find it? They couldn’t have picked it up on the ground, and the closest mountains are the Coronets.”

The woman smiled. “Everyone liked to say that moonstones came from outer space. But apparently they’re named after Mt. Moon in Kanto… That’s one of the few places Clefables are found in the wild.” She took a few more moments to read, and when she finished, she lowered the paper. “You know, I think I’ll read up on this. It’s a shame you didn’t get to talk to him about it, but I can tell this is just the beginning. He might even write more, someday.”

“I hope he does,” the man said. “I guess I just didn’t expect the papers to put articles about pokémon training in the Arts and Recreation section.”

At that point, Nancy smiled, and turned to face them fully. “Well, you see, The Hearthome Times doesn’t have a section dedicated to pokémon training. It has one for League news, but that’s news on an organizational level, not stuff written by independent trainers. In fact, big papers hardly ever get submissions like those, so it took a good bit of convincing to get them to feature it. I tried to get it to Sinnoh Post too, but I guess putting something like that on the biggest paper in the country was a bit of a stretch. But small steps pave the way for bigger ones.”

The couple stared at her in surprise.

“Are you saying… you published this?” asked the man.

“Yep.” Nancy pointed to herself and Ned. “Our team did.”

The man looked at them, and his face spread into a grin. “Well if that ain’t the biggest coincidence in the world. I’m Ted.” He extended a hand, and shook with both of them.

“We’re reporters from Jubilife,” Nancy explained. “We’re on the hunt for stories, so we’re on the move a lot.”

Ted’s eyes widened in surprise. “Jubilife? Wow. You’ve come a long way. I haven’t been to West Sinnoh in years.”

“Do you know Michael too?”

“I did, for a little while. He and his friend came to me for move tutoring help.”

“Which they then used to beat my Gym,” said the lady, with a smile.

“Oh, so you’re a leader?” Nancy said.

The woman nodded. “I’m Lona. Pleased to meet you.”

She and Nancy shook hands.

“So how did you meet Michael?” asked Ted.

“He saw us at a park in Hearthome,” Nancy replied. “He thought our pokémon were interesting, so he came to talk to us. They’re from Hoenn, see. We told him we were reporters, and he told us a little about how he was doing in the League. Then a few days later, Michael found out something really exciting about moonstones, and wanted to write something for the papers. Well, and he remembered us.”

“I guess good luck works both ways,” said Ned.

Ted gave a smile. “That it does.”

Before anybody else could speak, there was a loud bang and a creak of swinging doors. All four of them jumped, whirling around towards the front entrance as two figures stumbled inside. It was Tom and Bobby, both of them red and out of breath.

“There you are!” huffed Tom. “We’ve been looking all over for you!”

“You? We thought you were in the back the whole time!” said Ned.

Bobby shook his head. “No, we left this place hours ago. We were in town. We would have taken you with us, but we figured it would be faster if we went right away, and we didn’t want to pull you guys out of your work in case we didn’t get anything. But anyways, that’s not the point. You’ll never believe what we found!”

Nancy’s heart began to thump, and she and Ned took a few steps away from the couple. “What is it?”

“Briney Hardware Limited doesn’t exist!” Bobby said. “Or, at least, it did, but it now it doesn’t. It got merged with a company called TGC in 1948, and they pooled together their resources to start making advanced technology, like computers and navigation systems.”

“How did you find that out?”

“Newspapers!” Tom grinned. “They didn’t make their stuff in a secret lab room, Nancy, they sold it! They made the papers six times in the forties alone, because they were doing all kinds of stuff that no one else in Sinnoh did before. And you know what their most popular invention was? The pokéball. They took an old model that was used fifty years ago, and they refined it to make the pokéball we use today. They sold their design to the League, and that made headlines all over. There’s this magazine called Pokémon League Weekly that didn’t stop talking about it for five issues straight.”

He turned to Bobby, who pulled a magazine from a plastic bag and waved it around in front of them. “Did you guys know that Solaceon boasts the most extensive collection of PLW magazines of any Gym city? There’s a fan shop downtown that’s got shelves of these babies, all the way back to the ‘40s. Take a look.”

He opened the issue to a bookmarked page and handed it to Nancy. Her eyes found a paragraph that had been circled in red marker, then locked on an underlined name. She gasped. “There he is! Alfonso Helfer!”

“The problem was, we were looking for articles by Alfonso Helfer, not articles about Alfonso Helfer,” Tom said. “So we didn’t pay attention to what people were writing. Check this out.” He pointed over Nancy’s arm to a line marked with an asterisk. “‘Made with access to an unparalleled workforce as a result of their recent merging with Briney Hardware Limited!”

“There was one other article in a regular paper that mentioned the merge,” said Bobby. “So if Alfie started out working for Briney Hardware, then he ended up working for TGC.”

Nancy scanned the page, feeling excitement buzz inside of her. But after fizzing for a few moments, the spark faltered. “Okay… so we’ve proven that Alfonso Helfer works for TGC. But how does that connect him to Team Galactic?”

Bobby paused. “Well… that’s something we have to figure out.”

“The important thing is, we know that Briney Hardware exists,” said Tom.

Nancy’s shoulders drooped. “And thanks to that, we also know that TGC exists. So now we have to find out about that company too. That basically puts us back at square one, guys.”

“Hang on,” came a voice. Nancy turned, and saw that Lona was looking at them, frowning. “Did you say Alfonso Helfer?”

Nancy lifted her eyebrows. That lady had sharp ears. “Yes, why?”

Lona turned to Ted. “That journal you showed me. It had his name in it.”

Ted looked down as he thought something over, then snapped his head up. “Yes, you’re right!”

“What journal?” said Nancy.

Ted fell into another pause, and bit his lip. His gaze went from Lona to the team, then he gave a resigned sigh. “I’ll have to show you. Come on. We’ll all go to my house.”

Nancy exchanged a glance with her teammates, who made gestures of agreement. The five of them followed Ted out of the building and down the street, where he crossed several intersections and turned onto a path that led into a residential community. He navigated through rows of houses and mailboxes, finally turning into a driveway and climbing onto a porch. Once everyone had come up behind him, he unlocked the door.

“I collect journals,” he explained. “I’m doing a late spring cleaning, and I have this box that I got in a yard sale a long time ago. It’s filled with all kinds of articles about TGC and space, stuff that was probably taken from the public domain since the Space Program began.”

“Whoa,” said Bobby.

“Yeah. They’re my prize possessions. I brought a few to show Lona earlier, but I have a lot more.”

Ted led them into a cozy home library, in the final stages of being reorganized. The furniture was polished and cleared, and the shelves were filled with straight-standing spines. Lona and the news team lingered behind as he ventured into the sea of boxes on the floor. He peered into one of them and pulled it over to the center of the room, beckoning for everyone to come around.

“I never took this to anyone to have it verified,” Ted continued. “I was always afraid they’d take it away from me, or assume that I got it illegally. But I’ve read everything in here, and from what I know, all the journals and newspapers are authentic.” He reached inside and pulled out an article. “This is the one Lona was taking about.”

He handed it to Nancy, who read the title out loud: “Storage System Two.” Then, her gaze dropped to the second line. “That’s him! It’s Alfonso again!”

“But that’s not all,” said Ted. “The experiment they talk about here is the same experiment that led to the design of the modern pokéball. I have other papers in here that prove it. Those men have to be from TGC.”

Bobby frowned. “Not only that… but I think they have to be really important people in TGC, because their names are the only ones that the Weekly mentioned when it talked about the contract.”

Lona looked from Bobby to Ted. “And that pokéball experiment… Didn’t you say they applied celestial mechanics to the new capsule design? They got them to condense matter. That seems like they knew from the beginning that they would be drawing their inspiration from space.”

“They did.” Ted bent over the box. “In fact… that’s exactly what connects them to Team Galactic. The government started the space program just three years after TGC broke up. I heard that there was a scandal of some sort, but I didn’t follow it, and it never occurred to me to save any newspapers. It was only after I found all this that I learned what TGC was. They were a company that tried to apply space technology to everyday uses. And when the government started the space program, they said that Team Galactic would do the same thing. They wanted to prove to people that they weren’t just exploring space for the glamour, but to make people’s lives better too. They meant for Galactic to pick up from where TGC left off, but they didn’t explicitly say that Team Galactic was the same company.”

He took out a chunk of papers and looked through them, before handing a newspaper clipping to Nancy. It was a summary of the President’s speech in 1951, when he had announced the founding of Sinnoh’s space program, as well as that of the company that would be carrying it out.

“That’s probably why there was no scandal…” Nancy murmured. “Team Galactic used its policy of secrecy to keep from having to mention where it came from. They just absorbed the company and started on a fresh page.”

Ned nodded. “That makes sense. Their names sound similar. Team Galactic, The Galaxy Corps…”

“And if they inherited resources, they’d probably inherit workers too,” Bobby said. He read along with Nancy, skimmed down a few paragraphs, then reached to tap the paper. “Right here. They said that Team Galactic would be headed by experienced officials who were involved in technological innovations, like pokéball refinement. And who do we know that likes to refine pokéballs? TGC.”

Tom looked at the journal that lay atop the box. “And who’s the third name on the pokéball article, the guy who was sitting right next to Allan Knight in the press conference?” He looked up at them all. “Stephen Adams.”

Nancy’s eyes flashed. “So those people in the article were some of the top guys of TGC. And when TGC became Team Galactic… they must have kept their positions.”

Everyone in the room exchanged a glance.

“Alfonso’s no Galactic grunt,” Nancy said. “He’s one of the heads.”

Sike Saner

Peace to the Mountain
Mods: if this constitutes an unworthy bump, well. You know what to do.

Right then. Let's get right to my notes/reactions/terrible jokes, shall we?

"I caught Michael skipping class on Tuesday with two other boys. I went to look for them, and I found them in the playground, harassing a wild Stunky." Mrs. Maxwell fixed her gaze on Michael, who made a valiant effort not to look back. After bolting from school that previous day, neither he nor his friends had heard anything about their misconduct. Yet, when they walked into their first-period class, all three found a notice waiting on their desk, informing them that they were called in for a conference sometime during the week. Brendan and Cory were able to get theirs over with on Wednesday and Thursday, and wash the smell off of themselves and their clothes. As usual, Michael was the only one left waiting.

Glad they're not getting away with it, at least. I wonder whatever happened to the poor li'l stunky, though.

Patricia shook her head. "I don't know... he can be so reckless sometimes, that I just don't know... That Stunky... what if the same thing happens to his starter?"

Good question. I don't know if I'd even trust him with a dead magikarp, tbh. And not only because we've already seen what he does with phenomenally stinky ****.

"Sku sku!"

His train of thought was interrupted by a muffled screech. Michael sprang up.

Ah. That answers the "what about the stunky" question.

"That was a close one. You better keep quiet from now on, you little cretin. Hear me?" As he began to close the doors, the Stunky began to whimper. With a groan, Michael slid one open again and looked down at the pokémon.

"What now?"

raises hand

I vote for a reeking musk blast to young Mr. Rowan's face. Barring that, well. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested to see how this little **** ends up learning his lesson instead--assuming he does, seeing as he's destined to grow into rather less of a douchenozzle, heh.

After giving the Stunky's cage a good kick to remind it to keep quiet, Michael descended the stairs.

Oh, it can keep as quiet as you like. But stonks speak louder than words. :B

The walls were adorned with drawings of pokémon, all wearing cartoon-character smiles.

Sounds terrifying.

Each contained a different label - 'PIPLUP', 'TURTWIG', and 'CHIMCHAR' - scrawled in black marker.

Oh god, do not let your mom read that. She'll get caught in another loop for who knows how long.

Michael opened his stinging eyes, and found himself peering down at a runty Turtwig. It looked nothing like its drawing. Its skin was an aquamarine blue instead of the grass green it was painted with, and the sprout on its head was paler than the norm. Its shell was a light brown, and its eyes were yellow. They stared back.



A feeling of dread filled Michael's heart. "You mean... mine's defective?"

Michael Rowan, if you reset the game so help me I will--

Anyway. Thought it was interesting, and kinda neat, that shininess apparently isn't something people know about in that era.

When it saw him, it mewed again, this time louder.

Awww! :( Cute li'l thing...

"Bummer," Cory said slowly. "No, seriously, I feel your pain. But it's not all bad right? I mean, when I got my starter, my mom said that she was gonna force me to raise it too, but she never did anything. I haven't opened that pokéball in three years and I don't think she cares. My grades are more important to her."

throws a sock at Cory

Cory thought for a moment, then smiled. "Hey, I have an idea." He went back to the shelves and took down a second box. This one was larger, and was filled with glinting metal equipment.

"What's that for?"

"I read in the paper that a hospital was offering this new type of surgery. Debridisomething. We could try it on the Stunky."

"Nice." Michael smiled.

"But we don't even know what Debridi is," Brendan said. "What if we don't do it right and it dies?"

"So?" Cory said.

throws the other sock

and some shoes

and some more shoes

(my aim is dreadful; I need all the ammo I can get)

"Welcome back."

Michael jumped. At first he thought he was hearing things, but when he turned around, he saw that Patricia was seated at his desk. Her arms were folded in her lap, and her expression was perfectly calm. Michael's heart sank.

And I all but cheered aloud. :D

When she finally spoke, her voice wobbled. "Whatever you have going on in that head of yours, you better kick it out fast. For now, you're grounded. No phone. No television. No contact with those kids. You are not to set foot outside this house without my permission. That will give you some time to think about what you just said to me." Patricia left without another word. The door slammed loudly, but after that, the house was dead quiet. Even the Stunky had stopped whimpering. It was peering through the bars now, looking at Michael curiously.

Awww, Patricia no, don't leave the stunky alone with him...

But he was too weary to do anything about it.

Thank frick.

The next object he pulled out was an empty tissue box. Why haven't I thrown this out yet? He tossed this as well.

I had to chuckle because this bit just reminded me so much of my own thought processes last time I undertook some major cleaning.

Way to go, dad. Ever since you left, I've been stuck with an idiotic older brother and a mom who couldn't care less about me. Nothing’s the same without you. I don't know about them, but Michael and I miss you more than you can imagine. **** it, you were the best guy in the world. If you're watching me right now dad, I'm sorry. But I can't take it anymore. My entire life has been hell, and it's all because of mom and Brian. I've been trying to stick around for Michael’s sake (he reminds me of you sometimes, you know) but I don’t think I can handle much more. Mom's trying to turn both of us into Brian-clones, and she’s acting like the people we were when you were there should never have existed. So I'm gonna leave. I don't know if it’s right or wrong in her eyes and honestly I don't care. I just want things to be back to the way they were. Just you, me, and the little guy. I'll miss him too.

Awww... :(

Michael went to bed, hoping the tension would blow over like it had always done. But when he got up the next morning, he found that Richard's room was empty. No angry note. No farewell. Nothing. Patricia acted like she didn't notice. Brian made no comment either, but his gaze followed Michael throughout the entire day. When the time came for spring cleaning, Patricia hauled out the clutter from Richard’s loft and allowed Michael to move in from his bedroom downstairs, but under an unspoken condition. Michael was prohibited from mentioning his brother's name, or bringing up the subject of his disappearance. From now on, he only had one brother. Brian.

Well that's creepy as ****.

He realized what he had done a second too late.

The Stunky let out a screech of freedom, and tore across the room towards the door.

cheers inwardly again

Come on, you good-for-nothing buttface!

I was wondering if someone would make note of the fact that stunky basically has *** cheeks for a face.

The woman looked back up at him, arching her eyebrows. "Your pokémon looks awfully hungry, kid."

"I... well, yeah, I know, but that's not the—”

The woman rose to her full height, her face towering well above his. "That thing is all skin and bones. Are you sure it's okay?"

Michael nodded. "It's fine."

"It doesn't look too good. Were you gonna take it to a vet?"

Michael shook his head. "No, it's fine, really. So do you want me to pay? I mean, I can if you want me to, whatever."

The woman didn't seem to be hearing him. She looked at the Stunky, frowning.

I am really starting to like Ms. Bookstore.

As the pokémon turned, Michael observed the curvature of its cheeks

laughs like a child because stunky cheeks

A giant worm-thing made of rocks.

I think this might be my new favorite onix description.

Granted, I don't know if I had an old favorite, but yeah.

And now I think I should pause to commend you for having Lennon and linoone in the same chapter and not getting them mixed up at any point, because I can't promise I wouldn't have.

You are now picturing John Linoone.

1) Speak firmly and concisely, making eye contact with your pokémon.

Of course this just makes me wonder "what do" if you happen to have a zubat. Speak up a little louder, I guess?

Out from the second pokéball came what looked like a giant caterpillar, only its body was made entirely from boulders.

You are now picturing an onix with butterfly wings.

Regular-sized butterfly wings, because that's funnier.

A strip of blue metal with eyes emerged from the pokéball. At first Michael thought it was going to fall to the floor and shatter, but then the pokémon floated up and began to hover above their heads, casting little diamonds of light onto the walls.


"Well, you should get one. They're not too expensive, and they'll protect your badges from dust."

Whereas the tarnish that comes from neglecting your game card for months on end... yeah, you're on your own there.

The sky was colored the tired blue of a wasted day

Nice. I like that.

"Peck it, peck it!"

But the very best thing of all
There's a counter on this...

"Hold your horses, kid." Bertha reached into her knapsack and took out several bills. Their green was the brightest of all. Michael was still trembling as he took them into his hands.

I can certainly relate to his appreciation of money.

It was locked as well, but when she pressed her ear against it, she heard faint sounds coming from the back.

Oh god, I read that as "fart sounds". Maybe I've been doing a little too much reading lately.

keeps reading anyway

“Not much,” Henry replied, flipping a page. Up close, Michael saw that the boy looked rather irritated, his mouth curled into a half-pout. Over the many days that they had traveled together, Michael had learned to recognize the Henry Face when he saw it, and crossed his arms.


A brief smile shone through Henry’s gloom. “I don’t know… I think it’s cool. It's like one of those pumice stones that they find near volcanoes, only it's heavier. Want to see?” Henry proffered the stone.

...is that a moon stone?

Henry had chosen to stay up to look after Clefairy. He had fashioned an entire shelter for her, complete with a mattress made out of shirts, a cup of cool water, and some toys in case she got lonely.

Henry, you are positively precious.

And looks like the answer to the moon stone question is yes. :D Nicely handled evo scene to boot.

“No,” Michael said. “We still have three days. I just wanted to let you know that your Clefairy passed away last night.”

“WHAT?!” Henry sprang to his feet. Almost unconsciously he grabbed hold of Michael’s shoulders. “You’re lying, it’s not funny! What did you do?”

Michael shook his head, his expression blank. “I tried to save her, but I guess I was too late. She’s gone.”

Omg Michael you are such a douche.

They got up, and leaving Bertha somewhat confused, they left the room. In the hallway, Michael pocketed the stone again. “So this definitely wasn’t what made her Roselia evolve… but then what did?”

“Maybe it had something to do with the ring,” Henry offered.

“Could be. But we can’t know for sure until we test it, and that would be impossible now.”

Knowing so very much that the characters don't is kind of frustrating, but in a fun way, if that makes any sense.

“Starly, use Wing Attack!”

Starly beat his wings faster, stirring the air around him into two twin cyclones that kicked up the gravel. Starly launched the attack at Mr. Mime, who was thrown back by the force of the wind. But instead of falling, it did a backwards cartwheel and jumped back to its feet, entirely unharmed.

“Mime, use Mimic!” said Jerry.

The Mr. Mime paused for a moment, pressing its fingers to its temples. Then it spread out its arms, and at that instant they became wings—so fast that Michael barely had time to catch the illusion.

What a cool depiction of mimic. :D

Quick as lightning, the boy snatched it out of Michael’s hand and jumped back towards the beds. Michael reached after it a second too late.

“Give it back!” he snarled.

Henry shook his head. “No. You’ll have it back when you’ve proven to me that you’re a trainer.”

“I said give it back!”

Henry folded his arms. “Nope.”

Looks like Henry's starting to get some nerve about him.

“I would have hoped that you’d have gotten to know Luxio enough after he took down your Turtwig!” Lona said. “But since apparently you haven’t, then next time you might want to listen to advice that you are given instead of whining and insisting on doing things your way!”

“And maybe next time, you could try being more clear too!” he retorted.

Gotta side with Michael here, tbh. No one's a mind reader, and some of us struggle more with ambiguity than others.

It was as if Lona Walker’s shadow, which had been clutching him in a death grip during his entire visit, had suddenly released him and retreated back into its lair, awaiting his return.

helplessly imagines Lona with shadow tag, by which I mean imagining her as a wobbuffet

Biting his lip, Michael knelt into the grass. “Okay, get ready. It might try to fly away.” Henry and Leroy gathered around him, giving just enough room for the pokémon to emerge. Michael twisted open the capsule, and with a rush of light, a Chatot was thrown out. Its body was positioned as if it was still flying, and its eyes were partly closed as if to protect themselves from the wind. As the white light faded, the pokémon hung over the ground for a few seconds, then plopped face-first into the grass with a human-like oomph! The bird let out a squeal, its feathers ruffling, its wings beating in an attempt to regain awareness of its location. Slowly, it lifted itself to an upright position, its eyes blinking separately at first, then adjusting to their proper rhythm. Up close, the Chatot's colors were even more striking, sharp and even like those of a hand-painted toy. Henry and Leroy immediately knelt into the grass, linking their arms with Michael’s to form a triangular cage around the pokémon. The Chatot looked around at the them, its large eyes blinking.

“Trainers no-brainers?” it said, clicking its pink beak. “Fly?”

I am already very extremely glad one of them caught one of these. :D

“Nah, they’re not that good. If you could read some of the other kids’ Dexes, you’d be laughing your pants off. The professor’s staff are holding little contests at the end of the session to see who had the funniest entries, the most detailed ones, and all that. But… yeah.” Leroy waved his hand dismissively.

I for one would love a pokédex containing nothing but funny entries.

Or entries written by a chatot.

Michael had not immediately comprehended what he had seen when he had locked eyes with Lona the previous day. Neither, it seemed, had Henry, and only now did the full meaning of their encounter come to Michael’s awareness. Ted was in love, unknowingly, with the Gym leader from hell. But even stranger was the fact that the lady in the marketplace looked almost nothing like Lona—in dress or demeanor. The placid, impenetrable expression she often wore was gone, replaced by a liberated calm—almost a cheerfulness. Without the jacket’s accompanying weight, she walked swiftly, as if carried by the wind, seeming like just another lady off on her own business.

She was normal.

Mindblowing, isn't it, Michael? That there could be more to her than "the gym leader from hell". That people can actually have multifaceted personalities.

Lona was silent, and for the entire duration of Bertha’s tirade, sat with one elbow rested on the table’s surface, supporting her chin. Her face was clouded, and she seemed lost in thought.

“Galactic will never come to Solaceon…” she said, almost whispering.

Bertha tilted her head to the side, softening her face into an imitation of her interlocutor. “And if it does?”

“It won’t!” With a sudden burst of anger that seemed to come from nowhere, Lona rose from her seat to look Bertha in the eye.

Whoops. Somebody struck a nerve.

The sound of clacking heels advanced over the carpet, just barely audible over the struggle. Michael was too caught up in a rage to notice. He gritted his teeth and looked at Rick, jerking him by the shoulders as if to snap him out of a stupor. “Did you hear a word I just said? I know how to beat her! Lona is a complete joke! Whatever else she says is just a scare tactic to make you feel helpless. Look—” He dropped his backpack onto the carpet and took out his notebook, holding it out between them. “I have everything right here. I’ve been taking notes on her Gym this whole time. I know Lona’s team, and I’ve found out how she battles. All that stuff about being motivated is a lie—all you have to do is match your pokémon’s types against hers and make sure yours are better counters! Don’t listen to the **** she tells you, dammit!”

All of a sudden, a hand reached into his field of vision and snatched Rick by the collar. Before Michael could understand what was happening, claw-like nails gripped him by the shoulder and spun him around, and he found himself face-to-face with Lona. Her eyes were blazing.

WHOOPS. Loose lips sink ships, son!

But suddenly, that part of him was gone. The Lona Walker who had haunted his mind before had vanished — fallen away like the fragments of a shell, leaving behind the shattered remains of its keeper.

Leaving behind a person. At least, I hope he sees that.

Nancy responded with a shrug. “Apparently to sell League stuff you have to have a special certificate of approval for your store. This guy had nothing—and to top it all off, he tried to sell trainer cards too, which gave him away on the spot. League rules say you’re not supposed to do that, ever. You can only get them by writing to the League itself and having them mail it to you, or by going to a local League office and getting one there. Not even Gyms can sell them.”

Ouch, I was afraid of that. Sorry, Mike. You got a bum card.

Michael gave a jolt of surprise, involuntarily tracing a thick line across his paper, and closed his eyes with a groan. “Shut up, Ringo,” he mumbled.

I get the feeling he says that a lot.

The boys had spent many a long afternoon in their hotel room with the TV on, seated at the round snack table, eating their dinner while watching the news. On occasion, they would let out their pokémon to give them a chance to relax, and Michael had made the mistake of sending out Machop. After his first few evenings of dinner theater, the pokémon had clearly found the flashing box to his liking, and now whenever Michael would let him out in the hotel room, he would plant himself on the carpet and sit still for hours, legs folded up against his chest, staring at the picture with wide, unblinking eyes. It soon grew common for the boys to leave him in the room while they went to get food, and come back to find that Machop hadn’t moved a single inch. If Michael tried to pry him from his place, Machop would fidget and squeal in complaint.

Oh gosh. Okay, that's adorable. Sorry, Michael, but it is.

The beam soared up and up till it seemed like it would strike the clouds, but then it began to lose momentum, slowing down like a jet of water from a fountain that had reached its maximum height. The beam slowed to a stop, then slowly, began to fall.

“It’s coming back!” a kid shouted. “Run!”

PFFFF WHOOPS. At least it didn't do any real damage, far as I can tell.

He budged his arm in Turtwig’s direction, as the pokémon turned in place to make sure the Caterpie-cocoon got enough sunlight.

Awww. Good tortoise.


The boy turned, and at the sight of his panicked eyes, Michael frowned. “What?”

“Caterpie! You left her by a window!”


“Butterfrees have to practice using their wings before they can fly! We forgot to close the window, and we’re on the eighth floor! If she falls, she’ll hit the concrete!”

OH ****.

OH **** OH **** OH ****.

Machop got down to his belly and slid himself under the bed, inching his way forward with his arms. Michael crawled back to give him more room, and when Machop got out, he saw the pokémon hold up the object at arm’s length. It was someone’s sneaker.

Congratulations! Your Metapod has evolved into Shoe!

Michael couldn’t help but be amazed that this pokémon had once been a tiny green sausage.

I'll never look at caterpie the same way again. XD

In a snap, Michael lowered his arms to his sides and spun around towards the bench. He lifted Butterfree from the seat and beckoned to Machop, while Henry heaved his tote bag over his shoulder.

Meanwhile Shoe lay forgotten.

Determining a company’s existence was hard enough in itself. The collection of officially-registered companies was stored in the government database in Snowpoint, which had the fastest computer system in Sinnoh, but the amount of information was so vast that it would still take many hours to sift through it all.

I wonder what that era considers fast. Though given this is a version of the '60s with pokémon and the more-than-beginnings of related technology, they might be a bit further ahead than boring old regular irl Earth was at that time.

You've got a good thing going on here. Rich setting, great characters (including the cutest gods-be machop in the history of ever), and the ability to make me appreciate 4th gen just that extra bit more. In the event of an update, count on me dropping by again. :>

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
I can't believe I haven't posted here in almost a year. xP The situation is almost not even worthy of the 'xP'.

But thanks for the review, Sike Saner. I appreciate that you posted it despite the hiatus.

Anyway. Thought it was interesting, and kinda neat, that shininess apparently isn't something people know about in that era.
It's one of the several things that modern pokemon biologists know about that ones in the '60s didn't. You've read all the chapters, so you probably seen that it's one of the things that will get Michael interested in pokemon, and also lead to some undesirable attention from a private investigator.

And now I think I should pause to commend you for having Lennon and linoone in the same chapter and not getting them mixed up at any point, because I can't promise I wouldn't have.

You are now picturing John Linoone.
... I didn't even make that connection up until now. :p Maybe I should have that Linoone's name be Lennon. And sneak a Paul the Poliwhirl and George the Girafarig somewhere in the story, too.

“No,” Michael said. “We still have three days. I just wanted to let you know that your Clefairy passed away last night.”

“WHAT?!” Henry sprang to his feet. Almost unconsciously he grabbed hold of Michael’s shoulders. “You’re lying, it’s not funny! What did you do?”

Michael shook his head, his expression blank. “I tried to save her, but I guess I was too late. She’s gone.”
Omg Michael you are such a douche.
I enjoyed writing that part, in a Michael sort of way. :)

Determining a company’s existence was hard enough in itself. The collection of officially-registered companies was stored in the government database in Snowpoint, which had the fastest computer system in Sinnoh, but the amount of information was so vast that it would still take many hours to sift through it all.
I wonder what that era considers fast. Though given this is a version of the '60s with pokémon and the more-than-beginnings of related technology, they might be a bit further ahead than boring old regular irl Earth was at that time.
Technology in 1960s Sinnoh is a bit more advanced than the tech of our 1960s, but only in certain areas. In hindsight, I think I should have taken more time to describe the nature of Sinnoh's technology, and explain how a society with mass-condensing capsules can lack modern-speed computers. But I'm hard at work on that.

Your comments made me laugh, and helped power me through a tough spot in one of my chapters. Thanks again for stopping by, and I'm glad to have you reading!

Now for a general announcement: I'm not working on Chapter 43. Instead I'm working on a revision, which will more or less affect all the chapters, and necessitate the posting of a new thread. The main storyline will not change, and neither will any of the existing characters. They will, however, be fleshed out more, and result in a richer, more coherent world that will answer two questions: 1. How did Michael Rowan become a Pokemon Professor? and 2. How did 1960s Sinnoh become the Sinnoh of today? The reason I want to post a new thread is that I don't want to keep scrubbing away my old words. I'd rather start anew and look to them for guidance, while at the same time being free from them. Also, although some of the changes will be small, they will have major repercussions that to me clearly mark the distinction between an old version of Roots, and a new one.

I'm truly sorry for the delays I put you all through, but I promise that the new thread will be worth the wait. Up to this point, most of my progress on the revisions has been conceptual, but I've started to make headway with the old chapters. The first five haven't changed much; I've simply added a couple paragraphs and conversations that will connect them more visibly to later chapters. Oreburgh will get the heaviest changes, and Eterna some additions. Those additions will trickle down and affect Hearthome, but beyond that, the Hearthome plotline will be the same. Solaceon might get a new scene or two, and Pastoria will have some things tweaked to elaborate on the Hoenn vs. Sinnoh theme.

When the time comes, I'll update my signature with the posting date. I'll make sure I have at least twenty old chapters rewritten before I post. (Revising twenty old chapters might result in more than twenty new chapters.)

If anybody has anything else to say about the story, then feel free to either post in this thread, or PM me. If not, then I hope to see you in the new thread! (Also, if for whatever reason, you want to keep your place on the PM list, please PM me. Otherwise I'll be starting with a clean slate!)