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COMPLETE: D R E A D

Charizard2006

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Against my better judgement (I was going to release this all at once, but have yet to write much more than this) and the fact that it's Christmas (cheers, by the way). I give you my rewrite of The Dark Lord. I'm trying my hand at a different writing style, less of a psychological look at the characters (I'll leave you to determine what's going on in their heads) and more of a physical look (i.e., their actions, how they react to certain things, etc). The story will change a bit, so you're not just reading a couple new paragraphs. Here's the rough draft. Enjoy the first chapter, and Merry Christmas!


(THIS POKE'FIC IS RATED R)
for excessive violence and adult content. You've been warned.

* * * * *

DREAD

Chapter 1

The battered blue Ford rolled into the driveway of 312 Merill Drive and came to a slow stop. The engine cut and there was a moment before there was any movement. Then there was a ruffling noise and the door opened. Ash Ketchum stepped out onto the gravel driveway, his boots grinding against the small rocks as he picked his way out of the vehicle. He pulled a duffel bag out from the backseat and slung it over his shoulder. After closing the door he stood there for a moment, taking in the sights.

He was home.

Before he could take another step, a small child came running out of the house.

"Daddy!" the child beamed, arms waving wildly. Ash dropped his duffel bag and scooped the boy up in his arms. He laughed.

"How's my little soldier doing?" he asked, hugging the child tightly. The boy giggled in response, too enthused for words. With his free hand Ash grabbed the duffel bag and approached the house, the young boy still tucked in his arm. There was another figure waiting in the doorway. She leaned into the frame, exhausted. Though she was beyond belief that he was home, especially so early, she was excited to see him. He paused at the entrance, their eyes meeting warmly.

"Hey." he said, his grin widening.

"hey," the woman echoed, a smile creasing her lips.

They embraced on the steps, the three of them, as a family. When they broke, she grabbed his duffel bag and followed him inside.

There was a yellow rodent asleep on the couch and Ash went to stroke its fur. The woman stopped him.

"He's been having a lot of headaches lately," she said softly. "Nurse Joy says that it's a bug going around…a lot of the poke'mon are sick with it. Just let him be for now."

Ash frowned, but quickly turned his attention back to his family. He kissed his wife on the cheek.

"Alright, so how've you been?" he asked. He set the boy down and embraced her.

"Better," she reported, returning the embrace. "It's been long, Ash…too long."

"I know Misty," he replied. "But I'm done." he glanced down at the boy, whom was beaming up at him. "For good."

Misty hugged him tightly.

"I'm so glad to hear that," she said softly. "Who's going to replace you?"

"I don't know," Ash responded, loving the smell of his wife's orange hair. "Ian Surge is in charge of enlisting the best candidates, he wants me to meet with him next week to help him pick."

Misty pulled away briefly.

"I thought you said you were done?"

"I'm done with the field," Ash frowned. "From now on, if I'm involved with anything, it's…" he looked at the boy again, who had taken a seat at the kitchen table. His voice went softer. "It's bullshit like this, just…meetings and paper work. I'm still needed, but whatever I'm needed for, it will allow me to be home for dinner."

Misty frowned. Ash caressed her face.

"It's okay," he said. "It really is. No more late nights, no more field exercises, no more leaving for weeks at a time."

Misty's eyes crept over to Pikachu on the couch.

"I just worry is all," she whispered. Ash kissed her on the cheek.

"About what?" he asked. "Honey, this island hasn't seen combat in over 50 years. The Seafoam Island Confederation are allies with us now, along with the majority of the other islands under the Union. There's nothing to worry about."

"I was talking about Pikachu," she said. "He's really been missing you, and his headaches….he's been acting very strange lately."

Ash looked over at Pikachu, whom was stirring on the couch.

"How so?"

Misty gave him a helpless look and watched Pikachu jump down.

"Pika!" he chimed, jumping into Ash's arms. Ash smiled and caressed the poke'mon, returning Misty's look.

"So what do you want for dinner?" Misty turned to the kitchen. "I was prepping some rice and vegetables..."

"Sounds good," Ash replied. "Anything's better than MRE's."

"Chu," Pikachu agreed. Ash grinned and set the rodent down. He walked over to the boy, who was coloring on a pad of paper.

"Hey Foxx," Ash ruffled the boy's hair. "Whatcha' drawing?"

Foxx beamed at him, proud of his work. Ash studied the picture.

It was a crude drawing in red crayon of two stick figures holding hands. One of them had cat ears.

"What's this?" Ash asked, pointing at the drawing.

"My friend," Foxx replied, returning to his work. "We're playing."

"Who's your friend?" Ash mused.

"Tooth."

"Tooth?" Ash grinned. "That's quite a name."

Foxx nodded, "he's really cool, he takes me flying and we explore outer space."

Ash nodded, impressed.

"Sounds like fun."

Foxx giggled and continued scribbling. Ash turned around to face Misty, whom was watching them carefully from the stove. She beckoned for Ash to follow her.

"Things have been different," Misty whispered as she closed their bedroom door. "Foxx…he's been having nightmares, he's been sleeping with me almost every single night."

"What do you mean?" Ash asked. "Nightmares? he NEVER has nightmares."

"It's the same thing with Pikachu," Misty held his hands tightly. "I'm really worried, Ash."

"About what, some headaches and bad dreams?"

"I don't know," she admitted. "It just feels…wrong. I can't put my finger on it. He talks about his friend Tooth all the time, and I can see him out in the yard talking to him and--"

"A lot of kids have imaginary friends, Misty." Ash said firmly. He cupped her chin in his hand. "There's not many kids around here Foxx's age to play with. C'mon…I know it's been tough with me away and everything, but I promise it's all going to be okay now." he kissed her again. "Trust me."

Misty lowered her gaze to the ground, falling into Ash's arms.

"I've missed you so much," she said softly. Ash nodded.

"I know." he replied.

* * * * * *

The next day Ash wiped the sweat from his brow as he toiled in the afternoon sun. It was unseasonably warm for fall, and he found himself already getting frustrated at the amount of leaves caught in his gutters. Behind him Foxx marched around the yard, waving a stick in the air as he fought imaginary enemies.

"Hey Mr. Handy," Misty called from the window. "How's it going?"

"Could be better," Ash grunted and adjusted his work gloves. "Do the leaves really have to be wet AND stuck in here?"

Misty giggled and went back to her work. Ash pushed himself further up the ladder until he was on the roof, sitting on his haunches along the shingles. Before him he could see a horizon of homes, stretching all the way into the bustling downtown city of Pallet. Cars and pedestrians buzzed along the streets as people went about their daily lives. Ash mused at the thought of the sleepy town he had left here when he was younger. Times had changed, but Pallet Town had taken it in stride.

"Daddy, look!"

Foxx was pointing at something in the sky. Ash looked and saw a flock of bird Poke'mon. There were so many they seemed to blot out the sun as they soared by.

"Leaving for the winter?" Foxx asked.

"Guess so!" Ash called down to him. He looked back up at the sky and realized that the birds weren't flying south, but east.

"That's weird," Ash thought to himself. He threw his legs over the side of the roof and called down to Misty,

"Hey, honey! do the birds…."

It was just now that he saw what Foxx was doing with the stick.

"Foxx! hey! what're you doing? stop that!" Ash yelled out. He climbed down the ladder and jogged over to the boy.

Foxx was drilling into the dirt a crude image of two large ovals.

He snatched the stick from the child's hands and grabbed him roughly by the shoulder. Foxx had a dazed expression in his eyes.

"What do you think you're doing?" Ash asked firmly. "You're ruining the yard!"

Foxx blinked and looked over at the ovals. He looked back at Ash with unfamiliar eyes.

"What happened?"

"What do you mean 'what happened'?" Ash said gruffly. He knelt down in front of the boy, holding onto his shoulders. "You can't just tear up the grass like that, buddy, you'll ruin the yard."

Foxx shrugged.

"Sorry." he said dumbly. "Tooth told me to."

"Well don't listen to everything Tooth says," Ash replied, absently tossing the stick behind him. "If Tooth told you to jump off a bridge, would you?"

"He said he'd hurt me if I don't."

"What?"

"Tooth says that I'm a bad friend if I don't do what he says." he glanced over at the ovals in the ground. "Tooth wanted me to draw his eyes so he can always watch me."

Ash licked his lips and looked at the ovals in the ground.

"Tooth…this is your friend with the cat ears?"

Foxx nodded.

"Tooth IS a cat."

Ash was searching for the words to say something when Misty stepped out of the kitchen.

"Hey guys!" she called. "Lunch is ready!"

Ash sighed and stood up. He ruffled Foxx's hair.

"We'll talk about this later. Just no more digging around the yard, okay?"

Foxx nodded and ran over to the house. Ash stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at the ovals in the ground. There were the beginnings of what looked like pupils in the center of the eyes. What was odd about them was that they were almost perfect ovals; there were no crooked lines, despite the fact that they were drawn with a stick. Ash observed it for a second longer before heading inside. The image of the eyes stayed with him all day.

After lunch Ash was taking out the garbage when he noticed a dark, burly man leering at him from across the street. He emptied the garbage and closed the lid, feeling the man's eyes wash over him the whole way. Finally he returned the gaze and it was a moment before either man said anything.

"Brock?"

Familiarity washed over the man's face and he marched across the street to wrap Ash in a large hug.

"Oh man, it's been so long! I didn't recognize you at first!" Brock swooned, setting Ash back down. Ash grinned and looked Brock over. He had gained a lot of weight since their travels as children. Rather than looking like a Casanova ala his childhood dream, he looked more like a cross between a lumberjack and a Norseman.

"Same here," Ash replied, slapping the man on the shoulder. "How've you been, BIG guy?"

Brock gave him a shrewd look, and jiggled his belly between his hands.

"Can't help it," he jerked his head down the street. "Duplica spoils me. You haven't lived until you've tried her roast duck."

"You're dating Duplica now?"

"Have been!" Brock said proudly. "Hell, man, we've been at it for about…3 years now? finally decided to move in together." he cast another glance at his own gut. "The love of my life is going to be the death of me."

The men shared a laugh and Ash ran a hand through his hair in recollection.

"It's good to see you," he said. "We should catch up…"

he looked back at his house.

"Misty wants me to clean the gutters and do some other work around the house…I gotta run into town and pick up some tools, you wanna come?"

Brock shrugged.

"Sure," he answered. "As long as you don't mind running to the gym first. I'm training some youngsters there."

Ash led Brock to his truck and the two piled inside.

"So you're not a gym leader anymore?" Ash asked, starting the engine. Brock shook his head and pulled out a necklace. Adorned on it was the Boulder Badge.

"Nah, man, that was a long time ago," he explained. "After you left for the army, I kinda went through this whole, 'What am I doing with my life' kinda thing, and realized being a Gym Leader wasn't for me. Now I coach gym class at the high school."

"That's ironic," Ash teased. Brock grinned.

"Always a kidder," he punched Ash in the shoulder. "So what's going on now, are you done?"

Ash nodded as he pulled out of Merill Drive.

"Yessir," he replied, rolling the window down. The cool autumn breeze relaxed him as they coasted through town. "Now I'm in charge of…kinda some secret stuff, y'know, deciding who gets on Alpha Unit and what not."

"You'd think they would have somebody else for that."

"Normally Ian Surge would do it," Ash agreed. "But he wants me to help him pick. I guess he doesn't wanna mess up."

"Ian Surge?" Brock scoffed. "Lieutenant Surge's son? what the hell?"

Ash shrugged.

"He was in Enforcer Unit just like me. He graduated at the top of his class, and he looks good on camera. Makes one helluva Public Relations guy."

"I just thought he'd be a general or some shit by now." Brock sighed. "Never did like the guy, he was always way too uptight. Remember that time you invited him to your Christmas party?"

Ash laughed and shook his head, recollecting bad memories.

"Hey, is this the gym you were talking about?"

He guided the blue Ford into the driveway of a run-down building. Brock sighed again and gave Ash a helpless look.

"Nobody really gives a shit about Poke'mon training anymore," he admitted. "We're right in the middle of Pallet, for chrissakes--definitely not what it used to be--most people just have Poke'mon as pets anymore."

Ash stepped out of the car and examined the building. Several parts of the structure were in various states of disrepair. The weed choked parking lot didn't help the look of it either.

"On base we have several units of just Poke'mon," Ash said, making his way around the building with Brock. "We fire train Squirtles and Blastoise, Machamps and Machokes as infantry…"

Brock pushed open the door, giving way to a large gymnasium. Inside an Onix was doing battle against a Pidgeotto.

"Pidgeotto!" a kid commanded, waving his arms wildly. "What're you doing? I said use whirlwind!"

The large bird cawed furiously as it soared around the gym. There were windows near the ceiling that it kept ramming its head into. The Onix' head was swaying back and forth, as if the beast were intoxicated. Both trainers on the ground looked very confused.

"What's going on in here?" Brock demanded. The kid gave him a helpless look and shrugged.

"I dunno, sir, I was just doing battle against this kid here, and suddenly both Poke'mon started going nuts."

The Pidgeotto dive bombed at the trio's heads, swooping around the lower half of the gym.

"Jesus!" Ash yelped. "Call it back to its poke'ball!"

The kid plucked a ball from his belt and returned the Pidgeotto. The Onix roared and crashed into the side of the wall. Debris from the ceiling drifted down.

"You too!" Brock called to the other trainer. "Return your Onix!"

"My Poke'ball's not working!" the kid wailed.

The Onix reared up and smashed its body against the wall. The building trembled.

"Give me your poke'ball." Ash demanded. The child obediently handed it over and Ash hurled the ball at the Onix. The ball bounced off the beast's side, opened, and sucked the Onix in. The gym was enveloped in a blinding purple light, then a silence fell over the room.

"Sometimes you have to just do it the old fashioned way," Ash said, scooping the ball off the floor. "Promise me you'll take it to the Poke'mon Center and have it checked out?"

"Yessir," the boy chirped. "Guess it kinda worked out for me..I was losing that fight anyway!" He scurried away with his friend, idly chatting as if nothing happened.

"Kids just don't give a shit about their poke'mon anymore," Brock sighed. "Wonder where he caught the damn thing." he walked over to the wall and ran his fingers alongside it. "Damnit," he muttered. "This place is already falling apart, the last thing I need is a condemning notice on the front door."

"The Onix really did a number on that wall," Ash agreed. "Have you heard the thing going on with the poke'mon lately?"

Brock nodded solemnly.

"Yeah," he turned back to face Ash. "They're saying it's something in the water..or…something," he ran a hand through his hair. "It's just a bug that's going around, that's all."

"One helluva bug."

"You're telling ME," Brock sighed. He patted Ash on the back. "Well thanks for your help back there, bud, I guess I'm not really needed here at the gym today."

"Let's get going then," Ash pulled the truck keys out of his pocket. "Misty will kill me if I put off any more work."

* * * * *

Misty sighed as Ash nuzzled into her neck, kissing and licking his way to her shoulder. She wrapped her arms around him, intertwining her wrists across his back as he loved her.

He kissed his way along her neck and then back down the front of her chest, listening to her moan quietly between breaths.

"Stop it, you'll wake up Foxx," he teased. Misty giggled quietly and pulled him in closer.

"I've been waiting months for this," she cooed. "Fuck it."

Ash let out a soft chuckle and kissed along her belly, moving his hands down to softly grasp her hips. For a moment he placed his head along her stomach to feel it contract in steady rhythm. Her body was warm and inviting. She quivered, anxious for his touch. He could feel her fingers tugging at his boxer briefs, and he was happy to comply.

They were almost off when a croak from downstairs disturbed them.

Ash paused.

"Did you hear that?"

Misty stopped, running her hand over her face. She was sweaty.

"Hear what?" She groaned. "C'mon, baby..."

Another croak.

This time both of them heard it. Misty sat up, pulling Ash with her.

"What was that?" she whispered. Her eyes were narrowed. She looked at Ash helplessly. Ash looked at the clock. It was 3 in the morning. He bit his lower lip, looked at her, and rolled out of bed. He tugged on a pair of pants and touched her shoulder softly.

"Wait here." he said quietly. He pulled open the door and stepped into the dark hallway. Moonlight spilled across the steps leading downstairs. Silence was ringing in his ears and as he approached the steps he could hear a shuffle of movement downstairs. His heart pounded in his chest and his hands balled into tight fists.

Of all the homes to break in, this motherfucker had picked the worst one…

He marched down the steps and was startled at the sight of Foxx standing at the window in the living room. The boy stood less than a foot away from the glass, peering into the yard. His jaw was crooked, like he was trying to speak, but words were coming out in a low croak. He didn't move or look up when Ash came down the steps.

"Foxx? What're you doing down here?" Ash demanded. Foxx leered over at Ash, his eyes lazily washing over his father.

"Tooth was outside." He pointed. Ash walked over and put his hand on the boy's shoulder. The yard was illuminated in the blue light of the moon. It was empty.

He knelt down and looked Foxx straight in the eye.

"Alright Foxx," he said firmly. "That's enough. I don't want you playing with Tooth anymore, you're really upsetting mommy and I."

"But Tooth won't leave me alone." Foxx refuted.

"There IS NO Tooth." Ash hissed. "Now c'mon, get upstairs and go back to bed."

He led Foxx upstairs and tucked him in. When he left his son's room he stood at the foot of the steps and thought for a moment. He walked back down the steps and looked through the window into the yard. He didn't notice that Pikachu's bed was empty.

He returned to his bedroom where Misty still sat up, terrified.

"What was it?" she asked.

"It was Foxx," Ash sighed. "I think I'm gonna take him to Nurse Joy tomorrow. I've only been home a few days and this is already getting out of hand."

"I told you!" Misty folded her arms. "You leaving for the special forces was a bad idea."

"It was what was best for us," Ash argued. "If I didn't go, there's no way in hell we'll be able to pay for Foxx's college." He fell to his pillow. "Damnit, Misty…why can't everything be okay? this is the last thing…it's my son…"

Misty lay by his side and ran a hand along his chest.

"He loves you," she whispered. "I love you."

Ash took her hand in his and breathed in deeply.

"I know," he said softly. "I know."

The next morning Ash made a call to Nurse Joy's office and set up an appointment for that afternoon. Foxx and Misty were sitting at the table eating their breakfast when Ash came in.

"So was that you last night making all that ruckus?" Misty smiled cheerfully at Foxx across the table.

"Wasn't me," Foxx responded through gulps of orange juice. "It was--"

Ash gave him a stern look and the boy paused.

"It was me." he admitted in defeat. "Where's Pikachu?" he set down his spoon and looked under the table.

"I don't think I've seen him since yesterday," Misty was looking at Ash, who shrugged.

"I've been so busy around the house that I haven't seen him either." Ash said. "I'll keep an eye out for him, you know how he likes to wander around."

Misty shrugged dismissively and leaned toward Foxx.

"Hurry up, you have school today."

"I don't wanna go." Foxx moaned. "I wanna stay and help dad."

"And help me out with what?" Ash laughed, pouring some coffee. "I've got grown-up things to do today, bud, I'm not gonna be around the house."

"What kind of things?"

"Grown up things," Ash repeated, taking a sip. "I'll tell you when you're older." he winked at Misty, who blushed.

Foxx finished his cereal and Ash got his backpack. They both saw Foxx off to the school bus and when it disappeared from sight, Misty wrapped her arms around his waist.

"So we got interrupted last night," Misty cooed, kissing him softly. "How about we catch up?"

"I was thinking the same thing." Ash kissed her back. They fell onto the couch, kissing passionately. Ash's shirt was almost off when the phone rang.

"Let it ring," Misty panted, unzipping her pants. Ash nodded and kissed her on the neck, suckling and tickling with his tongue. The phone rang until it hit the answering machine. Misty was moaning as Ash loved her.

"Hello Ash, this is Nurse Joy's office," a troubled voice echoed on the machine. "We're calling about your appoint---no, no, just keep them in their poke'balls--sorry--we're calling about your appointment this afternoon. I'm afraid we're going to have to cancel--what? I'm on the phone here--just KEEP THEM inside their poke'balls!--sorry again, sir--we're going to have to cancel. Please call us back to reschedule. Thank you for your time--"

"Goddamnit!" Ash muttered. He released his arms from around Misty and just lay on the couch, Misty straddling him from the hips.

"Honey…" she started.

"What the hell's so important that they can't look at Foxx today?" Ash asked. "I mean, really?"

Misty fell against him, her warm body pressing against his. She hugged him tightly. He sighed and reluctantly put his arms around her.

"Our boy's in trouble and he needs help…and we can't help him," Ash said. Misty bit her lower lip.

"Maybe it IS just a phase."

Ash looked at her.

"He was standing at the window last night, staring outside. He was making these croaking noises. He says that his friend Tooth was out there."

Misty gave him a hard look.

"I'm gonna run up there." He said finally, sliding out from under her. He tugged his pants back on and stood up. Misty groaned and covered her face with her hands.

"I know," Ash admitted. "I'll be like, 20 minutes, okay? It's right downtown. I'm just gonna go kick some ass." he kissed her softly on the forehead and left the room. He closed the front door behind himself and stood outside, jingling his keys in his hands as the cool autumn breeze ruffled his hair. Merill Drive was uncharacteristically silent. There were no Growlithes barking or Spearows cawing. Only in the distance could he hear the faint mummer of traffic.

Without a second thought he climbed into his truck and pulled out into the street.

Ten minutes later downtown traffic was as usual and he was put a little at ease with this. Shoppers roamed the downtown area, characteristically peering into shop windows and talking amongst themselves. Children played in the city park and there were street performers on the corner. It didn't strike Ash as odd that there were no poke'mon in sight.

He turned off of main street and onto Pichu Lane, where the Hospitality Center was located. There was a line of Poke'mon trainers out the door, with police directing traffic. Ash parked on the curb and marched up to the doorway. He flashed his Military ID to the officer at the front.

"What's going on here?" he asked.

"I don't know," The officer admitted. "Do you need to get inside?"

Ash nodded and the officer let him in. Inside was a large room filled with stretchers. Most were occupied by poke'mon that were strapped down. Several nurses gathered around a Primeape that was thrashing wildly on its bed.

"HOLD HIM DOWN!" a male nurse roared, desperately trying to buckle the Primeape's limbs against the cot. Ash grabbed one of the nurses running by.

"What the hell's going on in here?" he demanded. "Where's Nurse Joy?"

The nurse looked overworked and exhausted. She shook her head.

"I don't know," she replied. "Sir, if your poke'mon needs--"

"I don't have poke'mon," Ash said firmly. "I was calling about my son."

"I can't help you," The nurse replied, tugging away from Ash's grip. "You should try the hospital."

Ash frowned. He had been going to Nurse Joy's office since he was a child; he confined in her. However, she was nowhere in sight and Ash had an increasing feeling that he was just getting in the way.

He returned back home where Misty was waiting for him.

"Well?" She asked. Ash closed the door behind him and rubbed the stubble on his chin.

"I think…" he paused, compiling the words together in his head. "I think we need to get out of town for a few days."

"Why?"

"Things are pretty bad down there," Ash replied, moving to the couch to sit with her. "They have their hands full. Whatever this…plague? is with the Poke'mon…it's getting worse." He pulled her close to him. "I don't think it would be a bad idea for us to just…get out of town for a while, at least until this thing with the Poke'mon blows over."

"When do you want to leave?" Misty asked, watching him carefully.

"Tomorrow afternoon?" Ash asked. "Foxx will be out of school for the weekend, and we'll just take an extra long weekend, just the three of us. Think of it as a family outing."

Misty nodded, "That sounds fine." she agreed. "I could use to get out of this house."

The two of them began packing. Ash pulled some dusty briefcases up from the basement and they packed a weeks' worth of clothes. It was about noon when Foxx knocked on the door.

"Foxx!" Misty exclaimed, coming to greet her son. "You're home early! what's wrong?"

"Some poke'mon broke into the school." Foxx sulked, unloading his backpack onto the floor. "It was snack time and there were a buncha bulbasaurs in the hallway. They were breaking stuff…so they canceled school for the rest of the day and I'm still hungry."

Ash and Misty exchanged glances.

"Well let's get you something to eat." Misty said as she led Foxx into the kitchen. Ash looked outside the window, watching the school bus drop off the rest of the kids. Two police cars with sirens wailing drove by.

Tomorrow.

They were leaving tomorrow.

Ash turned to the kitchen where Misty had sat Foxx at the table with a plate of animal crackers and milk.

"Where's mine?" Ash asked with a smile. Misty grinned at him and poured him a glass of milk.

"So that must've been pretty scary, huh? The bulbasaurs breaking into your school?" Ash asked. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Foxx said as he munched on crackers. "We were going to start art class and we had to go home. I was going to make something for mom."

"And what's that?"

"It was going to be a surprise." Foxx gulped down his milk. "But I guess I'll just have to do it tomorrow."

"Hey bud, I have a surprise for you." Ash sat down across from Foxx. "We're going camping tomorrow!"

"Really?" Foxx's eyes lit up. "OH WOW!…but what about school?"

"I don't think you're going to have school tomorrow," Misty reported, looking out the window. "How about you go upstairs and pack?"

Foxx nodded and scrambled up the stairs to his room. Ash grinned as he watched the boy run.

"Y'know, this can't all be bad." he said. "At least I'll be able to make up for lost time."

Misty nodded and a grin creased her lips. "Yeah," she said softly. "let's just hope things get better."

* * * *

The next morning Ash woke with a start.

Croak.

It echoed through the hallway and was amplified in his room, which he found odd as Misty hadn't woken by it. Early morning light was spilling in through the crack in the curtains and though this was comforting, he still sighed in spite of himself. This obsession with Tooth was going to end now once and for all.

He tugged on a pair of jeans and slipped out of the room, careful not to wake Misty. At the foot of the stairs he could see a shadow stretched across the living room floor. When he reached it, it wasn't Foxx standing at the window, but Pikachu.

Croak.

"Pikachu…?" Ash asked quietly.

The yellow rodent was shivering softly, patches of fur were missing from its back. As it turned, Ash saw its eyes were sunken deep into his skull.

"Pikachu…?" Ash asked again, taking an uneasy step forward.

Croak.

Pikachu's head lolled to one side, leering at him. He held a blank stare.

"Are you okay?"

A zap of electricity shot across the room, hitting the wall next to Ash's head.

"HOLY SHIT!" Ash stumbled back, hitting the steps. "PIKACHU, what the hell?!"

Another bolt of electricity seared the framework of the steps below Ash's feet. Pikachu croaked again and stumbled forward, bolts of electricity bouncing off the walls around him.

"Pikachu, calm down!" Ash cried out, pulling himself up the steps. "What's wrong with you?"

Croak.

Pikachu's eyes rolled in their sockets and he stared at Ash.

Another bolt struck Ash's leg and he cried out, grabbing his calve in agony.

Pikachu's head lolled to the side, his blank stare haunting in its vacancy. Ash scrambled up the steps and saw Misty was waiting for him at the bedroom door.

"What's going on?" she asked, tugging a robe around herself.

"Get back in the room." Ash ordered swiftly. The look he gave her offered no other option, she closed the door. There was a thumping noise coming from the foot of the steps.

Pikachu.

Ash looked around himself and grabbed a framed picture off the wall. He held it in throwing position and waited for creature's head to appear at the foot of the steps.

The rodent's ears creased over the steps and then Pikachu's head came into view.

"Pikachu," Ash said slowly. "I'm going to say this one time. Stop and I will not hurt you."

A bolt of electricity dropped Ash's hand.

He cringed on the floor.

"Jesus!" he grunted, feeling his muscles burn and stiffen. The rodent grew closer, and with a burst of strength Ash swung the picture frame and struck Pikachu across the face. The yellow rodent smacked against the wall with a buzz of electricity.

Ash lay there for a moment, panting, trying to recollect himself.

"Ash?" Misty called from the other side of the door.

"It's okay," Ash groaned. "Come out."

Misty opened the door and held her hands to her face.

"OH MY GOD!" she yelped.

"Don't look at it." Ash grunted, pushing himself up. Pikachu's face was a bloody mess. He didn't look dead, but he definitely wasn't going anywhere.

"What should we do?" Misty asked, reaching down.

"Don't touch him!" Ash warned, holding his hand out. "He's a living conduit of electricity--he's a fucking bomb, honey."

Misty retracted her hand as Ash climbed to his feet.

"We're leaving. Right now." Ash said, opening the door to Foxx's room.

"Daddy?" Foxx was holding a teddy bear, standing in the center of the room.

"How much did you hear?" Ash asked softly.

Foxx shook his head.

"Get your things, we're leaving right now, buddy." Ash said, limping back to his room. His calve burned and twitched.

"What happened to your leg?" Misty asked, quickly throwing on a fresh pair of clothes.

"Pikachu zapped me," Ash said, putting on a shirt. "I should be fine, it just hurts like a bitch."

Misty zipped her suitcase closed and tied her hair back into a ponytail.

"I'm ready to go," she said, briskly walking past Ash to help Foxx finish packing.

Ash grabbed the luggage and carried it downstairs, taking careful note to not look at Pikachu on the way down. He wanted to scoop Pikachu up; he wanted to place him outside. The best he could do was pick up the phone and call the Poke'mon Center, but the line was busy.

Of course it had to be busy.

He couldn't bear the sight of making a bloody mess out of his best friend, so there he stood in the entryway. He set the luggage down briefly to open the door and stepped outside.

Sirens buzzed and wailed in the distance, and there were people running out in the alleyway.

Ash quickly tossed the luggage into the back of the truck and watched a stray Ponyta gallop across Merill Drive.

Down the street a house was on fire, a woman was screaming.

Ash ducked back into his house.

"C'mon guys, let's go!" he called. Misty was leading Foxx down the steps.

"But what about school?" Foxx asked.

"Don't worry about it, sweetie." Misty replied, scooping him up and carrying him outside. She stopped briefly.

"Oh my god..."

"C'mon, let's go." Ash said, pushing her along.

Ash quickly locked the front door and climbed into the truck. They pulled out of Merill Drive just as a Dugtrio erupted out of the cement in their driveway.

"Don't look, buddy." Ash said firmly. Misty covered Foxx's eyes.

Their quiet residential community had turned into a war zone.

Several homes were on fire, while others were a theater for destruction.

A Primeape was attacking a woman.

Behind them a Voltorb rolled into a yard and exploded.

Two Police Squad cars, followed by an ambulance, rumbled by Ash's blue truck. People fled into the streets, screaming, looting, rioting.

Several diglets were burrowing underneath the street, making thick lines in the asphalt.

A Rhydon roared as it stampeded through a crowd of fleeing people, howling in its fury.

Ash swerved the truck to avoid an abandoned car and drove up onto the sidewalk to the next street over.

"Where are we going?" Misty asked shrilly.

"To the Indigo Plateau." Ash replied.

"We can't camp there." Foxx said.

"We're not going camping anymore, buddy, there's been a change in plans."

Ash accelerated through a stop light and came out onto the freeway. Behind them a Raichu buzzed and blew out half the lights in the downtown area.

The freeway was more open, but every car that was on it was driving wildly. Pidgeots soared through the air, swooping down between lanes, trying to distract the drivers.

An Electrode rolled into the far right lane and exploded, engulfing a nearby car in flames. Ash swerved to avoid the wreckage as it tumbled past them.

"Ohmygodohmygodohmygod.." Misty whispered. Ash took one hand off the wheel and squeezed hers.

"What's going on, mommy?" Foxx asked, pressed against Misty's bosom. "Why are the poke'mon hurting people?"

"I don't know, sweetheart." Misty replied softly. "Try not to look at it, okay?"

As they distanced themselves from Pallet Town, a red haze burned in the sky.

"Are things going to be safe at Indigo?" Misty asked.

"It's Enforcer Headquarters," Ash said. "Next to the President's Quarters in Saffron, it's the safest place on the island."

Misty squeezed his hand harder.

"I hope you're right, honey." She answered.

"Me too." Ash said under his breath.

* * * * *

"PLEASE FORM A LINE!" The uniformed soldier called over a megaphone. "WE HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED TO USE LETHAL FORCE, PLEASE FORM A LINE!"

The gates of The Indigo Plateau were congested with people. Ash, Misty and Foxx had abandoned their truck half a mile back with the rest of the halted traffic. Now they pushed their way to the front of the crowd, Ash squeezing Misty's hand every step of the way.

"PLEASE FORM A LINE!" the soldier repeated fruitlessly. Above him armed soldiers watched from towers. Helicopters roared overhead.

Ash brought Misty and Foxx beside him.

"SIR, PLEASE FORM--"

"I AM ASH KETCHUM!" Ash yelled over the sea of people. He held out his Military ID. "ME AND MY FAMILY NEED--"

The soldier quickly dismissed his ID.

"Sir, get to the back of the line!" he demanded. Ash looked around himself.

"There IS NO line!" he yelled back.

"Sir, get to the back of the line."

"I'm not gonna tell you again--"

Two soldiers readied their rifles.

In a fit of rage, Ash shoved his ID into the megaphone soldier's face.

"STAND DOWN!" he roared. "I AM ASH KETCHUM WITH ENFORCER ALPHA UNIT! IF YOU DISOBEY MY DIRECT ORDER, I WILL HAVE YOU DEMOTED SO FUCKING FAST IT WILL MAKE YOUR FUCKING HEAD SPIN!" His throat burned. "STAND DOWN!"

The soldier's eyes were wide.

He slowly took Ash's ID card, read it, and gave him a salute.

"Apologies, sir." he handed Ash back his ID.

"Noted, soldier."

The soldiers stepped aside and Ash led Misty and Foxx behind the gates.

"So what now?" Misty asked, scooping Foxx up.

"We find Ian Surge." Ash replied. Before them was a courtyard buzzing with activity. Two soldiers driving a jeep rolled by and Ash flagged them down.

"How about a ride to Section A?" Ash asked, waving his ID. The soldiers agreed and they piled in. They drove through the courtyard, and along the perimeter of the plateau. All along the rim of the structure were soldiers unloading from buses. The jeep dropped them off at the entrance and Ash led his family to the building.

Inside was a large reception room filled with workers. Ash led his family through the crowd to a woman behind a desk.

"I'm looking for Ian Surge," he said, tapping on the desk. The woman gave him a quizzical look.

"Sir, we're very busy right now and--"

"It's alright Maggie, he's just in time."

Ash turned and watched a Ian Surge stride up to them. His head was freshly buzzed and he was buttoning up his formal attire, adorned with medals. On his chest was the 'Enforcer' patch.

He took off his hat as he greeted Misty, and ruffled Foxx's hair.

"You guys look like you've had quite a morning."

"We've had better." Ash replied. Ian nodded with a light smirk.

"Helluva morning, but it's good that it brought you here--I need to talk to you." he looked over at Misty and Foxx. "There's a room behind me that has coffee and doughnuts, if I can borrow Ash for a bit."

"Whatever you need to do," Misty waved him off. "C'mon, Foxx, let's get you something to eat..."

"So what's going on?" Ash asked as soon as they were out of earshot.

"Not here," Ian muttered, beckoning Ash to follow. Behind the reception desk they walked up a staircase that led to a hallway with several offices branching off it. Ian went to the door at the far end and let Ash in first.

Inside was a large table with several uniformed men. Several folders were strewn about before a whiteboard. Ash took a seat and watched as Ian closed the door behind himself.

"Gentlemen, this is Ash Ketchum, he is the reinstated head of Alpha Unit."

"What?" Ash looked around himself as the men went in to shake his hand. Ian didn't give him time to protest. He grabbed a marker and started scribbling on the whiteboard at the head of the room.

"We don't have a lot of time so I'll make this quick. About a month ago were the first reports of strange Poke'mon activity, centering in and around Fuchsia City," Ian reported, drawing a quick diagram. "From there, in the weeks that followed we began seeing a pattern of similar activity in surrounding cities, until it was all over the island. This included random attacks, public disruption, etc. At 2200 hours last night, a herd of Onix and several flocks of bird poke'mon halted both ground and air traffic around Fuchsia. This brings us reason to believe that the city is the center of what's happening."

"Just what IS happening, Surge?" A uniformed man asked. Ian turned and placed the marker between his hands.

"It's difficult to say," he replied. "From what we've gathered in the past few hours, the poke'mon are…rebelling. They're abandoning their homes, their trainers..if they're not simply leaving, they're attacking civilians and migrating to the southeast corner of the island."

"Rebelling?" Ash asked coldly. Ian nodded grimly.

"From what we've gathered, yes…that is what they appear to be doing. At 0600 this morning, we lost control of all our Machoke and Machamp infantry. Also MIA are the Squirtle and Blastoise firefighter units. They made one helluva mess leaving our outposts south of the Plateau and around Fuchsia. Poke'mon going AWOL delivered a huge blow to us, we've lost many basic services on large parts of the island. As far as the military is concerned, this brings our overall fighting force down over 50 percent."

"Jesus." someone breathed.

"That's the situation as of right now," Ian finished. "The President is on his way over here via helicopter and should arrive in a few minutes. I'd advise you all not to worry, as at this time we don't know the Poke'mon's intentions."

There was a low mummer in the room and Ash took this as an excuse to confront Ian.

"Reinstated?" Ash demanded. "What the hell, Ian?"

"Reinstated because your replacement is dead." Ian said firmly. His eyes narrowed. "And besides, we don't have time to properly train a new leader in light of recent events, do we?"

"My family--"

"Will be safe here." Ian cut him off. He put a hand on Ash's shoulder. "Trust me, Ash. They're in the best care on the island. You just need to work with me here."

Ash frowned.

The door opened behind them and two armed soldiers stepped in.

"Make way for the president." They ordered.

Ian and Ash stood against the wall as an elderly man stepped through the door. Beneath a white lab coat was a business suit. Had he not been the president, someone would have deemed this as anal and brought it to his attention immediately. Instead his uniform was welcomed with salutes.

"Put your hands down, Gentlemen, I'm not a general." the man said tiredly as he waved them off. The men respectfully withdrew and helped themselves to a seat as President Oak found his.

"Should I brief you on the situation, sir?" Ian asked, shuffling a couple of manilla folders.

"I was briefed on the way over," Professor Oak sighed. "As of now, where do we stand?"

"The MIA status of our Poke'mon units and services cut our Military Force nearly in half," Ian reported, shuffling through a folder. He paused on a page, scanning over it quickly. "As of now we have about 4,000 active duty troops." he glanced over at Ash. "400 of which are Enforcers."

Another man leaned forward.

"That's it?"

"That's it." Ian frowned. "Of course I'm not taking into account our reserves…but with the situation in most of our cities, I think it would be wise to cut our losses on that."

"The reserves will find their way here," Professor Oak said. "Poke'mon are tenacious creatures, but they're of habit. They take orders. Right now they're not acting on impulse, someone's ordering them to perform these…atrocities. Things will cool down long enough for these reserves to find their way to the Plateau. Those are the numbers I want, Ian."

Ian glanced back down at his folder and ran a hand over the growing stubble on his chin.

"Our reserves are at about one thousand," he looked back up at Oak. "Not including how many may be lost in the chaos that is ravaging our Island at the moment."

"I choose to stay optimistic." Oak replied. "So we have a fighting force of 5,000. That is, however, on hold."

"Sorry, sir," a man spoke up. "What do you mean by that?"

Professor Oak removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes.

"Like I said, Poke'mon are creatures of order, son. However they do have a firm understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Whatever's ordering them to attack people will soon cease."

"How can you be so certain?"

"You elected me because I am the foremost authority on Poke'mon," Oak said gently. "They make up the majority of our population on this Island. You also elected me because I am level headed, understanding, and above all, logical." his eyes narrowed at the man. "It would be very illogical for me to even consider what it is I know you want to ask me."

"With all due respect, sir," Ian said softly, but firmly. "The News has been reporting this since the morning. There are several civilian casualties, and it's growing."

"I'm not about to start killing Poke'mon." Professor Oak said coldly.

"Well then sir, they certainly jumped the gun on us!" Ian exclaimed. His expression was twisted with a grin, he was furious in his disbelief.

"Have you forgotten, Ian, that the Poke'mon are the life force behind our island?" Oak growled. "To get at the root of a disease you don't just kill every single person infected. Killing the Poke'mon would eliminate our source of food, electricity, and manpower. We NEED them."

Ian ran a hand through his buzzed hair.

"What will you have me do, sir?" he asked finally.

"My council has already advised me to take precautions in this situation. Arm your soldiers with riot control gear," Oak explained. "They are to assist police in maintaining order. Dispatch them to hot zones in cities and use force only if absolutely necessary. We're not killing any Poke'mon today."

Ian nodded slowly and looked over the men at the table. His attention went to a middle aged man at the far end.

"Colonel Thompson?" he asked slowly. "How quickly can you have your men mobilized to Saffron?"

"Yesterday, sir." Thompson said as he stood up. He tucked his uniform hat under the crook of his arm and reached over to shake the president's hand. "I can get them combat ready in one hour."

Oak nodded and a thin smile creased his lips.

"Thank you for your cooperation, Colonel." he said firmly, casting a despising glance at Ian.

"The rest of you," Ian said as he stood up. "We'll organize your men in accordance to cities with the highest activity. Activate your units and await orders at 1400 hours. You are dismissed."

Professor Oak stood up and Ian reluctantly shook hands with him. Afterwards he beckoned for Ash to follow him out.

"Fucking Professor Oak," Ian spat as soon as they were out of ear shot. "The bastard doesn't know how to hold a meeting let alone realize we have a fucking crisis on our hands--what fucking cabinet was he talking about? WE ARE his fucking cabinet---Jesus Christ, I'm glad didn't vote for him!"

Ash listened as he strode quickly down the hall. It was difficult to match Ian's pace.

"So what are my orders?" he asked. Ian bit his lower lip.

"At least I have your support on this." he replied. "Go tell Misty that you're being dispatched. She and Foxx can stay in the service room with the rest of the refugees. In twenty minutes I need you in the hangar to meet with a unit of Enforcers."

"You got it." Ash replied. Before Ian departed he stopped and placed a hand on Ash's shoulder.

"I know that you're finished with the military, but under these circumstances, you're the best we have. Telling Misty's not going to be easy, I'm glad that you came to your calling."

Ash said nothing. Ian nodded and walked away.

The thought of telling Misty the news made him feel sick. Ash left the hallway, crossed the lobby and entered the service room; a large hall normally intended for large conferences. Now it housed several dozen people trying to escape the chaos from the rest of the island.

Misty and Foxx were waiting on one of the cots that had been set up. When Ash appeared, Misty grabbed Foxx's hand and stood, anxiety washing over her.

"I'm being dispatched." Ash reported.

"What?" Misty was in disbelief. "Ash, you can't! We, Foxx---"

"You don't understand. It's getting bad, I HAVE to do this." Ash said firmly. Foxx was looking up at them. He didn't understand what they were talking about, but he knew something was wrong.

"What's going on, daddy?" he asked. Ash grimaced and knelt down in front of his child.

"I have to go, buddy. There's a lot of people getting hurt, and daddy has to go help them."

"Can I go with you?"

"I'm sorry bud, this is grown up stuff."

"Ash.." Misty was watching them, holding herself. She was on the brink of tears. Ash stood up and embraced her.

"They can't get anyone else?" she asked softly. "Tell them to get someone else."

"There is nobody else." Ash replied. "You saw how crazy things are here." he pulled away from her slightly, holding her firmly at the arms. "Listen, Misty…I'm the best, okay? I'll be fine."

"But Ash..."

"I'll check in with you when I'm done." He said. "I don't have a lot of time, Misty, I really don't. I have to do this…if I don't," he paused, and glanced down at Foxx. "…If I don't, many more people are going to get hurt. Right now they need all the help they can get. It's going to get bad, Misty."

Misty sobbed and held Ash tightly. Ash returned the embrace and Foxx joined in.
 
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CHAPTER 2

(911 conversation, 10:26 AM)

"911, what is your emergency?"

*sob* "Mycharmanderkilledmymom!Idon'tknowwhattodoOH PLEASE GOD HELP!"

*sound of glass shattering*

"Miss, I need you to stay calm. Where are you right now?"

*thumping noises*

"I'm in the closet!oh god...he's right downstairs---"

"Stay right there. I will send out a dispatch immediately. What's your address?"

"362 Woodland--"

*more thumping noises*

"Miss--"

*wood splintering*

"OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!"

*line disconnected*


* * * * * * * *

(Celadon City News, 10:33 AM)

"…has yet to be confirmed. Acting out in defense is typical of Poke'mon behavior. However these attacks ARE unprovoked and according to authorities, allegedly due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, a symptom not too uncommon between Poke'mon and humans..."

(Viridian Live Action News, 10:41 AM)

Reporter: "…and you said you witnessed this attack?"

Officer: "That's right, miss, a Pidgeotto made a dive-bomb right at this poor old woman, and struck her right upside the head."

Reporter: "And you reacted without question?"

Officer: "We had been receiving calls all morning, my partner was already on the radio calling in an ambulance before I could draw my firearm. The bird got away, but we are working to apprehend the Poke'mon..."

* * * * * * * * *

(WQCK Radio Broadcast, 12:01 PM)

"..and with it, our God is vengeful and merciless. He WILL bring the judgement upon those whom have not been righteous! the sinners of man; the murderers and the rapists, the homosexuals and the prostitutes! Rejoice, my brethren, for the day of JUDGEMENT is upon us! His hands come in the form of Poke'mon, the tools of the GOD himself, brothers and sisters, HALLELUJAH! Don our spiritual armor; may we stand against…."

(Viridian Live Action News, 12:24 PM)

Reporter: "...downtown Viridian, where the metro police, in a joint effort with the Viridian National Guard are arresting looters on the scene…"

*camera pans over armed riot control officers breaking up a fight. The street is littered with broken glass and debris*

"…today downtown Viridian was a war zone, where--"

*camera moves past reporter to movement down the street. A building on the corner crumbles to the ground. A truck swerves and crashes into a fire hydrant. An Onix rolls into the street, drunkenly slamming into buildings along the way*

Reporter: "OH MY GOD--Keith, are you getting this?"

*Screams heard off camera*

*The Onix roars as it approaches the scene. The camera drops to the ground and scrambling feet move past.

Officer: "TAKE 'EM DOWN!"

*Gunfire*

* * * * * * * * *

(Celadon City Radio KCQ, 12:30 PM)

"…for those just tuning in, our National Guardsmen stationed outside has just informed us that the street outside our studio is being overrun by…what they describe as..'rabid' Poke'mon--?"

*door slams*

"Ma'am, we have to leave here--now--"

"What's going on?"

*distant gunfire*

"Ma'am, leave the equipment, we have to evacuate--"

"Sorry everyone, there's something--"

"oh god, they're here!" *loud crash*

"STAY BACK, FREEZE!"

*gunfire*

"GET Ba--"

*gunfire*

*screams*

* * * * * * *

(POKE'MON ISLAND SPECIAL REPORT)
PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION

(Saffron City Capital, President's Newsroom)

*Ian Surge stands behind a podium, adjusting his jacket. Cameras flash*

Ian: "I'll take your questions."

Reporter 1: "Is this a terrorist attack?"

Ian: "It's too early to speculate, but as of now we have not received any indication that it is."

Reporter 2: "The first attacks occurred last night in Fuchsia City. Is there any significance?"

Ian: "Fuchsia City is currently under Martial Law. Travel anywhere within 20 miles of the city has been restricted by the local authorities."

Reporter 3: "Is there any indication to the cause of these attacks?"

Ian: "At this time? no."

Reporter 4: "Is there a plan to retaliate?"

Ian: "All cities are on high alert, and every citizen having served in the military within the past 10 years is being called back into active duty. Convoys will be making rounds through designated areas to pick up recruits over the next 24 hours. As far as a plan of action is concerned, that is classified."

Reporter 3: "What do the authorities recommend for civilians?"

Ian: "We advise you to remove any poke'balls that may be in your home. Do not try to reason with or apprehend any Poke'mon you encounter. Lock your doors. At this time many cities are still a hot zone for this unprovoked violence and it can't be determined when the situation will be resolved. Stay in your homes at all times and remain calm.."

* * * * *

"C'MON!" Brock roared, pounding the steering wheel. He buried his fist into the horn and let it blare. "FUCK!"

"Honey, stop! just stop!" Duplica shrieked. Brock gritted his teeth and put his hand behind Duplica's head rest. He looked out the back and threw the car into reverse. There was no room, they were admist halted traffic. Car horns blared all around them and people were abandoning their vehicles.

"FUCK!" Brock cried out, watching a man leave the car beside him. "We're not gonna get anywhere if people don't fucking--FUCK!"

A helicopter roared overhead, people on the highway around them began waving their arms for help.

"Maybe we should just get out." Duplica suggested, throwing her long green hair back. "We haven't moved in twenty minutes."

"And then what?" Brock fumed. "The minute we leave, traffic's gonna start moving again, and there's going to be nothing to keep what's out there from getting us."

"I knew we should've taken exit 32," Duplica spat. "But you just cannot put up with my mother." She folded her arms in disgust and looked out the window.

Brock threw up his hands in defeat and stared out the driver's side window. Half a mile down military convoys were blocking the road, making their way into Pallet. Traffic had reduced to a pitiful crawl ever since.

More helicopters overhead and the blaring of horns began to cease.

"At least that's stopping," Brock sighed. He rested his head against the side window. Vibrations made his head thump against it uncomfortably, and he readjusted his head.

Thumpity-thump.
Thumpity-thump.

Brock unhooked his seatbelt and was about the inspect the glass when he saw the rearview mirror.

Half a mile down a Snorlax was making its way along the highway, crashing through parked vehicles.

"Duplica, we gotta go!" Brock bellowed, patting her quickly on the arm.

"Hm..what?" Duplica asked, pulled out of a daydream.

"Right now, right now, right now!" Brock fumbled out of the car, grabbing a duffel bag from the backseat. Duplica watched him, looked in the rearview mirror, and cried out.

"C'mon honey, let's move!" Brock beamed, running around to the front of the car. Duplica was scrambling with clothes in the backseat. Brock shoved her out the way, grabbed her purse and handed it to her. "LET'S GO!" he hissed.

People around them were screaming. They fled over their cars and onto the mid section of the highway.

The convoys halted up ahead.

"GET TO THE SOLDIERS!" Brock huffed, pulling Duplica along.

"OPEN FIRE!" They yelled.

Sporadic gunfire ripped across the congested highway. Behind Brock and Duplica, the beast howled in rage and threw a truck out of its path. People screamed, climbing over each other as they fled.

The Snorlax grew closer and the soldiers on foot began to retreat. Those in the convoy began scooping people into the beds of trucks.

"WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST!" They ordered, pulling screaming children into the vehicle.

"We're not gonna make it!" Duplica yelped. "Brock, honey--into the woods!" She tugged at Brock's hold, beckoning for refuge on the edge of the highway.

"There's all sorts of Poke'mon in there!" Brock bellowed. "Baby, we gotta--"

Their car ricocheted off another vehicle and landed upside down yards away. Glass sprayed across the pavement. The soldiers stopped firing and began to drive off. People shrieked as the Snorlax loomed over them, scooping people into its mouth and swallowing them whole.

"INTO THE WOODS!"

People trampled each other in the shadow of the Snorlax.

Duplica lost her purse in the confusion. Brock slung his duffel bag over his shoulder. More people yelped as the Snorlax scooped them up. Brock and Duplica hopped over the ditch and scrambled into the brush lining the edge of the woods. The Snorlax followed close behind, but quickly became entangled in the foliage.

It roared in dismay and turned its attention to the remaining people on the highway. Brock and Duplica continued running through the woods, hopping over brush and fallen tree trunks until the sun was nearly blotted out by the canopy of trees.

After what felt like miles, Brock collapsed against the trunk of an oak. Duplica fell to her knees, sobbing.

When his heart stopped racing, he crawled over to Duplica and put his arm around her. Her head nuzzled into his chest and her tears finally began to dry.

"What's going on?" she sniffled. Brock shook his head.

"I don't know, baby, I really don't."

He looked around himself and realized how deep they were in the woods. Sunlight filtered in through the leaves, but he wasn't sure what time it was, it could be getting dark at any time.

"Honey, we need to--"

The click of a hammer sent chills up Brock's spine. The two looked over to see a frazzled looking young man step out from behind the bushes, a pistol at ready.

"You folks lost or what?" he asked coldly. Sweat brimmed his forehead and what looked like military fatigues were torn and smeared with blood.

Duplica looked at Brock, who gave her a helpless look.

"Yes." Duplica said finally. The young man waved at the bushes behind himself.

"It's okay, just a couple people." he said. A man and a woman emerged from the bushes, both looking very disheveled. The man gripped a bat nervously in his hand.

"They're not the enemy," the young man said, eyeing the bat. The man lowered it and the young man relaxed. He strode up to Brock and held out his hand.

"Staff Sergeant Clyde Wilson." he said, shaking Brock's hand.

"Brock and Duplica," Brock dumbly jabbed a thumb at the man. "Where are you guys headed?"

"We're going to the Indigo Plateau," the man behind Clyde said. Then, cradling the bat uncomfortably added, "Right?"

"I wouldn't go that way." Brock replied. "We just came from there, there was a Snorlax, and...well…" Duplica touched his arm and shook her head.

"Well we're not going back that way," Clyde muttered, motioning behind himself. "Pallet is a war zone."

"Just what is going on?" Duplica asked. "Why are Poke'mon attacking people?"

"You got me," Clyde said as he holstered his pistol. "I was working at the recruitment office when it happened. I know probably about as much as you do."

"So, where do we go then?" the woman behind Clyde asked. Clyde paused, placed his hands on his hips, and looked up at the canopy of trees.

"Last I checked we were heading north," he said. "If the highway's compromised, we'll have to go north east, through the woods."

"There's a village somewhere around here," the woman pointed out. "Back when I was a trainer, I crossed through this area. We could get supplies."

"Great." Clyde muttered sarcastically. The group began walking.

After a quarter mile, the deafening silence of the woods was broken.
"I'm Cindy, by the way." The woman said, awkwardly leaning in to shake Brock's hand.

"Brock."

The man leaned in.

"I'm Jason. Do you--"

"Cut the chatter!" Clyde snapped, drawing his pistol.

"What is it?" Duplica whispered. Brock shrugged and they took cover behind Clyde, who was creeping toward a clearing.

"This forest used to be full of Poke'mon," Clyde said softly. "Why it's empty, I don't know, but that doesn't mean there aren't stragglers."

The clearing was choked with tall weeds that swayed in the light breeze.

Jason gripped his bat nervously and got behind Clyde.

"All of you, stay behind me." Clyde hissed. He stepped into the sea of weeds, holding his pistol out in front of him. The weeds were waist high and Duplica held onto Brock's shoulders nervously as they waded through.

There was a faint rustling to their right. Clyde froze, holding his pistol at the ready. Brock's heart pounded, he could hear Duplica's ragged breath behind him.

No one moved.

Clyde kept his eyes on the spot for a second more, then continued moving slowly.

Brock tried to match Clyde's pace, but it was difficult. The young man was well balanced with each cautious step.

Another rustling. This time everyone heard it, and Clyde swung his pistol in the direction of the noise.

Silence.

A stronger breeze revealed something green beneath the foliage.

Cindy cried out and a large Scyther emerged from the weeds, it's fly-like wings buzzing loudly as it soared into the air.

"SPREAD OUT!" Clyde demanded. Brock and Duplica ran for cover as Cindy and Jason ran opposite of them. The Scyther zipped around the border of the clearing, diving at Cindy and Jason. Clyde fired two shots, one striking the beast in the ankle. It buzzed in anger and redirected its attention to Clyde.

Jason ran toward Clyde, swinging his bat wildly.

"STAY DOWN, DAMNIT!" Clyde ordered. The Scyther was on him almost instantly, swinging its large talons. Clyde ducked, but not before his chest was grazed by the blade.

"FUCK!" he grunted, taking aim with his pistol again. He fired two more shots and struck the bug's abdomen. It buzzed back toward him and this time Jason stepped in, swinging his bat wildly.

It zoomed out of range, but not before slicing open Jason's arm. Clyde fired another shot and the beast plummeted from the sky, a bullet hole in its chest.

"Jesus!" Cindy wailed, running to Jason's aid. Clyde fell to his haunches in the weeds, ripping his shirt into pieces.

"Are you guys okay?" Brock asked, making his way to the group.

"Fuck off, I told you guys to scatter." Clyde spat, winding torn fabric around himself. "I knew I'd be better off alone."

Brock was about to say something when Duplica put a hand on his shoulder.

"We don't have any weapons," she whispered. "He's a soldier, We NEED him."

Jason, holding his bleeding arm, walked over to the dead Scyther. He looked at the blood seeping through his fingers and kicked the fallen beast savagely.

"WHAT THE FUCK DID WE EVER DO TO YOU?!" he cried.

"Shut up, you fucking idiot!" Clyde hissed. "You want every Poke'mon in the goddamn forest to hear us?"

Jason looked back at him, his face twisted in rage. He kicked the beast one last time and ran a hand through his greasy blonde hair.

"At the rate we're going, we won't make it there alive." Clyde pointed out. "We need to get you guys some weapons."

"Maybe the village will have some?" Duplica suggested. Clyde finished dressing his wounds and slowly stood up.

"Maybe." He replied. "Let's go."

The group recollected themselves and continued walking. As the day passed, it began to get cooler. Brock dug into his duffel bag and gave a sweater to Duplica. He ditched the bag along with the rest of his luggage. He had a feeling he wouldn't have time to change clothes in the near future anyway.

After what felt like hours they came across a stretch of dirt road with a rusted sign looming over it.

"Cedar Creek, 1 mile." Clyde read dully. "Never heard of it. Is this place you were talking about?"

"I think so," Cindy replied. "It's been a long time."

"Keep your eyes peeled." Clyde ordered. "Just about every town on the fucking island is going up in flames."

The air had gone deathly still and clouds loomed in overhead. Brock held Duplica's hand as they marched toward the village.

Along the way were a few abandoned vehicles and overturned bikes. Otherwise there was no sign of activity. The dirt road gradually gave way to gravel, which turned into pavement. There were a collective of buildings that Cindy pointed out was the downtown area.

"Stay close." Clyde said softly, unholstering his pistol. They stepped out into main street, and were greeted by a maze of deserted vehicles. A police car with its siren still flickering was crashed into the side of a drugstore. Clyde searched it and returned with a shotgun.

"Trade you." he said, giving Brock the pistol. Brock smirked and mimicked Clyde's tone when the boy turned around.

"Why's it so empty?" Cindy asked.

"Military could've picked everyone up." Clyde suggested. "Afterwards the Poke'mon must've just moved on."

They moved past the drug store and remained on the sidewalk. They tried to ignore the silent chaos on the main road. A few dozen yards past the police car, two abandoned military vehicles were parked, blocking the road. There was blood caked on the front of their hoods.

"This place is really creeping me out." Jason said uncomfortably. "There's not even corpses…what happened here?"

Mainstreet stretched on for a mile. Along the road were shops, all of which were deserted. Shattered glass littered the sidewalk.

Duplica spotted the first body. It was a young man, lying face down at the entrance to a shop. His blood had spilled out onto the sidewalk. Clyde knelt down beside him and inspected the body.

"These are bullet holes." he observed.

"Who the fuck shot him?" Brock asked, looking around nervously.

"Could've been anyone," Clyde replied. "Some crazy stuff went down here not too long ago. Doesn't explain why there's no other bodies, though."

"This is making me sick…can we go?" Duplica asked. Brock nodded and stepped back from the diner. Jason, Cindy and Clyde followed. They were only a few feet away from the building when a figure strolled into the street several blocks ahead.

"Who is it?" Cindy asked cautiously. Clyde slung the shotgun over his shoulder and waved at the figure.

"They're human, whoever they are." he said, waving his arms furiously. "Maybe they can help us out here."

The figure strolled into the middle of the street and paused. It watched Clyde with an intense fascination, then began running full speed at them. His footsteps echoed along the walls of the empty buildings.

"Jesus, he must be really glad to see other people." Brock muttered. The figure grew closer and Clyde saw he was wearing combat gear.

"Good, he's a soldier."

The figure came within earshot and they could hear him snarling. He was drooling blood that spat and gurgled from his mouth as he charged at them.

"Um, Brock--?"

"What the fuck?" Clyde readied his shotgun at the soldier. "STAY BACK, DON'T MOVE!"

The soldier continued charging, now only a few yards away. His skin was pale and there were several wounds along his body that looked self-inflicted.

"FREEZE!" Clyde ordered. The man was almost upon them when Clyde fired.

The soldier fell back, a large gaping hole in his chest. His body twitched violently, blood seeping from his mouth.

A subtle, collective screech echoed through mainstreet.

"What's going on?!" Jason shrieked, gripping his bat. Clyde was already on the body, taking the soldier's firearm.

"Let's get out of here. NOW." he said, handing the pistol to Cindy. They began running down the road when they were met by dozens of figures a few blocks ahead of them.

"Jesus." Clyde breathed.

"Into the store!" Brock commanded, running into the nearest building. A volley of echoing footsteps followed them down the street.

"What's wrong with those people?!" Duplica shrieked.

"Same thing wrong with the Poke'mon." Jason huffed, closing the door behind himself. Brock and Clyde pushed some shelves against the back of it. The people outside began pressing against the store front window.

"That glass isn't gonna hold." Cindy pointed out.

"All the better reason to get the fuck out of here." Brock said, grabbing Duplica's hand. One of the figures outside began vomiting blood.

"C'mon, lets go, let's go!" Jason cried, running to the back of the store. In the back was an emergency exit. He paused and took a deep breath before opening the door. Outside was a parking lot, occupied by three men. They looked up as the door opened and screeched, one of them bleeding profusely from his gut.

"C'MON!" Jason shrieked, swinging a bat at the first man's head. It made a sickening crack as the wood connected with the man's skull. Clyde hit the second man upside the head with the butt of his shotgun, and Brock, all 230 pounds of him, punched the third man right in the face. He fell to the ground, his body twitching violently.

"FUCK!" Brock grunted, holding his hand.

"You got him good, honey," Duplica praised, putting an anxious hand on his back.

"Thanks, babe."

"Let's go, people!"

More people were starting to run around from the front of the store. The group ran through an alley and into the back exit of another hobby shop. Jason slammed the door behind himself and felt the people on the other side struggling to get in.

"What is this, Dawn of the Dead?" he breathed. Clyde slung the shotgun over his shoulder and observed the shop around them. Like the antique shop, it was small, with a few tall shelves and a large glass window up front advertising, "General Store".

"Let's take a quick breather, and then make our way out of here." Clyde said, pulling some bottled water off a shelf. He tossed a couple to Brock and Cindy.

"What happened to this town?" Cindy asked, gulping down the water.

"Do you think whatever virus the poke'mon have can be transmitted to humans?"

"I hope not." Brock replied. "Otherwise we're in a whole heap of trouble." his eyes narrowed and Clyde and Jason, whose wounds were seeping through the bandages.

"Relax, what's wrong with these people..poke'mon don't even have the same DNA strand." Clyde said half heartedly, redressing his bandage. "Besides," he added. "Once we get to the Indigo Plateau, they'll know what to do. It'll all get sorted out."

"What the fuck is so important about the Indigo Plateau?" Duplica asked. "Isn't that for the Poke'mon League?"

"Not anymore," Jason replied. "That was damn near ten years ago. I heard now it's a military installation."

"I think that's where Ash went." Brock whispered to Duplica. "At least…I HOPE that's where he went. I hate the thought of him and Misty getting caught up in all this mess."

"Alright, I'm ready," Clyde hopped off the clerk's counter. He handed a crowbar to Brock. "It's no baseball bat, but it's better than fists."

Brock nodded and tossed the crowbar up in his hand, testing its weight.

"So what's the plan? We can't outrun them." Cindy said, looking out the window. The people outside had begun milling about again, not making the connection that the backdoor to the shop and front entrance were the same building.

"There were two military transport trucks when we came into town," Clyde noted. "Odds are they were being used to evacuate civilians before whatever happened…happened. It's best practice to keep keys in the ignition. I learned how to drive those big trucks in basic."

"Great plan," Jason scoffed. "So we just sprint back three blocks, among an army of..crazy people? and HOPE that there's keys in the ignition?"

"If not, I can hot-wire it." Clyde shot back. "And if you want to try and outrun them, you can go right ahead."

"So we're really doing this then?" Brock asked nervously. "Do we remember exactly where the trucks are parked?"

"Don't worry about it, it's not like they're easy to miss." Clyde replied gently. "We just have to get in, and get out. Simple as that."

"Simple as that. With one shotgun, two pistols, a bat and a crowbar." Duplica said flatly. "Against an entire town. Right."

"You're just pissed off because Brock can't huff his way over to trucks." Clyde retorted, loading his shotgun.

"Fuck you, I'm just saying we need a better plan is all."

"Alright, everyone STOP IT!" Cindy demanded. "Look outside."

They all stepped up to the window. A block away a crowd was forming. The population of the town, once shambling around like drunks, had suddenly regained their stature. Out from the crowd stepped an Alakazam.

"Oh my god…" Duplica covered a hand over her mouth.

"An Alakazam did this to those people?"

"Couldn't have been anything else." Clyde answered. "If we're gonna do this, we oughta' do it. Right now."

"We'll need a distraction…long enough to make it to the cars."

"I was thinking something like that," Brock said, scooping a couple bottles of liquor off the shelves. He plucked a tshirt off a rack and ripped it into pieces. Dipping it in the liquor, he stuck half of it out and handed one bottle to Jason.

"Anyone got a match?"

Clyde smirked.
"You guys ready?" he asked. Jason produced a lighter from his pocket and nodded. They opened the front door and began walking out when the townspeople turned.

"NOW!" Brock shouted. Jason lit the molotov cocktails and they hurled them into the air. They landed just a few feet short of the crowd and splashed liquid fire over the pavement. The townspeople shrieked in dismay and began leaping through the flames, their clothes catching as they sprinted.

"Let's go!" Clyde yelled. The group sprinted toward the parked vehicles. Along the way were a few people making their way to the Alakazam. Brock swung his crowbar and struck a man in the face. Clyde paused briefly to shoot another in the stomach. The crowd behind them was growing, the Alakazam had parted the flames and cleared a path.

"We're not gonna make it!" Jason wailed, turning briefly to look at the oncoming horde.

"SHUT UP!" Brock grunted, trying to ignore his wheezing breath. They darted through the maze of vehicles, fighting few townspeople along the way. Clyde was the first to reach the truck. He opened the door and jumped inside.

"FUCK!" he yelled. "I'm gonna have to hot-wire it!"

"How long's that gonna take?" Duplica called.

"Like, two minutes." Clyde grunted. "Mechanics tried to make these things--shit--well, they just didn't make it easy."

He tossed Brock the shotgun. Brock stood with the rest of the group alongside the truck. Cindy fired her pistol and struck down a young man. Jason hit a woman upside the head with his bat.

"How much longer?" Brock pressed. Clyde didn't respond. Through the crowd the Alakazam appeared, its eyes glowing white.

"Aww..FUCK!" Jason screeched. The Alakazam parted cars with its psychic abilities. It moved a vehicle that struck Jason in the waist, pinning him between the military truck and the car.

"Jason!" Cindy wailed. More townspeople ran at them, Brock began firing.

The truck's engine roared to life.

"GET IN!" Clyde yelled.

"C'mon, let's get Jason!" Duplica shouted to Cindy. Brock stood in front of the women while they tried to pry the man from under the vehicle.

"FUCK IT, JUST LEAVE ME!" Jason yelped. A pool of blood was gathering on the pavement underneath, it was obvious his legs were crushed.

"NO!" Cindy cried.

"DUPLICA--" Brock sputtered, fumbling with shells.

The Alakazam grew closer, the townspeople surrounding them. Clyde slowly began to pull out. Jason's body flopped to the ground, his legs twisted into horrendous angles.

The poke'mon's were glowing. He raised his hands, and shattered glass rose from the ground.

Brock slung the shotgun over his shoulder and pulled Duplica and Cindy away from Jason. The glass shot forward, and two shards struck Brock in the leg and arm. He turned his back into Duplica and Cindy and received the majority of blows directed at them.

With a grunt of pain he climbed into the bed of the truck with Cindy and Duplica, both of them crying out for Jason. The truck pulled away from the crowd, now gathering around their fallen comrade.

Brock howled as he fell to his side, panting like he had run a marathon.

"Oh my god, Brock, you're….!" Duplica ran fingers through her green hair. She had several cuts and bruises herself, but Brock looked beyond repair.

"I'll be fine," he huffed. "Just leave the shards in until we find a doctor…"

Cindy said nothing despite having wounds herself. She was watching the crowd wash over Jason, until they drove out of sight and into the woods.

"The Indigo Plateau is a straight shot from here," Clyde reported from the front. "We should get there by nightfall."

Duplica nodded and held Brock's hand, watching Cindy as she stared blankly back in the direction of Cedar Creek.

* * * * * *

Thanks for reading!...I think?
 
D R E A D : OFFICIAL CONTEST!

Let's have some fun here.

Whomever submits the best D R E A D fanart (see my thumbnail--submitted by an anonymous artist) will have their name (if so they choose) and likeness written into DREAD! I thought this would be a fun idea, maybe help me connect with the fans better. What do you guys think?
 
Me likey. A lot.

Honestly, you have me hooked! As far as I know, there are a lot of Pokemon-going-crazy-rebelling-killing-eating-gory-stuff out there, but the suspense in this fic is awesome.

First of all, your fic is lenghty enough for my tastes- as someone who's own average chap length is 15 pages on Word, I prefer reading longer chaps as well. As far as I see your grammar is fine, but I'd suggest to stop using "Poke'mon". Truth to tell, I see the word written like this for the first time. When I write "Pokemon" on Word, the program automatically marks it as incorrect and there's the word with a proper, accented "e" in Word's dictionary. If that's not the case with you, just copy/paste the "Pokémon" in the doc and then add the word to the dictionary.

Now about the characters... Ash being some higher-up soldier is kinda strange and so is this Indigo Platoeu being a military center and Kanto having an army thingie but hey, as long as their's a plausible explanation for it all, it's fine. Oh, and will we see Surge Sr? I kinda picture him slaughtering wild Pokemon en masse with two big machine guns while holding some pass or something for other people to escape... Anyway, I think Misty should have a bigger role than just hiding somewhere safe but hey, she's got a kid now, someone has to be with the poor fellow. And someone's got be the brave one when the rabid Pokemon attack and slaughter everyone in the Indigo Platoeu, no? Strange really, in every story like this something like that happens... And I'm rooting for your version of Brock. His new jaded personality is awesome... being paired with Duplica of all people is a surprise but hey- your fic, your ship.

And now for the speculation...

Pokemon are going crazy and heading towards Fuchsia City, no? See, I don't remember a thing about the city, except that Koga and Janine's gym is there... oh and Lucy's Battle Pike... but I don't think the location itself is important. My bet is that someone there is emitting psy waves or something... and they gradually got stronger until they drove the Pokemon crazy. Or rather, overrode their minds and now whoever's doing this controls them... first they must've heard the "call" in their dreams, hence the nightmares, and then their minds just must've shattered. The thing is, it seems the "frequency" of the wave allows kids to hear the voices as well. Seems logical at least to me, kids are way more perceptive than adults. And Ash's kid says Tooth is talking to him. Now I won't lie, I have no idea at all whther the name is a clue or something or not. But, Ash' kid said Tooth is a cat. And whoever's emitting the signals must have enormous amounts of psy power to cover such a big area and invade the minds of all pokemon. And than there's the fact that covering an area aside, the psy waves are strong enough to override the mind of another Psychic type like Alakazam.

What clues do we have so far? Enormous amounts of psy power? Check. Cat-like appearance? Check. Grudge against humanity? Check.

...

That so screams "Mewtwo".

But if we consider the fact that he overcame his grudge long ago in Movie one, then we come to the conclusion that there must be a Man Behind the Man... my bet's on Giovanni.

All in all, great fic, keep on writing yada yada, so on and so forth, etc.

P.S. Oak- president? Lolwut?! xD
 
Well I have to say, that is probably the most in-depth review I've ever read.
Believe me when I say that I really appreciate it, it means a lot.
As for your questions/speculations, I won't tell you what you're right about, but you seem to be on the right track with some things (and that's all I'm going to give you). There's still some things I need to work on with this fic, it's more of a learning experience with me. It's going to be a long one, you're going to see a lot of changes in the following chapters.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you continue to critique my work, it's very helpful!

:)
 
This is the best story I've ever read. Excellent Read!
 
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Sorry for the delay, it's been a crazy holiday. Hope everyone had a good time. Keep those reviews coming!

* * * * *

D R E A D
Chapter 3


Professor Oak charged through the double doors to Ian Surge's office. Ian was on the phone, he beckoned for Oak to take a seat. Infuriated, Oak ripped the receiver from him and tossed the set across the room.

"WHO GAVE THE ORDER TO GIVE THE SOLDIERS LIVE AMMUNITION?!" He bellowed. "TELL ME, SURGE!"

"With all due respect, sir, YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN." Ian replied sternly. In Oak's absence, Ian's appearance had become even more disheveled; his tie was loosened and his shirt was untucked.

"YOU DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" Oak roared. He turned to his guards lingering in the doorway. "CLOSE THOSE FUCKING DOORS!"

The guards closed the doors without question. Oak turned his glare back on Ian, who was equally frustrated.

"Now you listen to me, Oak, and you listen good," Ian demanded, stabbing his finger at Oak. "We've been running these rescue/riot control operations for the past 48 hours, and our casualties are stacking a mile high. The Poke'mon have NOT stopped attacking, and that was pretty fucking obvious when it started."

Oak didn't flinch.

"For the past 48 hours, we've been ill equipping our men with riot control gear," Ian added. "We've been SENDING MEN TO DIE. And for what?" then concluded sourly, "to save some fucking Poke'mon."

"I will have you arrested, and court marshaled for undermining a superior officer." Oak growled. "Enjoy your last--"

"No." Ian interrupted coldly. "YOU enjoy your last order. You don't even know how our system works, do you?" he waved at the guards. "President Oak, for sympathizing with the enemy and compromising our operation, you are hereby relieved of your command until further notice."

The guards scooped Oak from under his arms. The man cried out in fury.

"LET ME GO!" he roared. "You're my bodyguards, LET ME GO!"

"You'll be sent to a secure location until we have this situation under control," Ian stated flatly. "We'll send for your family and anything else you may need."

Kicking and screaming, the guards pulled President Oak out of the office. Ian walked over to the edge of the room and scooped up his phone. After plugging it back in, he dialed in a number.

"Maggie, get Mr. Giovanni back on the phone please." he ordered.

* * * * * *

Ash squirmed underneath the armor. The fabric beneath the armored plates conformed nicely to his body, but he wasn't used to wearing tights.

"Hold still," his tech assistant grumbled. He had just finished buckling the side of Ash's hip guard and was now busying himself filling out a chart. "How do you feel? Cold, hot, wet?"

"How about embarrassed?" Ash retorted. He looked about himself. The armor resembled closely to that of SWAT gear except the pads were lined with steel and where his joints were exposed, his body was coated in a fabric that reminded him of thick spandex. Parts of it had pricked his skin, something that the tech referred to as 'In-Combat-Condition', or 'ICC' for short.

"When you experience trauma, like a bullet wound, the sensors in the fabric will detect the stress your body is experiencing and will give you a small dose of morphine to douse the pain. It comes in this small pouch here," the tech explained, patting a tiny slip on Ash's left hip. He walked around Ash, inspecting the armor. "And should your body continue to experience trauma, let's say if you continue to get shot." he eyed Ash carefully. "This pouch will inject you with a small dose of adrenaline, so that you may get yourself to safety. Regardless of either, the suit is in direct connection with the Indigo Plateau. Should you get separated from your unit, or need backup, we'll know exactly where you are at all times."

"Is there a manual or something?" Ash scoffed. The tech frowned and tucked his clipboard under the crook of his arm.

"It's Enforcer Armor A1 Prototype. If you're going to be protecting the President, you need to wear this. Sorry for the crash course." he sneered. The Tech proceeded to leave Ash to his devices as he tended another soldier. Ash took a step forward, testing the suit. It very much resembled SWAT armor in its look and feel. He felt light on his toes, but well protected enough to take a hit. He scooped the helmet up and examined it.

It was shaped like a football helmet with a tinted visor running down the front, the whole piece matching the black of his suit. He undid the visor and slipped it over his head.

"How's it feel?" Ian Surge asked, tucking in his shirt as he strode up to Ash. He was wearing a pair of aviators, something he did to hide bags under his eyes. It wasn't working well.

"We were doing field exercises in military fatigues less than 6 months ago," Ash frowned. "I felt like I was wearing blankets compared to this."

"Orders from the top." Ian replied, taking off the aviators to rub his eyes briefly. "You're picking up The First Family in Saffron and escorting them, along with the President, to a secure bunker in the mountains."

"The top?" Ash asked. "I thought you WERE the top."

"The Charter," Ian explained. "The Charter, that even the President swears by, states that should the Island come under a State of Emergency, the Presidential Family will be removed from danger to a secure location. That location being, Bunker A1-1, a few miles behind Mt. Moon."

Ash nodded.

"So that means…"

"Yeah," Ian said flatly. "You're gonna have to guard that prick, Gary. And yes, you have to wear the armor that will keep you alive and protecting him."

Ash bit his lower lip and watched a group of soldiers carry crates of ammunition across open platforms. From where he stood in the Armory Quarters, he could see most of the airfield. At the moment most of the runway was covered up by makeshift tents and buses of soldiers getting dropped off. The entire base was alive with activity.

"Did our techs develop this?" Ash asked. "Why didn't I hear about it?"

"Classified." Ian replied. "It was an outside contractor."

"Who?"

A row of black SUVs were driving onto the runway. Ian gave Ash a helpless look and adjusted his jacket. Soldiers were running to stop the convoy but Ian waved them off.

"It's okay!" he called. He waved the SUVs into position and as they parked, a black helicopter loomed overhead. It landed on an open plain of grass just off the runway and armed men poured from the SUVs to assist it. Ash stood just as dumbfounded with the rest of the soldiers as Giovanni was helped out of the helicopter. Accompanying him were several beautiful women, all of which were dressed in doctor's fatigues.

Ash removed his helmet and marched his way across the field.

"What the fuck is he doing here!" Ash demanded. Ian gave him a stern look as he tucked his Aviators away.

"How about you stay in rank and do your fucking job?" Ian growled. Ash's nostrils flared at the sight of Giovanni, but he kept his discipline and simply watched Ian greet the lumbering man.

"Mr. Giovanni, right on time!" Ian swooned, patting the man on the back. Accompanied by the women and the armed escorts, they walked into a large tent at the edge of the runway. The entrance was guarded by Enforcers.

Inside the tent, Giovanni smirked as he helped himself to a seat. "You must be excited." He rasped. His worn cane rested beside him as he made himself comfortable. "This is the first time in years that this complex is actually serving its purpose."

Ian smiled weakly and pulled up a chair across the table. The guards let themselves out of the room, but remained within earshot. Ian pulled a pair of documents out of his coat and placed them on the table.

"We did a mock up of your terms while you were on your way," he explained. Turning a page over, he pointed at a thin black line. "If you'll just sign here.."

"I'm not here to sign anything until we renegotiate," Giovanni said, his callused hand gripping the brass handle of his cane carefully. "You know as well as I do that negotiations over the phone are nonsense."

"What are you talking about?" Ian's eyes were narrowed at the man. "I thought--"

"You thought wrong." Giovanni interrupted. "I may be old, sir, but I am no fool. You could have had me wired at any point in the conversation. I'm not signing anything until we renegotiate."

Ian gritted his teeth and ran a hand through his buzzed head.

"I'm sorry, does that frustrate you?" Giovanni rasped. "Maybe I should take my leave..."

"What are your new terms?" Ian pressed. He crumbled up the papers and tossed them aside. A vein was on display along his forehead. "You want money? what do you want? if you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a national crisis here, and our tax payer system has come to a halt--"

"Don't patronize me, BOY." Giovanni growled. "You think I want money? don't flatter yourself. I have money. I have power. I have influence. I have power beyond your wildest dreams. Why I'm here today is to address my own faults." he smirked. "No, no…I want immunity. For my entire organization, no exceptions. I will be allowed to continue my research--"

"What research?"

"Once again," Giovanni waved a finger condescendingly. "You think that I don't know about your undercover agents? your infiltration into my organization? yes…I know all about them, and I'll have you know that they're on my pay roll."

Ian's brow furrowed.

"Immunity." Giovanni repeated. "No exceptions."

"Is that all?"

"Open trade, and unmonitored air space. In fact, I would appreciate it if your government kept its nose out of my business permanently."

"Done." Ian said flatly. "Now can we get down to business?"

"Oh but dear boy, we have been down to business." Giovanni smiled menacingly. "I saw one of your soldiers wearing my prototype armor. If I'm not mistaken, we've been in business for longer than you can imagine. Now, I must ask…what is it that YOU want?"

Ian clasped his hands at the table and bit his lower lip.

"We want everything you know." he replied. "We want your technology, and all your intel. We want to know what's happening, and how quickly we can stop it."

Giovanni leaned back and rubbed his chin.

"You're telling me that you know nothing?"

"It's been over 48 hours since this mass outbreak of random violence," Ian said patiently. "We've been preoccupied scrambling forces and refugees into order. So no, I can't say that we've had a lot of time to look into the issue."

"Based on that, it's safe to assume you're short handed. You desire my men to accompany yours into battle?"

"That would be preferred."

Giovanni nodded slowly and glanced around the room. It was empty except for the table.

"Very well. However, my men follow their own orders." he said finally. "They don't take orders from your officers unless I order it."

"Then how do you expect--"

"I am in control here." Giovanni growled. "Do NOT interrupt me."

Ian's nostrils flared and he slumped back in his chair.

"My men will assist yours in all the operations that you see fit, however, they will not take orders from your hierarchy unless I say so. Your highest ranked soldiers will be given our prototype armor…" one of Giovanni's female escorts peeked her head in through the entrance. Giovanni waved her over. The woman, dressed in a lab coat, set a metal case on the table. "30 men of your choosing will be equipped with these." the woman opened the case to reveal several vials of a purple liquid. Ian eyed Giovanni suspiciously.

"What--"

"Performance enhancers," Giovanni replied. "Call it icing on the cake, if you will. Part of my research that your government finds so interesting." he scooped one of the vials from the case and rolled it over in his hand. "The effects are permanent. It's engineered to help the subject realize the extent of their physical potential." his eyes narrowed at Ian, he was proud. "It will make the men of your choosing stronger and faster."

"What's the catch?" Ian asked suspiciously. Giovanni grinned.

"This is why I asked for you personally," he replied. "You're an intuitive personality, Ian. If you weren't so straight laced, we could make a lot of money together."

"What's the catch?" Ian repeated.

"The 30 men will be test subjects." Giovanni said. "We've done preliminary testing in a closed environment, and the results have been…promising."

"Promising." Ian echoed. "So you want me to inject my men with some kind of super serum that could possibly kill them."

"Your call." Giovanni challenged. "30 men dead, or 30 men with the strength and power of 60 men. It just depends on how you train your soldiers. Am I to assume all these men are fragile?"

Ian grimaced and glanced at the vials.

"I believe we have an understanding, then," Giovanni said, rising slowly to his feet. He leaned on his cane as he paced carefully out of the room. "My men are already en route and will arrive shortly. You will have everything you need."

"Earlier you said you were addressing your faults," Ian called after him. "What did you mean by that?"

Giovanni waved to the helicopter and the blades started turning. He turned back to Ian.

"Keep your nose clean." he said with a menacing grin. He climbed into the helicopter with his female escorts. Ian turned to face the remaining woman holding the suitcase.

"I will brief the men you choose and administer the serum to them." she explained. "It's my responsibility to monitor their actions over the next 24 hours."

"Jesus." Ian muttered. "First poke'mon now test-tube soldiers."

He walked over to Ash whom was watching the helicopter take off. He gave Ian a hard look.

"So when are you going to tell me what the hell's going on here?" he asked.

"When you're older." Ian said half heartedly. "There's going to be a briefing for the Saffron Extraction in five minutes. I want you in there."

Ash nodded. "I do this, and you tell me what the hell we're doing working with Giovanni."

The SUVs were pulling out just as a swarm of helicopters arrived. Ian sighed.

"I think you can figure it out." he admitted. "Get in the briefing, I have more work to do."

* * * * * *

"It's going to be a simple, in and out procedure." Samson's voice was hoarse from years of yelling. He looked over as Ash stepped into the room. "Ah, Mr. Ketchum. Nice of you to join us. Gentlemen, this is Ash Ketchum from Alpha Unit. He's going to be leading this operation."

Ash nodded at a few of the soldiers and tucked his helmet under the crook his arm. Samson scribbled checkpoints on a hanging map.

"Our birds will drop us in at the roof, that's the safest check point. From the roof we make it into the lower levels of the Embassy. We retrieve the First Family, and we get them out. Very simple." his eyes narrowed at the men. "Very simple means no fuck ups. Saffron's been compromised, there's going to be a lot of shit going on around the building. If we're lucky, we will not have to engage the enemy and put the President's family in danger. At 0400 our ground forces enter Saffron from the north, so leave the heavy lifting to them." he nodded at the men. "Oorah?"

"Oorah." The men chorused. There were six of them. Samson set the marker down and stepped aside.

"Do you have anything to add, Mr. Ketchum?"

Ash licked his dry lips. It was time to put on his war face.

"You follow my lead, no exceptions." he said. "I'm used to working with Alpha Unit, not a bunch of high school fuck ups with guns." he paced in front of the men. "You are going to be protecting our nation's most important family, drink it in. "We chose you because you are the least likely to screw up out of everyone else. My ass is on the line just as much as yours. Are you going to deliver?"

"YES SIR!"

"What? I just hear a bunch of fucking retards."

"YES SIR!"

"Get your gear and meet me on the north helipad. You have 10 minutes." Ash ordered. The men scrambled out of the room. Samson smirked and shook Ash's hand.

"See you out on the battlefield," he said. Ash nodded and gave a salute.

"Hopefully not." he replied.

Ten minutes later Ash was carrying his duffel bag out onto the helipad. His men were prepped and ready, clad in the same strange armor as himself. Two jet black helicopters started their blades and a cloud of sand kicked up from the dormant pavement. Ash tossed his duffel bag into his seatahah and climbed in. Two pats on the side signaled the pilot to take off.

As he buckled himself in, he opened the duffel bag and began reviewing in his head the layout plan of the capitol building. It was a relatively small building, but there were a series of hallways and secret passages that had been constructed should the island come under a crisis. He had been informed that the presidential family were relocated to the basement bomb shelter. The worst part was landing on the roof, and having to come down all through the building, and then back up. A billion things could go wrong.

Normally this would not have been a problem, but this time he wasn't working with his squad. The rest of Alpha Unit was on assignment elsewhere. Otherwise he would have been paired with them. Instead he was suited with several anonymous soldiers, most of them looking just like tough 12 year olds. He raised his head to look among his crew. Their faces were all shielded by the tint of their visor. Two black helicopters loaded with shadow troops.

"Wonderful." Ash muttered.

A sea of gray metal below the chopper told him that they had arrived in Saffron City. There was smoke and fire building from the downtown area. Even over the roar of the chopper blades he could hear the chaos below. Several blocks west of them he could see an orb of electricity forming. The only thing capable of that are Pikachu. Ash bit his lower lip in anxiety and looked the other way. A news chopper was flying alongside them, getting dangerously close. Ash's pilot said something into his head piece and the second chopper moved evasively close to the news chopper.

"GET OUT OF HERE!" Ash watched the soldier mouth to the press. "GET OUT!"

The press team, stubborn as usual, lowered their altitude but remained a safe distance behind them. Up ahead was the capitol building. Ash pulled a few supplies out of his duffel bag and readied his rifle. The soldiers around him started readying themselves, one of them slapping his own helmet to get pumped up. The pilot turned his head and held up three fingers. Ash nodded and signaled they were ready to go. The helicopter slowed to a hover over the top of the capitol building and the first soldier threw a rope out. Ash tossed his hook on the rope and rappelled down to the roof of the building. He took cover, watching the utility door ahead of them and waited for the rest of his team to land. When they were in position, Ash spoke into his helmet,

"Alright, everyone on me."

"Yes sir." his squad said in unison, ringing crystal clear through his helmet's speaker. Ash moved to the utility door, keeping low to the ground. He moved swiftly and motioned for his troops to align themselves with the side of the door. Ash kept two of them behind himself, opened the door and peered into the dark stairwell. It was empty as expected, but the faint odor of smoke made his nostrils flare.

"Be advised we have a possible fire on the lower levels." he reported, moving swiftly down the steps. In his head he played out the layout of the building. If they took the utility steps all the way down to the main floor, they could cross the lobby, enter into the first hallway on their…

shit.

Ash could already see a cloud of smoke billowing up from two floors down. They were going to have to take the utility steps on the other side of the building to the basement, which meant crossing the second floor. He didn't memorize the second floor plans very well, which he scolded himself for.

He motioned his team to stay on him, moved down the last floor before the smoke, and opened the door.

"CONTACT!"

In one fluid motion Ash raised his rifle and fired two rounds into the chest of a Hitmonchan. The pokemon's knees buckled and it collapsed on the floor. There was a brief silence where the only sound was that of the team's ragged breathing. The first encounter with a Pokemon, and Ash dropped it. There had been too much blood, too much violence. Ash wasn't taking any more chances.

With that, his team swept down the hallway, rifles at the ready. The corridor stretched several hundred yards, with rooms and offices branching off from each side.

The area was littered with debris. Smoke was drifting up from the lower level and there was blood smeared along the walls. Ash quickly stepped over the body of a secret service agent. His skin was pale. He had been there a long time.

"Watch your sides." Ash murmured. There was a rumbling and several feet ahead a Rhydon crashed through the wall, slamming into the opposite side of the corridor. It trembled, shook itself off, and stamped its hooves into the floor.

Ash and his team froze, staring at the beast before them. Its nostrils flared as it leered at them. Behind Ash were two rooms, several feet behind them. The corridor was fairly narrow--

The Rhydon roared in fury, stampeding toward them, horn raised.

"TAKE EM DOWN!" Ash commanded, switching his rifle to fully automatic. A blaze of gunfire ripped across the hallway as the soldiers retreated. The bullets hissed as they ricocheted off the armored plates of the Rhydon's chest. Ash dove out of the way as the Pokemon threw itself into the wall to gore one of the soldiers.

"Fall back!" Ash ordered, backing up as the Rhydon recollected itself. The soldiers continued to fire in sporadic bursts as they exited the hallways and retreated into a small dining room. The Rhydon crashed through the wall and entered the room, ripping through a set of vases and paintings on display. Ash dodged a thrust by the Rhydon and rolled to his shoulder, feeling the suit prick his skin and numb his arm. He looked over and saw that the Rhydon had managed to graze the length of his bicep. A shallow gash bled over his suit.

The Rhydon knocked over the dining table with its horn and with it, pinned down another teammate. The soldiers gathered around the beast, unloading their magazines. Bullets bounced off the plating of the Pokemon's skin and as Ash rose, he plucked a grenade from his utility belt.

"FRAG OUT!" he called, chucking a grenade across the room. It landed near the beast's face and exploded, small shards bursting into the Pokemon's eyes. The Rhydon roared in fury, now blinded, and crashed into another wall. The remaining soldiers dragged their wounded out of harms way as the Rhydon roared in fury, its eyes draining blood. Ash threw another grenade and put the beast out of its misery.

When it was quiet again, Ash ripped his helmet off his head and stood over the dead Rhydon. His chest heaved in and out as if he had run a marathon. Blood from his lip was mixing with his sweat and provided a salty taste in his mouth. He wiped his lip and looked over his men. Of the six that had accompanied him from the roof, there were three left standing. The first soldier was laying in the hallway, with a gaping hole in his stomach. The second was suffering a broken leg and the third was pinned on the ground with a set of broken ribs.

"What do we do, sir?" One of the men asked, looking up at him. He was kneeling beside his wounded friend with the broken ribs.

"We keep moving." Ash replied. "We patch our wounded as quick as we can, and I'll radio in for a medical evac."

They dragged the two wounded into cover, patched them up, and continued their way down the hallway. Charlie, Zeke and Mike, Ash learned, were new initiates into the Enforcer program. How they had found their place at Ash's side was most likely due to a mix up in ranks after the attacks. The soldiers' performance showed Ash that they still had a lot to learn. Though he hadn't the time or energy to worry about this now, all that mattered was reaching the First Family in one piece.

Around the bend of the corridor two Machops were milling about. A few rounds dropped both Poke'mon and Ash's squad continued to the utility door at the end of the hallway. Down the steps they encountered no resistance, coming out into the lobby they stepped into a vivid display of discarded shells, dried blood and corpses, most of which were secret service.

"Whatever happened here is over," Ash said softly. "But keep alert."

They paced through the lobby and down the hallway. Another set of utility steps behind a secret entrance and Ash's team found themselves at the foot of a bomb shelter blast door. The intercom next to the door crackled to life.

"State your identification and purpose."

"Ash Ketchum with Alpha Unit. We're here to escort The First Family off the premises."

There was a short pause.

"What happened to the rest of your unit, Ketchum?"

"Wasted, sir."

"…I see."

The door unlocked and Ash stepped inside. Three very exhausted looking agents greeted them. The agents closed the door and holstered their handguns.

"So you're it?" one of them asked. Ash nodded and slung his rifle over his shoulder. The room was an entrance to a much larger room. Both were dimly lit. He walked across the tiled floor into the leading room where the Oak family waited anxiously.

Gary Oak was sitting on a cot adjusting his tie. Ash wanted to remark but he refrained.

"Who's this?" A woman asked, standing up to greet Ash.

"They're your escorts, ma'am," one of the agents declared. "We'll be leaving shortly, gather your things and--"

"I thought there'd be more..."

The speaker in Ash's helmet buzzed.
"Alpha Leader, this is Headquarters. Do you read, over?"

Ash turned away and reported back.
"This is Alpha Leader, go ahead."

"Alpha Leader….we're picking up heavy interference on your signal, what's going on?"

Ash looked over himself then bit his lip. He still knew little to nothing about this combat suit.

"Can't say, Headquarters. However I am with the First Family right now."

"Alpha Leader, be advised that your air evac has returned to base, area is too hot."

"Headquarters, repeat that please..what the hell are we supposed to do then?"
Ash's connection cut out. He ripped off his helmet and tossed it to the ground in frustration. Ash turned to Zeke and Mike. "Radio in to headquarters and let them know that we're going to need a ground convoy for escort, moving the family back up through the building is too risky."

"Are you insane?" Gary retorted, standing up. "The reason we're down here is because of what's going on upstairs!"

"What WENT on upstairs." Ash corrected. "I have two wounded, and one dead man on the second floor. God knows how a fucking Rhydon got up there. We didn't have the time to do a proper sweep. It's too risky, and besides half the building is on fire."

"Oh my god.." a young man covered his mouth.

"Sir," Zeke turned to face Ash. "Headquarters informed a patrol outside the city. They can meet us here in five minutes."

"Good." Ash replied. He turned to the family.

"Gather your things, and get ready. The minute that blast door opens, we're gonna run out of here."

Gary frowned but said no more. In minutes the family had their luggage and though looking very disheveled, were ready to go. Ash positioned himself by the blast door as Mike opened it.

"Ready?"

They nodded.

The door opened and Ash rushed through first, rifle at the ready. The hallway was still empty. Quickly and quietly they guided the first family up the stairs and through the lobby. Right outside three Humvees were pulling up.

In the sky were several bird Pokemon, they were dive bombing at anyone in the street. The soldiers at the convoy were waving to them furiously, each vehicle was badly damaged. A soldier scrambled out of the driver's seat to open the rear passenger door. Several family members got into the rear Humvee, two in the middle, and of course Gary jumped into the front with Ash.

"You've made it through everything in life on luck," he sneered when Ash gave him a quizzical look. "I'll consider you my lucky charm until we get out of here."

Ash bit his tongue and buckled himself into the seat next to Gary.
In front the driver gave the "ready" signal and the Humvees began moving.

"Headquarters, this is Red Fox. We have the package, over." he spoke into the radio. Ash kept alert but tilted his head back, his heart pounding fiercely. Outside mixed with the blur of buildings were small fires and scrambling figures.

"Affirmative, Red Fox. Proceed to rendezvous point Delta. Ground Unit 304 is en route, over."

"That is a copy, HQ. Over."

The bird Pokemon began dive bombing into the line of Humvees.

"SHIT!" the driver grunted, swerving to avoid a collision. The convoy broke as birds pounded into the line of Humvees. Ash look on helplessly as the birds assaulted the lines of cars. Gary said nothing as his face was strewn in terror.

"Where the fuck is the infantry!" Ash demanded.

"En route, sir," the soldier in the passenger seat reported. "We should rendezvous with them in about five minutes."

The Humvees roared through the abandoned streets, swerving through a maze of deserted vehicles and corpses. From the side a Tauros galloped and smashed into the rear humvee.

Up ahead a Charmeleon blew fire into the street. The Humvees roared through. The rear vehicle had caught fire and was swerving wildly.

"FOX 3, WHAT IS YOUR STATUS?" The driver shouted into the radio, glancing back at the rear vehicle.

"This is Fox 3, we're okay!" the vehicle reported, just as a Dugtrio erupted out of the pavement in front of them. The vehicle, still burning, flew up into the air, crashing into another abandoned vehicle on the sidewalk.

"MOM!" Gary shrieked. He went for the door. Ash stopped him.

"We can't stop!" Ash said firmly. "If we do, we're all dead!"

Gary shoved away from him and went for the door again. Ash elbowed him across the face and he went unconscious. The soldier up front gaped at Ash but said nothing.

"We can't stop." Ash repeated. He looked out the window at Pokemon gathering in the streets. They were racing for the downed vehicle. A Pidgeot slammed into Ash's side door and the vehicle swerved. It ran up onto the sidewalk and back into the street. Behind them the last Humvee as on fire. A swarm of bird Pokemon were hovering overhead, crashing into it.

Ash opened his side door and began firing at the Pokemon attacking the last vehicle. Ash's Humvee pulled out onto the freeway and the birds began to let up a bit. Back in the city they had started to swarm around the downtown area.

A mile outside the city was the first military convoy. Soldiers, tanks and mortar men greeted them. The Humvees came to a stop and the family unloaded. The family in the rear vehicle were weeping.

"WHY DIDN'T WE STOP?" a woman shrieked. "They killed my mother--"

"Ma'am, we have to move." Ash replied flatly. He guided her off to another soldier. "These men will take you and the rest of your family in a new convoy back to The Indigo Plateau. From there you will be flown to a secure location behind Mt. Moon."

Still sobbing, the family was led off by a pair of soldiers. Another carried the unconscious Gary Oak out of the charred Humvee. Ash slung the rifle over his shoulder and climbed back into the vehicle.

"Take us back to base." Ash told the driver.

* * * * * *

"Red Fox has made the delivery, sir." A soldier reported. "However three members of the First Family were lost."

"If they're not cabinet members, I could give a shit right now." Ian replied. He added some sugar to his coffee and walked along the row of computers.

"Who can give me the status of our ground forces?"

"Ground Units 304, 305, and 306 are mobilized and due to enter Saffron at any time now." another soldier reported.

"Right on time." Ian checked his watch. He sipped his coffee and watched the screen at the front of the room. Several dots indicated the soldiers making their way toward the city. "Alright people," he announced. "I want a combat update every five minutes. Nothing happens in this fight without me knowing about it, is that clear?"

"Get me on line with Colonel Thompson," He continued. "He's in charge of these ground units, correct?"

"That is correct, sir."

A couple of minutes later Colonel Thompson's voice crackled over the speaker.

"This is Thompson. How are you, Surge?"

"Good, thanks." Ian replied, taking another sip of coffee. "How are your boys looking?"

"Looking ready for a fight." Thompson responded. "We should be entering the city limits in under 5."

"Perfect." Ian said. "Keep me posted."

Someone tugged on Ian's pant leg. He looked down to see Foxx hugging a pillow.

"Can you help me find my mommy?" he asked tiredly. Ian glanced around the room then back at the boy.

"Hey! who let this kid in here?"

His response was a collection of confused looks.

Ian grimaced and knelt down beside the boy.

"How'd you get in here, son?"

Foxx shrugged.

"I don't remember."

"Well this area's for grownups," he said, waving over an officer. "This man here will take you to find your mom." he stood up. "The mother's name is Misty Ketchum. She should be somewhere around the front lobby."

The officer nodded and took Foxx by the hand. He led the boy out of the room. Ian watched them leave. When the door closed, he turned to look back at the screen when his foot kicked something. Looking down, there was a crumbled piece of paper on the floor.

"Must've been the kid's," he murmured to himself, scooping it up. It was a piece torn out of a coloring book. The only thing drawn on it was a pair of eyes.
 
I must have rewritten this chapter 8 or 9 times. Seriously. In all my frustration I'm just posting it! I haven't proof-read it, but it's finally something I'm happy with, and that's saying something. I won't post any sucky material, I promise you that. Thanks for reading and lemme know what you think!

==

D R E A D
Chapter 4

* * *

Open Frequency
Somewhere around Fuchsia

"thaguahgudaga….my name is…gagtdaguha…my name is Jessica Mcgdaahughag….
gahguahtdatwa…I'm the last one left..dgatatdgada..my apartment complexdagetadsgaa…
…if anyone can hear this.ga.dgatdagtfdagda…I'm at gtadgada…number A34….afdatahgagd.."

* * *

Ted's Underground Radio Show
Somewhere around Pallet Town

"…and I repeat, DO NOT attempt to flag down Military Convoys! they are shooting people on sight!…"

* * *

Open Frequency
Somewhere near The Safari Zone

"gatagaghahga…the military has placed us…gadtadga.d…under quarantine.agdatdagda…its.dgadfatdata…all gone todgadadagda….shit…agathatheugfnag…uahgduha..what you have to understandag.datagag….IT'S NOT A VIRUS.gadtadatgdasfad…what's effecting usgdagtdatdafgadfa….is SOMETHING ELSEagasgaad.a..adfa.."

* * *

WKQZ Gospel
(Last Broadcast)

"..lo and behold, it started with a flash in the sky! the dark demons from above cast upon us the green mist that is turning our brethren against us! Repent, for your sins brothers and sisters, for the end…"

* * *

EMERGENCY BROADCAST NETWORK
-LOOP-

THE FOLLOWING LISTS OF RESCUE SHELTERS ARE NO LONGER ACTIVE…PALLET TOWN GYM…FUCHSIA CITY HIGH SCHOOL….CELADON CITY JR. HIGH…CELADON CITY HIGH SCHOOL…VERMILION NAVY PORT…VERMILION HOSPITAL…CERULEAN NATIONAL GUARD OUTPOST…

* * *

If he concentrated on his breathing, Johnny could imagine his sister.
They were six years old, running through the open fields of the Safari Zone.
She was giggling as her golden pigtails bounced in the sunlight. He held her hand tightly as the two of them made their way to the large oak tree growing in the field. Oak never grew out here in the Safari Zone, the landscape was dominated by wild Acacia trees. This made their spot special.

In the summer his family picnic underneath the shade of the Oak Tree and he and his sister would play while their parents sipped wine and held each other, loving their family. If he imagined the sprawling open landscape of trees and sunlight, it would blot out the burning.

The fierce burning that was bubbling from the pit of his stomach to the outside of his skin. It bubbled and gurgled and boiled and if only he could imagine his sister, he would not have to concentrate on such agony.

Thoughts of his sister gave way to a more fierce present.
One day ago Commander Thompson was striding along the row of Enforcers. Johnny was embarrassed, his shirt was untucked and he had not been properly groomed for an audience with the commander. However the entire base was on Emergency Call and he realized he was not the only soldier looking disheveled.

"…And that's the Pokemon's greatest fear," Thompson growled. "…Is that they have not had to deal with US yet..."

As he pounded the Enforcer Path on his jacket there was a unified war cry.

"Tear their fuckin heads off!" he barked.

Johnny was running.
If he remembered the running, the pounding of his heart, the feeling of excitement…of dread…he could forget the burning.

He remembered climbing into the helicopter, dressed and prepped for war.
Around him were dozens of grey helicopters, the stenciled "Enforcer Unit" on the side unifying them. Up ahead Fuchsia City was a sparkling gem in the dark landscape. Artillery was pounding the city, creating a spectacular array of red and yellow light. Flames licked the sky and the ground was littered with the twilight of fleeing convoys.

"FIFTEEN SECONDS!" Someone yelled.

Johnny readied his rappelling gear and waited for the signal. Helicopters opened up their .50 caliber round machine guns and cleared the area for landing. Johnny's chopper hovered over main street and the rope was thrown out the side.

Don't think about the burning.

"GO, GO, GO!"

He instinctively latched his gear onto the rope and rappelled down to the street. He unhooked himself and readied his rifle. Countless other soldiers rappelled down around him and they began making their way down the street.

Inside, Johnny was terrified.
On the surface he was calm and ready, his body transitioning smooth movements honed in basic training. He was engulfed in a cloud of dust; one brought on by a combination of artillery and rabid Pidgeotto. All around him was the pattering of automatic fire, the hunched soldiers around him disappearing into the mist. The fear building inside his chest was unbearable.

Panting like he ran a marathon, Johnny moved swiftly down the road. The dust was beginning to clear and several hundred yards ahead of him artillery was pounding into the street. Helicopters roared overhead, empty shells raining from the sky. To his right a Charizard blew fire across the street, igniting two soldiers. A quick pivot on his heel and he was firing rounds into the beast's chest. An officer near him was barking orders as they pushed deeper into the city, meeting heavy resistance all the way. Next to him a line of Humvees rumbled by, one of which was on fire. The gunner at the rear vehicle was unconscious. Johnny paced paced the road quickly, firing his rifle in short bursts.

To his left four soldiers were positioning themselves in front of a door. One of them kicked it open and they moved inside, firepower igniting the room in white light. There was an explosion from behind and he continued forward, springing for cover as a Tauros galloped into the street. He fell behind a pile of debris as more Tauros followed suit. Firepower ignited around him. A grenade exploded and shrapnel struck his leg.

Before he had time to react, someone was pulling him up. He was pulled over the pile of rubble and before him an Onix roared into view. Artillery pounded into the Pokemon as it howled in fury. Behind the Onix a Snorlax crashed through a building. Helicopters revolved around the two monsters, unloading 50 caliber rounds into them.

The Onix roared as the shells pounded into its body. The soldiers on the ground returned fire. Johnny paced the width of the street, firing his rifle at the Onix and Snorlax. At one point there was an explosion. Something from the Onix.

A large piece of cement was the last thing he saw.

and now the burning resumed.

Johnny awoke on the cot, screaming in agony. His limbs were strapped down, but it wouldn't take much for him to rip through them. He could feel his strength returning in full. What were these people doing? Where was he?

"Doctor! DOCTOR!" a nurse shrieked. She stuck a needle into Johnny's arm and he fell back into slumber.

* * * *

Foxx was sleepy.
He had been for days, but Tooth wouldn't let him sleep.
Foxx had begged and pleaded for Tooth to let him rest; This wasn't fun anymore. It wasn't funny or nice at all. Tooth had gotten really mean and said that if Foxx went to sleep then he wouldn't see his daddy again, ever. Foxx loved daddy and really missed him. He knew his daddy was going away because of the look on mommy's face.

Mommy really missed daddy, he would see her crying sometimes when she thought he wasn't looking. Foxx didn't understand why his daddy was so great that all the other grownups needed him for stuff. He didn't understand why Tooth thought he was so important or why Foxx came second only to his daddy. Most kids would cry, but Foxx was strong. His daddy told him to be strong for mommy, and he was the man of the house. He didn't know what that meant, but if daddy thought it was important, then he should be strong.

That's also why Tooth chose Foxx, because he was strong. Maybe also because he was his daddy's son, but strong came first. Foxx was sure of it. He wanted to make everyone happy, so he had to stay awake. The only problem is that he started doing things and didn't know why he was doing them. He thought he had fallen asleep but instead blinked, and that big man with the medals was asking him stuff.

"I don't remember." Foxx shrugged.

The big man…Foxx remembered daddy calling him a few things that only grownups should say, but 'asshole' wasn't his real name. His real name was Sorge. "Something" Sorge.

"Well this area's for grownups," he said, waving over an officer. "This man here will take you to find your mom." he stood up and whispered something to another big man. Foxx frowned. Secrets don't make friends.

Then again keeping friends awake don't make friends, Foxx thought to himself. He wondered if Tooth heard him. He was worried what Tooth would think, but then again his mommy would be really mad at him for wandering off. The big man led Foxx down a bunch of hallways, and up and down some stairs. Foxx thought this place was a maze, and that they would never get out. There were a bunch of grownups walking around, why didn't they tell him no? Why didn't they say this was place was only for grownups? how did he get all the way back here?

The big man took Foxx by the hand out into the lobby where mommy was frantically speaking to another grownup. She had tears in her eyes. Foxx frowned, it was bad to see mommy like this.

"Here's you kid, mi--"

"OH THANK GOD!"

Mommy scooped Foxx up in her arms and hugged him tight. She pulled away and Foxx could see how much she was crying.

"WHERE'VE YOU BEEN?" she shrieked, her voice choking. Foxx started crying too. It was hard to be strong when mommy was so sad.

"I don't know!" he wailed. "Please let me go to sleep, mommy!"

Mommy said a lot of mean things to the big man and then took Foxx back to his cot. She kept saying things to herself and Foxx thought that maybe Tooth was talking to her, too. Or maybe she was just talking to herself, like Daddy did when he was working on his car. He missed daddy. He wondered where Daddy was, and wondered if Tooth was really being honest when he said Foxx could see Daddy if he had done everything Tooth wanted. But Foxx wasn't sure if he was doing what Tooth wanted, all he had to do was walk around and watch the grownups. That couldn't have been what Tooth wanted…because…

Foxx's head nestled into the cot.

It was so warm and nice.

Tooth said that Daddy was in a scar..a scary..place….

Foxx fell asleep.

* * * *

Ash crawled from the burning wreckage that was his transport and ripped his helmet off.

"Jesus!" he spat. He wiped the drooling blood from his mouth and fell back to his haunches. His head was still fuzzy, otherwise it would have occurred to him that this was not a safe place. Ten seconds ago he was rolling along with two other Humvees back toward the Indigo Plateau when something struck them. Hard.

He looked over at the other two Humvees, both of which were tipped over. Men were sprawled across the road, none of them were moving. Ash slowly climbed to his feet and struggled for balance.

Several yards away an Alakazam appeared. It jumped onto an upturned vehicle and looked lazily around the area.

Ash froze. His hand instinctively went for his sidearm but it wasn't there. He backed up slowly. The Alakzam noticed him and made a swiping motion with its left arm. One of the men pushed themselves up from the ground and watched the Alakazam carefully. It beckoned toward Ash. The man turned around, revealing the exposed muscle tissue on the side of his face. The wound was still fresh, blood seeping from it steadily.

He screeched and sprinted toward Ash.

Ash's hand again went instinctively to his hip, where his combat knife was still sheathed. The man was almost on him as he drew the knife, and gutted the man. Still thrashing, Ash kicked the man away and slashed the knife across his throat. With a low gurgle, the man toppled over and fell into his own pool of blood.

Ash looked up just in time to see the rest of the soldiers sprinting toward him, their eyes black and mouths spitting blood.

"FUCK!" Ash yelped, turning to run. A Humvee lifted itself from the ground and landed behind him. Running wasn't an option.

The soldiers screeched, their bloodlust echoing through the dense forest. Ash slashed his knife at the first man, and was tackled by the second. He rolled the man over and stabbed him in the neck, and was pulled off by a third man. They screamed as they began to kick him. Ash cried out and made a desperate attempt to stab at their ankles. The other soldiers piled in and began ripping at Ash's armor, pounding and beating him while the Alakazam watched on--

No, no that wasn't right...
what was happening NOW?

Ash awoke to a thin line of drool bleeding onto his chest. His whole body ached.

"I'm glad to see you're awake." Professor Oak said as he stepped from the shadows.

Ash squinted at him.

"Mr. Prssident?" he asked. "What's…what's going on here?"

"Please," Oak waved him off. "Call me Professor Oak."

Ash looked down at himself. He was stripped to his underwear, he was levitating. He couldn't move his arms or legs.

Professor Oak grinned warmly.

"Think of it as a force field." he said pleasantly, beckoning toward Ash's body. "The real explanation is far more complicated."

"What am I doing here?"

"It's natural for you to be full of questions," Oak beamed, leaning in toward Ash. For a moment, cold dread washed over him.

"Where's the real Professor Oak?" Ash asked flatly. He tried not to let his voice quiver.

Oak grinned devilishly.

"You see, Ash…this is why I like you…you have wit." He paused. "Which is why I chose you."

"Who are you?"

Oak waved a finger.

"While it is natural for you to be curious, you are not in a position to be asking questions."

Ash watched him carefully.

"Foxx just wants to know…" Oak said carefully. "Where you put his teddy bear?"

Ash froze.

"You're…"

Oak's devilish grin grew wider and he narrowed his eyes at Ash.

"Tooth." He said flatly. "But all speech impediments aside, you can call me, "Two"."

* * * * *

Clyde slowed the truck to a crawl until he finally cut the engine. Ahead was a line of abandoned vehicles that stretched for miles.

"Looks like we're walking from here." he said grimly, pulling the shotgun from the passenger seat.

"How far are we from the Plateau?" Duplica asked as she helped Brock out of the truck bed.

Clyde frowned and both ways down the highway.

"With all those road blocks? I don't know. Maybe 10 miles?"

"Where are all the people?" Cindy asked. She craned her neck to see over the line of cars.

"They took off." Clyde answered. He slung the shotgun over his shoulder. "To be honest I don't blame them. After what we've been hearing on the radio…"

"I don't wanna talk about it." Brock said finally. "How can we be guaranteed that nobody's going to shoot us when we get there?"

"Because I'm an Enforcer." Clyde replied. "And besides, they should've figured out by now that it's not a virus."

"How can you be sure, though?" Duplica asked. "Those people--"

"Isolated incident." Clyde shot back. "It was an Alakazam that did it to those people."

"I've been a gym trainer for years," Brock said firmly. He hoisted himself against the side of the truck for support. His bandages were starting to bleed through. "But I have never seen shit like that in my entire life. You think that Alakazam could do a hypno-attack on an entire village?"

"I don't know!" Clyde spat. "Fuck!…let's just get going. Are you gonna debate all day or come with us?"

"I'll be fine." Brock growled. Together they started making their way through the maze of cars.

"How you feelin', babe?" Duplica whispered.

"Like I've been stabbed with a buncha' thumbtacks." Brock grunted. He threw his arm around Duplica for support. "I'll be fine."

"I'm proud of you, baby." She added. "My big, strong man.."

Brock smiled.

"Cut the chatter." Clyde hissed. He climbed onto the hood of a vehicle, shotgun at the ready. He peered over the maze of cars ahead of them.

"We're not alone." he said softly.

Brock and Duplica exchanged glances. Cindy gripped her bat nervously. Clyde stepped carefully over the hood of the car onto the next, gripping his shotgun carefully. Brock reached into the seat of his pants and pulled out the pistol.

"FREEZE!"

Three men stepped out from behind the cars. Clyde's eyes widened as he kept the shotgun pointed at the man in the middle. All three of the wore gas masks.

"It's alright, guys, I'm a sol--"

"I'LL TELL YOU TO OPEN YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!" one of them spat. "HAND OVER YOUR WEAPONS, NOW!"

"Let's just calm down!" Clyde said angrily. "What outfit are you guys with?"

"We're from the Plateau," one of the men said. He flipped up his gas mask. His face was caked in dried blood. "Just hand over your weapons and everything will be fine."

"Brock, let's--"

Brock shushed Duplica. Clyde stepped down from the hood of the car and watched the men carefully. Each were clad in hazard suits and were carrying assault rifles.

"If you're from the Plateau, what are you doing here?" Clyde asked.

"Put your fucking GUN DOWN!" the soldier demanded. Clyde glanced over at Brock, who had concealed his pistol. He slowly placed the shotgun on the cement.

"What are you doing here?" Clyde repeated carefully. One of the soldiers snatched his shotgun while the one with his visor flipped up frowned.

"We're infantry at the Plateau…we got a tip that it's gonna get bad there…really quick."

"It's 'bad' everywhere, what the fuck are you talking about?"

"Bad as in a fucking army of Pokemon are headed that way." the soldier said. "I don't know…I know a guy working around the 'higher-ups'..they're keeping really hush-hush about it, but after I saw the fortifying the front lawn and moving people to the bomb shelter.." he looked at his comrades. "We just took off. We're heading for the Seafoam Islands."

"Shit's gonna be bad there, too." Brock pointed out.

"Did we fucking ask you?" one of the soldiers grunted. Brock looked at Clyde.

"Well, you guys got our gun…how about letting us go?"

The soldier without his mask nodded slowly, "Yeah, sure. We--"

"Hold on." one of the other soldiers said. "Give us the women."

"You're kidding me." Clyde spat.

"I didn't ask for your fucking opinion, asswipe!" the soldier shot back. "Give us your fucking women!"

"What the fuck, Barry?" the revealed soldier cried out. "What are we doing? let's just fucking leave!"

"Shut up, Kyle!"

Kyle frowned and gave them a helpless look.

"Rob, get the green haired one."

"Touch her and I'll rip your fucking head off." Brock growled. Kyle paused and looked at Barry, who readied his rifle.

"How about I just shoot you and take your woman? how's that sound, you fat fuck?"

"Barry--"

Barry turned his head.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP, KY-"

Clyde threw his knife into Barry's throat and was on Rob before anyone knew what was happening. He kicked Rob in the chest and the man sprawled backward, firing the gun into the air. It clattered away when he hit the ground and Clyde sat on his chest, punching the man repeatedly in the face.

"HOLY SHIT--" Kyle cried out.

Brock pulled his pistol out and held it at the soldier.

"Don't you fucking move!" He hissed.

Clyde stood up, rubbing his knuckles. He spat on Rob's limp body and wiped the blood from his face with the scruff of his shirt.

"Piece of shit." he muttered. He looked over at Brock and exchanged glances with Cindy.

"What do we do with him?" Cindy asked solemnly.

Kyle swallowed hard, holding his hands up.

"I was never..with those guys," he said hurriedly. "I…y'know…our plan…we just wanted to get out…"

"Then get the fuck out." Clyde muttered, stabbing a thumb behind himself. "Get the fuck out of here, Kyle."

Kyle nodded and ran away, picking through the cars as he went. Duplica held onto Brock tightly.

"What if.."

"No." Brock said firmly.

"Do we still head to the Plateau?" Cindy asked. Clyde picked up an assault rifle and tossed the other one to Duplica. He nodded.

"There's nowhere else." he said grimly. Then, more quietly. "Deserters…fuckin cowards.."

* * * * *

When Johnny awoke the pain was gone.
In fact, he felt great.
He felt better than he had ever felt in his life.

"Vital signs are normal," the nurse above him said softly, jotting notes onto a clipboard. "Doctor, he's awake."

A weary looking old man stepped over Johnny's cot. With a gloved hand he took a light to Johnny's eyes and checked his pupils.

"Son, if I'da known what we were gonna do to you, I never would've done it…I swear to God.." he murmured.

"What happened?"

The nurse and doctor exchanged glances.

"You don't remember?"

"No sir."

The doctor sighed and began unstrapping Johnny's limbs from the cot.

"You were brought into ER with severe head trauma, broken ribs, some internal bleeding, and third degree burns. During surgery you were clinically dead for 30 seconds. We still need to run some tests to examine the exact amount of brain damage you may have suffered…but from the looks of things, you can't tell a damned thing."

"Jesus." Johnny breathed.

The doctor nodded and forced a smile.

"But like I said, from the looks of things, you don't have anything to worry about." he reached out and turned Johnny's head. "It's some kind of…miracle."

"A miracle of science," the nurse said firmly. She sat down next to Johnny and ran a hand over his buzzed head.

"How do you feel?"

"…Really great, actually." Johnny said, sitting up. He looked around. The ICU was full of wounded soldiers. The ones next to him weren't moving.

"Don't look at them," the nurse said flatly. She waved the doctor off. He shook his head and made his leave. "Johnny…Johnny, is it?"

"Yes'm."

"Johnny…I work for Mr. Giovanni. I'm sure you've heard of him?"

"Yes."

"Yes, well…Mr. Giovanni owns his own pharmaceutical company, and with it he has the world's best scientists and engineers." she glanced at her clipboard then back to him. "When you were rolled into ER, you had little chance of surviving, even after surgery. This is what made you a perfect candidate for our GES Program."

"G.E.S…?" Johnny asked, puzzled. The nurse smiled warmly.

"Genetically Enhanced Soldier," she said. "A serum that we injected you with. Think of it as a permanent performance enhancer."

Johnny grimaced and looked at his hands.

"What'd you do to me?"

The nurse took his hands in hers.
"We made you faster and stronger than ever before," she said softly. Johnny watched her carefully then stole a glance at the dead soldiers laying in cots beside him. He recognized them.

"What about them?"

She frowned.

"WHAT ABOUT THEM?" Johnny demanded. "Did you give it to them too?"

"Yes." she admitted. "The effects…it changes your genetic code. The strain on your body….not everyone can handle it."

"So you just took a chance on me? I was just a guinea pig?"

"You were going to die otherwise."

Johnny swung his legs over the cot and stepped up. The nurse backed away.

"Johnny, you need to calm down."

"FUCK YOU! YOU WERE GOING TO KILL ME!"

Johnny grabbed the nurse by the throat. The strain on his muscles felt good. His hand gripped firmly around her jugular. This all felt…natural…he wanted this. He wanted to hurt her. It was nothing short of orgasmic. She gagged. A soldier rushed in and grabbed him.

Johnny swung the man off himself and turned to face him. The soldier unsheathed his nightstick and swung. Johnny grabbed it and broke the soldier's jaw with one swing of his free arm. He threw the soldier back and began to beat him in the ribs, feeling each bone crush under his force. This was…
this was something else…
he loved this…

he NEEDED this…

It took four soldiers to pull him off and sedate him again.

* * * *

Ian Surge was crashing.
He had not slept for nearly 72 hours, and the caffeine pills he had been popping were about to wear off.

"Sir?"

He turned around to face Lt. Hopkins, an oddly proportioned young man whom, in light of the current predicament, had assumed the role of lieutenant very quickly.

"Yes, Lieutenant?"

"We've lost all contact with Units 303, 304 and 305."

Ian rubbed his face, his brain slowly piecing the information together.

"You're telling me that our assault on Saffron has come to a halt?"

"Theoretically they could still be fighting…but our communications with them has ceased."

Ian nodded.

"Walk with me." He said tiredly. The two men strode down the hallway toward the command room. Ian was supposed to be there in the first place, but he had left to get himself some coffee. Normally he would have somebody do this for him, but he was struggling to stay awake and right not this was crucial.

"Who sent you to inform me this?"

"Colonel Thompson…sir. He was in charge of the assault on Saffron. At 0500 he shipped Two units of Enforcers to Fuchsia."

Ian stepped through the door to the command room and gave Hopkins a hard look.

"I gave no such order."

Hopkins returned the look and licked his lips nervously.

"With all due respect, sir…I saw you do it."

Ian looked at Hopkins and then around the control room.

"When and where?" he asked.

"0400…in the west conference room."

Ian froze. He was tired, but not that tired. He had been in the control room the entire time monitoring the assault on Saffron and fortifying defenses around Indigo.

"I want this place on lockdown!" He said finally. "Nobody comes in, nobody comes out!" He pointed at Hopkins. "That means you, Lieutenant."

"Sir?"

"What was I doing? What was I wearing?" Ian hissed.

"I don't understand…you were wearing what you always were…wearing?"

"I want those troops out of Fuchsia, now!" Ian demanded. He strode over to the row of computers where the techs were putting in commands furiously.

"Send the order for them to withdraw!"

"They're withdrawing, sir," the techs replied. "But they're in pretty bad shape…most of them are no longer combat ready."

"FUCK!" Ian grunted. "Get me on the overhead."

The tech flipped a switch and nodded.

"All available units," Ian spoke. "This is Ian Surge speaking. Return to the Indigo Plateau immediately, that's an order."

"Sir?" Hopkins asked sheepishly. "What's going on? why you withdrawing all the troops?"

"Because that's exactly what "it" wants," Ian said. "Whatever "it" was gave the order to send all the available Enforcers out of the base and leave us wide open to attack."

"Sir…there aren't any pokemon within 50 miles of here."

Ian rubbed his chin and turned to an open laptop. When he tapped it, the screen displayed a map of the island displaying live activity. Several red dots were progressing quickly toward the Plateau.

"Not anymore, Lieutenant."
 
Wow! This is great! An interesting story and a good job pulling it off. You're really good at action scenes and suspense. All the scenes in the first chapter with Foxx and Tooth gave me chills. Another part I really liked was all the mass chaos when Ash and his family first fled Pallet. And the scene with Brock and Duplica in the Alakazam-controlled city was very cool too. And pretty much every action scene after that...

My favorite parts are the blurbs of radio signals and news casts. They give everything a really creepy, cool atmosphere. It's like a good zombie movie; I can picture it perfectly. I also like the politics you're slowly layering on top of everything. Just a lot of neat concepts and good story-telling. Very nice job!
 
I refuse to write crap material.
Which is why this took me so long to write this particular chapter.
There's a lot of answered questions, as well as new ones that arise in this
chapter. There's a lot of surprises as well as closures. Let me know what you think!

Once again, thanks for reading!
~Charizard2006

* * * *

D R E A D
Chapter 5

Johnny was at the end of his rope.
His family was dead.
His DNA was twisted.
He was charged with assault.
And If he didn't die in prison, he'd die out on the field.

When he got out of this cell, he was going to kick some ass.

For hours there had been a lot of movement above him. Although the cell walls were
thick, he could hear activity as though they were made out of paper.
He had to leave, right now. Yet there was no weak point in this box of a room.
Even with his new found strength and agility, escape was impossible.

He observed his surroundings. The place was dark, it smelled like piss. There was an entire row of empty cells around him, and one guard at the far end of the hallway.

More activity overhead.
There was a familiar rattle among the ceiling pipes and Johnny knew that artillery was being fired. He bit his lower lip and with a creeping realization it struck him.

"Hey!" he threw himself against the bars. "You gotta get me outta here!"

"Fuck off." the guard said absently.

"C'mon, man!" Johnny rattled himself against the bars. "This place is under attack! you're gonna leave me to die?!"

The guard beckoned toward his night stick and Johnny growled. He marched back toward his seat and dropped down. The ceiling continued to rattle, the pipes were shaking violently. Dust drifted through the air.

Down the hallway a door opened. Johnny sat forward. A tall, dark man was speaking to the guard. There was a brief exchange of words, a handshake, and the guard dismissed himself from the room.

"Hey!" Johnny called. "Who's there?"

The man strode confidently down to the edge of Johnny's cell and stood before him, a foot away from the bars.

"Who are you?"

"My name's Ian Surge, son. Who are you?"

"PFC Johnny, I'm with Enfor--"

Ian waved him off.

"That's all I need to know," he responded. Johnny licked his lips.

"Did you come here to get me out?" he asked. Ian smirked.

"That depends." he replied. "I understand that you're in a pretty bad mood."

"How--"

"Your family's dead, we toyed with your DNA…now you're this raging monster…the only surviving test subject of G.E.S., might I add."

Johnny tried not to show his building rage. He was getting that familiar feeling again. He wanted to smash Ian's face in. It would feel sooooo good…

"What's your point, sir?"

"My point being, are you a patriot, son?"

"I wouldn't be serving in this nation's military if I wasn't, sir."

Ian grinned.

"Good answer. Then I have a proposition for you."

"I'll do anything to get out of here, sir."

"There is a little boy upstairs in the service room, right next to the lobby. He's of great value to me. I need you to bring him to Fuchsia City."

"A boy?"

"A boy," Ian confirmed. "He's no older than 4 or 5 years old, and he has dark hair. He's with his mother right now…Misty Ketchum. The mother is of no value to me, if he stays with her, he will perish."

Johnny cocked an eyebrow.

"What's the angle here?" he asked. "Why's this boy so important?"

"That's classified." Ian said firmly. "Now do we have an agreement?"

There was something hypnotic about Ian. It was in his eyes. A few minutes ago Johnny had contemplated snapping his neck, but this deal..something about him..

it was irresistible.

He looked at the ground for a moment. No harm would come to the boy. This was his mission now. He could feel Ian's gaze burning into him. Something in his head demanded an answer. Ian must be answered.

"Can you let me out now?"

"You already are."

The cell door stood open ajar. Johnny watched Ian carefully as he stepped through.

"I didn't even see you take out a key."

Ian patted him on the back.

"There's gear outside for you. Grab the boy, and head toward Fuchsia. You've done enough work for today."

Johnny paused.

"Just who are you?"

Ian Surge grinned devilishly.

* * * * *

Hopkins knocked quietly and peeked into the office.
Inside Ian was pouring himself a glass of bourbon. He swallowed the drink whole and chased it with two caffeine pills.

"…Sir?"

Ian looked up. His eyes retained the look of a tired old man.

"So much for Lockdown. Come in, Hopkins."

Hopkins straightened his jacket and stepped inside. He made careful note to close the door behind himself.

"Sir..Colonel Thompson, Commander Rayes and…" he bit his lower lip. Ian poured himself another glass and offered Hopkins a seat.

"I know." He said dismissively. "Either MIA, KIA, or scrambling to organize their men. Everyone's busy. You know, Hopkins," he sipped the bourbon, savoring the taste. "That means you've been promoted again. You must be excited."

"Sir..."

"When I was your age," Ian said, rubbing his chin. "I was a junior officer at the Academy in Cerulean. I'm not that old…I still remember that feeling…of power." He frowned at Hopkins. "You must be shitting your pants now."

"All my superiors are MIA at the moment, except for you." Hopkins said finally. "What…what do I do?"

Ian smiled warmly and offered Hopkins a drink. He politely declined.

"As usual I'm a step ahead," Ian said, beckoning toward his drink. "Which is why I'm taking a break to do this. Not often you get to drink in the office."

Hopkins bit his lower lip.

"We have eight helicopters left on base, prepped and ready." Ian continued. "Select personnel and refugees will be flown to the Presidential Bunker."

"Sir, the Presidential compound hasn't been used in decades…technology there is obsolete, it's--"

"The compound is not going to be our next base of operations." Ian replied flatly. "It's going to be a refuge."

"Sir, what do you.."

"You're one of the 'higher ups' now, Hopkins. These helicopters are leaving in," he checked his watch. "Just a few minutes. I'd advise you to get on one."

"I'm not leaving, sir."

Ian grinned.

"I like that, Hopkins. Good to hear."

As he took a drink, Hopkins adjusted his weight in his seat.

"Sir, permission to speak freely?"

Ian waved him off.

"…what the fuck do we do now?"

Ian nodded and licked his lips. He put the bourbon back in the drawer and rubbed his chin.

"You're a Commander, now, Hopkins. Assess the situation."

Hopkins paused. He gave Ian a hard look. There was a chart in his hand that he glanced at before speaking.

"…we've lost all contact with local authorities. Most of our commanding officers are in the field or KIA. As of now, two units of 25 Enforcers are combat-ready. The rest of the fighting force have been dispatched around the island…most of which we've lost contact with. Our scouts have reported a mass of enemy troops advancing on our location."

"With nothing to stop them in the way of getting here." Ian concluded sourly.

"…What are my final orders, sir?"

Ian forced a grin and beckoned toward the clipboard that Hopkins gripped nervously.

"You've been holding onto that damn clipboard since The Academy, haven't you? you must be good with numbers."

"The best, sir."

"Then you can tell me how much artillery we have stockpiled here."

"About 200 rounds, sir."

"200." Ian said softly and leaned back in his chair. "Right now all available personnel are fortifying positions on the front lawn. They've been setting markers with rounds over the last ten minutes. Make sure every available artillery gun is in place. If they're trying to get in, we'll give 'em hell doing it."

Hopkins nodded and turned to leave.

"It's been an honor serving under you, sir…you did your best."

Ian nodded as Hopkins left. The bourbon was slowly starting to mix with the caffeine pills. He felt light headed.

"Well dad," he muttered, running a hand through his hair. "You heard it. I did my best…and just like you said, my best was never good enough.."

* * * * *

From the crest of the hill, they watched helicopters leave the compound.

"Where are they headed?" Duplica mused.

"Either the compound in Mt. Moon or the Presidential Bunker somewhere in the mountains." Clyde replied. Brock growled.

"You mean to tell me we came all this way just to have to go further?"

Clyde gave him a cynical look.

"It doesn't matter, I don't know where exactly the fucking place is."

"So that's it?" Cindy asked. "What do we do now?"

Brock grabbed Duplica's hand. She looked over at him.

"Do we even have a home to go back to?" she asked. Brock said nothing and turned his gaze back to the compound. Firepower lit up the sky in a dazzling display of red and yellow light. Parts of the building were on fire.

Clyde slung his rifle over his shoulder.

"There's an airfield big enough to house a fleet of 747s." He said. "If there's helicopters, there's one for us."

"Like they're just going to let us walk in and steal a chopper," Brock scoffed. "Do you even have any flight experience?"

Clyde looked over at him.

"You got a better idea?" he asked.

* * * * *

When the sirens began to wail, Misty knew it was time to leave. She scooped Foxx up and began to push through the crowd of screaming refugees.

"Where are we going, mommy?"

"We're leaving, honey."

"But what about Daddy?"

Misty said nothing and continued pushing through. The building began to rattle as she made her way into the lobby. Across the room a disheveled looking young man appeared. He was wearing a bright orange jumpsuit with a utility belt tied loosely around his waist. He didn't belong here, Misty realized that already. She didn't mean to look at him, but she could feel his eyes prying her from across the room.

"Over here!" he called. Misty froze, holding Foxx in her arms. He began to push through the crowd of people. He had a gun.

"Help!" Misty shrieked. The man reacted, pushing people out of the way quickly. Misty ran around the reception desk to a hallway. She didn't know where she was going. A Security Officer stepped out from an open door and stopped her.

"You have to help me," Misty said breathlessly. "This man, he's.."

"It's okay." The man said gently, walking up behind her. "I'm a soldier, I'm here to help."

"Why are you in prisoner fatigues?" the officer asked, hand on his nightstick. "Who let you out?"

The man held up his hands.

"My name is Johnny, I was pardoned by Ian Surge…"

"Please." Misty begged. "Just…get him away from me."

The officer looked at both of them. Misty pushed past the officer and sprinted down the hall, tucking Foxx in her arms.

"NO!" Johnny roared. The officer went to block him.

Johnny grabbed the Officer's vest and threw him across the hall. He sprinted after Misty.

"BACKUP!" the officer yelled into his radio. "I NEED BACKUP!"

The building rumbled again and both were knocked off balance. Foxx tumbled from Misty's arms and began to cry. Ceiling pipes exploded and blew out steam.

"C'mon, honey!" Misty yelled, tugging Foxx along with her. Two soldiers were running down the hallway after them. Johnny pushed himself back onto his feet and was right behind Misty when the soldiers grabbed him. He swung them off.

"GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!" one of them ordered, drawing a pistol. In one fluid motion Johnny grabbed the firearm, directed it at the ceiling, and kicked him in the knee. The other soldier swung a punch that connected with Johnny's kidney and he faltered. He went in for another swing and Johnny grabbed his arm, twisted it, and slammed him against the wall.

The officer was catching up now, he pulled out his gun and fired two rounds. One grazed Johnny's shoulder and the other blasted through it. He cried out and fired three rounds into the Officer's chest. Clutching his wound, he turned to see Misty breaking through the exit doors at the far end of the hallway.

"DAMNIT!" he howled, sprinting after her.

Misty broke into the afternoon sunlight to the airfield. Several yards away two helicopters were about to take off.

"WAIT!" she screeched, scooping Foxx back into her arms and chasing after them. Soldiers assisting the evacuation apprehended her.

"Ma'am, you can't--"

"MY SON!" Misty shrieked. "Please, just take my son--!"

Foxx was sobbing. The soldiers exchanged glances. Johnny burst out the doors behind her, clutching his wound in one arm and a pistol in the other.

"GIVE ME THE BOY!" he demanded.

"He's got a gun!" one of the soldiers cried out. They drew their firearms. Misty pushed through the soldiers to the nearest helicopter.

"We're at full capacity, ma'am!" the pilot yelled over the swinging blades.

"PLEASE!" Misty yelled. Smoke was blowing in from the front of the compound. "LEAVE ME BUT TAKE MY SON!"

"MOMMY!" Foxx shrieked.

Two rounds ripped through Misty's back and her grip on him faltered. Behind her, Johnny was taken down by the soldiers.

"PLEase.." she gurgled, her eyes in shock. Blood trailed out her mouth. The pilot looked at a fellow soldier and grabbed the sobbing child from her dying arms.

"MOMMMMYYY!" Foxx yelped, reaching for her.

"This is Bravo 2, we are set and ready for take off." The pilot spoke into his radio. A soldier held onto Foxx tightly, buckling his seatbelt around the two of them. He stroked Foxx's hair softly.

"Don't look at it, son." he said. Around them were several refugees. Three other helicopters rose from the ground.

"Mommy…" Foxx sobbed, his throat too sore for words.

"Copy that, Bravo 2, you are clear for take off, Proceed to Presidential Compound 1-A, over."

Moments later the chopper was up in the air. Foxx watched Misty cringe on the ground in a pool of blood. As they rose, she shrank and shrank until she was far behind them. The soldier held onto Foxx tightly.

"We're going to take good care of you, buddy." he said softly.

Foxx could only gurgle behind tears.

The helicopter roared over the empty, open plains. Small villages below them seemed void of all life. The sky over the Indigo Plateau was a crimson hue. Just beyond a patch of forest were the mountains, tucking away the Compound.

Foxx would never see it.

"..Bravo 2, this is control, be advised that we are detecting--"

The helicopter rattled violently.

"SHIT!" The pilot grunted. Someone screamed. A Fearow slammed into the side of the helicopter. The co-pilot went for his sidearm as the Pokemon slammed into it again.

Another soldier drew his firearm, but as another Fearow slammed into helicopter, it went off and landed a round in someone's leg.

"FUCK!" The pilot yelped.

Another slam and the chopper was spinning out of control.

More screams.

The chopper was headed for the trees.

The last thing Foxx heard was the screech of the Fearow.

* * * * *

Chaos ensued as soldiers scrambled around the base. On the horizon clouds were gathering. It was going to storm soon. Clyde, Brock, Duplica and Cindy had taken advantage of the confusion and slipped into the base relatively undetected.

"Where's the airfield?" Duplica panted as Brock tugged her along.

"On the west side of the compound," Clyde reported. "We have to go through the building."

"How are we going to get inside?" Brock asked. Clyde gave him a cynical look.

"You think I forgot my I.D. at home?"

They approached the main entrance. The guard's post was abandoned, but the door was still operated by a card lock. Clyde swiped his card through and the glass doors slid open.

"Easiest thing we've done all day." Cindy scoffed. They stepped inside to meet a panicked crowd.

"Please remain calm!" a soldier called hurriedly from the reception desk. "We are mobilizing Transport Vehicles--women and children are first in line!"

Brock and Duplica exchanged glances.

"You think they really have the resources to give everyone here a ride?" Clyde whispered. "C'mon."

They pushed through the crowd past the reception desk.

"This place is huge." Cindy pointed out. "How do you know where to go?"

"I've been here for Boot Camp." Clyde replied. He looked over at them as two guards approached. "Play it cool."

"This area's off limits." The guards said sternly. "Please stay in The Lobby."

"It's okay guys, I'm with Enforcer Unit." Clyde flashed his I.D. "I'm moving these civilians to the evacuation Chopper."

"Those are reserved for select personnel," The Guards pointed out. "Where's your papers?"

Brock was watching Clyde's fingers dance against his hips, reaching for his combat knife. Everyone stood tense, the guards watching them carefully.

"My papers…"

The windows at the front of the Lobby shattered. People screamed. Outside artillery was beginning to fire. A Pidgeotto swooped into the building, scooping up refugees in its wake.

"HOLY SHIT!" the guards ran past the group, drawing their sidearms.

"C'mon!" Clyde hissed. They bolted down the hallway to the exit on the far end.

Coming out onto the airfield, one last helicopter was about to take off. Its blades kicked up a cloud of dust as soldiers stepped away. Clyde drew his rifle and charged toward it.

"STAY TOGETHER!" he ordered.

Soldiers began firing at the group. Wild Fearows and Pidgeottos swooped over the field to distract them. Clyde pivoted on his heel to return fire as he jogged backward toward the helicopter. It began to raise off the ground. Back toward the exit, a Voltorb rolled onto the airfield and exploded.

Clyde jumped onto the open deck of the helicopter, his gun clattering away. The pilot turned, surprised, and Clyde pulled out his combat knife. He looked back at Brock, Duplica and Cindy, whom were scrambling to get onto the craft.

"C'MON!" he yelled over the blades. The pilot drew his firearm and shot Clyde in the shoulder. The boy stumbled back, his knife clattering away as his clutched his wound. The pilot reached over and fired another round into Cindy's chest before Brock fired a round into his head.

Cindy stumbled forward. Duplica caught her and began to pull her along.

"It's okay.." Cindy gurgled. "Leave me…I'll be with Jason.."

Brock turned to grab Duplica. Clyde was moving the helicopter forward at a snail's pace. He had little training.

"DUPLICA!" Brock roared, returning fire at the soldiers behind them. Duplica hesitated briefly, finally letting Cindy flop to the ground as she fled for the chopper. Brock pulled her in front of him, hoisting her into the chopper. He climbed inside just as two bullets struck him through the back.

"JESUS!" he grunted, falling over.

"BROCK!" Duplica shrieked. Bullets pounded into the side of the helicopter. Clyde cursed as he yanked on the controls, navigating the helicopter off the ground. Soldiers on the ground continued firing, the windshield shattered. Controls beeped furiously in warning. He tugged on the controls as the helicopter soared above the Indigo Plateau. Duplica sobbed in the back as she held Brock in her arms. A pool of blood began to form underneath him.

"It's okay, baby…" he grunted.

"Don't talk." Duplica ordered, stroking his hair. "Please, just…don't.." her head lowered against his. Clyde looked back from the pilot seat. He frowned and said nothing.

Behind them The Indigo Plateau was on fire. Poke'mon had begun to surround the complex. The artillery had ceased firing. In less than two hours the screams would be drowned out by the deafening silence consuming the land. The only noise left in the sky was the quiet grief of a woman with her fallen lover, and the roaring blades of a helicopter low on fuel.

Alas, while the chapter on Man's Rule closes,
there are always survivors.

Survivors that in their wake find a world void of
salvation.

Only a world of new horror,
a world of Devastation.


* * * * *

I know you have a lot of questions. It's not over. In fact, this is only the beginning. I want to thank everyone whom has supported me this far. Let me assure you that the best is yet to come.

Thus ends the first part of the series: "D R E A D"

Look for "DEVASTATION" coming soon!

thanks for reading!
 
* * * *
* * * *

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YOU ARE NOW CONNECTED TO:

FREQUENCY 6874 DELTA-3

("UNION RADIO")

"atdrhfgsuhsga…Lo and behold, The Prophet Mguhuadhfga TWO…
Created trhuaghgag…God, gdaghuasgt a in service to man….
Man created itwuathd the vigagda...sion of God,
created to serve God's divingdauhdauh….purpose.

For a time, this was good. Man wteahtudahgda...t
and respecdtajdagda…and humble. But alawtuehaht with time,
lgahtuhaaf…crumbles and forsaken...dcagda…orgduahsugaatders…rise to power.
Man grew restless! He built cities of steel; theuahtdaagda.....
arches andgaudhghdaga…of brick extendingdtada..alas...Heaven.
He builtgtata…death..dgadaja..machines!
dgdagdautndauhtawg…did with science what was not of God's service...

gahutdagdfa….teuwhaug...

And it was with tewahtuehwagt...vanity that burned God's eyes..gdatada
Man lost faith in Goaguhagtdagd…he created igdsagatatdag...beyond
science and willgrjaidjadGod that dagga,datdtuhd saw Man hoping to
extend to Heaven before his time. It wagdajtijad....that

dagjidajtwa..God lost faith in man…tdahtuahfdagda...

So march forth, the armies of Man!teauthda..The Prophet Mtewahutda..WO..
is no longer in service to man, tehauthada….but of..ahduat ..God almighty.
God declares tehuatheatgat Man has lost faith dathuatda...and
God iatgadfgahdua have lost faith in Man. dhuathadsag...Make man humble again,
God commands. Burn the cities of Man and destroy….theuatsa...
wrdsatuahtragdag…. Ground the machines that teauhfguahdga…the sky and
crush out of existence tteajtrushgadhe towers thteahdugahd…reach intoteuhafda... Heaven!

And it was this, that ateahuud The PROPHET MteuaheaTWO...had done.
Mgdajta..TWgdadag, created by Mgdaadfa.., Prophet and servant of God,
made Man humble again. Man was once agtautjdagisja at peace
wiatijadaf, in servitude to the Prophet Mduateauao, atuhwathwa...whom
answered only to the one and true God.

Alas, God is tdagdathdaga..ness and second chances. dgaudhatdeag....
God hteuahdafg…and the selfless. When Man was humbled
he ascteadfau The Prophet dtatuhedaTWo..o into Heaven where he redgthudthag..h
the Almighty. Alliance with usatheaguda…THE UNIONdagadatda..atterhau..

and you will FIND YOUR SALVATION.

aguathdagd.a..

JOIN THE UNIONadgad….

FOR WE ARE yragdauthdas…..

dahtuadsaTRUSTgadgaIN YOUR GOVERNMENT…athuadhgaaga..

gadhusthuaghdsaf.a….

hfuyhsfa..This is your dgansutda.d..resident, zdfuwtghduf Oak, Signing off..atewuahteas…

* * * * * *
* * * * * *

FREQUENCY 6874 DELTA-3

("UNION RADIO")

….CONNECTION LOST…..
 
A while ago I had an idea to produce a short graphic novel for D R E A D. In short it was going to be a side-story, about the first group of Enforcers sent into Cerulean.

As of now the project is shelved--my artist has gone AWOL. I have to say though that I'm very impressed with the initial sketch of the characters he produced.

"DEVASTATION" is still underway, there's several things occupying my time. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you guys!
 
Please note: The thread is from 14 years ago.
Please take the age of this thread into consideration in writing your reply. Depending on what exactly you wanted to say, you may want to consider if it would be better to post a new thread instead.
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