Route 1 wasn’t much of a hike; the majority of it was separated by a large river system that fed into the ocean making it impassable without some manner of boat or a Pokémon to ride on. The routes after 1 on that side of Isshu weren’t part of the Trainer’s path, so it didn’t really matter at the time to go down them. Accumula Town was the next town over, holding the joint Nuvema/Accumula grocery store and home to a Pokémon Center. Despite the distance I rarely had time or cause to go. Our school also shared it’s classrooms with Accumula and there were talks of merging the two Towns together as they were growing faster than anticipated though no one really had made a move on the legislation. Even now they’re separate entities though the writing seems to be on the wall for their eventual merger. I hadn’t been there in years and I can honestly say I was a little excited to have the chance to finally leave Nuvema Town on its own even if I could see both Towns in the distance if I looked north or south respectively.
Despite the small distance I had to travel I took my time, investigating the tall grass and even chit chatting with some other new trainers from Accumula Town. None of them wanted to battle though I was honestly thankful for that, I had no desire to really train against other Trainers at this point. My investigation and purposeful meandering brought me into a pack of Llipup, most of them scattering when they caught wind of me. One in particular stood its ground, and since it was my job, I sent my Snivy to battle it before eventually catching it in one of the pok balls the good Doctor had given me. I caught a Patrat of my own alongside it before finally deciding it was time to meet up with Cheren and Bel in Accumula Town. They had gotten ahead of me it seemed, Bel cheering over her newly caught Lillipup though if it was from the same pack I had encountered I had no real way of knowing. Cheren was patiently waiting as was his wont to do and as I approached he gave me a warning look though it was too late. Bel had caught sight of me, rushing over with her two Pokémon in a flurry as she tried to show them off. I hid my pokeballs to make her feel better and tried to brush past her to Cheren but she was in rare form. She challenged the both of us to a catching contest but I didn’t feel inclined to play games with the lives of animals and showed her the two I had caught before running into her. She wanted to give me a prize but I just patted her on the shoulder in hopes of distracting her. The ploy worked and before long the three of us were underway to meet up with the good Doctor.
Accumula Town is a bit larger then Nuvema despite their close proximity, and in the time between my last visit and that day it’d grown even larger. The pokecenter was merged with the town store and it loomed over the rest of the buildings like a friendly giant that was posed to crush the city under it though purely by accident. The complex was made mostly of glass standing three stories tall with a bright crimson roof that glittered in the winter sun. The design gave a fairly good view into the store and the hospital that ran twenty four hours as well as the store that sold the most common brand name goods from around Isshu and the adjacent regions. The hospital was for the human population though it also seemed to be an emergency room for Pokémon as well. I could see exotic Pokémon that my pokedex couldn’t identify undergoing treatments, their trainers fretting about nervously. Haiiro stirred under my shirt and I wondered if I would have the same reaction should he grow ill. The rest of the town had a grown up around it, the buildings ranging from small single floor ranch houses to two story apartment buildings made of brown weathered brick. Unlike Nuvema Town which went for a natural look with sweeping lawns and gravel roads, Accumula Town was mostly paved giving the entire place a fairly well manicured though constructed feel. A park sat in the center of town built on a large hill, allowing even the buildings built on the lower planes to have a nice view from the top stories. Where Nuvema Town kept an air of small town unassuming complacence, Accumula felt…busy in a way I can’t quite describe. The streets were fairly empty but the place had a hustling feel about it which made me quite certain that the rumors it was expanding faster than they could build up were true. It was an oddly nice feel after the boring atmosphere that pervaded home, but I had little time to soak up the natural flavors as the good Doctor was waiting patiently for us in the Pokecenter.
It was just Bel and I who met up with the Proffessor, Cheren having already spoken to her it seemed. She took us through the store and the hospital before finishing up at the Pokémon Hospital and computer terminal. The Pokémon Hospital wasn’t a building or room set aside for the care of a trainers Pokémon, it was a machine that sat quietly and neatly behind a counter along with a nurse who seemed quite happy to take our Pokémon and heal them for free just as a demonstration. I still have no idea how the machine works but its powers are nothing short of a miracle. It takes up to six Pokémon, as long as they remain in their balls, and heals them fully of cuts and bruises and even cures of them of harmful ailments such as poison. I admit even I hadn’t known about it or the computer terminal that would allow us to access any Pokémon we caught after our first six. The Leauge had fairly stringent rules on how many Pokémon a person could carry at any one time, forcing trainers and regular people alike to carry no more than six at a time. Any Pokémon caught after that was transferred to a region sweeping network via the pokeball itself that would store them in a location of the person’s choosing. The technology was fairly cutting edge, placing the Pokémon into stasis where they’d merely sleep and dream thus easing the burden on the trainer from having to feed them or take care of them. I had to admit it sounded a little cruel at first but no Pokémon seemed to dislike the system though I figured it would be difficult to gauge how they felt if they were asleep the whole time. The good Doctor assured us they were in no pain and with the recent improvements to virtual reality; they didn’t even know they were in a computer. Bel of course inquired about this and the good Doctor was more than happy to explain. It seemed someone in Isshu devised a system that would create a large “island” of data the Pokémon would be booted into. Once there, they’d be unable to tell the island they were placed on was any different than a real world location of similar size and habitat. It eased my conscious I must admit to hear it, knowing they at least got to move around even if it was just in their mind. The good Doctor also revealed that studies were underway to improve the island and not just make it a small program in the system but a fully fleshed out digital world the Pokémon could physically move around in once uploaded to the program itself. Technology is certainly wonderful. Bel went off afterwards and I was set to follow until Doctor Araragai took me aside. She gave me another ticket, telling me unlike the other two my pokemon would be placed on an actual island that was owned by my parents back when they were trainers themselves. The island had been cleared for some time, awaiting my journey. I figuring when I had the time I’d check the island out once I’d caught more Pokémon but that thought sounded odd to me. Even I knew they weren’t objects to simply “capture” and “collect”, they were living breathing creatures and even if it was my job to capture them and help the good Doctor study them, I endeavored to find another word for what we were doing.
I thanked her and then went and looked for Cheren but I found far more then I had ever anticipated. The heavy hand of Fate deciding that that instant was the best time to strike, the events of this story start here and the consequences of those events as well no matter where they for better or for worse. Some display was going on in the small park that sat in the middle of Accumula Town, a large crowd having already gathered and as I stepped closer I could just barely make out Cheren. The event hadn’t started yet and as I moved closer I seemed to have caught Cheren’s attention. He motioned me over and we chit chatted for a bit before music blasted from some unseen speakers. Oddly dressed men and women walked out onto the park, dressed in gray and black body suits with a white tabard with an emblazoned shield with a blue P in the center. Only their face was visible, and it seemed they’d dyed their hair orange or at least what little was peeking out from their odd costume. The ensamble parting and a man in even stranger clothing stepped forward, his hair clearly dyed a deep sea green. He wore an eye piece over his left eye, his cloak a mismatch mosaic of colors that honestly was a bit garish. He said his name was Ghetsis of Team Plasma, an organization that sought to make the world a better place for Pokémon. The crowd stirred at the phrasing of the man’s statements, talking hushed amongst themselves with worry and confusion. The man continued on with his clearly rehearsed speech, saying Pokémon were beings of unlimited possibilities and that humans abused them and kept them from their true state of perfection. He said that Team Plasma’s goals were to establish a world just for Pokemon, that they’d take them from their trainers and the wild and set them in a world apart from the humans that harmed them no matter the stakes before imploring us to consider his statements and to see “Reason”, to give up our Pokémon willingly because it was truly what they wanted. It was utter crap, all of it and as the strange group packed and left the people in the crowd muttered and talked louder now that they wouldn’t interrupt the odd goings on’s. Neither Cheren nor I cared to debate or argue against any that actually agreed with the nonsense but all the same I think we were both a little angry. Not just at the people but at ourselves most of all. I think it dawned on Cheren as well as myself that we weren’t just studying rocks or inanimate objects, we were going out and catching living creatures and what that actually meant. Haiiro continued to stir under my shirt, and even if I didn’t know fully then the inkling that myself and my friends were protecting and helping another living creature added a bit of maturity to the situation that hadn’t been there before.
We went out for a light dinner, Bel joining us a little while after we’d ordered our food. We talked and chatted as the sun went down about odds and ends, where we were headed and what we were going to do there. The next Route was Route 2 which would take us to Striaton City and our first Gym. We had little information to go off of about our first Gym Challenge but Cheren and Bel seemed excited none the less. Trainer’s goals outside of the one the good Doctor handed us was to challenge the Pokémon League, but not just anyone could waltz up and challenge the Elite Four any old time they wanted. The League set up eight gyms in the eight largest cities around Isshu each with a theme and run by eight of the strongest trainers from around the region itself. The Elite Four were the ruling body of the League, overseen by the current Champion at the time, each the five strongest trainers in the entire region. If you could beat eight gym leaders there was a chance you could make it past the Elite Four and challenge the Champion directly though few made it past the Elite Four at all. It was a serious TV event whenever anyone managed to beat two of the Elite Four, the entire event televised and free to watch so long as you had a TV or radio if you wanted to listen. The League had even gone global, allowing people to watch the events over their x-transceivers though a small fee was tacked on by the x-transceiver service. Each gym hands out a badge that acts as a mark of entry to the League, though many trainers use them as a way to show off to their peers. I remember once as a kid I found my mother’s Badge Case, the colors and shiny lacquer over them made them look like oddly shaped toys to my eight year old self. I’d taken them out to play with but when my father caught me he acted as if I had shot someone, sweeping me up and putting me in my room as he hastily cleaned up. I had a long talk that night with my parents on how they weren’t toys, and didn’t get dessert that night either. We finished eating and Bel went off to rent us some rooms for the night, the sun already low on the horizon though Cheren wanted to go for a walk around the town before we moved on in the morning. I went with him just for some company, Haiiro under my shirt having long since passed out from the warmth though I had saved him some food I hoped he’d at least eat. I didn’t really know to much about the eating habits of Snivy and was a little worried on how to go about figuring it out since the pokedex had no information on it.
The walk was pleasant enough, Cheren and I talked about our pokemon and the training we were going to do to prepare for our gym battle. We didn’t notice as a boy about our age approached until he shouted at us. We stopped and I quickly scanned over him. He couldn’t have been much younger than us, his face youthful and oddly pretty with a jovial smile and bright eyes. His hair was a strange green color but it looked natural, hanging down his waist and covered in a black ball cap. He dressed fairly plainly in a pair of khakis and a dress shirt over a black undershirt. He was effeminate but not too much so and gun to my head I couldn’t honestly say he was that bad looking if in a fairly normal way. But the normal part ended when he opened his mouth, his voice a little high in a youthful way that cracked and changed pitch. He asked us about our Pokemon, my Haiiro having peaked out of my shirt to see why we’d stopped moving. Cheren of course went and opened his mouth and explained everything in one long stream of information that I think overwhelmed the boy though it didn’t seem to matter since all he caught or wanted to catch was the word pokedex. He spouted the same stuff “Team Plasma” had spouted earlier, about how Pokémon were mistreated and how putting them in pokeballs was cruel and wrong. I wanted to point out that he had one in a pokeball as well but it seemed he beat me to the punch, releasing a Purrloin and challenging me off all people to a duel. He said he wanted to hear my Haiiro speak though it sounded a little more like he was just a lunatic than anything else. The fight went swiftly all things considered and he handed over the duel money happily though left on more of the strange “Save the Pokémon” routine. Cheren and I decided to hit the Pokecenter before heading off to the hostel that Bel had found to settle in. They didn’t sleep much; the energy was still high for them and their trip but myself and Haiiro passed out pretty quick after the days series of victories.