When one who has the heart of a Pokemon --
but is not Pokemon born--shall rain fire
down upon us, a time of great darkness
shall embrace the land


The Next Generation



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Chapter 1



The sky was an azure shade of blue that stretched to infinity. Clouds of cottony white floated gently, borne on soft winds towards the distant horizon. Seabirds wheeled and called, too far off to determine exactly what type they were.

The sun sparkled brightly, sending refractions off the calm waves below in thousands of directions. Dewgongs surfaced and dove beneath the waves, circling and splashing and generally having a good time.

Putting leisurely through the air, a giant blimp slowly passed overhead, casting a large shadow across the frolicking Dewgongs, causing some to mew in fear and dive beneath the waves. Other simply slapped the water with their hard white rudders, clapping their flippers together and honking noisily.

"Whoa!" Jordan Ketcham breathed, pressing her face against the oval window set in the blimp's passenger cabin. She craned her neck as she looked down below, at the seas live with Pokemon. "A school of Goldeens!"

The wind gently rocked the blimp, causing the small cabin to sway alarmingly side-to-side. This didn't affect the girl as she remained plastered to the window. Her red and white League cap was turned around backwards so she could look as far as possible down.

"Woop!" Carol Simons yelped, catching her drink before it slid off the table as the cabin bucked in the turbulence. The blimp soon leveled off, and she relaxed, loosening her grip on the cup.

Terry Sketcher walked carefully over to the window where Jordan had taken up residence. He peered out it over the red and white backwards baseball hat. "They're probably upset by the blimp's passing."

Jordan nodded her head, not looking away. "I guess," she said absently, watching the Goldeens flop absently about before diving back beneath the crystalline waves.

Terry pulled out a sketchbook, his most treasured possession. He ran a hand through his dark green hair as he talked to the back of Jordan's head. "If you see anything else, Jord, let me know. I'd love to get a couple good drawings in."

Carol Simons sat back in her chair, finishing her drink and crumpling the paper cup. She looked around, then shifted in her seat, bored. Blowing a long strand of golden hair out of her eyes, she looked around again. The chairs were back-to-back, all connected securely to each other and the floor by bolts.

She turned around, leaning over the backs of her seat and the person directly behind her, Jordan's older brother Matt. She looked over his shoulder for a good minute and a half before she got bored of that, too.

Matt was deeply engrossed in an old-looking book, with tattered yellowed pages. He reverently turned the page, eyes scanning along the top.

Carol flicked his ear for attention. "Yo, fearless leader. So where we off to when this thing lands?"

Matt looked over his shoulder at her, mildly irritated at having his reading interrupted. "Why don't you ask Jordan? She's the one supposed to be leading us."

Carol glanced over at Jordan, who was still leaving a faceprint on the window. She snorted. "Oh, that's a funny one, Matt. Tell another one." She twisted back to look at him, only to find him back in his book. After a brief silence, she prodded. "Well?"

Matt closed the book, and half-turned in his seat, shifting Flash, his slumbering Pikachu, out of his lap. Placing Flash gently in the seat next to him, he quickly unzipped his backpack and returned the book to it, closing the backpack before turning to look at Carol once again, who was fidgeting.

"We're putting down in Fuschia City. I figured that we'd stay awhile there before heading off towards home." He paused, looking dead on at Carol. Then he half-turned his head so that he could see Jordan and Terry out of the corner of his eye. "Provided that we don't let Terry lead us off into the wilderness again!"

He spoke the last part extra-loud, just in case Terry hadn't heard him the first time. Carol grinned at his not-so-subtle hinting. "Well, if you hadn't gotten lost, then you never would have been there to rescue me from those rampaging Gravellers back in Carmine City. So it can't be that much of a sore spot." She ended this by leaning over and ruffling his already messy black hair.

Terry ambled over, dropping into his seat next to Matt. He then leapt high into the air, clutching his bottom in pain as yellow electricity flew through the air. "YEOWTCH!"

"PIKA!" Flash shrieked, leaping onto Matt's head and shooting a disdainful glance at Terry, who was now sitting on the ground, smoke sizzling from his charred bottom.

Carol giggled, and started even worse when Terry sent her a glare that could melt ice.

Matt grinned, picking Flash off his head and placing her in his lap so he could pet her head. "Serves you right, Ter. You should always look before you sit."

"PiKAchu," Flash agreed, crossing her paws.

"I thought the phrase was "look before you leap"," Terry said, sitting gingerly in his seat next to Matt. Flash looked at him innocently, then turned around smartly and smacked him with her stiff tail.

"It's applicable everywhere," Matt said, picking Flash up and putting her in the seat on his other side, so she and Terry wouldn't torment each other. DB, Jordan's Pikachu, opened one eye, then relinquenished half the seat.

"Listen to you," Jordan called from her perch. "You sound like a teacher, Matt. Where did you learn the word "applicable?!"

Matt shrugged, then realized that Jordan wouldn't turn around to even see his gesture, so he rolled his eyes. The younger Ketcham's interests were once again the outside world.

Jordan ignored their resumed conversation, staring out at the serene blue expanses of endless ocean and sky. Cottony white clouds scuttle-butted gently across the sky, heedless of the darker clouds far off, on the horizon. Jordan settled her chin in her hands and stared out, when a quick contrail of stark blue cut across the sky.

She blinked, then sat up. "What was that?"

Only Terry looked up, and he from his sketchpad. "What was what?"

Jordan shook her head, looking from the others to the window. "I -- I don't know." She frowned. "I think -- I think it was a Pokemon. But it was flying."

Carol shrugged, tossing the crumpled garbage of her drink from hand to hand. "So? A lot of Pokemon fly."

"But this one didn't have wings," Jordan said thoughtfully. Now even Matt looked interested. He shrugged, thinking over what she could have seen.

"It probably was a high-flying airplane," was his conclusion. "Not any legend-lost Pokemon."

Jordan frowned but said nothing, adjusting her cap. "You're probably right," she said. "But I know what I saw. It sure wasn't a plane."

Further arguments were interrupted by a loudspeaker clicking on. "All passengers," a scratchy voice said. "All passengers, please return to your seats and buckle your safety belts. We shall be landing shortly. I repeat...."

Jordan stood, walking towards where the others were sitting. As she drew closer, Matt pulled out a Pokèball. "Flash, you better get inside. I don't want you to get airsick again."

"Chuu," Flash said, sitting up on her hindpaws and looking faintly green. That was absolved into red light as the beam of energy collected her and placed her in the ball. Matt secured it on his belt as Jordan sat next to Carol. DB jumped over the seat, settling in her lap as they prepared for landing.

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Carol adjusted the straps of her large backpack as she stood in place. The blimp had landed without incident. After a quick unloading, the four teens found themselves in Fuschia City. Matt and Terry had run off, in search of food.

Well, the way Jordan had put it was: "Wine, women and booze."

"You're far too cynical for your age," Carol scolded, but Jordan ignored her, fidgeting as she stood in place. Jordan turned and began scolding DB, who was munching on an apple as she sat on her shoulder. Little flecks of apple were peppering her neck and shoulders. Jordan messed with her cap, then self-consciously touched her short hair.

Carol had actually been surprised when Jordan had cut her long hair. Jordan's excuse was that it was hard to take care of really long hair when backpacking, and Carol could relate. She kept her own golden blonde hair in a military cut, except for two extraordinarily long bangs.

"I can't stand this," Jordan said, shifting from foot to foot. She shivered, folding her bare arms across her chest. "I was *warm* at Crystalline Beach."

Matt walked over. "Maybe that was because Crystalline Beach was a beach," he pointed out mildly. "This is a port town, on the ocean. It's gonna be chilly."

"Then lend me your coat," Jordan said, shivering some more. Matt rolled his eyes. "Oh, come on," Jordan said, giving him a pleading, puppy-dog look. "I know you have more than one. Let me borrow one, please?"

Matt rolled his eyes again, shucking off the blue short-sleeved coat with gold trim. "Fine. Wear this. Honestly, Jord. You should pack a coat." He looked around. "Where was Terry at? He *was* right behind me..."

Carol pointed off towards a growing argument. "He might just need rescuing by this point, cowboy."

They all turned to look, and saw Terry in a dispute with a restaurant worker.

Jordan rolled her eyes, looking identical to her brother now that he pulled out a red coat trimmed with gold. She slung her green backpack over a shoulder. DB hopped into the opening, teeth chattering. They both watched as Matt tried to interrupt the dispute.

"Asssssh Ketssssssham?"

Jordan blinked, spinning on her heel to look at Carol quizzically. "Did you say that?"

Carol looked at her askance. "Say what?" she asked. She frowned, looking at Jordan, then placing a hand on her forehead. "Are you feeling all right? First you're seeing things, and now you're hearing things?"

Jordan batted her hand away in annoyance. "I'm perfectly all right," she snapped. "I just heard someone say "Ash Ketcham,"."

Carol frowned, looking around. "Well, that's odd, all right. We're the only ones standing in this general area, Jord."

Jordan fidgeted, spinning around. They were pretty much isolated from the few people actually out on the streets. "Tell me about the weirdness quotient."

Matt jogged back, Terry in tow. He looked at Carol and Jordan, who both had grim and disturbed looks on their faces. "What happened to you?" he asked. "You both look like you've seen a ghost!"

Jordan shivered. "Please, Matt. Don't jinx us. Let's just find a hotel or something to stay the night in, then we can head back towards Pallet."

Matt looked at his normally light-hearted sister. He shivered too, though not so much from cold. He glanced at the sky, which had been such a pretty blue earlier. It was starting to darken, and ominous clouds loomed in the distance. "Sure," he said quietly. "Let's find a place to stay. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure need a good night's sleep."

"On something other than the ground," Carol chimed in. Everyone chuckled dryly at that comment. Far too many nights had been spent on hard ground and in the open wilderness for everyone's tastes.

As they started down the main street of Fuschia, Terry dropped into step with Carol. "What's with Jordan?" he asked in a low tone.

"I'm not certain," Carol said, not looking at him. "Something's up, though. It's in the air. I can feel it. The Pokemon can, too."

As if to illustrate her point, Flash hugged the back of Matt's neck, chirruping. DB buried herself in Jordan's backpack.

Terry shuddered, looking at the sky. "This place has some seriously bad vibes."

Carol shook her head. "No, not here. It's not here that has the bad vibes, but it's near here." She frowned, brushing some of her bangs out of her face. "If that was understandable at all."

"You creep me out when you do the psychic/premonition thingummy," Terry said. "It's really creepy, you know."

Carol blushed. "It's a gift," she said modestly.

"Are you two gonna sit and chat like old housewives all day or are you coming?" Jordan yelled back at them.

"Oops, looks like we're busted," Terry quipped as they ran to catch up with the siblings.

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"It would be our luck that the hotels are all filled," Terry grunted as he leaned back on the bench. Jordan scooted over to give Terry -- and his enormous backpack -- enough room. The grey sky was ominous like a ceiling of clouds packed over them.

Jordan replaced the old Pokemon League hat on her head. The hooked "L" insignia was outdated, but was much simpler than the current logo. The hat was Jordan's most treasured possession, given to her by her father when she set out on her Pokemon training journey.

Surprisingly, Jordan put the hat on her head the correct way. "That's our luck, though. Worse comes to worse, we can camp at the Pokemon Center. Nurse Joy never seems to mind." She laced her fingers behind her head, looking speculatively at the restaurant where Matt and Carol disappeared into. "When do you think Matt and Carol'll be back with the food?"

As if on cue, Jordan's stomach rumbled noisily. She blushed, leaning forward and crossing her arms over her stomach. Terry looked pained. "That was expected," he grumbled. He shivered. The wind was brisk, and the air undoubtedly had a bite to it.

There were less and less people on the street. "Look at all of them, with good sense," Jordan said. "At home, with the windows closed at the heat cranked up."

"Ash Ketcham."

This time both of them heard it. Terry turned while Jordan hopped up, instantly scanning the area. "Who's there?" Jordan called, looking about the near-deserted streets but spotting no one. Her voice echoed back to her, sounding bolder than she felt.

Not a soul answered.

"This is getting real creepy," she told Terry as he rose. He frowned, still looking around.

"Who do you suppose it was?"

Jordan shrugged. "Whoever it was, they're gone now." She spotted Matt and Carol trundling out of the restaurant, bearing food between them. "And, quite frankly, I don't want to stick around to find out, especially if they've got the food. Come on!"

She raced towards Matt and Carol. Terry took one last look around, muttering to himself as he did so. "And once again, a mystery is stalled because of the infamous Ketcham appetite." He turned, to see them already tucking in to the food. "There better be some left for me!" he called, jogging over.

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A/N: Hokay, first part done. Let's see some responses, people!