So part of what I've been doing lately is going through a region and listing all of the cities, towns, routes, and important locations (Game and Anime original towns included) and doing a day by day breakdown of what happens during the undampening. For Kanto I had to consider where certain characters would be after 4 years since Ash left.
For Johto it was only three. But whereas for some cities and towns a lot may not have changed while Ash away, others may have had a lot change since his visit.
This little side story was kinda fun for me as I played with the possibilities and the history that I may intermittently sprinkle in. I do plan on having this route quickly connect with the Incalescence and once it does you'll understand why I made this for those of you who remember the original Johto arc.
So I hope you all enjoy this little experiment of mine.
She's thought of that word a lot over the last few years. Had her life ever been normal? It must have been at some point, enough for her to have something to compare to. Yet, for all her efforts, she couldn't summon a memory or moment in her life that fit her depiction of normalcy.
So maybe her life had never been normal, maybe she had seen what it was supposed to be, from television or people on the street. Maybe that's where she got her notions of normalcy, that's how she knew what you're supposed to be.
You're supposed to have a modest and normal house, not an extravagant mansion overlooking the city atop a cliff. Normalcy comes with white picket fences that border your nice green lawn, not a cave beneath the mansion outfitted with the latest technology and surveillance systems.
A family. Normal people are supposed to have a family that does normal things.
She was supposed to have a mother who loved and doted on her. A mother who was alive. One who would teach her the things all traditional mothers taught their daughters, like cooking, cleaning and sewing. She'd have a father who did normal fatherly things like watching sports in the den, not security feeds in the cave. He'd teach her sports, not how to disarm a mugger or the proper way to rappel down the side of a cliff.
And what of Latoya Parker? Who would that normal girl be?
Hell, Latoya would go to school, get good grades, do something with her life instead of running her father's superhero toystore. She would have friends that would talk to her about the latest gossip or about boys or other asinine things that girls her age were supposed to talk about.
Her life would be boring. Yes, a nice, safe, boring life.
She wouldn't have to spend most of the night patrolling the town for villainy, then drag herself out of bed only minutes after getting in. She'd be wearing the latest fashion instead of hopping rooftops in a purple outfit and mask with lavender gloves and boots. She'd find a nice guy who made her feel protected, made her laugh, and had deep and meaningful conversations with her.
Gotum City's commissioner had once confessed to her that, while he was grateful for everything she and her predecessor had done for the city, he couldn't deny that their presence had started something.
They had escalated things.
Gotum used to have normal crimes and normal law enforcement to keep it in check. One day a man decided to dress up like a Gligar and walk the streets to boost sales of his merchandise. People thought that her father's antics were entertaining, an innocent marketing gesture. Maybe her father thought as much at the time, but as the years went on people started seeing a man in costume fighting off thugs and muggers in the middle of the night.
The police could never link the sightings with her father, who always had a decent alibi, and with the streets quieter because of the vigilante's efforts, certain officers were willing to turn a blind eye if they saw him. Even this was some skewed form of normal, a new normal.
Then the trio of traveling criminals got the bright idea of joining in on his fantasy. She could've blamed them, but as the years dragged on she started to think that maybe the trio just brought about the inevitable. Maybe they pulled back the veil and showed her the ugliness that had always been there.
They attacked her father's store, dressed up in ridiculous costumes, piloting a giant Spinarak mech. They caught and strung him up by a streetlight for all the citizens of Gotum to see.
"Is this what you wanted dad? Did your dreams finally come true? You and some other lunatic duking it out in the streets, in costumes, for all the world to see?"
Latoya already knew the answer. Despite his gritted teeth and the cocoon's obvious discomfort, she knew her father was living his silly dream. This is what he had sought for years, but for all the time and effort he had put in, the years had not returned that kindness.
Her father was no longer in his prime, and it showed to anyone with working eyes. The same man ten years ago would've been able to dodge or break out of the silk that restrained him. His outfit didn't fit as well with his generous gut. These flaws never kept him from donning the cape and cowl, from living out a superhero fantasy. No matter how much she begged him to give it all up, he always answered the same way.
"This city and its people need a hero to look up to."
"But why does it have to be you?" .
"Because no one else will do it."
Seeing him beaten and tied up on that pole, she realized why her father needed this lifestyle. Normal people grieved, normal widows wore black, take antidepressants, suffer. They don't don capes and cowls. If there was no justice in this world then he believed he would become his own justice. He would cope through crusades.
Latoya knew that it would be the death of him. She ran to the glass case that housed the outfit he'd made for her, the one she had violently rejected. Until that moment, she couldn't, she wouldn't live a lie for him. She wouldn't wholeheartedly enter his world with the same enthusiasm and probably never would. Even if she pretended to go along with it for his sake, he'd eventually know her heart wasn't in it. But stuck between a lie and losing him, she opened the case.
So Gligirl was born.
Sciz-Noir, as many later came to call her, and her metapod minions were swiftly defeated once she donned the outfit and directed Gligar. Her father was released and the villains were sent flying into the sky, never to be seen again.
If only things had simply ended there.
Her father hadn't been willing to retire even when she decided to take the mantle. After a boy named Ash and his friends had left the city limits, she decided to put her foot down. A few days of arguing passed before her father eventually compromised and agreed to put up the cape once he finished training her in the ways of Gligarman.
Latoya managed to convince him she only needed six months of training. She even tried to sweeten the deal and added that once they were done he could technically still be a part of the superhero life by feeding her intel from the Glicave. Her father wasn't happy about retirement, but she could tell he was relieved that the Gligarman legacy was going to live on and he could get some well-deserved rest.
She had spent more time with her dad in those six months than she ever did in the decade she lost him to his obsession. It wasn't how she'd expected spending time with him would be like, but that wasn't to say it wasn't useful. Months of learning how to counter kicks and punches, as well as disarming, restraining, and incapacitating an opponent helped her build some muscle. She quickly learned how to angle herself and get most distance when gliding with her wings. She practiced fighting in sync with Gligar who, after several months of intense training, eventually evolved into a Gliscor. She trained herself to shift her center of gravity at a moment's notice and knew just how to adjust her weight to bring down people twice as tall and heavy as her.
Her father was content to vicariously enjoy his daughter's exploits, pouring his wealth into upgrading her outfit and gear. To do that he would need money, and what better way of getting it than to create a new line of action figures featuring his daughter and .
The action figures sold surprisingly well, enough to allow him to afford the upgrades he wanted with a substantial amount still left over. Latoya was embarrassed about selling dolls of herself so she tried not to think too much about it. Maybe that's why she never noticed the signs. How the Gligirl sales went down but the Sciz-Noir sales remained steady and even improved over time. She and her father never considered the effect that Sciz-Noir had on certain people in the city. Whether she knew it or not, Gotum's first supervillain had unknowingly emboldened those who carried the same brand of crazy.
Sableguy was the first. A twitchy and wiry man in his golden years with a penchant for stealing gemstones. He was predictable at least, mainly going for jewelry stores or anywhere that sold precious stones. Killer Krook came after him. A monster of a man who wore dark sunglasses and enjoyed roughing up civilians for their valuables.
Others started to pop up every other week, their gimmicks and costumes ranging from impressive to painfully sad. Latoya dealt with each one as they came with only a few return offenders who were willing to continue this lifestyle of pummeling and imprisonment. Not all of them were crafty like Sableguy or fighters like Killer Krook. You had your social outcasts, your fetishists, your cosplayers and your oddballs. Latoya used to think they were all crazy, but after the first year she came to learn that none of her previous opponents were actually insane compared to one man who changed everything once more.
Lanky and deathly pale, wearing skintight spandex, with a Vivillon-style eye mask and wings. It was easy to underestimate the man who called himself Vivillain, the Kalosian man who would later become the deadliest threat to Gotum City. On top of being a nihilist and a sociopath, Vivillain was also a certified genius, one of the worst combinations Latoya had ever seen.
By the second year of her caped career Vivillain began to form a group consisting of the more capable criminals. Worst of all, he gave them something they lacked: coordination and tactics.
Their attacks were carried out with moves and countermoves that they would've never been able to come up with on their own. Things were looking grim until she found help where she least expected it. Latoya figured she could consider herself fortunate that her father's madness had finally started to spread towards the other end of the spectrum. Heroes began to reveal themselves and rallied to her aid. Caterpie Man, Herocross, and Weedle Boy were just a few of the many who rose up to the call and helped her fight against Vivillain and his goons.
As the months went on their battles began to take their toll on the city. People were afraid to come out at night and sometimes even during the day. Their battles caused many heroes and villains on both sides to retire from the caped life after sustaining serious injuries. Property damage became frequent, enough that several businesses closed.
Then things suddenly calmed down upon the start of her third year. The people of Gotum were skeptical at first, but as the weeks dragged on without any sightings the citizens grew bolder with their movements. The sudden quiet succeeded in making her and the other heroes even more on edge. Even with their guard raised, nothing could've prepared them for what happened the night halfway through the month of August.
The night her Gliscor went berserk she figured that this must've been what Vivillain had been working on. Gliscor eventually passed out, but not after crumpling his iron jungle gym into a broken pile of steel. Her father checked the aeroscorpion's pulse and quickly took him to their med bay in the cave.
Latoya went to their computer and scanned the room for any airborne contaminates, then for signals or wavelengths that had made it into the cave. When the system came back with nothing again, she was stumped.
"A virus, an infection? Until I get a sample from Gliscor's body, I can't be sure. Vivillain and his crew has to be involved, maybe-"
Dozens of alert messages cascaded over the computer screens, all of them the same. Simultaneous attacks were occurring in different parts of the city.
"This is Gligirl calling in. I know it's early but I've got several reading of attacks across the city. I can't get to them all at once. I need someone to hit up downtown while I- is…is anyone listening? Hello?"
Silence; the cold hand of dread crushed the air out of her lungs.
"Ladyba, Drago-knight, Latilass, anyone? Please respond," Latoya was practically yelling at the mic, but all she heard was static.
"Was this Vivillain's plan? Take out the others and leave me for last? He'd certainly go for something like that, but something's off. He would've replied to my call. If he has the others then he would've intercepted my communication and goaded about where he was holding them or what he did."
The silence on the line was beginning to taunt her. She shut it off and stowed the communicator.
"Gliscor's out of commission…I'd want dad to come out with me for backup, which I'll definitely regret. But Gliscor needs someone to monitor his health and find out what made him go crazy. What if that's his plan? To get me alone and pick me off, then he'll have the city. Or maybe he wants me to second guess myself? Who am I kidding, he's probably got contingencies for anything I decide to do." She took a moment to breathe.
"The only time I ever beat him is when I don't try and outplay him and do what he never expects." Latoya stared at the motorcycle in their hangar, the Glicycle, and shook her head. While it offered her a bit more protection, it's something her nemesis would've prepared for.
"It's slower, but he won't be expecting me to just glide to the sites with my own wings. Making him wait might throw him off. There's no guarantee he got everyone. Maybe someone got away and can't get back to me, but until I hear otherwise I'm gonna hafta assume I'm alone in all of this."
She hopped into one of the drop chutes in the wall, landing in another part of the cave where the ejection ports were held. Latoya braced herself as she pressed the button to activate the release and watched the world become a blur. Several barriers slid away to reveal the city of Gotum, several fires pinpointing her next stops. With practiced ease Latoya let herself fly through the air, reveling in the weightlessness before her training kicked in and she extended her arms, catching the air beneath her wings and gliding towards her burning city.
She eventually reached the first site of destruction, gliding into the blown-out window of an apartment, expecting the body of one of her teammates to be there inside. The entire place looked like it had been bombed, then ransacked. Anything not bolted down to the floor was turned over and slashed.
She steeled herself, then walked right into Sableguy's body bleeding out into an expensive-looking rug. Passed out into the corner was his Sableye, amidst the remnants of what was once a living room. The scanners in her mask told her the old man was dead and his pokémon was unharmed but out cold. A pair of police officers were shining their flashlights around the wreckage, trying to find a clue.
One of them turned, flinching at the sight of her perched up on the windowsill.
"Gligirl!" the officer cried out, grabbing the attention of his partner in the other room.
"What happened here?" She asked, trying to keep her voice even.
"We're trying to figure that out ourselves. From what we can tell his pokémon went nuts and gutted him before passing out. We figured it was-" the other officer slugged him in the shoulder before he could finish, but the damage was done.
"Figured one of us got to him," Latoya finished, her tone icy.
"Can you blame us? Things have been nice lately. Maybe the nutterfly and his goons were planning something and one of yours tried to put a stop to it, permanently," the other officer offered.
"That isn't how we operate."
"I'm just saying. I know you guys are tryin ta keep the peace. No one can deny that. Things were finally starting to feel normal, so maybe if Herocross saw someone trying to stir up the beedrill's nest again…especially after the last fight."
Latoya turned around, grabbing her grappling claw and taking aim. The city didn't have the luxury of her wasting time on this scene.
"Herocross can be pretty brutal sometimes but he'd never go this far. I'm gonna go find the one who made the pokémon do this. If this really happened because it was one of ours then he or she will answer for that the right way. I had hoped you knew that."
The officers watched her rappel away, feeling slightly ashamed at themselves.
With each devastated home, with every dead hero and villain she came across, her mind scrambled from possible answers or motives to new questions.
"Was there a falling out within the group? Did he get bored working with them? Get rid of them, or…or maybe Miss Magus used some kind of magic or alchemy? Some kind of ritual? That might be why the sensors aren't picking anything up, but…"
Despite all the panic and destruction he'd caused, Vivillain and his crew had surprisingly never actually claimed a life. Those who never donned a cape may have gotten scuffed up or bruised from their clashes, occasionally someone might be sent to the hospital for a broken bone but injuries like were rare.
She could only really see Vivillain having the stomach to do this, but it still didn't match up. Vivillain's handiwork tended to lean more towards the explosive end. Explosive powder was his weapon of choice and with his creativity he always found a strategic way to make it dangerous.
Yet the state of each room and the wounds on the corpses weren't consistent with that of an explosion. They were always consistent with the attacks of their unconscious pokémon: blasted walls, singed clothes, gore coating paws and ripped flesh. Her stomach churned, her thoughts racing to keep her calm through the waves of nausea.
"So maybe Mr. Mind found a way to make everyone's pokémon go on a rampage and hopefully attack their trainer, but why? How? "
Latoya shook her head again and sighed. Mr. Mind's psychic abilities barely put him above an empath. For him to do anything on such a large scale wasn't feasible and even then he was usually constrained to optical illusions, smoke and mirrors, and holograms. She didn't want to rule out Vivillain completely, but a large part of her knew it was too messy to be one of his schemes.
"If he was going to do something like this, he'd made sure everyone in the city knew it was him," Latoya reasoned as she glided over the city streets when her father's voice came into her earpiece built into the mask.
"Home base, I read you. What flies?" she recited.
"It's bad, sweetie," Her father said, his voice thick. Latoya's eyes widened. It was always Gligirl this and Gligirl that, but sweetie was reserved for home.
"What's wrong?" she replied. "Is Gliscor…" she let the rest of the question hang there, the rest being too painful to finish.
"No, he's fine. But Nate just called in. He's okay. His Caterpie sprayed everything with String Shot and he was tied up at the moment. His pokémon are fine too…"
"Daddy, what happened?" she pressed, dropping all superhero pretenses.
"Weedle B-Ricky is in the ICU. It doesn't look good. He might never walk again"
Her seamless glide through the night wavered as her body reflexively tried to bowl over. Tears started to well up behind her mask and make her vision shimmer. Rather than risk flying she grappled onto a nearby building and collapsed against the edge.
"He...he's too young to have to deal with this." Latoya coughed, wanting nothing more than to pull off her mask and throw it behind her."
"I know sweetie."
"None of them deserve this."
"They knew the risks," he began.
"This wouldn't have happened if he wasn't doing this stupid hero shit!"
Her father was quiet for some time before he softly replied.
"There's a lot of people who have lost their lives tonight. A lot of people who have never entered our world and never intended to. Pokémon are everywhere, what if he'd been a trainer instead?"
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" she hissed.
"It's supposed to show you that even if he hadn't decided to put his life on the line, even if had been an innocent bystander, this might have still happened. He wouldn't have wanted us to-"
"He was just a kid, dad. He didn't know what he wanted, not really. What if we're the ones that caused this? What if we pushed those maniacs too far and they created something that caused all these deaths?" Her voice came now at barely a whisper. "That's on us too, dad. Their blood is just as much on our hands."
He never spoke, but she could hear him breathing deep breaths as Ricky fought death. She somehow found her voice.
"We did this."