On occasion while I work on Reset, I dabble on a few ideas that cannot be explored there and post them as side fics with single chapters.
This one is it. This little number is something I like to do from time to time: a minor plot bunny I can't do anything with.
I write a chapter of the theoretical product, put it up for adoption and out in the wild for people.
Further details at the end.
It was in the thick of night when the individual approached the nondescript warehouse, noticeable only by the humming present at the door, and for many who might see the scene a question might come up.
A lone youth going up against the dangerous members of a fearsome organization with vast resources matched only by their very limited scruples. Reckless self-endangerment one might call it.
However one would be rather quick to call doom, for there was more at play than a single man and a massive organization at play here.
For one, simple weaknesses.
The youth gestured forward, and from his shoulder a shape burst forth. The Pokemon darted forward with the practiced agility of a pest, before the pest did as pests were prone.
Sniff around for their favorite underground cables, and gesture when standing right above them.
The youth nodded in response, and threw two Pokeballs into the air. They burst open, revealing a larger and rounder pest and a rough stone with a double set of arms.
The two immediately began scraping at the ground with their forelimbs, stopping after a moment when a pair of cables were dug up.
And the lead Pokemon promptly began chewing. Seconds later the light humming that marked the alarm and sensors at the door ceased. Nodding the youth left the first Pokemon to continue snacking, as he pointed at the door.
The other pest Pokemon darted to the door and rapidly began chewing at the metal frame. Within minutes a hole opened up. The large pest promptly slid through the hole with some difficulty, and with a hop and a shove the door swung open.
With an appreciative thanks both were returned to their balls as the boy reached into his jacket pockets and pulled out what he'd need next.
If one way to avoid a titanic manhunt on your person was to take advantage of simple weaknesses, the second was avoiding detection as you take from them. Even the most ruthless miss when they have no idea the target.
Out of his jacket came a pair of rubber gloves and a face mask. After they were applied two more Pokeballs were thrown out.
Out of one came a blue winged creature who began letting out subsonic sound waves. After a moment it let out a series of clicks.
"...Got it. Gloom, you know what to do."
The second Pokemon, a blue plant being with dripping saliva, stepped forward as a green powder began leaking from the Gloom's flower, spraying forward.
Gloom walked ahead into the warehouse, and the youth counted to twenty before following it inside, the blue flyer flying above his head and out of the powder's reach.
The powder filled warehouse interior was littered with the sleeping bodies of the warehouse employees, all of whom bore black shirts marked with R.
All around them lights flickered on and off, the warehouse struggling to stay lit. The youth looked up and around, looking around for any cameras that still seemed to be active.
He noticed about four of them, but all hang limp and powerless. The light that signaled their status was as out as the employees.
With that peace of mind, safe in the knowledge the organization would know little of what would transpire here in the identity of perpetrator or number of them the youth moved to look for what he had came here for.
He approached one container and opened it, and grinned as he saw stacks of bills that filled the container half as tall as him fully.
This grin, well sated after taking as many of them as he could, would have grown even larger at seeing the treasure in the third crate, if he didn't have a good idea of the origin of it.
For it was a far less fond tale than what had been in the second crate, drugs, which had only elicited a command to Gloom to use Acid on the things.
No such command was given for the third crate, even if it would be completely emptied.
Some time later and a good skedaddling away
The eleven year old stared at the wooded lot.
The wooded lot stared back, buzzing him in warning.
It would be less accurate to say that the wooded lot was buzzing, for wood cannot buzz. Wood pops and cracks.
However the attached Kakuna to the trees did in fact buzz. They had the second most terrifying buzz in Kanto.
They summoned the most terrifying of the buzzers.
The eleven year old turned to his companion warily.
"...Let's try another lot buddy. I think the boundary is across that stream."
With that both trainer and Pikachu began tip-toeing away from the Kakuna infested woods.
The two found themselves climbing up a hill.
It was a grass covered hill, the grassy cover extending a bit beyond the hill itself before giving way to a forest. Said forest, as they climbed the hill, was a mismatched patchwork of green shades.
The hill was crowned by a rock.
A massive, marvelous rock: a heap of gray stone that capped the hill like the lid of a soda bottle.
Upon reaching the rock, the trainer began tapping it with his fist curiously before nodding.
"What you think Pikachu? Will it work?"
At the affirmative squeak he turned around and looked into the patchwork of greens and threw up several Pokeballs.
They burst open to reveal the blue flyer, two brown birds with red crests, a butterfly, and the most terrifying of buzzers.
"I want you guys to fly around and see if this place has anything interesting in it. Berry trees mostly, but if you see anything interesting get me. I want to see if this place could work for us before I go buy the place. From what I saw in town, the boundaries we'd be looking for are the stream that way, a ravine the other way, the foothills up there, and the road down there that I got off to look at the property just over."
Even beyond the Kakunas, it wasn't all that good. He hoped that this place had more potential.
With that all of the fliers took off in their own directions, seeking the wonders that would be held in this section of property.
What they came back to show him convinced the youth, along with the high quality of the center rock.
Ash had found a place he could call a center of operations.
The completely mundane purchasing of 100 acres of land by an eleven year old with cash taken from a Yakuza warehouse without their permission passed with no incident, and Ash was looking at the hill-topping rock with an eager grin.
It had been a bit of a tense two weeks, but with no sign of being followed by a vengeful Team Rocket assured him that steps he had taken had sufficiently kept him in the clear and safe from reprisals.
Meaning it was time to settle down, and there was no better place than this rock!
At least, once they were done with it.
"Pikachu, you know what to do."
With the agreement his partner jumped in front of the stone, a pink glow covering him. Pikachu then struck the rock, as the rock itself proceeded to glow pink, the rock churning and grinding as the power to reshape the land itself was applied to it.
It was a rough sound, but Ash endured it as the process continued. Eventually the rock settled, with one final changing forming a crack in the wall, which expanded into a full on door.
Nodding, Ash walked through said crack, finding that the entire rock's interior had been hollowed out into a large cave, with a front room that split off in the back into a pair of rooms not directly visible from the front.
A yawn escaped his mouth, and what he'd be doing with one of the rooms became clear.
Even more so after he dropped his bag to the ground with a thump and began detaching the sleeping bag.
"Going to hit the sack buddy, see you tomorrow."
He'd assume that either meant 'see you in the morning' or 'I'll make sure you aren't mugged in your sleep'. Either would be welcome.
Ash was alone.
Everything was cold, and dark, and most of all alone.
No one was here except for him.
The seven year old's question rang through the darkness, fading away after a moment.
"Where is everyone? There's a lesson today, isn't there?"
As the question faded into the darkness, a light shot to existence to Ash's left. The seven year old wanted to move towards it, but he found himself frozen in place.
"What a shame. Now we are down to three candidates."
The older voice sat in the darkness longer than his own questions, like a fog of shock and pain.
"It's like I said when we began this project, humans and Pokemon are much the same. Just as their Pokemon who don't have the inner qualities to be the best, the same goes to humans. The qualities that Ketchum boy has won't create a champion. He's useless to the town."
"It seems a bit of a waste though: we put a lot into the boy. Surely we could possibly salvage him: perhaps we could send him to another region to compete. His language skills are the best of any of the children and his other skills aren't unsalvagable, perhaps we could send him abroad to compete there."
The faintest ray of sympathy in the light was quickly quashed.
"That isn't worth the time where we could have three champions. Ash Ketchum's education and importance ends here. He joins the rest of the rejects without a chance, and can go work in the Synth-Protein plants when he's ten for all we care. To Pallet Town, he's a failure and not worth anything. He always was in hindsight, and he always will be."
The seven year old's cries to the contrary were swallowed up in uncaring, unsympathetic, unloving darkness.
Pikachu watched the squirming unease in which his trainer and now friend was trapped in as he slept.
A bad dream, a nightmare, and Pikachu had a feeling what it was about.
Whenever Ash had a bad dream, it was always about where he had come from.
A year ago the boy had run away from that place, determined to prove everyone there wrong. That he was better than everyone thought.
The drive that had resulted from that had not created a healthy mindset for him at the time.
The Ash then was headstrong, angry, and had a bone to pick with everything. He rarely took time to consider anything else but his goal of proving his birth place wrong, and in seeking to do so had been a unpleasant person to be around.
He wasn't without his sympathetic points. For one after one of his early training attempts had failed miserably and left both of them paralyzed from Stun Spore, Ash had given him a Chari Berry before he had found one for himself. However Pikachu would not have called the time pleasant.
Either for him and his fellow captures, or Ash himself who took every mistake and failure very harshly. Even when they were more minor than losses or that time he nearly drowned trying to catch a Magikarp by hand.
However as the year went on Ash had begun a period of recovery. Just being out of the toxic environment he had come from helped him relax and ease up, smile a bit more, and otherwise become a pleasant individual to be around.
He had called Ash a friend and not just his trainer for several months for that very reason and change.
This positive turn had in fact accomplish more things in the meantime, such as victories in battle and successful raiding of Team Rocket property. Those Pokemon they had rescued, once taken out the suspended animation of Pokeballs, would only know an Ash who had detoxed from most of his anger and sadness.
Of course that was the keyword, most, and anger and sadness could still erupt to the forefront. Pikachu dreaded the moment that Ash encountered one of the children that Pallet Town had held up on a pedestal.
A pedestal made of the numerous children deemed a failure.
Not because Pikachu believed there was no chance of Ash defeating them, be it in a regular battle or at league, but for the fact that such a confrontation could easily bring out the worst in Ash again, let alone really hurt him if he lost.
Yet, as he had been pointed out by the other Pokemon who had experienced Ash's growth (i.e all of them, having seen Ash at his most unpleasant and at the better person he had become with just a year of not being in Pallet Town anymore), such a confrontation might be required for Ash to truly overcome things.
Lest nights like this might stay all too common place.
Ash was still rubbing his eyes in tiredness as the technician came by with solar panel and device at his hand.
The purpose of which was to disable active Pokemon restrictions in the area, allowing his entire team to be active and training at once.
Such devices were not portable.
He yawned, before it dawned on him it might be taken as rude to the technician as he did his work.
"Sorry about that, I didn't really sleep that well last night."
The technician nodded, understanding the reason to give the apology as he fiddled with some wiring that snaked its way from the top of his rock home inside to the jammer. He paused his work with a satisfied hum as a light lit up.
"It take a few minutes to really see if there are any issues. If there are I'll patch them, but right now it looks like you are all good to go. Not sure how a trainer your age afforded one of these: the last trainer I installed this for was fifteen."
The technician stood up, not being much taller than himself despite the fact he had some hair on his chin.
"I doubt it was a loan for your parents."
Ash felt Pikachu shift uneasily at the observation, though Ash didn't think it was 'hey you stole this money from people who probably stole it'.
It was more along the lines of, of all things, empathy.
"You're 11 right, I thought I saw that in the paperwork at the office. Not long from home at all, and trying to become a Pokemon League trainer I suspect. Your scars are still fresh, aren't they?"
Ash moved to retort, but the technician continued.
"The law might say parents have to care for their kids until they are 10, but it is amazing just how many don't. It's like they never learned to be responsible or parental, and who is there to teach us in turn? I knew both my parents yet the most parenting I get is from my boss, and he took three years to add dental coverage to my job benefits. Good dental coverage sure, but he should not be the one who I should be modeling myself. Yet he is, by some deranged twist of fate. Thirteen years of life and the boss who won't cover my medicals until I'm 15 is the best parental figure I've got. What a world the both of us live in, though at least it looks like you are good to go. Call us if it explodes, we cover most random explosions free of charge."
With that the technician turned and left, leaving Ash staring after him.
His mouth struggling to find words to say in response to the tech's comments, before he just gave up.
The rock was silent for a moment before he finally managed to say something.
"...Pikachu, if I ever start acting like I don't get responsibility or how to be a good person, you'd let me know right?"
His friend declared the affirmative, though in a way that Ash distinctly got an impression of Pikachu doing so 'going forward', and not just in general.
A difference that hung in the back of his mind like a mistake one distinctly remembered.
With the ball limits dealt with, Ash had something he had been meaning to do for a long time, and it wasn't letting all of his Pokemon out.
It was to do with the giant pile of Pokeballs he had rescued from Team Rocket.
He hadn't opened them, mostly because while in a suspended state Pokemon did not need to eat. He wanted to be in a more stable position first, and with the berry trees he had found on his property he could feed many, many more Pokemon.
It was also, and he had only thought of this when Pikachu had mimed it, a safety concern. In case one of these Pokemon were hostile, his team would need to protect him.
That was also why he'd be doing this one at a time.
So, with one wall lined with all of his Pokemon pre-raid, and a randomly plucked ball from the pile, there was only one thing to do.
The first ball exploded into a round Pokemon, a brown and white feathered bird with a pair of leaves on it that resembled a bow tie.
Ash had never seen this Pokemon before.
So he had no idea if it sleeping as it came out was typical or not. Was it like a Snorlax, or was it just this Pokemon specifically.
A blue glow and the still sleeping bird was moved to the side. If it woke up, Ash would try and get a clearer idea on it then.
So came the next Pokeball, which he threw into the air and noted the Pokemon that came out.
Out of which came a brown, short Pokemon with black markings and a odd quirk that was a bit more telling of being unique to itself and not its species in general.
The pair of black and red sunglasses.
At the Pokemon's confused sound he scribbled on the notepad.
San: it had San in it's name somewhere. Probably a ground type, like the previous was probably a Grass and Flying type.
"Hey, I'm sure you must be confused as how you got here."
Sandile huh? That sounded like a name of a Pokemon.
"Well, I don't know how, but you got captured by a group of really evil people called Team Rocket, and I stole you in turn from them. I'm a Pokemon Trainer, my name is Ash and I'm 11 years old. "
Sandile nodded, getting that. It's confusion seemed to have cleared up, suggesting that Sandile had known about the Team Rocket thing, but not how it ended up with him.
"You aren't in your home, wherever that is, and for all I know you have no idea how to survive here in Kanto. You don't need to do anything for me, but my place has a lot of food and water. You can battle with me if you want, I have five badges and I just need three more to go the Pokemon League competition. I'd like your help in doing so, if you'd be willing."
Sandile seemed to consider it for a moment, before giving an affirmative nod.
Ash smiled at the Pokemon.
"Great Sandile, I'd really appreciate all of the help I can get. So, do you want to show me your moves now, or do you think I should see who else I got in the pile over there?"
As Pokemon were taken out, Pikachu had to note a simple fact.
A year ago, Ash would not have done this.
He'd have not asked them what they'd wanted. He wouldn't have tried to get to have some idea on who they were.
He'd have immediately declared himself master and they to follow his every command, before making a fool of himself in a manner that was both cathartic and somewhat depressing even from the perspective of the Pokemon he tried to order around.
Of course, that was then, and this was now.
Now Ash was on his knees, trying to get a sad looking Charmander to give a confident answer either to battle or not to, and Pikachu was sure he'd be fine with either answer as he had with all the Pokemon who had come before it.
The only bit of issue Pikachu had seen from Ash was him being a tad put off after about a dozen Pokemon making the 'not battle' call in a row, and that was understandable in his opinion after the third ruder declaration of 'screw you human'.
Even if Ash could not actually tell that was what was said, he could pick up tone.
Meanwhile the first Pokemon he had released still slumbered, not a care in the world apparently.
Now for the further details.
This here is basically my take on the all so common, all so horrible betrayal fanfic, namely an Ash who had that level of anger in him and desire for REVENGE. However the reason is a tad more, realistic. His friends didn't decide to forget how to act human and approach things reasonably, and his issues is entirely based in his hometown.
This Ash then grew out of that frankly toxic mindset before it did anything damaging to him long term, yet still carries a massive bone he wants to pick with those at fault.
Speaking of which, the premise.
Pallet Town, after years of not having a trainer nearly as successful as Pallet Oak (who was ranked in the 900's of worldwide trainers, see the Shudo notes), decided to make a trainer with a deliberate and focused training for all their children to try and create such talented trainers. Those that didn't make the cut were cut and basically ignored and treated like they were nothing and expected to be that, nothing.
Ash was one of the last ones cut, and due to the sense of betrayal he went off on his own to prove himself.
A desire that remains as strong as ever, even as he became a better person overall.
The match between Ash and the three 'successes' of Pallet Town will occur at Indigo Stadium after the average two year traveling and training time, and as Pikachu notes is a battle that is the potential vindication and cure for Ash's pain, or a way to really break him.
Of course you don't have to do exactly as I did here; this is just a sample of how I'd have approached it. Perhaps you want to show Ash's detoxing, or not have him grab a giant mass of Pokeballs from Team Rocket to give him a wider sample size to play with beyond the com-mons the old Ash could only manage to get.
Heck you don't have to have the world building elements I have in it that mostly exist for me to play with ideas underused with fanfics from both canons (like secret bases) and Shudo's unofficial rule book (the fact that you are an adult at 10). I just like putting them out there for people.
Note that Professor Oak and Delia's exact status here is up to you: I left it vague deliberately. Did Delia become a bad parent? Does Professor Oak pay attention to what goes on beyond his lab? All of these things are up to your call if you make something of this.
Anyway the exact fate of this idea is anyone's guess. Perhaps someone will use this as chapter 0 and go on their own take from there, perhaps someone will rewrite the concept to their own preferences. Perhaps no one will take.
Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this little plot bunny.