Tracey Sketchit sat in the library in the Pallet Town Pokèmon Laboratory, which was where Professor Samuel Oak did his research and lived. Tracey had been one of Ash's friends, but ultimately chose to remain with Oak as his loyal assistant. And it was working out well too.
As he went through the shelves of the library, he discovered an old photo album. What's this? He wondered to himself, flipping open the pages. Dust shot out at him and flew all around. He coughed a few times and blew the remaining dust off of the pages. Once he did that, Tracey began to examine the pages. Old photos, some yellowed, cluttered the pages. Not only was there photos, but newspaper articles and pieces of cloth were shoved in the album's leaves.
He looked at one photo. The picture showed a young man standing next to a Charizard. Is that Professor Oak? Tracey wondered, examining it closer. Yes. That has to be him. Looks too much like him for it not to be, he thought.
The next photo showed a woman. Her shoulder length hair blew back in the breeze. Next to her stood an Aerodactyl and a Dragonite. Who's the girl? Tracey wondered. He admired her for several seconds until the door opened.
Professor Oak walked into the room and saw the album in Tracey's hands. "Oh? I see that you've found that old album of mine. I'm sure it likes to see the light of day. I haven't had it out in years." Oak said with a sad smile.
"Who is this?" Tracey asked, pointing at the woman with great interest. "She's beautiful."
Oak seemed to look up at the ceiling and closed his eyes. "She was Alexandra Hoch," he answered.
"Was?" Tracey asked.
The professor glanced at him and said, "She's dead now."
"I'm sorry." What else could Tracey say?
Oak looked at the ground and seemed to be sad. "It's okay. Alexandra would have died sooner if it wasn't for me."
Tracey considered asking what he meant by that, but decided not to. Seemed to be a touchy subject. So he asked, "And who are those men?" He pointed at a picture across the page. Two men, looking very official, stood side by side. A Gallade stood next to one man and the other had a Blaziken.
"Those two are John Derekson and Charles Taylor. Highly respected men for their times. They were the ones who inspired me to become a professor."
"Really? What happened to them?"
"Well, Charles is dead and John lives in Saffron," Oak answered.
Tracey nodded slowly and asked, "Were you in the military?"
"What would give you that idea?"
Tracey pointed at another picture. It showed a rather young Samuel Oak standing next to a band of soldiers and Pokèmon. "I think it's obvious," he said.
Oak chuckled and pulled a chair next to Tracey. "I was not in the military, but I did work alongside of them. I was especially useful during the Great PokèWar."
"The what?" Tracey asked.
"It was a war that took place many years ago. I was but just a young man when it broke out. As I recall, Johto and Kanto were considered opposites of each other. Kanto was united but Johto, at that time, was divided up into city-states."
"What? I thought that Johto was always united."
"No. New Bark Town would have been considered a separate region of Johto. It wasn't until after the war that the cities united together and Johto became one," Oak explained.
Tracey leaned forward. He was interested in hearing more about the war. "Could you tell me about it?"
The professor closed his eyes and answered, "I suppose I can. It's a long story, but I think we have time."
"Sure! I fed and watered the Pokèmon so there's no rush!" Tracey grinned.
Oak leaned back in his chair and rubbed his chin. "But where to begin? That's the question."
"How about at the beginning?"
"No. That would be more like a book than a story. However, before we begin, I will tell you who all you need to know. The main characters, if you will."
Tracey nodded eagerly. "Please," he said.
"Very well. John Derekson was my mentor and the lead doctor at Saffron City. He, like many people from that city, used psychic Pokèmon. His best fighter was Gallade. John also carried a serious demeanor and tended to be level-headed, although I've seen him angry many times in the past." Oak explained.
"So John was the leader?" Tracey asked.
Oak shrugged a shoulder and said, "I suppose. Either him or Charles. Charles was a man from Hoenn and a good friend of John. He, like John, was a doctor who studies the nature of Pokèmon and humans." He paused to see if Tracey had any questions. There were none so he continued. "Crystal, on the other hand, was from Johto's northern regions. She was not like John or Charles. She was dangerous."
"How was she dangerous?" Tracey asked.
"She believed that all people should give her their Pokèmon and she would train them. All Pokèmon would be trained by her, although she claimed that the trainers and she would train the Pokèmon cooperatively. No one trainer would have supreme control over their teams."
"That's not good," Tracey interjected.
Oak nodded, "Right. Then there was Mario, a man who was also from Johto, though he lived close to Mount Silver. He trained steel Pokèmon. After him was Alexandra, the dragon trainer from Blackthorn City. She was forced out of the city by Crystal, making them archrivals."
"Boy, Crystal sounds like a jerk!"
"True. Alexandra followed her own set of rules. She had an idea that dragons were the best Pokèmon around and wanted everyone around to train them, just like her."
"Is that bad?"
"No, but she forced people to give up their other Pokèmon and in cruel ways. However, Alexandra was kind to dragon Pokèmon and to other Pokèmon that looked like dragons."
"Did you like her?"
Oak did not answer that. Instead he said, "Well, now that the main players have been established, I will tell you the tale about the Great PokèWar."