War. That ugliest of human affairs. For coming up on two years, war had steadily engulfed the world. This war, unlike previous wars, had no name. In the future, when the history of the war is compiled, it will doubtless be given a name to fit its affects on the world at large. For those who fought, it was simply called The War.

Though not even two years old, The War's roots ran nearly seven years back, to the 'defeat' of Team Rocket by the now-famous Pokémon trainer, Ash Ketchum. Giovanni, leader of Rocket, did not simply retire to the countryside to write his memoirs following that defeat. He began to reorganize and restructure Team Rocket, training its agents in infiltration and subterfuge, and began positioning his assets in every major military organization and power center of the world, preparing for a sudden and swift takeover. This plan, as described by Rocket prisoners of war, was known as Operation: Flashpoint, and the date that it was launched has become synonymous with the beginning of The War. At Giovanni's command, the hidden Rocket forces struck out, overtaking many small nations, and immediately plunging the world into global war.

The War was a three-way affair, fought between Rockets, the Global Pokémon League/Seafoam Alliance, and Team Galactic. Galactic, with their paramilitary organizational structure, weathered the storm of Operation: Flashpoint much better than other crime groups such as Aqua, Magma, and the like. Galactic and Rocket, ever rivals, fought wherever the two forces encountered one another, and still hellbent on recreating the world as Cyrus, Galactic's leader, saw fit, the team waged war against the GPL/Seafoam alliance as well. Utilizing saboteurs and other activities originating from their crime gang roots, Galactic remained a thorn in the side of both the GPL and the Rocket Army, despite continual attacks from both forces that cut into their member base.

At first, The War had been no different than a disastrously unorganized all-out Pokémon battle free-for-all, with numerous trainers setting their Pokémon loose to battle one another, with the losing side determined by which had no remaining active Pokémon. Early in The War, it was only Seafoam that was rumored to be using true weapons in its civil war against the Rocket infiltrators. That all changed at some unknown point approximately a year into hostilities. Both the GPL and Rocket blamed the other on being the first to introduce true weapons of war, but it had only escalated from there, until it was not uncommon to see an armored division with Rhyhorn in amongst M1A2s, or an air assault wing with Charizard flying alongside AH-64D Longbows.

Six hundred and sixty-nine days into The War, the entire Kanto region and much of the Johto region were firmly controlled by the Rocket Army; Cianwood in the far west of Johto was the only part of the region not under Rocket control, due to the treacherous water route required to reach it and the presence of elements of the Seafoam Navy protecting it from Rocket forces. Sinnoh, Hoenn, and Seafoam remained controlled by the GPL, with much of The War taking place between the naval and air forces of the two adversaries. Sinnoh, with its close proximity to enemy air bases in the Kanto region, was under constant threat of enemy air attacks, and many of its southern cities had been decimated by enemy bombardment. Distance was a buffer that kept Seafoam and Hoenn largely protected, with the ferocity of Seafoam's naval and air defenses further keeping the island nation untouched.

No, Seafoam had already seen enough of the war on its own soil. The Rockets, knowing the great threat that Seafoam presented, had directed a disproportionate amount of its infiltration forces to the small nation, resulting in over half of the country having allegiance to the enemy at the outset of The War and the launch of Operation: Flashpoint. The nation descended into civil war, ripping itself apart from top to bottom, ravaging all eight of the terraformed islands in a conflict that lasted a year and a half. Afterwards, with the Rocket forces expelled and the conflict won, the survivors of the Seafoam civil war unanimously swore a solemn pact: Never Again. Never again would the Republic of Seafoam fight on its own soil. Swiftly, they rebuilt and recovered their military arsenal, allied with the Global Pokémon League, and have become a terror in every engagement they've been involved with.

Galactic, however, was on the wrong end of the war, and it seemed as though everyone but Cyrus knew it. Daily reports of rank-and-file Galactic grunts jumping ship, mostly to the Rockets, still go out to all sectors of the war. A great coup, however, came when a former commander of Galactic, Mars, defected to the GPL/Seafoam alliance, bringing with her a list of Galactic facilities, activities and personnel. Immediately, both Seafoam and the League, making use of Mars' information, swiftly rounded up and executed all the infiltrators within their territories. Seafoam took it a step further by broadcasting the executions over the global video networks to illustrate a point to the enemy armies, and to anyone on the Allied side of the war who contemplated betrayal: Betrayal would be swiftly and harshly dealt with.

Immediately following her debriefing by the Alliance, Mars had requested to join the standing army as a demolitions specialist, as had been one of her favorite activities as a former Galactic commander. Alliance commanders found her demolitions skill to need refining, and sent her to Seafoam, where the greatest demolitions expert in the Allied forces could be found.

A/N: Goddammit, this was NOT supposed to evolve into a project of any length. This was supposed to be a simple one-shot to get it out of my system and be done with it. But as I was creating it, I looked at how it was taking shape, how I was simply briefly describing the backstory of the relationship between Mars and my OC without portraying it, and realized that was the same mistake I made with Seno in Project: Arashi. So I'm going to make Stardust a small project, that will start with the day that Mars is assigned to RSAF (Republic of Seafoam Air Force; get used to the acronyms now) and end at some undetermined point still probably in the middle of the war. And there'll be an epilogue that touches briefly on the League Wars.

Oh, that reminds me. This work is based upon the work of another author, Ace Sanchez, and the ELEMENTAL MASTER story. It is set during the Dark Pokémon Wars as mentioned quite often in Ace's work. Or at least, my take on the Dark Pokémon Wars. That take involves a Seafoam nation in which the original two islands were terraformed into an eight-island archipelago that hosted its own Pokémon League and a powerful military to boot. I've also, as you can tell, added to the decade-old work to include new material.

Lastly, because I know I'm going to get accused of this, a lot: self-insert. You can call this a self-insert all you like, but the simple fact of the matter is that my pen name is the same name that I have used for various characters for 9 years now, including the character I created for my version of Ace's work. If you still want to think this is a self-insert, then a phrase of my buddy's comes to mind: "Wah wah wah, sand in the vagina."