Pokemon: Soul Of Steel

Chapter 1: Eggs On Toast

'And in this morning news hour, Team Rocket appears to be growing in strength and number as police struggle to deal with crimes committed under the Team Rocket banner. An emergency meeting of the Elite and top-ranking police officers has been called to discuss strategies to face this growing threat, though this has come too late for many Johto citizens…'

A teenage boy lay back on his bed listening to the broadcast emitting from the radio placed on his bedside cabinet; a guitar lay across his lap. His face twisted into a thoughtful frown as he laced his fingers, clad in black gloves, behind his tousled brown hair. A voice drifted up the stairs, interrupting his train of thought: "JT? JT!"

"Coming…" he called back lazily, as he sat up and stretched, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Planting his tattered sneakers on the floor, he lifted himself from his plush bed and ambled to the stairs that led down to the kitchen. As he descended, his thoughts remained with the radio broadcast and Team Rocket – the third he'd heard in as many days. So devoted were his thoughts to the unruly gang, that he missed the final step on the staircase; JT jerkily stumbled into the kitchen, sharply interrupting his own thoughts and the conversation of his mother Lily and Lyra Kotone, the girl from across the road.

He and Lyra had been friends ever since he and his mother had moved to New Bark. She had been there her whole life, although she frequently went on trips with her father. She was the same age as him, seventeen, with long brown hair that she always wore under a hat.

JT hastily regained his footing and less-than-slickly took to reclining on the kitchen bench - "Hey Lyra, Mom. What's up?" He shot a small smile at Lyra as he nodded in the pair's direction. Lyra averted her eyes with an embarrassed grin as Lily turned to him.

"Professor Elm wants to see you in his lab right away. Sounds like he's got another job for you" she said. Man, again? JT let out an exasperated sigh. "I guess I'd better head over then…". Lyra smirked at him as he rolled his eyes at her. Turning on his heel he strode out the door, leaving the two to chat.

JT stepped out into the fresh wind that eternally blew through New Bark Town. Persistent gusts from the sea swept over the thick woods that cloaked the town, whipping through its narrow, dusty, streets. A carrier Pidgey struggled through the breeze as it swooped down JT's street, dropping a bundle of letters on the Kotone's doorstop across the way. The sprightly air of the town invigorated JT's tired senses as he strolled down his street. He shared the sleeping town with no one, save for another clumsy carrier Pidgey (who appeared totally at the mercy of the strong breeze) and a couple of carrier Spearows who sliced through the morning air with considerably more grace.

JT took a left at the end of the street – a rough path that turned away from the small town and into the eastern woods. He shoveled his hands into his jacket, in retaliation to Newbark's morning chill, and skipped along the uneven track. He passed the sharp stench of the fish monger's (a row of plump Magikarp were strung up outside the small house) and, with the slumberous hum of the waking town some distance passed, reached the edge of the woods.

Peering into the woods, JT searched the clutter of scrub and trees before letting out a grimaced yell in the face of a chilly gust of wind.

"ZERO!" Seconds later, a Scizor burst from the surrounding curtain of trees and sped towards him. The Scizor, Zero, ground to a stop just in front of JT, looking at him quizzically.

"We're goin' to the Professor's lab. Apparently he's got another job for us" JT informed his partner. Zero nodded keenly, falling into step with JT as he headed back to the town.

People rarely passed through Newbark, which was strange considering Professor Elm was a leading researcher in Pokemon evolution. As he and Zero walked in comfortable silence, JT's day-dreamed gaze, as it often did, turned to the distant, wooded highlands impressively draped above Newbark's modest vista – the black hills bowed before the craggy, snow-tinged peaks of Mt. Silver, which were obscured by a thin film of fog.

The town centre had come to life; that is, a few early risers were perusing the local mart and several children younger than JT skipped along the main road on their way to the school house. A few of them chattered and pointed enthusiastically as they caught sight of Zero, who stuck still to his master's side.

Professor Elm's lab was the largest and most modern building in town, lacking the 'rustic charm' of the rest of Newbark (as JT was always amused to hear it described). JT and Zero made their way over the lab's neat lawn (kept trimmed by a rotund pair of Miltanks who were lolling about the rather large section). Shooing away a flock of carrier Spearows, JT reached the lab door and rang the bell. Just as he had bent down to gather up the recently delivered mail, the door swung open to reveal the beaming Professor Elm.

"Jordan! How are you kiddo?" he exclaimed jovially. "Ah, and the mail's here I see."

JT sighed as he handed the professor his morning mail. "I'm not a kid anymore Professor." He looked to change the subject – "Mum said something about a job?"

Prof. Elm nodded and gestured for JT and Zero to enter. He led the pair over to his desk where a computer sat. The professor swung into his chair and closed a list of data on the screen before motioning to the screen. "Take a look at this" he said keenly.

He pointed at an e-mail he had called up on screen. JT hastily skimmed it, trying to get the gist of the message. A man named Mr. Pokemon had apparently found a one-of-a-kind egg and he wanted Professor Elm to take a look at it. "So you want me and Zero to go pick up this egg?" JT inquired as he read over the Professor's shoulder.

The Professor nodded, pushing his glasses back up his nose; "That's about right, Jordan."

JT stepped away from the back of the Professor's chair, jamming his hands into his jacket pockets. "Ok then where exactly is this Mister Pokemon's house?" he asked, as the Professor turned around in his swivel chair to face him and Zero. "It's on the way to Violet City, just north of Cherrygrove. It's nothing you haven't done before" he answered knowingly.

JT swivelled on his heel and made for the door; Zero followed in his wake, glaring inquisitively at the various experiments in the lab as he passed them. "I guess I'm off then" JT threw over his shoulder as he left the building. Behind him, Professor Elm shook his head amusedly at the closing door: "That boy never did like details…"

Outside the lab JT looked up and studied the grey, rolling clouds that had gathered overhead.

"Looks like it could rain again…". Zero nodded at him - "Zor…". Undiscouraged, the pair set a course for the western route to Cherrygrove City.

Meanwhile, back at the lab

"So...this is the famous Professor Elm's lab…"

A teenaged boy, shrouded in the shadows cast by Newbark's thick bush, studied the building from afar. "Hmmm...maybe I better have a closer look" he muttered to himself, stalking silently through the trees.