It was in a dark room, during some considerably dark times that everything came to be.
Twenty-five people were seated around a large conference table, their faces hidden in the shadows that filled the room. The only source of light was a dim projector's bulb, and even that was directed at a small portion of the wall at one end of the table. Reports and folders were scattered all over the table, but no one seemed to be perusing them; it would have been significantly difficult to do so given the darkness of the room, however.
But then again, the topic of discussion was probably even darker than the room itself. A single glance at the images being projected onto the wall would have been sufficient to prove the truth value of that statement.
Click. A meowth lying on the ground, its innards splayed out like a demented artist's rendition of a grotesque, organic fan.
Click. A charmander whose tail had been dunked into a bucket of water while it was tied to a metal stool.
Click. A beartic with metal tubes sticking out of its abdomen, oozing out bile from its perforated gall bladder.
Click. Click. Click.
One by one, the people assembled in the room began to show increasingly visible signs of anger and discomfort. Fists were clenched and muttered curses were heard, as the projector flashed a seemingly unending series of pictures depicting pokemon abuse at its proverbial worst. Some of the pokemon shown in the images were clearly still alive, if their agonized facial expressions were any indication.
Click. A clamperl whose shell had been smashed open, and whose pearl-like body was conspicuously missing.
Click. A sandshrew whose body was covered in hideous welts - very obviously left by a whip that had been dipped in water prior to the lashings.
Click. A squirtle that only had half a face, looking suspiciously like the victim of an acid attack.
"This is sickening," growled a muscle-bound man near the far end of the table. "How many more?"
A woman seated near the projector glanced briefly at a laptop's screen, and grimaced, "Eight more."
"Sweet Arceus," mumbled a spiky-haired man who was wearing a cape of sorts. "And we've seen what... twenty of them already?"
"Better hold it in, Lance," an elderly woman said brusquely as she adjusted the shawl she was wearing. "We haven't gotten to the news reports and statistics yet."
"... and we've just gotten here," pointed out a bespectacled man with wavy blue hair.
The image projected on the wall changed to that of Goldenrod city's news anchor, that proceeded to clear her throat before reading the news.
"- the paras was found lying near the National Park, with both its mushrooms torn off. Investigations are underway as to whether the mushrooms were taken to be processed into drugs-"
Before she could finish her sentence, the video switched views to show a mangled... thing that might have once been a paras lying on a patch of bloodstained earth.
"- the robbery was committed by three masked thieves that used a machoke to smash through the bulletproof glass, followed by the suspected usage of fire pokemon on the shop's interior. Presently, the losses are estimated at a minimum of five hundred thousand dollars, while the premises were damaged beyond any possible usage in the foreseeable future. A total of fifteen rare pokemon were stolen, and the security guards are currently in the intensive care ward at Solaceon General Hospital."
The camera panned over to a ruined shop that strongly resembled a scene out of a holocaust, showing its gutted interior.
"-suspected that vileplume spores were used to paralyze her before they raped her. The coroners have yet to identify the cocktail of unknown chemicals that were injected into her bloodstream-"
"-mawile was used to sever his arm when he refused to divulge the information-"
"Enough," said a veritable mountain of a man, disgust evident in his voice. "I have seen enough."
"It is not a question of how much," snapped a slender woman in a sarong. "It is a question of what we should be doing."
"And pray tell, just what can we do?" scoffed a young man whose eyes were covered with a mask. "Future Sight can only anticipate so many incidents, and those are all circumstantial at best! Then there's the question of how much we are allowed to intervene-"
"We are the Elites from our respective regions!" snorted an unshaven man with fiery orange hair. "As members of government-"
"The training government!"
"Even more so! All pokemon-related matters should fall under our juris-"
"Enough of this!" shouted a woman who was practically invisible thanks to her entirely black outfit. "Phoebe and Lucian have something to say."
"And just what have those two got to share with us?" sneered an aged man in a sailor's outfit. "Unless they've found a magical way to give us power over pokemon-related crimes, I doubt it's anything of great value."
"As a matter of fact, we have," Lucian stated simply, while adjusting his glasses. Phoebe nodded with a small wince, as every pair of eyes in the room turned to fixate on the two of them.
For a while, the room was completely silent. After all, only a handful of the assembled Elites knew just what Hoenn's ghost specialist and Sinnoh's psychic specialist had discovered. Even so, most of them wondered just how much a team of ghost and psychic pokemon could possibly contribute to the matter at hand.
After some time had passed, it was Agatha who finally broke the silence, "Are you meaning to tell us that... you have foreseen something?"
"Foreseen several things," Phoebe replied softly. "And not all of them were good things."
"It will be a great gamble indeed," Lucian nodded, "but if we can make it work... I'm confident that the crimes will stop."
"How sure are you?" murmured Grimsley, as he squinted at the blue-haired Elite through the darkness. "I'm sure you're aware that predictions and prophecies are not exactly cut and dried?"
"It was... a series of linked futures," Phoebe said after a moment's hesitation. "My dusknoir was the one that gazed into the future, and Lucian's alakazam did the spotting. The two of them nearly lost track of the time sequence several times."
"An alakazam losing track of a time series?" asked Will, one eyebrow raised in disbelief. "Just how complex was the tangle?"
"Quite frankly, we couldn't even find it at first. Phoebe's dusknoir was randomly scoping for possible suspects near a crime scene, when it picked up on a cold trail. Took us several days to get a psychic lock on the trail, and it was even longer before we sighted the futures."
"So just what did your pokemon find ahead?" asked Bruno with some hints of exasperation in his voice. "Enough with the psychic theories; let's get to the point already!"
"We're getting there; can someone get the lights?"
Within moments, the lights had been switched on, revealing Lucian and Phoebe standing next to two piles of manila folders that had mysteriously appeared on the table.
"Does anyone of you recall the Odaiba incident?"
It was Drake who answered the question this time, "You mean those nuclear missiles that somehow misfired into that town?"
"I remember now," Bertha said, with a small frown. "The reports said that the missiles' programming had been completely erased save for the targeting codes... which was why they didn't detonate, wasn't it? The detonation code had been deleted, too."
"Aside from the missiles, though..." Lucian asked, "does anyone remember what happened before the nuclear scare?"
"Reports of mass hysteria and panic-induced hallucinations," murmured Lorelei, narrowing her eyes at him. "Claims that strange creatures had appeared and were duking it out smack in the middle of the neighbourhood. Tell me, Lucian; what does this all have to do with our problem?"
Lucian nodded, "Yes, there were those reports... And yes, what we're about to show you has everything to do with the Odaiba incident and a possible solution to the crime issue."
The folders were handed out, and soon enough, copies of some rather faded photographs were being examined carefully all around the table. Each picture showed a strange-looking creature, unlike any pokemon that the Elites had seen before.
Well, except for Lucian and Phoebe, in any case.
"... back then, I had managed to wipe the memories of all relevant witnesses using my team," Lucian said. "Everything that you see in those photographs has been completely erased from the minds of Odaiba's population."
"Mass memory wipes?" grunted Koga discontentedly. "Not too reliable now, are they?"
"Trust me, Koga – no one remembers the Odaiba incident beyond the malfunctioning missiles."
"So... just what does this incident have to do with our next course of action?"
Lucian hesitated for a moment before answering.
"Let's just say that an opportunity for an alliance of sorts has come knocking on our front door, and that it has the potential to stop the crime problem dead in its tracks."
"Alliance, you say? And who would this alliance be made with?"
Lucian merely shrugged, "To be honest, we don't know yet – all we know is that they are willing to help, and are quite incapable of harming or double-crossing us."
"Incapable of double-crossing us, eh? What guarantees do you have for that?"
"Well, they don't exactly exist in this world, for one," Phoebe said simply.
Once again, the room fell into silence. When the silence was broken once again, the basic framework of a grand scheme was formed. By the end of the meeting, everyone knew what they had to do.
And that was when it all began.