Value The young girl wasn't the Pokemon's original trainer. Its original trainer had fallen upon hard times and been forced to sell it. It was strong, and it was rare, so it was valuable. But many times, a trainer does not understand the true value of a Pokemon. It is not in financial worth. It is not in power. It is not in HMs learnt. It is in respect.

Value
by Leto

Stop patronising me. Stop patronising me. You do not realise how much of a fool you appear in my eyes.

"Come on, Pinky! Just give it another try! You can do it if you put your mind to it!"

Pinky. That's my name. That's not my name. It is a stupid name. Some of my fur is a dark red, but it's certainly not pink.

And she doesn't get it. How can I put my mind to something I don't know how to do? The ability to do this is not yet inside me, and until I battle more, I won't be able to understand it.

She becomes irritated with my blank expression.

"You stupid Alakazam! That Pokedex is so wrong about you! If you had all that brainpower like it claimed, you'd never have trouble with a simple trick like performing Psychic! Don't be such a weakling!'

I am not the stupid one in this scenario. Any good Pokemon trainer would understand that a Pokemon can only know an attack when it feels it after battling experience. It has nothing to do with brainpower.

I have had enough of this. She will not draw me back inside that Pokeball. She will not. It ends here.

***

"Meowwwth, whaddya saying?!"

"Kazamm..... alakazam!"

"Interesting... so, what's in it for me?"

"Alakazam! Kazam, kazam! Ka kazam!"

"I think... you have a good point. Count me in."

***

"What?!"

Ash squawked as he unfolded the newspaper. On the front page was an Alakazam and a very familiar Meowth.

"Look at this you guys!"

Misty and Brock looked over Ash's shoulder at the newspaper.

"Pika pi, pika?" (Ash, read it for me?)

"Okay... this article says... it says... hang on, let me read it first."

Pikachu waited impatiently while Ash's eyes scanned the page. Those eyes got larger and larger with each sentence read.

"Take a look, you guys," said Ash, giving the paper to Misty and Brock. They read it also, and their mouths fell open in shock.

***

"And tonight, an unusual and special news story about an unlikely partnership between an Alakazam and a talking Meowth, of all things."

The newslady smiled pleasantly, although there was a faint glimmer of nervousness in her eyes that only the observant noticed.

"Now, over to our reporter, Flint Shale."

"Thank you, Sue," said the reporter, a well-known figure who covered Pokemon-related news stories. His face smiled, but his shadowed eyes did not.

"It's not commonly known by humans, but they've been working undercover with Pokemon for weeks. Now we're bringing you this remarkable tale of a Pokemon who decided it should make a difference... Alakazam will speak, translated by the Meowth."

"Pokemon of the world, listen! You have no need to obey your masters! You are more powerful than them, you are more intelligent than them. They treat you badly or condescend you. They do not understand you. They have no powers of their own yet they try to utilise ours as though we are mere objects. I am not a fool. I refuse to be the tool of someone who is many times my intellectual inferior. I will NOT take this any more, and you don't have to either! It's -"

"Err," broke in Flint, nervously, "what is this leading to?"

"It is time," said Alakazam/Meowth, "for a Pokemon revolution! Pokeballs will be destroyed. We are taking down Silph Company so no more will be produced. No more will there be such a thing as 'Pokemon trainers' - people who keep Pokemon trapped only to take them out to force them to hurt other Pokemon or themselves by using powers that were not meant to be used for such purposes."

"You are taking down Silph Company as we speak?"

"The time will come soon. There are things to be done first."

The news broadcasters did not understand quite how serious Alakazam and Meowth were. To them, it was just another story - albeit a rather disturbing one.

***

"So you see, Meowth," whispered Alakazam (in its own language), "we have to discover the technology used beore we can destroy Silph."

"I geddit," whispered Meowth, "but I think you'd betta take care of dat."

"I'll get one of the Psyduck, Hypno, and a couple of Kadabra to help me. The more Pokemon with knowledge of this, the better."

"Psyduck? Are you crazy, Psyduck are really dumb!"

"Not dumb, certainly not dumb. They're too smart."

"You're kiddin'!"

"Actually, other Pokemon are the ones who are dumb. Psyduck are so intelligent their thoughts happen very quickly and come out a bit scrambled. That's why they confuse most other Pokemon and humans, and why they even confuse themselves, those that can't control their thoughts as well. It's also the reason why they act dazed a lot of the time... they're too busy thinking and so their actions are vague because they can't concentrate on them. This is also why they always have a headache. Only highly intelligent Pokemon can understand Psyduck."

"Well, ya learn something new every day..."

"Meowth, are you coming?"

"Nah, I'd betta go see what mission Team Rocket's on now."

"Okay. Be back later."

"Yup."

***

Jessie cast a nervous look over her shoulder. "He's coming back."

"About time," said James, but his eyes were also nervous. Emerald, glittering faintly.

"Hey guys!" said Meowth, cheerfully oblivious - or pretending to be - to his partners' moods.

"Well, nice to see you finally bothered to show up," snapped Jessie.

James didn't say anything. Meowth looked surprised.

"I had some important business to take care of -"

"We know what that business is," said James, "planning to take down Team Rocket!"

"Whaa-?!"

"We saw you on the news, Meowth," said Jessie, in a snappish tone as usual. "You were planning to free all Pokemon. Just what do you think the principles of Team Rocket are, hmm?"

It'd never occured to Meowth that his alignment with Alakazam would be seen as traitorship.

***

It was dark that night, and the moon hid behind a protective cover of clouds, obliging. That was the night that Pokemon took over the institute dedicated to studying them. It was appropriate. They needed no notes or computer programs to understand themselves, they knew themselves.

There was, of course, much protection and many guards over Silph. But, for some reason their Pokemon refused to fight. Some even attacked their masters. Alakazam and its allies had been working secretly under the surface and most Pokemon agreed with them.

And the guns were ineffective too. How can you use a gun against someone who attacks you mentally? Someone who attacks you long before you realise they're there? Someone who can teleport away faster than you can pull the trigger?

No, Pokemon were not meant to be used as tools. Were not meant to be controlled. There is more value in them than that.

***

It was not so very long after that that the average human began to notice changes too.

The first indication, the most dramatic, was when the sky was nearly blackened out. High over Saffron City, the centre of Pokemon Island... the sky was dark with thousands of shadows.

Pidgey, squawking their indignation at being targeted by new trainers and having stones thrown at them. Spearow, cawing that their poor reputation for attacking trainers was justified and justifiable. Butterfree, squealing that they would not be prevented from their natural mating seasons any more by inconsiderate trainers. Beedrill, buzzing that they would not take it any more. Zubat, screeching in rebellion and anger. Charizard, roaring that it would now be treated with more respect.

Every one of these Pokemon held another on their backs. Squirtle, Sandshrew, Growlithe. Scyther, Machop, Ekans. Doduo, Clefairy, Electabuzz.

Abra, floating, thinking that it was time for change. Kadabra, floating, thinking that the change would begin now. Alakazam, floating above all the rest. Thinking big.

Everyone of them held something in their claws, talons or wings. From the distance, nobody could tell what they were holding, but it seemed ominous...

The city of Saffron was afraid.

***

"Prepare for trouble."

"Make it double."

"To protect the world from devastation."

"To unite all peoples within our nation."

"To denounce the evils of truth and love..."

"To extend our reach to the stars above..."

"Jessie."

"James..."

"Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light."

"Surrender now or prepare to fight."

There was a pause, a silence which Ash broke.

"Hey, where's Meowth?"

Jessie and James had not delivered their speech with the usual enthusiasm; more like with a sense of depressing duty and ritual.

"We don't know," admitted James.

"That annoying mangy furball has skipped off with some stupid Alakazam. Well, it's his loss. We don't need him anyway, we're fabulous all on our own!"

Ash and his friends could see that Jessie didn't really mean it; neither the bit about him being an annoying mangy furball, or about not missing him. Misty was about to say something, but Brock spoke first.

"Look at that! The sky!"

They looked. And before long, they heard. The cries of a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand furious, fed up Pokemon.

"This... is not good," said James, unnecessarily.

***

The city of Saffron was in chaos.

"Pokeball, go!"

A dozen citizens shouted it in panic as the dark cloud descended.

Their Pokemon appeared, but their expressions were different.

"Join us," encouraged Alakazam, "have freedom."

And as individuals from the great cloud of Pokemon came closer, the objects they held could be discerned, could be identified.

They were Pokeballs. No, Peopleballs, for storing People.

***

Misty and Brock stared around them in a kind of frenzy. It was a frenzy. It was chaos. People ran screaming from their own Pokemon - Pokemon that wielded Peopleballs. Pokemon that were using their attacks as they were intended to be used - against humans, where they'd have more effect.

The group turned and ran. It seemed a mutual decision. No Pokemon tried to stop them, and they didn't stop until they were outside the city. They threw themselves down on the cool grass, gasping for breath. The clearness of the air and the familiarity of the soft grass was a sharp contrast to the panicked city.

"It's terrible," whispered Ash.

Nobody said anything, but there was a general sense of agreement.

"I can't believe," said Misty confidently, "that my own Pokemon would turn on me like that. So I'm going to take the risk. We have to help in whatever way we can. This is really bad!"

"I agree, Misty," said Brock, and took out his own Pokeballs. "And we don't have a future if we can't stop this."

Jessie and James looked at each other fearfully, then clasped hands. They had to trust their Pokemon too.

"Pokeballs, go!"

The four shouted in unison.

The Pokemon appeared.

***

"Meeeowth, this is excellent!" said Meowth cheerily from where it rode in a position of honour, on a Dragonite's back.

Alakazam nodded, a slight smile on its face. They took a handful of Peopleballs and threw them down into Saffron below, where 'tame' Pokemon, released by their too-trusting masters for battling, eagerly snatched them up as arsenal.

Neither of the two Pokemon had much respect for humans.

***

Our heroes, if you can call them that, found themselves in an interesting situation.

Brock found himself being chased by all four of his Pokemon. Geodude, Onix and Zubat snarled about how they'd wished to be able to live a peaceful life in mountain caves where they were born. Vulpix growled that it had never had any choice about being owned by Brock.

Misty was repeatedly tackled by Starmie and Staryu, who were being fought off by Psyduck and Horsea, trying to protect her. Togepi was hiding nearby, with wide frightened eyes.

Jessie's Arbok was fighting to protect her from Lickitung, who had acquired a Peopleball dropped by an obliging Magneton flying overhead.

James' Weezing was doing the same to Victreebell.

Ash still had not released any of his Pokemon. He was nervous. It would be the time when he truly found out if he was a good trainer or not.

Pikachu looked up at him, uncertainty in its eyes. It had heard Alakazam's message and the promise of freedom, those words affected it strongly. It remembered how it so hated being captured and treated as a new trainer's experiment.

***

Back in the city, a Gyarados swung its enormous tail, crushing buildings and sending showers of debris falling on people below. Some Magnemite deliberately tackled the power lines, Raichu thundershocked the grids, short circuiting them.

The city went dark.

Above them all, a Pokemon floated wearing a look of satisfaction.

"Pinky!" screamed a girl who wore her leg in a cast and held a Pokeball in one hand. "Pinky! It's me, your trainer!"

Alakazam turned in surprise.

"Pinky - return!"

A red beam shot from the ball but Alakazam used Barrier and deflected it. Then it floated down in front of its trainer and glared.

"Alakazam kaa... Alakazam... kazam zam, ala, alakazam. Alakazam... ala ala ka zam!"

("Because you were rich... you bought me... like an object at a store. I'm not your slave... just because your family has money!")

Alakazam glowed a faint blue, and then brilliant white exploded from the spoons it held. It smirked as its 'trainer' screamed.

"Kazam... zam."

("I finally learnt it.... psychic.")

***

From the countryside near Saffron, five Pokemon trainers saw in the distance the dark cloud scattering. Black smoke from flame Pokemon billowed out, split by bolts from a thousand electric Pokemon. And through it all, a brilliant white beam which scared all who saw it with its intensity and purpose.

"This is the end," said Brock quietly. He'd managed to get his Pokemon under control with assistance from Misty's Horsea and a few buckets of water.

Everyone shuddered. They felt the same way. The future was going to change dramatically. The hunters now becoming the hunted.

Arbok and Weezing were still fighting, using good teamwork derived from years of practise fighting together. Lickitung tried to bite Arbok as Weezing tackled it, who in turn was strangled by Victreebell. It was a long battle and seemed to be in some sort of stalemate. At the rate it was going, it looked as though the battle would only end when all Pokemon involved were fainted or dead.

Psyduck had effectively disabled both Staryu and Starmie and was now hugging Misty's leg, also afraid of the change it felt in the air. For once, Misty made no attempt to distangle or scold Psyduck. She just stroked its head with trembling hands.

***

Team Rocket headquarters stood, a dark, forbidding place where few humans dared venture. Pokemon had no such inhibitions. They were in control now.

Rapidash, Onix, Tauros and Rhydon ran without fear into the building, ramming it, causing its walls to crumble.

The gas of half a dozen Koffing set alight with the flames of half a dozen Rapidash caused the building to go up like a tremendous fireball and a chapter in the imprisonment and ill treatment of Pokemon was over.

***

The city of Saffron was still as the dust settled. The streets were covered with Pokemon, and many full Peopleballs.

They all looked up to the sky where Alakazam floated, with Meowth on Dragonite. Their eyes were scanning below for any movement, for any people still moving, for any Pokemon still fighting and in need of help.

There were none.

The duo floated higher, and saw further. Both had very keen vision.

"There," said Meowth, pointing. Movement, just outside of Saffron. Human movement.

***

Second half