It is easy to think of dictatorship as like a human, or like most pokemon: when you cut off the head, the body dies. In reality, it is a Dodrio, just like a democracy: a series of constantly competing heads trying to rein each other in, forced to cooperate for the sake of mutual survival. And of course, some have likened the revolutionary government to a Hydreigon, and others have done likewise with the old order – a series of brainless heads destroying everything in its path.
One head – the capital – had fallen. Perhaps another had in Mistralton – the air force was important, the city undergoing its own revolution - but if this is the case Unova's old regime had eight heads, more than any known Pokemon. But furious as the people around Unova were, hope alone was not enough for them to lose their chains.
A few relatively unimportant cabinet ministers, the local Gym Leader, and most of the army's officer corps had gathered in Nacrene City in a meeting to determine the new government. Although President Nicholas had been a civilian, and gained power initially through an election before dissolving the legislature and ruling as a dictator the last few decades, his government had become more and more reliant on the military in recent years. The secret police had acquitted themselves poorly in Castelia, and most importantly, the commander of the army, General Alexander, had long sought power for himself. His opportunity had come.
(As for Nicholas, even if the revolutionaries didn't kill him, they would use him as a hostage. And he was more than happy to let them shoot the hostage.)
The meeting was a foregone conclusion. No one spoke against him, out of fear – fear of arrest by the man of the hour, or worse, fear that the revolution would win if they did not stand united. Thus did Gentleman Alexander become President Alexander, defender of the old order and leader of one side of a civil war.
Perhaps I have used the wrong metaphor, for many say a dictatorship is more like a Reuniclus, prone to breaking apart into small pieces whenever the leader died. For all those united by terror into striving to crush the revolution, there would always be others who only saw opportunity. To them, this was a chance to carve out their own fiefdoms and maintain it long enough that they would survive as independent when the civil war ended, or even to supplant the interim leader and revolutionaries alike and seize absolute power for themselves.
In this war, the first to take that role would be the commander of the army of Orre, who sought to use the very resentment of the people he had conquered to build the foundation of his own independent kingdom – and if he could grab a bit of Unova as well, all the better. His name was Miror A, his favorite pokemon was Shiftry, and hours after the fall of Castelia and the declaration of the interim government, he declared Orre's independence and neutrality from Unova's internal struggle.
It has been common as far back as the revolution's darker days to see Bird Keeper Paul as a hero, a symbol of the revolution before it turned into an orgy of violence and terror of which only Giratina could be proud. And it is true that many people still look up to him even today. Sadly, this heroism is more legend than fact. Like Bug Catcher Joe, his primary motivation was revenge; the only difference between the two was that his lust for revenge could be far more easily satisfied. Yet he would still use his power to have it satisfied, and there is no one else who bears more blame for the farce that was Unova's revolutionary tribunal.
The fact that Ex-President Nicholas had committed severe crimes against democracy and humanity was never in doubt. However, his conviction on such matters was complicated by two major factors: the first was that, rather than fight to defend the regime, his police had realized quickly how much was lost and spent the day burning evidence. The second was that, although extrajudicial killing was common, the actual laws of Unova did not actually allow for capital punishment; the security forces murdered many a rebellious pokemon trainer in the middle of the night, but they did not and could not execute them under the auspices of the law. (Not that the law meant much in his administration.)
And then Nicholas – Nicholas the fallen, Nicholas the damned – made a statement which stunned the crowd with its very audacity. "You have proven nothing. I plead not guilty, for as far as the evidence shows, I have committed no crimes. Indeed, had it not been for me, it would have been even worse; my advisors were out for blood and I showed you lenience." That he had rigged election after election, killed rebel after rebel, and ordered the murder and torture of thousands was known to all in the crowd, but there was nothing in the court record to prove it.
Veteran George murmured aloud that they might have to find him innocent, if things kept going the way there were.
Bird Keeper Paul was not so convinced. "What crime did my Braviary commit?"
"I'm sorry for your loss." President Nicholas answered – clearly, he had read up on the incident in his short days of confinement. "I told the police force to subdue you if possible without violence, but you guys resisted, and pokemon die in wars. It was not an execution, and if it was, I was not the one responsible."
Paul shook his head. "By the time we got to the Pokemon Center, Braviary was already dead. Braviary and countless other pokemon who committed no crimes save for being born to poor trainers – to say nothing of the trainers themselves, who often get sick and die the same way. Even you can not deny that you presided over a system where poor people were expendable, to be worked half to death and thrown away to starve – and where most people, no matter how hard they worked, were poor." He paused for a moment, tears welling up as he related his own story.
"Staying in Orre meant losing my home and dying in the desert heat, but going home meant exhausting my Braviary to the point where it'd need healing I couldn't afford, because I didn't get paid enough to get by. No one did – not there, and not here either; the only people making money are the ones doing the paying. I would never have been in Orre to begin with if there were jobs in Unova which paid me enough to support myself and my pokemon."
"This is what your Unova was. You ran it. If you didn't order every striker blacklisted and every opposition politician shot, you sure as hell didn't stop it. This was your system. And you will die for it, like you killed so many others."
The crowd cheered. The Durant moved closer, placing the dictator's head in his cold, steel pincers. Some say the verdict was pronounced at that moment, and his next statement was made by a severed head: others say it was a closing remark before his execution. All agree on what he said: "But will you create anything better?"
Paul scoffed at the notion, answering a man who all agree had already been decapitated. "Maybe I won't, but the people will."
Soon after, the pokemon-less Bird Keeper announced his resignation as leader of the revolutionary government and retired from public life. It was thought at the time that he did so because he was badly shaken by Nicholas' words, but according to his memoirs, it was because he had won his revenge, and revenge was the only thing that he still cared about with his Braviary gone. Whether he was telling the truth, to the public or to himself, can of course never be known for sure.
The moment the dictator lost his head, a pokeball began to shake in a jail cell, then opened. The seal which binds pokemon to their pokeballs is dependent on the survival of its trainer; they will not stay captive forever, waiting for a corpse to let them out. Ordinarily, this simply allows them to be captured by the families of the dead, or resume new lives in the wild, but for legendary pokemon this can be a very dangerous thing.
And of course, Kyurem was a legendary pokemon.
The prison itself could not contain it – no prison could. Escapees were thankfully not an issue; there would be no more trials, just a bunch of ministers accused of various crimes, foremost among them corruption, killed in a tragic accident by an escaped Kyurem. Some would say they were killed in the chaos by a revolutionary government eager to avoid another embarrassment of a trial, one more interested in wiping out enemies than in protecting the people, but the ice marks on their bodies speak to the contrary.
In reality, the revolutionary government failed to protect the people, but it was not from lack of effort. The air force of Mistralton, save for a couple representatives, had returned home to take part in their own city's revolution – even Gym Leader Emma was absent. As for Bug Catcher Joe's Durant, Kyurem was not one to forget a threat; it would need a good, long rest in the pokemon center after being stepped on like a... much smaller bug.
It was a scene which to this day inspires many of Unova's famous monster movies, and has made Castelia known far and wide in popular culture as a place destroyed by legendary pokemon on a weekly basis. Skyscrapers were demolished – most of them empty, their workers watching the trial, to be sure, but there were many casualties all the same, as much from debris as from those few still trapped inside. The revolutionary army was crushed and broken; had the enemy known to seize the opportunity, it would have ended right then and there. Thankfully for the revolutionaries (and their sympathizers to this day) the intelligence minister, a Psychic by the name of Thomas, had fanned out with his Sigilyph, Musharna, and Elgyem across the city, keeping close tabs on suspected counter-revolutionaries and using hypnosis when necessary. Many would fall asleep that day; few would ever wake up, but most importantly, none would inform the enemy.
About an hour into its rampage, Kyurem suddenly stopped and flew home. The rest of them were spared – no thanks to the revolution.
While Castelia slew a tyrant and spied on perceived traitors, only to find they could not defend against the tyrant's own pokemon, a dramatically different alternative to their revolution was presenting itself in Mistralton. The breach with Castelia was not open yet, but it did not need to be to serve as an inspiration.
The strangest thing about it at this point was how much of it happened by chance. An ideology would develop out of it later, to be sure, but at this point it was simply the fact that the city's police officers had fled and no one else, least of all the laid-back gym leader, had volunteered to take their place.
And yet there was no more violence than before, not even an upswing in vandalism; there was simply not enough hate in the whole city for it to create a crime wave. What did happen was something entirely different. Artisans, shop clerks, and tenant farmers quit en masse, then came back demanding only that they be treated as equals; their prior bosses had no choice but to accept. There were no burglaries, but squatting increased dramatically; anyone who had more land than they could farm lost it if the land was any good. The economy had changed dramatically overnight; with no one willing to enforce inequality, they could not help but be equal – yet it was a tenuous equality, dependent on human decency. What crimes did occur went unsolved, but it was treated not as a terror, but as a sad fact of life.
And then the pokeballs stopped working. The reasons for this have often been disputed, but the traditional explanation remains that it was because the people (save for a select few) lacked the heart to be any creature's master. And yet, while a few fled into the wild, most pokemon stayed around – as pets and as friends, and even some as battling companions.
On the same day Kyurem devastated Castelia, the people who were once called the pokemon trainers of Mistralton City gathered outside what was once the gym. Now, their pokemon were "pokemon partners", their title disposed of, their description ambiguous. They were the teammates of their pokemon, who continued to battle for fun, and to take their commands as advice. They loved what had become of their city, and they swore to protect it from any who sought to destroy it.
Many would criticize them in later years – they were naive, they were ideologues, the human goodness and sense of community their system required didn't scale to areas larger than Mistralton, or it was never that great to begin with. They didn't agree, or simply didn't care. They would make their own force to protect their paradise. Not an army with regiments and ranks and commanders, but a team, all its members equal.
And they would call it Team Plasma.