Welcome to the grand Kanto adventure that is The First Warriors. This story is set in 2008 and follows Red, Blue and Leaf as they embark on their journey. It is a rewrite of my other story, Red vs Leaf, with more focus on Team Rocket and Blue and less on the battling. The story is set in the GalacticVerse alongside my other works, and the outcome of the character's journeys may be out there, this tells the story of how they became the heroes we see in other parts of this world. This prologue has been heavily rewritten since the story was first published, so expect big changes that will alter the course of the story - enjoy!
June 1st 2008 – One Island
Standing against a picturesque backdrop of blue skies and white sandy beaches, the memorial felt grotesquely out of place.
Tall, black, asymmetrical; it was a simple and austere monolith, but one that was guilty of many crimes, none more so than being grim. It was natural that the residents of the island town, the survivors, wanted a reminder of what had transpired here, but something so unavoidably ugly did not belong beside a beach.
Of course, Giovanni was perhaps biased. While for the people of Quest Island, this stood as a beacon of victory, a sparkling granite symbol of hope and spirit; to him, it was a symbol of his defeat. A bland one, at that.
"You would think they could have at least decorated it," he murmured, his eyes briefly glancing at the woman who has just appeared next to him. Most people wouldn't have registered her arrival, a subtle and silent mover was she, but Giovanni prided himself on not being most people. There were only a few in the world would have noticed the temperature drop despite there being no wind, or that it had become quieter, yet the playing children were still screaming as loudly as they had a moment before.
"It was going to be more grandiose originally," she said. "I was in the meeting when it came up. Oak, Casimer, one of them suggested something more personal, something to truly rub in that you'd lost. Then they realised the best way to offend you was to make it as boring as possible."
"They clearly know me too well."
"I suggested they make it uneven."
"Of course you did," Giovanni said with a smirk, and his companion laughed, their eyes remaining on the monument. "I suppose you have come to stop me."
It was a momentous day, though it seemed like any other. It was a Sunday, the first weekend of summer, a meaningless title but enough to drive the masses onto the streets. From his vantage point above the pearly beaches, Giovanni could see dozens of children splashing in the waves, some with Pokémon dancing alongside them as parents watched vigilantly from the sand. Childless and older couples as well as groups of single friends were invading the beach front stores, the false tradition of seasonal changes today's excuse for them to venture out and forget about their lives.
Of course, the streets were not as crowded as they had once been. Giovanni glanced at the couples, the families, wondering how many had been torn apart by his touch. Women outnumbered the men, he noticed: there were endless groups of them, bare-fingered, laughing shrilly as they cast their eyes about desperately searching for partners who had died a decade ago. He had turned these islands into a war zone, and though Quest Island had been the only town to completely crumble, there wasn't a place in Kanto that hadn't escaped his wrath.
Giovanni was not here to dwell on the past. Revenge was merely the border keeping his plan in place; focussing on past failures would mean he would only be doomed to repeat them. He had not waited over a decade to fail once again. Yet staring at the monument, he couldn't help but imagine returning here once he had conquered Kanto, transform the island of his loss into the place where he was reborn, a mecca for a new age. While this Sunday was full of pointless spectacle, Giovanni had chosen the Creator's Day deliberately: just like Arceus, he was about to rise again.
As the thought passed through him, making his body tense with power, Giovanni realised his companion hadn't answered him. Smirking slightly, he finally turned and faced her. Nearly invisible in the blistering sun, the ghost turned at his glare, a quiet look on her immortal face as though prepared for his questions.
"So you aren't going to stop me?"
"You know I couldn't even if I wanted to. I can try, of course, make you bleed and scream just like the good old days, but I have seen too much of what is about to happen to know it is all inevitable."
"Would you care to divulge?"
"Oh honey, we've known each other far too long for that sort of humour," the ghost purred, chuckling deeply. "I am only here as a witness today."
"Isn't that all you do?" Giovanni sneered. "The Great Charlotte, herald to the gods, yet for all the power your name has you're simply a watcher, sitting on the sidelines for millennium letting the wars and destruction pass you –" Giovanni fell silent as pain spread through him. It was indescribable, random and unfocused as it coursed through every muscle with such intensity his vision turned black, his very breath freezing in his lungs
"Watch your mouth, boy," Charlotte growled. "There wouldn't be a giant ugly monument here if I hadn't stopped you, you remember that. I awoke the gods, I destroyed your little operation here and in Kalos, and I could do it all again if I wanted to." She finally loosened her mental grip, and Giovanni sank forwards, gagging for breath.
"Are you going to stop me then?" He hissed. Charlotte paused, lips pursed, her eyes wandering over the crowd, and Giovanni had to resist a smile: he knew her too well to know the pause was not good for her.
"Not today, no. I could, obviously, but I have not seen a moment in this upcoming war that would require me to intervene. The duty to stop you has fallen on someone else."
Her last words intrigued Giovanni, but he was more taken by her confession than to worry about the duties of lesser mortals. "If you aren't here to stop me, then why come at all?"
He turned to Charlotte, a triumphant smile on his lips at having caught her out, but the ghost was not watching him. She was staring at the beach: the children playing in the surf, the adults reclining on towels in the shadow of the mountain beside the town, young couples passionately making out as though they were the only people in the world while Wingull and Pidgey circling above. It was the world that was trying to move on, to forget about the horrors of the past, and was for the most part succeeding. In a way, Giovanni felt cruel to tear it all down again – but then, that was half of the fun.
"This is the moment I've been dreading. In the future, when everything is said and done, people will argue it all began with the war, that night twelve years ago– some will probably date it back even further, to '75, '55, to those who bother to study what Adiem did. But today, this is the real turning point, the day everything changes. You have no idea what you are setting into motion today, the Pandora's Box you are going to open. This isn't just about you or Kanto: Hoenn, Johto, Sinnoh, Unova, they all change today. I just wanted to come and see how obvious the changes would be – a flash of lightning, maybe a change in colour, just something to mark the occasion."
She finally turned back to Giovanni, wearing a wistful smile that managed to shine without a body. Giovanni stared back blankly, for once unsure if Charlotte was joking or being genuine. If she was telling the truth, then what exactly was she saying about him and his plans? How was he going to change the world?
"So are you here to try and talk me out of it?"
Charlotte laughed. "Of course not. I know there is no point. No, I'm not here to change things. I just want you to wear the cost of what happens, and know that whatever happens from now on – to you, to everyone else – it all started here, on this shitty park bench."
Finally, Giovanni was angry. "What is this, coming here like this and giving me some vague threat about the fate of the world? What the hell am I supposed to do with that? You need to tell me the truth right now, or at least why this all matters so much to you!"
"I never tell the whole truth, darling – it's more fun that way. I'm not here to help you or hinder you, I just want to watch and see how things turn out. It's the only thing that can get me up in the morning after all these centuries."
Charlotte flashed her wicked smile and laughed, the sadness gone from her face as her devilish side took over. Giovanni wanted to reach out and strangle her, but he instead gazed down at his watch and smiled.
"Well, I'm glad I can at least give you what you came for. Look up, sweetheart: here's your sign that the world's changed."
The sound of an explosion echoed across the island. The invisible bubble shattered, giving them a second of shrill laughter and senseless chatter before the shrieks turned to screams. The cliff face that dominated the skyline was cracking apart, huge chunks of earth splitting from the mountain and crashing to the world below. There was a great splash like a thunderclap as the first misshapen lump hit the surf, clearing the beach faster than a Gyarados had appeared at low tide.
As people fled around them, only Charlotte and Giovanni were smiling. "Oh honey, if there's one thing I missed about you, it's that you do know how to put on a show."
"A compliment, from you? I shall wear that badge with honour." Giovanni bowed as he got to his feet. "Don't you worry, I won't disappoint: I've got a big show planned for this pathetic country, and I am going to make sure no one misses it."
Charlotte smiled thinly back as she watched the fleeing crowds. "Oh, I am sure it will be spectacular," she replied drolly. "Run along now, little anarchist, I've got a lot more to deal with now thanks to you."
"See you again soon?"
"Undoubtedly," Charlotte purred, and she vanished, leaving Giovanni alone beside the bench. The noise got louder, people pushing past as they fled towards the safety of the shops. A siren had already gone off, and Giovanni watched as several policemen appeared clutching the hands of Abra and Ralts.
Humans – so utterly predictable in their reaction to the unpredictable. With one final, victorious stare at the monument, Giovanni turned and marched unseen through the crowds.
As he descended into the heart of the island, it quickly became unsettlingly quiet.
Shops and hotels, the business side of the island, gave way to a kind of coastal suburbia that had emerged from the ashes of the island. There was no proper road, just a grass track with parallel lines worn in by tires, but the single storey houses with giant front yards, the seaside ornaments decorating picket fences, it was all so homely, modern and normal. There was no evidence left that tanks had one torn up the street, or that many of the houses that had once been here had fallen into sinkholes.
Why bother having a memorial if you are trying so hard to pretend nothing ever happened? Giovanni was beginning to feel enraged again. To see his handiwork brushed away to be just another part of history made his blood boil. One day soon, he would come back here, tear down the homes painted like boats, burn the forests that had regrown along the mountain's edge, remind these people who was in charge.
The siren echoed around the streets, but it was the only sound that disturbed Giovanni's journey. The swish of his black trench cloak as he marched past the endless houses was joined by distant birdsong, leaving the rest of the street in silence. Giovanni gazed into windows as he passed, his dark hair and porkpie hat staring back at him but no one else. Everyone was empty, entirely as planned – all except one.
"Toby, hurry up, we're already late!" Her frazzled cries echoed down the silent street. Giovanni smirked and quickened his pace. Choosing Sunday had been more than just stroking his ego. His team had been surveying this house for the last few weeks and they'd only found one reliable consistency about their targets: every Sunday, Dad would go to work, leaving Mum with the kids, tired, frazzled and desperate to avoid the crowds, waiting until the afternoon to take them to the park.
The house was as gaudy and offensive as its neighbours: bright blue walls with a white roof, as though the builder had thought the eventual owners would forget they lived near the sea if their house didn't remind them daily. The shabby garden had a rusty playset and forgotten flowerbeds, both going ignored by the woman standing yelling in the doorway.
"Ma'am, excuse me – ma'am!" Giovanni walked up the footpath without invitation, striding past a moss covered bird fountain. The woman turned to him, and Giovanni realised he'd forgotten her name. Her mousy hair, tired eyes and shabby dress matched the photos so he knew it was her, but he couldn't even guess what her name might be.
"Oh, um, hey there – are you lost?" She looked beleaguered, the tiredness of raising two children visible in every pore on her body. Her eyes briefly flashed with fear as Giovanni approached her, but with her children performing in the background, she didn't have the energy to spare on being afraid.
"Oh no – well, yes, I guess I am!" Giovanni laughed in his most casual voice. "I am trying to find my friend's house, I know it's somewhere around here, but no that wasn't why I'm bothering you when you are so busy. I was just wondering what those sirens in the distance mean?"
The woman looked up, noticing the distant wailing for the first time and looked perturbed. "Oh, those. It just means that there has been an incident at the beach – landslide, probably. It's nothing for you to worry about, the tsunami warning is a lot louder."
"Well, that is a relief! I live up in the mountains on the mainland so we never have to worry about things like tsunamis – my gosh, even the word sounds foreign!" Giovanni laughed, and the woman chuckled with him, though with an exasperated air that made it clear she didn't care about his worries. "I'll keep searching for my friend then – thank you for putting my mind at ease!"
"Anytime," she replied, her tone making it clear she hoped he would never bother her again.
Giovanni smirked at her frustration as he turned away. He was enjoying himself, playing the role of villain again, and he was disappointed that it would have to end so suddenly. "I'm sorry, but you look familiar – is your husband Casio?"
"Um, yes he is, why?"
"I just had to double check," Giovanni replied, turning to face her as he withdrew his rifle. "Would be a real pity to kill the wrong person."
For a moment, Giovanni savoured her reaction. He watched her eyes squint then bulge as her brain processed what he had said; he watched as she turned, mouth falling open, the beginnings of scream rising up her throat, eyes watching him, slowly realising that his snarl would be the last thing she ever saw.
Then he fired. In the quiet, the gunshot sounded like a building had exploded. The echo would have normally worried Giovanni, but alone in suburbia, he could relax and bask in satisfaction at the faceless woman opposite him. The force sent her body stumbling back into the wall, her ruptured head slumping against a mirror behind her, the glass shattered by the bullet exiting her skull. Giovanni watched as the woman, the mother, the wife, the body, fell to the floor alongside the broken shards and her fallen handbag, a fountain of blood seeping across the entrance.
"Now the fun part begins."
At times like this, Giovanni felt like he was in a play where only he knew the script; events always went exactly as he had planned, the rest of the players following on. Right on cue, a small boy, Toby, he presumed, came sprinting down the hallway, running on stage without a clue what was going on. He noticed Giovanni first, the concern on his face quickly turning into terror before he looked down at the bloody mess that had once been his mother. The child's mouth fell open and he began to quiver, but he was too in shock to cry; he just stared and stared. It wasn't until Giovanni chuckled that the boy looked up and backed away, revealing a Pikachu that barely reached his hips standing pointlessly next to him.
"Q-Q-Q-Quick Attack!" The Pikachu reared up, sparks flying from his cheek. Giovanni smiled and lunged, grabbing the beast by the head. He felt a shock go through his body, but it was merely a twitch. Unhindered, Giovanni slammed the Pokémon head first against the door frame. The Pikachu squealed, but it only took three goes before it was unconscious, possibly dead, drooping in his hands. Giovanni smirked again and tossed it into the flower bed, where it landed with a soft, wet thud.
With an ear-splitting shriek, the child turned to run, but Giovanni grabbed him by the neck, dragging him back through the pool of the blood and glass.
"Now you listen to me. When the police come, they are going to ask you if you saw anything. You are going to tell them that you were outside when it happened, and ran inside when you heard the gunshot. You didn't see me, you didn't see how Pikachu got hurt – you have no idea what happened. But when the police leave, and your father is alone, crying loudly and obviously in his office thinking you can't see him, you are going to approach him. You are going to tell him you did see a man, that he spoke to you, that he threatened you. Then you are going to say four words to him – not three, not five, exactly four. Do you want to know what those words are?"
The child shivered, Giovanni could feel his entire body shaking. A moment passed and he thought he'd have to explain again.
"Think on your sins. Repeat after me – think – "
"On your sins…"
Giovanni smiled "Good boy." He gripped tighter, grinning savagely. "And if you don't do that – and trust me, I will know if you don't – I will come back to your house and I will skin that Pikachu alive while you watch, and then do the same to your father, but not to you. Are we clear?"
The boy nodded, tears swimming in his eyes. Giovanni flashed a smile and stood enough, ready to leave, but now before something foul reached him. Looking down, he saw the front of the boy's pants were soaking wet, urine forming in a pool at his feet.
"That's disgusting." Giovanni smiled as the boy finally started to cry, tears and snot bursting out of his face. The shrieks echoed inside the silent house and followed him as he strutted down the footpath, reaching into his pocket for a Poké Ball as he did so.
"I'm done – signal the helicopter." There was a forest at the end of the road where Giovanni was heading now, but he waited until he saw a purple ball rise from the mountains, setting off only once the poisonous sludge had exploded over the distant trees.
Giovanni smiled as he walked down the street. This could not have gone any better. It may not have been a complicated, grand plan along the lines of his work in the days of old, but for the first step in this revenge plan a decade in the making, the smoothness of it was something to be relished. The wails of the sirens were a distant memory now, leaving only the child's incessant howling to disrupt his victorious peace.
He was halfway down the street when a shadow passed over him. Giovanni paused and turned just as a large purple beast landed with an earth shaking thud. He looked up at the mountain, trying to find the spot where his Pokémon would've jumped from: was that cliff a kilometre high, two, three?
"I hope you know you never fail to impress me. They'll be trying to figure out that landslide for weeks." Giovanni smiled at his Nidoking, but the beast merely grunted and he chuckled, resuming his walk. The Pokémon moved into step with him, an effort for the heavy-set Pokémon; Nidoking had always moved laboriously, walking like a construction worker carrying two barrels under his arms.
Imperfectly perfect, Giovanni thought, watching his Pokémon struggle to keep up. He had tried many times over the years to breed a perfect Nidoran, but there was always a flaw. If they focused on strength, they tend to be slow, but if they tried to make them fast, it lacked the right punch. That was the problem Giovanni had with nature; it never allowed perfection, it always had to allow flaws, mortality, no matter how much you intervened.
Yet in flaws, you can find strengths. Nidoking had a body to rival any human bodybuilder, over two metres tall with the power to down a building in a single punch. Despite this, his thick purple skin was a tapestry of healed cuts and burns, a result of being too slow to dodge, but Giovanni had little sympathy for Nidoking: every wound made him stronger, made him more vengeful. The world had refused to let him achieve perfection, but Nidoking was just what Giovanni needed in a Pokémon – something not only unafraid of violence but one that revels in it.
"You know this is a tremendous occasion for me, don't you?" Giovanni called as they stepped onto the forest path. Nidoking grunted back. "I want everyone to know how important this is… can you do something for me?"
"Nido Ni King Do King."
Giovanni turned and beamed malevolently. "Oh, yes my son, yes… a monument… that's exactly what we need." He glanced at the helicopter waiting for them, sitting in the middle of an empty clearing. "You know what to do."
The propellers had already begun turning, and the sleek black machine was ready for take-off as Giovanni approached it, stepping over melting slime to do so. The door slid open and he stepped inside the luxurious cabin, sinking with a satisfied sigh into the tan leather seats.
"Satisfied?" Giovanni opened his eyes. There was only one other person in the cabin asides from the pilot. Even when Gideon was not in his lab, he still wore his long white coat. It made sense to Giovanni: the man had been an outcast all his life, he basked in the glory of his position as head scientist and loved reminding people of his power. The only problem with that was that Gideon sometimes thought his privilege gave him the right to speak up.
"Of course I am, the mission was a success." Giovanni pressed a button on the armrest, causing it to slid up and produce a glass of red wine, the smell a welcome punch on the nose.
Gideon sighed as he tossed aside his tablet and faced his boss. "I don't see the point though."
Giovanni shot the greasy haired scientist a look over the top of his glass. "Why do I need to explain this all again? I told you that I want them all to suffer as much as we did. They have to know that everything that happens from now on is entirely their fault."
"But you've ruined the element of surprise. They will know we are coming now."
"Good," Giovanni replied curtly.
"They'll be able to prepare for us."
"For fuck's sake Gideon, don't be so focused on the end result for once in your life. I don't want to win this easily. There's no fun in that." Giovanni's yell was deafening inside the confined cabin. Gideon did not flinch but he looked more perturbed than he had before. Giovanni let him wallow in that for a moment as he finished his wine.
"Don't you understand? I want them frightened. I want them scared. These men destroyed our lives; they destroyed everything that my family had been working towards for decades. What we accomplished twelve years ago was nothing short of a miracle – we played God and we survived, there are no other men on earth who can say they have achieved that. And then they took it all away from us in a few hours.
"They thought they had won, that they had neutered us, but they were wrong. I want to shatter the perfect little lives they have lived, thinking that they saved the world, and I want them to realise that if they had only sat back and left us alone, they could have had everything that anyone has ever wanted. I want them to see us coming, I want them to be prepared, and then I want to crush them in ways they could never imagine. This is the first day of my revenge, Gideon, and I want everyone to know that."
A grunt cut across Giovanni. Smirking, he pulled out the Poke Ball and pointed it at Nidoking. As the door slid shut behind the retreating energy, Giovanni peered down at his Pokémon's creation. The clearing had been raised two metres into the air and twisted so the rough circle faced the clearing, faced the town he had just torn apart. Across the once smooth surface, three cracks had appeared: two straight joined by one sweeping curve. It may not be a work of art, but as the helicopter took them away, Giovanni thought the giant R was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, and he turned to Gideon with a smile.
"I want everyone to know that Team Rocket is back."