Prologue

I've known ever since I could walk, that one day, I would try to be a pokemon master. Of course the key word in that statement is "try", because there were two that I could never even hope to beat. One of them was a scoundrel, a pokemon theif and a douchebag if there ever was one. The other was quite a hero, but I always wondered why he did the things he did. I just wanted to make a badass team, but I think he did it because he really loved pokemon.

But of course, this is not his story. This is my story.

My name is Ryan. Compared to Ethan, I'm as much of an also-ran as Gary Oak had been to Red. I don't know them or anything, don't ask me to pass on fanmail, but they're part of the reason I wanted to train pokemon.

My grandpa was. He founded the Pokemon Combat Unit that Lt. Surge served in. I now see that mixing up pokemon in the field of battle, forcing them to kill humans and take bullets meant for humans, is not at all humane or acceptable. Kids, however, have a while before their view of the innocent world is spoiled. So I loved him and had one hell of a case of hero worship going.

The day I graduated from secondary school was the first day of my adventure. Tertiary schooling wasn't required by law, it was purely optional. People go there to become scientists and things like that, but I had bigger plans. I came home from school and found a pokeball sitting on the kitchen counter.

"Dad?" I called out. I heard footsteps at the stairs and his figure popped into the room. He was stroking his beard, the classic Dad's-a-thinkin' pose.

"Hey there son. This might come off as a surprise to you, but I know exactly what you mean to tell me. You graduated secondary school today…and now you want to start your pokemon journey. So far, so good?"

I nodded, utterly speechless.

"You remember when Ethan left home a few weeks ago after Dr. Elm's lab was robbed?"

I nodded again. "Of course I remember, dad. Ethan left town to chase after that thief and show him what a real trainer does to pricks, sorry dad, like him."

Dad narrowed his eyes at me. He was such a tool about swearing. "That may be part of it, sure enough, but he was really asked to carry out a mission. Well, an errand. But an important one. You have no such errand, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go out and experience the world."

Dad took the pokeball from the table and handed it to me. "This was the last one left after that thief and Ethan took their pokemon from Elm's lab. What was that thief's name anyway?"

I tried my hardest to remember what Ethan had said it was. I remembered, but even still, I wonder whether that was really his name or whether Ethan had been a smartass. "I think Ethan said his name was PRICKFACE. That can't be right though, could it?"

Dad smiled and stifled a giggle. "Professor Oak's grandson's name is rumored to be DOUCHENOZZLE. Do not doubt the idiocy in others, my boy. Now here, use that pokeball and take a look at your first friend. Your first teammate. Your first pokemon."

I threw the ball out and began to scream internally. "Dad, you got me my favorite. YOU GOT ME A TOTODILE!" I screamed, externally this time. I ran up and hugged my Totodile, who actually seemed uncomfortable at first. He relaxed after a few seconds, but I'll never forget the slight moment of heartbreak I felt when he almost retreated.

"Dad this is," and then I made a noise that cannot possibly be described in any human language.

"Give him a name! You owe him that much."

I took another look at my Totodile. I was thinking of a name when I was suddenly overcome by some intense force, almost as if someone else forced me to come up with the spontaneous name. "I want to name him STEVE IRWIN."

My dad scratched his chin.

"Croikey!" I yelled, though I still don't know why.