Our story begins in the quaint seaside town of Pallet. The day has begun anew with the sun stretching its long lazy fingers over the horizon. A morning bird sings the day to a sweet awakening, and a large Fearow wings its way to a tall tree.
The houses of Pallet are all varied; different shapes, sizes, and colors. There is a Pokemart, but no Pokecenter. A few small stores, two grocery stores, and one gas station. The closest mall is located in Viridian, but that doesn't stop the people of Pallet from anything.
Our attention is to be focused on one young man. He is around the age of fourteen and has nothing but the highest standards for his life and everything it holds. He stretches luxuriously in his big comfortable bed, opens his sleepy eyes to look around his large room, and lazily stands up. He runs a hand through spiky auburn hair as he makes his way to his private bathroom and begins the day like any other. He has not a care in the world.
Unfortunately for him, that is all about to change.
The Pokemon Zone Episode One: Forgotten Production Date 06.24.2002 Release Date 09.26.2002
Gary Oak walks through the living room and makes his way into the kitchen. It's still rather early in the morning, around six-thirty, but he is as awake as if it were noon. Cabinet doors are heard opening and closing. A frying pan is placed on the stove and the refridgerator door is heard opening and gently closing. An egg is cracked open into a bowl and mixed.
A slim blond girl dressed in a black pants suit stands in the living room and faces the kitchen. She brushes a lock of glossy hair behind one ear and sighs. "Gary Oak," she says, "He has had the world handed to him on a silver platter. Unfortunately fate is about to snatch it back and slam him over his spiky little head."
Gary continues on in the kitchen, not hearing our announcer (who is conveniently invisible and inaudible to everyone but YOU!), and the scent of fried eggs is soon joined by green peppers, onions, and bacon bitties. "Let's see our 'hero,' shall we?"
The girl leads the way into the kitchen where Gary has just spooned the omlette onto a plate. He takes the plate and sits at a kitchenette and begins to wolf down the small feast. "Gary's rival is Ash Ketchum, a little known lad who is also from the town of Pallet, and Gary likes to be a bit of a bully to Ash. What if Gary had no choice but to be with Ash all the time? That's what we're about to find out."
The scene fades and sharpens to show a laboratory of some sort. The room has shelves of Pokeballs and a tall older man currently stands in front of five of them. He has placed them carefully on a table and seems to be waiting for someone. He doesn't have long to wait.
A group of three nervous looking children are led in by Gary and the chatter halts when the children see the older man. He looks down at the children, for he is far taller than they, and then smiles. The children relax instantly and they beam up at him.
The man is Professor Oak, a renouned Pokemon researcher and Gary's grandfather. The Pokemon have been predetermined for the youths, based upon a test they all took six weeks ago, and the Pokeballs are quickly handed out. One by one they recieve their Pokemon partners and are led out to the fenced yards behind the laboratory by Professor Oak so that they might meet their new friends in more natural conditions.
"Remember, Gary," Professor Oak calls back, "Do not try to confront that Pikachu again."
Gary nods and waves to his Grandfather. For Gary had wanted to take the Pikachu for his first licensed partner. The Pikachu had other ideas. It is a nippy, hostile creature that wants nothing to do with humans of any kind, and has been regulated to a special Pokeball.
Gary had tried to reach out to it, to show it that not all humans were bad, and he had recieved a large shock from the creature, as well as an admontation from his Grandfather. That had been eight weeks ago, but it still did lingering damage to Gary's pride. At least Ash hadn't been around.
Speaking of the little brat, Gary thinks snidely, Looks like the runt slept in. Oh well, ya snooze, ya lose, and that Ash will always be a loser.
Suddenly one of the Pokeballs begins to rock back and forth. Gary eyes it with slight hesitation. There's no way a Pokemon, even that evil Pikachu, could escape. No chance.
Only Gary is wrong.
The Pokeball pops open with its trademark sound and a white beam of light reforms into a Pikachu. The eletric rat squeezes its beady eyes closed and shakes its body, as if shaking off the feeling of the Pokeball.
Gary hesitates in moving, hoping off-handedly that if he doesn't move, then it won't see him.
The Pikachu looks at him dead in the eyes and mutters a low, "Chuu..."
Gary gulps nervously and slowly backs away.
"Piiiika," The rodent coos, sitting on its haunches. Electricity glitters at its cheeks like a hand held sparkler firework, and it seems to smile at him. "Pika pika chuuuu...."
Gary's hesitation is the wrong choice. He should have run, thrown something at it, or at least shouted out for his Grandfather. Instead he chose to walk forward, seemingly intrigued by the Pokemon. "I wanted you for my own."
The Pikachu chirped and cocked its head at him.
"You've got nothing to fear, little buddy." Gary says, walking stupidly closer. "I'd never hurt you."
The Pikachu's eyes sparkle, glimmering as if with unshed tears. Gary is very close to the table and the pokemon unexpectedly leaps into his arms, resting its forepaws around him as if hugging the young boy.
"I knew it," Gary whispers, holding the Pokemon close. "I knew I could reach you."
Pikachu chirps in his ear and then to Gary's horror, says in a squeaky voice, "I think I got you instead."
Gary's arms fly away from the Pokemons back, but the little creature digs its claws into his shoulders and sides, drawing blood. "NO! Get off me!!"
The little Pokemon seems to laugh, digging in deeper.
Gary starts to hear a humming noise and he can feel static electricity begin to rise all around them. The hairs on the backs of his arms rises, as does the hair on his head, and he hears the Pokemon so loudly crying out, "PIIIIIKAAAAA.....CHUUUUU!!!"
His world explodes in pain as the Pikachu lets a large electric attack course through the boy. The light and sound of the attack engulfs his world. The pain is so intense that he gets lightheaded; the room spins around him, and suddenly he blacks out.
"...early bird gets the worm! Or in this case, the pokemon!" The sound of Grandfather's voice wakes Gary, rousing him from the blackness of oblivion.
"You mean there's nothing left?" Ash's voice has a childish quality to it. He is, after all, only ten.
'So Ash made it here after all', Gary thinks, 'How nice. Wait...why is everything so dark? Where am I? What's going on? '
Suddenly things begin to rock back and forth, and Gary tries to hold himself steady...only to find that something was terribly wrong. He could feel things as well as he could see, which was nothing.
"...Oh I'll take it!" Ash's voice is loud in Gary's hearing, and then a white light fills Gary's sight. The light suddenly fades, leaving the sensation of cool air around him and a cold flat surface beneath his...paws?
'Is this some sort of a dream,' Gary thinks quickly, looking around. It has to be. For he is now a Pikachu. That Pikachu, to be exact. The scar on the upper right forearm was still there...and it was now his.
'But this has to be a dream', Gary thinks, 'I must have been really hurt by that Pikachu, and now I'm in a coma somewhere and this is a morphine induced dream. I hope I get a cute nurse.'
"Oh, she's so cute!" Ash says, picking Gary up. "I want her!"
Her! Gary fidgets in Ash's sticky grasp. I am not female!
"Then she's all yours," Professor Oak shakes his head. "Here's the Pokeball. Just remember to take good care of her."
'NOOOO!' Gary yells out, only to have it come out as a weak sounding, "PIIIIKA!"
"C'mon, you!" Ash grunts, pulling on the rope that had been tied around Gary's neck. "Get a move on it! It'll be dark by the time we get twenty feet from Pallet! The others have been gone for hours!"
Get a life! Gary shouts back. 'This is humiliating!'
Ash gets on his knees, "Please, I'm begging you! At least pretend to follow me! We're still in sight of Professor Oaks house!"
Gary looks behind to see that the laboratory is indeed still within sight. He shrugs nonchalantly, though wanting nothing more to run back, even if it is still a dream.
Ash's attention is suddenly fixated on a nearby meadow. "AAAH!! A Pidgey! We can catch it and I'll have a Pidgeot in no time! Go shock that bird!"
Gary snorts and turns his back on Ash. 'Get it yourself.'
Ash waits around for a second before huffing. "Fine! I'll just get it myself!" And the boy stomps off towards the meadow. He grabs a few stones from the side of the road and stealthily moves into the grass.
'He's never gonna get it,' Gary watches with slight interest. 'What an idiot.'
Ash bites at his lower lip and hefts a rock at the small bird.
To Gary's amazement, the stone hits the bird with a glancing blow, and the bird chirps out a cry of dismay. Then Ash throws an empty Pokeball at it. The ball also hits the bird, resulting in another chirp, only this time the bird is turned to red energy, sucked in, and captured.
The ball rocks once, twice, before finally sounding the captured chime.
'Okay, now I know this is all a morphine-induced dream,' Gary mutters. 'Ash could never manage to catch a Pokemon on his own in one try.'
Ash prances back to Gary, a large smirk on his tanned face, "Looks like I'd make a better Pokemon than you. Got it on one try!"
Gary shudders at the thought.
They make camp that night, finally an hour away from Pallet, in a small Trainer camp. The camp consists of four buildings: A Pokemart, Pokecenter, and two Trainers cabins. One is for boys and the other for girls. In case all the bunks, of which there are twenty, are taken, then there are tents at the ready with a grassy, Pokemon-free meadow to stake them in.
Ash is lucky once again, managing to get a hold of the last boys bunk, and hands over the Pidgy for the Camp's Joy to heal. He regales her with the tale of the capture, and bores both Gary and the nurse in the process.
"Take your story somewhere else, loser!" A snide voice breaks in.
Gary, who is by Ash's feet, pivots around to see a very familiar pair of boots. The boots lead to dark pants and a purple tunic. The tunic leads to a very familiar face....his own.
"Gary!" Ash gasps out, blanching. "How..What are you doing here?"
Gary hears the suddenly tough tone at the end of Ash's question and he can hear the reply as well as if he'd said it himself.
"I thought I'd distance myself from a loser like you, but I guess I was wrong!" The voice is arrogance personified. "However, I did manage to get one of the high-priced private rooms."
"It doesn't matter where you're sleeping, as long as it's away from me!" Ash spits back. "I'm gonna beat you someday, Gary Oak! I'm gonna be better than you if it's the last thing I do!"
"I don't doubt that, Ash," The blue gaze falls on Gary. "But you really should get a stronger Pokemon. That little runt looks too weak to even take on a Goldeen."
"She is not!" Ash shouts out. "She's the best and I'm gonna make her better than she is now!"
"Oh really?" The eyes are half-lidded in a lazy look. "How...interesting."
If Ash's snores didn't rouse Gary from sleep, then his own fear surely would have. Gary drops from the bed (Ash had gotten a lower bunk) and onto the cold wooden floor.
He pads softly through the large room, past a sleeping Houndour that has sprawled out across half the aisle, and out the door to the night outside.
He grabs the edge of the magnetic-rimmed flap of the Pokemon door so that it doesn't make a sound, and then makes his way down the four cement steps. He's since stopped trying to walk on his hind legs. The tail made it impossible to walk on anything but all fours.
Gary has also since stopped believing this was all a morphine-induced dream. The sensation of physical touch, and the array of scents, and even the feel of the sun on his back that day had pounded into his head that he had somehow switched bodies with the Pikachu.
Seeing his own body, with the spirit of the evil Pikachu inside, had chilled him to the core. He might have been mean to Ash before, but never straight out ignorant.
The grass is damp with night-dew, and a cool breeze blows around him. Gary pauses, realizing he is not alone. He looks all around. The cabin he just left is behind him, the Pokecenter to the left and Pokemart to the right, a round fountain in the center of the campground, and the girls cabin is on the other side of the fountain.
The fountain is off, though random droplets sometimes fall. The wind gusts again, bringing a familiar scent to his nose.
It is the scent of his own cologne.
Gary spins around, suddenly afraid, until he spots a slender figure sitting on the edge of the fountain. The person is facing the girls' cabin, but seems to sense Gary's presense.
"It took you long enough to figure it out," The voice calls out softly. "Come over here."
Gary hesitated. Go back, go back to where it's safe...
"I promise not to bite. I'm sure your teeth are much sharper now, aren't they?"
Gary darts forward, unable to hold back. "You bastard! What did you do to me!"
"Hold it!" The voice hisses, "Keep it down!"
Gary sits on his haunches, the cool surface of the fountain's edge under him, and glares up at his human face. He trembles with leashed fury and wants nothing more to attack the being that did this to him. Unfortunately he realizes he would only be hurting himself.
"What I did to you is horrible and I am truly sorry."
"Damned right you should be!" Gary glares. "Wait! How could you understand me?"
"It's kind of hard to not understand my native language."
"Of course," Gary murmurs, "Pokemon language is native for you and.."
"No, that's not right. What I meant to say was that I learned the Pokemon language." A sigh. "Human...human is my native language."
Gary sits back in shock, "Who are you?"
"My name is Julian and I'm sorry I did this to you," He smiles sadly, as if trying to reassure himself as well as Gary. "I've been stuck as a Pikachu for two years and now it's your turn."
"What do you mean my turn?"
"The person before me was stuck for four years in that body," Julian explains. "She told me that she had been physically changed, from her own body to this one, by a powerful Mew..."
"But Mews are extinct!"
"Let me finish!" A dark look passes over Julian's face. "It seems that Mews are still around. They've got powerful attacks and when a powerful entity like Mew gets bored...Well, let's just say things get interesting!"
"Being a Pokemon is not my idea of interesting!"
"Mine neither." Julian agrees. "However, I can tell you two things. The first is that you can become human again. The reason I chose you was because I felt you needed a change in heart."
"In heart, okay! I would've changed my attitude!" Gary says. "But not my body!!"
"Shut up!" Julian says. "You were chosen because there was some quality about you that needed changed. For the good of your soul and those around you. Once you were changed, a countdown began. You have to find a way to change the way you are with other people, or you'll be stuck as a Pokemon forever!"
"I...I can't believe it..."
"Well believe it." Julian nods. "It was difficult enough for me. The second thing is that..."
"What?" Gary prompts after Julian hesitates.
"Once you've fixed what needs changed you have two options." Julian hesitates again. "You can, as I said earlier, become human again. You just won't be yourself."
"I...I don't understand.."
"You can pass the change on to someone else, like I did to you," Julian explains, "or you can remain a Pokemon forever."
"Just like reason number one?"
"No," Julian shakes his head. "In that first part, if you don't change the quality before the countdown then you are stuck as a Pokemon with all human reasoning. If you change the quality before the countdown ends and you want to stay a Pokemon, then you literally become the Pokemon. You'll forget you were ever human."
Gary watches the water for a moment. "This is like some bad version of a Christmas carol. That whole Scrooge thing."
"This is far worse."
"I won't disagree there." Gary pauses. "How did you and that other woman have such a long countdown?"
Julian shrugs. "I don't know. It's just what she told me. I was told I'd have two years from the time of change."
"You..." Julian bites at his lower lip. "When you exchange places with someone, you feel what their time limit will be. For you I felt..."
"How long do I have, doc?" Gary jokes. "A year? Five years?"
It was insanity. Pure madness of the utmost degree imaginable. Gary walks blindly at Ash's side, listening to his competitor sing off key. Yesterdays Pidgey sits on Ash's shoulder, looking happier than a Snorlax in an all you can eat.
Gary looks at the sun, noting its position. Half of today was already gone, devoted to training the Pidgey and attempting to catch more Pokemon. Ash had stocked up on Pokeballs before leaving the camp and wasted half of them in today's activities.
It was pathetic! Gary kicks at a pebble in the road, kicking it too hard. It flies up and into the tall grass on the side of the road. A loud sqawk eminates from the grass.
"Good job, Pikachu!" Ash looks pleased. "You found a Pidgeotto!"
Ash aims the Pokedex at it and begins to recite, "Pidgeotto, the flying pokemon..." as the 'dex chimes, only to hear the 'dex saying, "Spearow, the bully Pokemon. You'd better run fast and have good hospitalization."
Pidgey wastes no time recalling itself into the Pokeball in Ash's backpack. Gary looks around, hoping that there are no more Spearow around. They usually flock in big groups.
"Cool! Maybe I can catch it!" Ash is already walking into the grass.
Gary darts around in front of Ash, holding out his forearms. 'Are you nuts? That's a Spearow, genius!'
"Out of my way!" Ash glares. "Unless you are gonna help me?"
Gary hesitates Ash shakes his head and walks around Gary, saying, "I thought so." Unsure of what to do, Gary merely watches Ash walk in the Spearow's direction.
Gary can see it take off, looking around for whatever hit it. It spots Ash walking towards it and a low, "Speeeear..." is heard.
There was some quality about you that needed changed. Julian's voice...Gary's own voice, haunts him.
"I know I'm not gonna like this," Gary mutters as he darts after Ash, "Not one bit."
The Spearow dives for Ash, striking his precious League cap with a hard beak, causing Ash to cry out in surprised pain. The flier pulls up, gaining altitude and calling a challenge.
"Pikachu!" Ash calls out, "Help me!"
Gary darts through to Ash's side, "I don't even know what to do!"
"Thundershock!" Ash cries out, watching the Spearow coming closer.
"But I can't..." Gary growls out. "I don't know how."
As the Spearow drops closer, Gary growls The Spearow beats its wings, lifting up with a sqawk of surprise. Then it caws out in a new tune. A tune of needed assistance.
Gary hears it first, the sound of many wingbeats, and a dark cloud of flying pokemon comes forth. It's a small cloud, but it's also a mix of Spearow and Fearow. And they're flying fast.
Ash grabs a startled Gary and begins to run. It's the first smart thing he's done yet. His sneakers pound to dirt road and sunlight is intermittant as they dart through the forest. The pack shouldn't be able to fly through the trees, but they are smart and fly low.
It's not long before they catch up and the two are soon deflecting blows from beaks and clawed feet. Ash cries out, holding a free hand up to the side of his face. One Spearow has cut his right cheek.
Gary is almost mesmorized by the thin line of blood that trickles down Ash's face. Then he hears the sound of running water and Gary remembers the Viridian Falls. Quickly, he squirms out of Ash's grasp and is running towards it.
"Come back!" Ash whines, following Gary through dense shrub and low tree growth. They could hide here, but Spearow and Fearow can wait out a lot longer than Ash or Gary. The two would be trapped.
Gary bursts out of the shrubs and onto the very pinacle of Viridian Falls. The water falls aren't very steep at all, maybe fifteen feet to a deep lagoon, but it is fast running water, and the water is cold.
Ash bursts out behind him, gasping, "The falls....of course!"
And then he does the second smartest thing. He grabs Gary yet again and leaps from the falls.
"NO! You idiot!" Gary shouts. "That's not what I wanted to doooooo....!"
The water is colder than Gary remembers. They'd just picniced here; Gramps, May, and Gary, for Gary's fourteenth birthday. Was it only three weeks ago?
Their heads break surface, both breathing easier, and they paddle for the shore.
There is no sign of any person nearby and Ash grinds his teeth in frustration. "We have to run! Viridian can't be all that far from here!"
They begin to run on another dirt road. They are side by side, Gary getting a bit further from Ash. He paces himself to the dark haired boy and suddenly they crest a large hill. Viridian City is only just over the next hill, they can both see the city....and they can both hear the angry fliers behind them.
"We can't run," Ash sounds dejected. "We can't out run them, and we can't fight them. You can't fight them because you don't know any electric attacks. My journey is over before it even got a chance to begin."
Gary looks up at Ash. The darkening clouds above are swift moving. A storm is moving in.
For the good of your soul and those around you.
The flock is almost to them. A few raindrops begin to dot the dry dusty surface of the road.
"I never even got a chance to defeat Gary." The sad tone to Ash's voice gets to Gary and he feels a click within him. He knows what he must do.
Ignoring the sore pull of his muscles and the sting of cuts and bruises, Gary stands by Ash's side, waiting the melee to come.
"Pikachu, I want you to get in your Pokeball," Ash says to Gary, aiming the sphere at him. "Return!"
Gary nimbly leaps out of the way.
"Return!" Ash says, trying again.
Gary repeats the successful avoidance.
"Just do it, you moron!" Ash sounds frustrated. "These things are going to rip me to shreds! I won't let them do it to you too!"
Gary simply shakes his head.
"Do you want to die?" Ash asks. "Because that's what's going to happen! I'm going to die and so are you! And it's going to be painful!"
Lightning crashes suddenly, a rumble of thunder announcing the storms arrival. A thunderstorm would stop any sane flying Pokemon, but not Spearow or Fearow. Their cawing and squawking draws closer.
"Just return!" Ash tries again.
This time, Gary leaps into the air, spinning. His tail hits the Pokeball, sending it flying into a nearby tree trunk. The sphere crashes into the trunk and falls to the ground in a shower of sparks. It is unusable.
"You're insane," Ash blanches.
Then the birds are suddenly there, rising up behind them like a black curtain.
Ash spins around, throwing out his arms as if to block all of Viridian from the angry birds. "I am Ash Ketchum, from Pallet! When my Mom finds out you hurt me, she's gonna make a lot of pie!"
"A lot of...pie?" Gary blinks. "Forrest Gump was smarter sounding than you."
...there was some quality about you...
"Oh I give up!" Gary groans. "Fine, I'll do it already!"
Gary used Ash as a springboard, leaping into the air and using the electrical molecues around him. He gathered them, using his own body as a conductor, and launched the greatest lightshow this side of the world.
Then he blacked out once again.
Voices whispered around him.
"Will you give your all...Will you do it for him?" "You'll forget you were ever human." "Do you want to do it?" "You can't ever go back. You can never be "I never even got a chance to defeat Gary."
"You'll forget you were ever human."
"Do you want to do it?"
"You can't ever go back. You can never beyou again."
"I never even got a chance to defeat Gary."
Gary thought...and chose...
The return from the Orange Archipelago was the pinacle to Ash's successful trip. He had a great dinner at his mom's, got to show off his trophy to Professor Oak, reunited with Brock, and even got rid of Tracey!
The one thing that got to him was his disappointing match with Gary. How could it be that Gary seemed to have changed so drastically? Any other time, he would've slammed Ash down the nearest emotional hole after defeating him, and this time....This time, Gary had merely walked off, his Umbreon by his side.
"Gary's off to Johto," Professor Oak had said. When Ash had asked on Gary's change of heart, as well as the lack of cheerleaders, Professor Oak had merely shrugged. He didn't know what was going on with his grandson, he was just glad to see this mellow side coming through.
"I always knew he had it in him," Professor Oak had said.
"I'll beat you yet, Gary," Ash muttered.
He stared at the ceiling of his bedroom, watching the way the glow in the dark stars burned a neon green on the ceiling. He'd stuck them there the day before getting Pikachu.
"I'll never forget those first two days, Pikachu," Ash murmured to the Pokemon sleeping on his stomach. She snored sofly, and gently dug her claws into his stomach. "Life with you has really changed me."
He looked over at the desk beside his bed. There were two framed photos. One was older and had his mom, Professor Oak, Ash, and Gary. Ten year old Gary was frozen in time giving six-year-old Ash a wedgie. Ash's mom wasn't looking and Professor Oak had an arm slung low about her waist.
Ash grimaced and looked at the other photo. It was of Pikachu, Ash, Tracey, and Misty. It was taken a week ago, after Ash's victory over Drake, the Orange Crew Leader.
Pummelo Stadium was right behind the group and the sun had been shining brightly beside them, throwing their shadows against the stadium wall.. He frowned and looked closer at the picture. It must be becase his room was dark, but it almost looked as if Pikachu had a shadow longer than his own.
From a darkened corner of the bedroom, a blond girl in a black sparkly dress smiles. She takes off her sunglasses and puts away a slim silver object. "No need for the neuralizer then. Oh well."
She looks at Ash, who seems to have fallen into a suddenly deep slumber, and the pokemon sleeping on his stomach. "Is Gary still a Pikachu or is it another person? Did Gary find a way back to his own body? Did he get in touch with a Mew?"
The view turns to the ceiling and its many glowing stars.
"Or is it simply another strange ending in....The Pokemon Zone..."
Creepy Copywritten music begins to play as cheesy obviously fake stars overpower Ash's glow in the dark stars.
Anyone want more?
The Pokemon Zone Episode Two: The Shadow People Production Date: 09.01.2002 Release Date: Undecided