(A/N: Hey guys. Well, I wanted to try something new. I haven't adapted a game's story before, so I decided to go with Pokémon Black and White. However, it won't be a straight adaptation. While it will follow the events, the main trio – that is, The Protagonist, Bianca, and Cheren – will be replaced by another set of characters. Each of them will have different motivations from those three, so expect of some deviations. With that said, let us begin.)
If you asked any competitive trainer what their goal was, the most common answer would be to become the champion and prove they were the best. It didn't matter what region they came from. I guess I can't blame them. Being the champion of your region was enough to put your name in the discussion of best in the world. Your name was elevated to celebrity status, and people would want to battle you just for the sake of being able to say that they did.
That was all great and everything, but when I started my journey, I didn't care a lick about being famous or the perks that came with it. If anything, my main motivation was to be forgotten. Why you may ask?
Well, let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Joseph Slate. I'm a Unova trainer, originally from Kanto. I stand at about five foot eleven or six feet (I always got varying measurements). I'm dark skinned, and had dark eyes bordering on black. I usually kept my hair short in the spring or summer (at the behest of my two friends) and grew out my hair in an afro during the autumn and winter.
Oh… I'm also a former member of Team Rocket. If that tells you about how long of a story this is going to be, well, trust me – you don't know the half of it.
I never knew my parents or anything about them. I was raised in an orphanage in Celadon City. During my time there, I spent a good chunk of my time watching other kids around me get adopted until I was twelve. By then, I was picked up by a Drake Tanner. That name, looking back on it, may have been a fake name. Drake was a member of Team Rocket. He was a recruiter, to be exact. Team Rocket often recruited their members while they were young. Anyway, it only took a week in his care for that tidbit to be revealed. Maybe if he had tried to recruit me a year or so prior, I would have ran back to the orphanage. I knew about Team Rocket and what they did. I would have known about them if I was buried underneath the soil underneath the biggest rock on the planet. But, turns out, after spending years being told that someone would adopt me without that actually happened, doing illegal activity in exchange for lots of cash and a place to live wasn't so far out of my range of morality.
While Team Rocket was mostly known for being the biggest players in illegal Pokémon trade and stealing some of the most powerful and high priced ones there were, they also had their hands in protection, drug trafficking, and other fronts. I was more involved on the drug front, assisting in the sales to dealers. Because Team Rocket was mostly known for the illegal Pokémon trade, it was easy for us to operate. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I wasn't exactly proud about it, but I was getting money and a place to stay. As far as I was concerned, life was grand.
That was until Team Rocket was defeated by the world renowned Red and company in the Kanto region and some kid hailing from New Bark Town. With most of the captured Team Rocket members flipping for lighter sentences, every law enforcement agency was focused on taking down what was left of the organization. I tried to run, but I barely made it to the Indigo Plateau when I was caught. Because of my age (I was thirteen at the time of my capture), I was given a choice – house arrest in another region far away from Kanto and Johto, or risk getting tried as an adult and not see the outside world until I reached 70.
Spotting a theme?
So, I was shipped off to Nuvema Town. Once there, I was fitted with an electronic monitoring anklet and I was put under a care of the Officer Jenny who lived there. Officer Jenny, who I eventually called Aunt J, was a breath of fresh air for me. Officially, she was just there to make sure that I stayed on the straight and narrow – basically a parole officer. However, she actually took time to be a parent of sorts, being patient with me while also providing home-schooling. I can't overstate the effort she really put in. Had it not been for the monitor around my ankle, I would have forgotten I was a criminal that was one choice away from decades of being incarcerated. By the time I turned 15, I wasn't as anti-social and abrasive as I was before. I still wouldn't go as far as to say I was a nice at the time. Nice guys were naturally nice and mellow. It still took me effort not to make a rude comment, and my dirty mouth only became somewhat clean at Aunty J's behest. And even then, I used a lot of euphemisms that often toed the line.
However, it wasn't all Aunty J. I had made friends with two people in Nuvema. Or rather, they made friends with me with despite my explicit efforts to push them away. After a while, I just learned to accept and embrace the fact that I had two friends.
One of them was David Platina. He stood three or four inches shorter than me (five foot eight, to be exact). He was a red head with a bowl cut and a few freckles on his face. He also wore a pair of black-rimmed glasses with transition lenses. Honestly, the best way I could describe him is that he looked like a fusion of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. I even told him as such. Somehow, he found that amusing. While he had an interest in Pokémon like most people on this Earth, he was more interested in film. He'd always talk about how he was going to make one of the best movies to ever come out of Pokéstar Studios. I didn't believe him at the time, but I kept my words to myself. I didn't do it to be polite. I just didn't think that a guy like me had any room to crap on someone's dream. Anyway, he was also one of the only three people in town who knew about my situation. Surprisingly, when I explained everything to him, he didn't shun me or give me the cold shoulder. Over the years, he picked up haircutting, and became the town's unofficial barber of sorts to make some extra money.
My other friend was Jessica Taupe. She had a head full of blue hair that matched her eyes. She was the shortest out of the three of us, standing at five foot three. Her most notable feature to me was the one-inch diagonal scar underneath her right eye, courtesy of a Pidove that ran into her face after it was startled. That scar didn't do anything to take away from her beauty though. She was also one of the few people in town who was as snarky as me. Often, when we talked, we joked back and forth in ways that would make people unfamiliar with us think that we hated each other. Nothing could be farther from the truth. She cared about David and me both. She would check up on us on the daily to see if we were okay and basically looked after me during the times when Aunty J was out of town on duty. Out of the three of us, she was the most interested in Pokémon. Her room was filled with encyclopedias, magazines, and other books on the subject. She said that she wanted to become a professor on Pokémon, and maybe even open a school for prospective trainers.
So, it seemed like my life was okay, right? Well, it would have been, had it not been for the monitor strapped around my ankle. I couldn't go anywhere past the official borders of Nuvema Town without Unova Regional Police sending a squad after me. Even when my range was extended to accommodate my job with Professor Juniper, I could only go to the next town. What made it even worse was the fact that I had to wear long pants to cover the anklet so no one would ask questions. I was grateful for Aunty J, grateful for my friends, grateful for Professor Juniper, and even grateful for the opportunity not to serve time in prison. But I felt restricted. I could only do so much between the two towns. I wanted freedom, real freedom.
Fortunately, for me, I was going to get that.
"You two get home safe, okay!" Jessica said as David and I stepped out on the porch. I rolled my eyes as I looked over my shoulder.
"Yes mom," I sarcastically replied, causing a chuckle from David. Jessica gave me a slight glare.
"Don't me make me get my belt," she threatened in a mock tone.
"…Go on…" That one got a chuckle out of all three of us. "We'll be fine."
"Alright," Jessica relented. "Goodnight you guys."
I nodded as David said his goodnight. Once she closed the door, we walked out on the grass and made our way over to my house. During the short walk, David nudged me. I looked down at him, seeing him give me a look.
"What?" I said as I dug my hands in pockets.
"When are you going to tell her?" he asked. I knew what he was talking about – my anklet.
"Are you still on that?" I said in an irritated tone.
"She has to know some time," he pointed out. As my house came up, I pulled out my keys.
"It's not something I can just spring on her. It's not like I can invite her over and be like 'So want to play Mario Kart, or Super Smash Brothers? Or would like to hear about how I used to be national criminal?'." I scoffed.
David raised his eyebrows briefly. "Well, I took it well."
"Yeah, well, you weren't even supposed to know. The only reason you found out is because the guy who was in charge of drug testing has the tact of a Growlithe in heat!"
Among my requirements for being placed on house arrest was the drug testing. It was supposed to be done with subtlety. But the guy who usually handled either wasn't familiar with the concept of subtlety, or just liked eschewing for reasons I can't even fathom. So, one day, when I was at home, hanging out with David, he banged the door rather loudly. I told to David to stay in my room, but he couldn't stay when he heard me and the man argue back and forth as he held a urine cup out to me. Needless to say, my official drug tester and I didn't get along at the time – not at all. I didn't care about Professor Juniper knowing, if only because she was paying me and she had the right to know about the type of person she was hiring. But David was another story. I didn't want to alienate him. And fortunately, I didn't. But I wasn't sure about Jessica.
"You can't keep it from her forever," David said before he breathed out, watching his breath as it formed a small stream of fog before it faded. "It's not like you're going anywhere anytime soon."
"Because I needed you to remind me," I muttered. I kicked at a patch of snow before I hit my porch. "She'll know eventually – when the time is right." I stepped up to the door, slid the key in the lock and opened it. "Are you coming in?"
"Yup," David replied. I opened the door and held it so David could walk through. Once he was in, I closed the door and locked it. "Did I tell you the good news?" I shook my head as I headed to the kitchen. David followed me. "I finally got enough money together to buy that tripod I needed. Come the end of February, I'll be able to start filming."
"Filming what?" I asked, stepping up to the fridge. I opened it up and looked around the fridge before grabbing two Cokes. I turned away from the fridge, letting the door closed and handed one to David. As he took it, he shrugged.
"I don't know, maybe a documentary of some sort." I leaned back against the fridge and raised an eyebrow. He chuckled. "I don't have it all planned. But, I didn't think planning was even a thing for me to do if I don't have the right equipment."
"At least you have something." I sighed. "All I have is a job in the lab. But I don't think I can work there forever."
"Have you ever thought about getting your record expunged?" David offered. I scoffed.
"That won't be an option until I'm 21. And even if that was an option now, that won't erase my record. It'll just seal it." I shook my head. "The only thing I can hope for is a pardon. And considering that I got so many drug charges facing me, any person who could pardon me will figure I got off light. "
That was when the phone rang. I was glad for it. The conversation was kind of depressing. I walked over to the phone before picking it up.
"Hello? …Oh, hi Professor Juniper… No, I'm not doing anything, just hanging out with David… Uh… yeah, sure, we can come over to the lab." I looked over at David, who looked at me with a look on confusion. I shrugged, showing him that I was as in the dark as much as he was. "Okay, see you in a few minutes." I hung up the phone and beckoned David to follow as made my way out the house.
It only took us a few minutes to get to the lab. Like I said, it was a small town. Once we were there, we made our way towards the back of the lab. There stood Aunty J and Professor Juniper.
Professor Aurea Juniper's name, even to this day, rang bells across Unova. She is to Unova what Professor Oak is to Kanto. She specialized in the study of Pokémon origins. Aunty J set me with a job working in her lab. I was mostly a janitor, making sure things were tidy. Professor Juniper was, as expected, is extremely knowledgeable of the subject she studied. Even from overhearing parts of her conversation, I learned a few things about Pokémon that I didn't know back in Kanto. She's also one of the nicest people you could meet. Like seriously, she, with Aunty J, vouched for me when it was requested that my range be increased so I could go to Accumula for the sake of my job. If there was one thing that stood out to her was her enthusiasm. Sometimes, it got on my nerves, but I never said anything when it did. As per usual, she was dressed in a white lab coat, white t-shirt, green skirt, and white & red sneakers.
As we approached them, I could hear Aunty J speaking.
"…and I think that it would be a help to you and a help to him," she said.
"I'm all for it!" Professor Juniper replied. She opened her mouth to say something before she turned her head to see me and David. "Why, hello Joseph! How are you doing? And David! I haven't seen you in weeks."
"I've been busy," David said with a smile. "Uh… you wanted to see us?"
"Yes we did," Aunty J said. "Spring is coming soon. Do you know what that means?"
"Snow melting?" I replied. That was when David nudged in the ribs with his elbow. I grunted before I glared at David. "What? I'm not wrong!"
"It is the beginning of the trainer year," Aunty J said simply. She walked up to me and placed her hands on my shoulders. "The Spring is the suggested season that trainers start their journey."
"…Oh," I said. "You mean to get the eight badges to take on the champion and Elite Four, right? So what? You called me in for the usual preparations? If so, why call in David with me?"
"Well, here's the thing," Aunty J began. "The Unova Justice System has been working on an idea for years. And this year, it's being put into a test phase this year. Basically, it allows people of a certain age range who are under house arrest to be free of their anklet."
"…Really?" I said. I raised my eyebrows as I looked back at David, who was smiling widely. I wanted to smile, too, but I couldn't help but feel a bit skeptical. I turned my back to my Aunt and tilted my head. "Wait… what's the catch?"
"Well… you have to make at least one attempt at the Pokémon League Championship."
"…So, you mean, I have to travel from city to city, battle gym leader after gym leader, go through the elite four, go after the champ?"
Aunty J's smile wavered a bit. "I know it's a lot. But I know you hate being only able to travel between two towns. I figured you'd you like the chance to be out and about and travel. Honestly, I'm surprised you didn't try to cut off your monitor and make a run for it."
It had crossed my mind, but I decided against it. Maybe if it was Kanto, I'd try. But I was only familiar with two cities in Unova, so I wouldn't know where to go and hide, assuming that were such places. Needless to say, I didn't like my chances.
As for the offer that was on the table, I had to admit, it sounded tempting. It was freedom. I get to travel and actually experience the region, rather than just hear stories about the many cities and towns and things that go on in them. Thing was, I never wanted to become a trainer. Don't get me wrong, I didn't mind Pokémon. Heck, I enjoy playing with my aunt's Herdier during my downtimes, and Professor Juniper's Minccino was just as chipper as its owner. However, I didn't want to own a Pokémon of my own. I knew it was a lot of work just to care of one as a pet. To raise a whole team of Pokémon to go on a run at the champ was a lot more.
Professor Juniper, Aunty J and I looked over at David.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, with this being big news and all, but how do I figure into this?" he asked.
"Well, it's not just you," Professor Juniper said. "It's you, Joseph and Jessica." I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. She turned away and looked at the map that hung on the wall. "Unova is a unique region. Most of the Pokémon in Unova are, as far as we know, are mostly exclusive to this region. There have been no reported sightings of them in the other regions, not even Sinnoh. Conversely, Pokémon from other regions are extremely rare in Unova. More often than not, if a Pokémon from another region is spotted in the region, it's pretty much a safe bet that it belongs to, or used to belong to, a trainer from another region. Because of this, I believe that Unova is a hotbed Pokémon history yet to be uncovered. This is why I chose to use Unova as a place for my research. Unfortunately, I hit a snag. As much as I want to travel all over the region for the sake of researching Pokémon origins, I can't cover all phases of said research. So, I decided to take a page out of the other professors' handbook. Specifically, I'm sending three people out with Pokdéxes to catch as many Pokémon as possible for the sake of gathering as much data as possible." She turned back towards David and me. "Of course, I wouldn't be so selfish as to have you put this over your goals. But, if you do decide to go on this journey, you could consider this part an extension of your job."
"You guys don't have to decide today," Aunty J added. "But keep in mind, this offer is only a week long. Understand?" After David and I nodded, she smiled. "Good. Now you two run along now. And Joseph?"
"Yes, ma'am?" I said, raising my eyebrows.
"I'm going to be taking a late shift, so I won't be in until the morning. And also… I highly encourage you to take the deal."
"Understood," I said. I turned to walk away, prompting David to do the same. But I turned back to the two of them. "Um, one more question. About Jessica…"
Aunty J shook her head. "She won't know unless you want her to know." I nodded before making my exit.
Once we hit outside, David nudged me in the ribs with his elbow. I let out and "OOF!" before glared at him.
"What was THAT for?!" I exclaimed.
"What do you think?!" David replied in an exasperated tone. "'Think about it?' What is there to think about?"
"I don't want to be a trainer," I said as walked towards my home. "That's a lot of work, and I don't think I'm cut out for it. I barely even know my Pokémon types."
"We still have a whole month until spring, you know? Plus, you'll get to travel Unova. No ankle monitor, just you, Jessica, and I on a quest."
"My my, aren't we excited?" I grumbled. "Why are you so enthusiastic about this in the first place?"
"…Well… I think I know what my first movie is going to be about. I think it's going to be about you."
I stopped in my tracks and looked over at David. "Me?"
"Yeah." He then proceeded to answer what was going to be my follow-up question: why? "Your story has everything for a compelling movie." I looked at him blankly. Rather than dignify that with a response, I continued on my way to home. Still, he followed. "Think about it. There's the plot – a guy who is serving time for his past transgressions is given a way to gain his freedom through the Pokémon League. You have action, adventure, an element of redemption, romance…" I stopped in my tracks again and gave him a questioning look. "Hey, I see how you've been eyeing Jessica."
"It's not even like that," I said dismissively before I continued to walk. It was somewhat of a lie. Jessica did have my attention, and I did think about her, but that's all I did. I didn't think she thought of me like that. Plus, you know, I figured I had the whole "former drug trade worker" thing counting against me in that regard.
"Yeah, uh huh," David replied sarcastically. "Anyway, imagine if you become champion? It would be inspirational!"
"...And I'm still a criminal," I said bitterly. Stopping at the driveway of my home, I turned towards David. "I don't anything will change." I sighed. "It's tempting, David. It really is. But is this enough? I doubt it."
Now, I know what you're thinking. What about Giovanni, former head of Team Rocket? He's still a Gym Leader in Kanto, right? Well, you have to remember that Giovanni is a man with a lot of money, power, and respect. He has influence and connections, like any other mob boss. I was merely a mook.
I wanted to just sleep on it. So, I walked up my driveway, figuring that was the end of the conversation for now. However, David still kept on following me.
"If you become a champion, you can make all of that go away." I stopped in my tracks and turned towards him, eyebrow raised.
"Whatcha talkin' 'bout, David?"
"Well, you see, when one becomes champion of Unova, they are given the privilege to make a request," he began.
Eye blinked a few times. I then lowered my eyebrow. "Go on."
"Well, basically, the champion can make a request of any size, as long as it is constitutional." He brought his hand out towards a random direction. "You can ask for riches, you can make a decree. Or…"
"…Or I could have my record wiped clean. David, you are a genius! Come on!" I basically rushed towards the house. After unlocking the door, I left it open for him to come in. I made my way quickly towards the phone, picked up the receiver and then quickly dialed Jessica's number. David walked past me and towards the Cokes that we left on the counter. After grabbing his, he turned towards me. He opened his mouth, ready to ask who I was calling. I brought my index finger up as Jessica picked up the phone.
"Joseph?" she said.
"Yup," I said.
"Oh for goodness sake, wasn't spending two hours in your company Hell enough for me?" At that, David snickered. I rolled my eyes, though I couldn't keep the amused smirk off my lips.
"Oh come on, Jessica. You're the only person that can provide with the one thing I want and need."
"And that is?"
"Why, your absence, of course."
During that, David was in mid-sip. He did a spit-take as he laughed. Jessica, however, wasn't as amused.
"Oh haha," she deadpanned. "Seriously, what's up Joseph?"
"Well, I just got back from a meeting with Professor Juniper…" I started.
"How is she?" she inquired.
"She's her normal chipper self." I shrugged. I looked over at David as he grabbed a rag from near the sink, looking ready to clean the floor he accidentally made a mess of. "Well, anyway um… So um… she relayed an offer for me. Basically, she wants toexpand her research on the Pokémon in Unova. So, she and Aunty J suggested that I go out and make a run at the Pokémon League champion." This actually got a pause out of her.
"You mean you're actually considering travelling outside of Nuvema and Accumula? Wow. I'm actually surprised. I thought you didn't like travelling.
"It's not that I don't like travelling, really," I said. "It's just… I was just missing Kanto a lot, so I didn't want to give Unova a chance." While I did miss Kanto, I didn't miss it that much. It was just another lie I weaved for the sake of getting around the truth. It pained me to lie to her, and it didn't help that David paused briefly in his floor cleaning to give me a judging look. But she was one of the very people that I seriously cared about at the time. I didn't want to lose her. "But, anyway, she wanted the three of us – you, David, and I – to go on this journey. David's all for it because, apparently, he thinks he can make a movie out of this."
"He got the tripod?" she asked, almost rhetorically.
"He got the tripod," I confirmed. "Soyeah, I guess since we're practically a trio, she figured we could be travelling buddies. I… I'm reluctant to go. I don't think I'm trainer material. But, if you say yes, I'll give it a go."
"What am I going to do, say no?" Jessica said. "Yeah, I'll go. We got time until the spring, so I can coach you up on certain things." She then giggled. "This is going to be great!"
"Okay, why are you so happy about this?" I asked. I turned my head towards David and raise a thumb up. He stood up with a smile and brought the rag towards the sink.
"Remember when I told you that I would probably open up a school for trainers? Well, doing this thing with you would do a lot for my resume. Getting eight badges, catching Pokémon, and going through whatever trials this journey may have for us would lend me a lot of credibility."
"Well, I'm glad," I said in earnest. I shook my head. "Honestly, I'm not exactly Pokémon-savvy. I barely know my types, and other than the obvious ones, I don't know anything about the whole Elemental Rock Paper Scissors, so to speak. And I'm not sure David knows his way around that game either." I eyed David, who gave me the universal "so-so" gesture with his right hand as he continued drink his soda. "Though, he seems to know more than I do. But, we could definitely use your help, especially me."
"Well, consider yourself my first student," she replied. "Of course, if you're going to be taking my class, both you and David have to dress up in the typical school girl uniform." I was about to make a sarcastic response, but then I pictured David wearing such a uniform, stockings and all. With that image in mind, all I could is fight the urge to remove my brain and dump it in a bowl of bleach. After laughing to herself, she continued. "You'll be fine, Joseph. We have until spring. That's plenty of time for me to teach you and David what you need to know. Okay?"
"Alright," I said, nodding. "Thanks a lot for this."
"No problem. Well, I have to go. I'll see you tomorrow. Good night, my little hermit."
"Good night, Half-Pint."
I hung up the phone and looked over David, who smiled widely.
"I seriously can't wait!" David said. He then headed out of the kitchen. "I'm going to head home. I'm going to test out my equipment and make sure that I have everything I need. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Get home safe," I said. After hearing the front door open and close, I walked up to it and made sure that it was locked. After confirming that it was, I made my way upstairs. Once I reached the second floor, I went into my room and walked towards my window. After opening it, I sat on the sill as I stared out at the night sky.
Once again, I worried about how great the challenge would be. I had to take on eight gym leaders, all four members of The Elite Four, and then The Champion. And that was just the main obstacles. I still had Pokémon to catch. I had to raise those Pokémon the right way. And beyond that, I knew I had trainers on the road to deal with. At that moment, I almost wanted to just quit the whole thing before it even started.
Of course, I didn't, and for good reason.
First of all, it was the only chance I had at the moment. Becoming the champion would make my freedom permanent. I could erase my past and actually start anew. Was it a huge gamble? Yes. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a gamble that couldn't be left untaken. At the worst, my gamble won't pay off, and I'll still be stuck. Still, it'd be heck of a ride either way.
But most importantly, I didn't want to let down the few people I did care about. Aunty J invested a lot of time in me – time that, in my opinion, would have been better invested elsewhere. Professor Juniper was willing to give me a job, despite knowing full well about my situation. And both Aunty J and the professor did those things without making me feel like the criminal on a short leash that I was. Plus, I already practically told David and Jessica that I would go on this journey. I just knew that they were already preparing for it. Off of that alone, I practically felt obligated to tell Aunty J and Professor Juniper that I would do it.
At that moment, I decided I was all in.