[SWC] The Lightning American
This was my entry for the Get Together's Small Writing Competition and it placed joint second. I understand there are lots of tweaks to be made and if i ever get around to giving this a proper length story i'll be sure to develop a LOT of areas.
Anyway enjoy :)
The Lightning American: Account of ‘The War for Kanto’ By Lt. Surge
To this day, the state of the Kanto region has been shaped by Pokémon Trainers – honest and criminal alike. A constant struggle takes place between these two polar opposites, which bends and hammers away at the region. I tried to do my part for good… we all did…
I write these memoirs to chronicle a piece of history that has escaped the records of Kanto, thanks to corruption and the deceitful leaders that fight and bicker over this region; ‘The War for Kanto’.
The year was 1987 when the underground crime syndicate Team Rocket became party to the President of the region. Their sheer power came from two things; numbers and money. Without one there was no other. The Rocket manifesto consisted of stealing Pokémon, amassing huge amounts of wealth, exploiting the corrupt and coercing the weak.
Their involvement in the political string-pulling was never uttered aloud, but everyone knew that the Chancellor was merely Giovanni’s puppet. It was made even clearer once the Revocation Act of 1989 was passed. It ordered all trainers to turn in their Pokémon and their licenses.
I had been in the Air Force at this point, piloting reconnaissance flights across Kanto. A job I despised to my very bones. There was no honor in spying, but I did what I had to. Don’t ask questions, Surge… that was what my old CO had said to me.
There was one flight in particular that changed my life. We were informed of some strange activity at the abandoned power station near Rock Tunnel. I was charged with the aerial photography of the derelict building. I was young and full of confidence in those days, so I always flew alone. Many of the boys had taken to carrying a Pokémon with them in case of emergency; an admittance of inadequacy… at least that’s what the young me had thought.
Darkness surrounded my plane. The night was perfectly clear. The stars and the moonlight guided me towards my target. Everything was still. After my pass, I circled around to return to base, when suddenly, the plane’s propeller stopped dead and all electronics within the plane fizzed out. I began to plummet towards the mountain. They would later tell me that the magnetic field generated by the Magneton that lived in the plant had interfered with the plane.
Only on one other occasion have I ever felt fear like this. The cabin closed in around me and the screech of air rushing impossibly quickly past the cockpit deafened me. It seemed there was no escape. That’s when I saw it; a light that simultaneously blinded and illuminated me, followed by a screech louder than a thousand eagles; Zapdos. The legendary bird launched a bolt of pure electricity at my falling vessel. Miraculously the plane’s electronics lit up, like a ray of hope, and the propeller spat into life. I’ll never forget the majestic incandescence that lit up that perfect night sky, and that night has been the last time I have been without a Pokémon.
After the revocation act had been passed, trainers took to the streets in outrage. Riots broke out and battles took place by the hundred. The region was at boiling point. That’s when the puppeteer, Giovanni, instructed his subject to pass military powers to Team Rocket, and when I left the Air Force disgusted.
Word spread of increasing violence. Team Rocket had taken to arms against the trainers and their Pokémon. The death toll ticked up a hundred at a time; people and Pokémon. It was arguably the darkest hour in the long history of Kanto.
Eventually it became too much for people. I seem to recall reports that Team Rocket were hijacking the various trainer schools in the region and using them to brainwash young children to follow the Rocket Manifesto.
I believe it was Professor Oak who led the underground movement – he was certainly the most dominant figure. I remember the kids in Viridian City talking about wanting to join, but not wanting to risk travelling to Pallet – if the kids were gutsy enough to want to go… what was stopping me?
I remember the day I turned up on Oak’s doorstep looking to join. They immediately bagged my head and dragged me away. My head was freed from the captivity of the bag in a small dark room, where I was questioned. I can’t recall what I was asked, or who by. I do remember what Oak said to me though…
“This is going to be a difficult fight. We are not looking for people hunting for glory or fame – and that’s what you strike me as.”
Those words always hurt me, even if I never showed it. My confidence was my source of power – how I did the things I did. I refused to let them bother me.
The Movement were desperate for numbers, and with my military experience I was, naturally, invaluable to them. They put me in charge of a squad of the five bravest soldiers I ever had the privilege to meet. There was Dr Rev, who must have been the only female nurse who wasn’t a Joy – in name or nature. Whilst being morbid enough to work as a tour guide of the Pokémon Tower, she and her Chansey were invaluable in keeping us alive. Then there was Private Coleman… a quiet lad, but more determined than any trainer. His Ninetales followed suit, she was a fiery character to say the least!
Private Patterson was our tech guy. He knew more at 20 than I know now at 60! His Porygon and he could hack any console, or disable any security system. He wrote up the plans for the traps in my Gym long after the war ended.
Then there was Raichu. He was a Pikachu given to me by Professor Oak as a token of good faith. I had never been partnered with a Pokémon before, and I saw him as a minion rather than an equal. I evolved him immediately to squeeze every last drop of power out of him,leaving him angry and distrusting of me. Whilst he followed my orders, he did so always with a glimmer of contempt.
Finally… there was Sergeant Sparrow. What can I say about Sydney? A fellow pilot, cocky as can be... Our similarities drove us to despise one another. Order after order questioned, screaming match after screaming match. That’s not to insult the man… he was, and still is the gutsiest trainer and bravest soldier I have ever, and I feel, will ever meet.
They never liked me at first. I poured my exuberance and desire to be the best into every single training session. They had never been worked so hard! We were the first squad up in the morning and the last to call it a day. We did nothing half-hearted.
I recall the first operation we were called into. Team Rocket were experimenting in Diglett’s Cave, torturing the poor inhabitants. I volunteered my squad, much to the dismay of my second-in-command, Sparrow. He claimed we were not ready for combat. I laughed in his face and called him a coward… a remark I’m sure he never truly forgave me for.
To cut a long story short we blew our way into the cave and attacked the Rockets…. we killed… many. Sparrow pushed far ahead and nearly got himself killed; sparking the biggest argument I have ever endured. He argued that his Pidgeot had him covered, whipping the dust up in a whirlwind to veil him. I pointed out to him that blind fire could have hit other soldiers… I can’t quite remember where that argument ended, after all we had countless altercations during our time together.
However, there was one bonus to that operation… Raichu showed his true skill as a soldier, and followed my orders down to the letter. He was later awarded a commendation for his bravery in battling our foes. I took him aside when we returned to base, and thanked him graciously. The look he gave me was one of acceptance and the first seeds of what would be come a blossoming friendship were sown.
With each operation, our squad became more and more tight-knit – all except me and Sparrow. Time after time he would deviate from orders and would get himself into dangerous situations. It infuriated me; how someone so similar to me could be so dense… blind bravery is closer to stupidity than anything else.
It was the year 1991, and the war was coming to a close. Team Rocket was beginning to run out of funding. They were so dependent on the Pokémon economy, which was floundering due to the war that their numbers began to fall. We were closing in on Giovanni’s hideout hidden out in the Seafoam islands. I volunteered to lead the covert infiltration.
The evening of the assault was perfect. The waves crashed loudly against the beach of the Island, whilst stars glistened through the moonlight. My heart was pounding so heavily that night… the first chance we had at ending the war for good…
At the bottom of the central peak stood a harsh, man-made tower, standing tall like a thorn in the side of the foot of the mountain. A high, chain-link fence surrounded the area around the tower, filled with tents and temporary buildings. But it was empty… there was nobody there…
Patterson and his Porygon again proved themselves invaluable, allowing us to slip into the compound without alerting anyone inside. The Tower, however, was a labyrinth; winding corridors with dead ends, tele-pads and locked doors. And still, not a single guard was patrolling, or a single scientist researching.
It was pure, blind luck that led us to Giovanni’s office atop the tower. A huge, circular room surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. From the entrance we saw a huge desk with countless screens and computers on it. We slowly headed towards it… when we heard a robotic voice overhead;
“Security Breach! Intruder Extermination Sequence initiated. Intruder Extermination Sequence cycles in sixty seconds.”
I remember standing watching as my squad scrambled around, looking for an escape. To me escape was impossible. However, before I had a chance to inform them of our impending doom, Sparrow cried out to his Pidgeot, which erupted into view in a flash of brilliant, bright red light. Pidgeot burst elegantly through the window, and took all but me and Sparrow to safety. The last argument we would ever have would be over who would be the last to leave. As the commanding officer I deemed it my responsibility to ensure the survival of my troop. He argued that his Pidgeot was quick enough
The seconds raced by. I turned my back to Sparrow in rage and walked over to the window to gauge the distance to the ground, judging whether or not a jump would be survivable… the bastard pushed me out. I landed onto his Pidgeot with an almighty thump. But before I could be whisked to safety… I was scorched by an immense heat, buffeted by a strong gust and thrown from Pidgeot’s back as we fell to the earth.
I awoke unable to move, having landed heavily on my back, surrounded by a thousand watchful eyes that stared at me through the dark. Slowly they got closer… and closer. Golbat. For the second time that night I was moments away from death…
Another burst of red light shone out into the night. Raichu emerged defiantly and shielded me from the encroaching Golbat. His electrical attacks surely saved my life that night. They shone brightly enough so that we could be rescued.
Lying flat in the med-evac, as Chansey and doctor toiled over my injuries, I thought about how Sparrow had gave his life so that we could all survive, how he must have known that he didn’t have the time… a debt I could never repay.
Despite our huge loss that night, the war ended once Team Rocket ran out of money and one day disappeared… inconclusively. They would eventually return and be foiled by a young ten year old trainer, but that story has had many chronicles written of it.
After we were discharged, Raichu and I soon became a fierce fighting team. I eventually sought out the courage to apologize to him for forcing him to evolve, and he accepted it. Since then he has been my best friend... perhaps my only friend. Of course that was until the cruel mistress of time took him away from me... now I sit, old and alone writing these memoirs.
After the war, I became known as the hero of that night… “The Lightning American” they called me. I never accepted the title, or the prestige that went with it. I knew what really happened that night. The gutsiest, hardiest trainer I will ever know sacrificed himself to save me and his squad.
Sydney, I dedicate these memoirs, and my life’s work to your bravery…
With the passion and strength surging through your veins you are the unsung hero…the True Lightning American.
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