The Humans Species
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April 6th, 2013 (3:07 AM).
Ball of Fluff
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Aged Master Red
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“… So close, yet so far away…” Lucario muttered to himself as he looked unhappily at the inviting bed next to him, before erasing every thought of taking a quick nap. He faced the giant monster, preparing himself for battle.
The beast was similar to Suicune in form, but had a yellow tone to its skin as well as black stripes. Its tail was twisted with hairy spikes stretching out in every direction, its face adorned with what appear to be a small iron helmet as well as a sky blue beard with two large fangs sticking out of it. Lucario immediately labeled it as a saber toothed tiger, having trouble taking all the extra details. The greatest similarity to Suicune was the long, purple mane that flowed behind its back like it had never experienced the sharp coldness of a scissor.
The trainer on top looked like a very old man, with a beard almost greater than that of the furred creature he was sitting on. He was wearing a red cap on his head, which Lucario thought was quite unfitting for someone his age. While the aged man failed to strike him as half as intimidating as the cackling madman known as Brendan, he knew better than to understate the monster underneath.
“R-Raikou!?” Lucario could hear Zerobi stammer from behind the big tiger, “Have all the legendary dogs been captured!?”
“Grr…” Lucario growled while gritting his teeth, “There are more?”
“… Lucario” Red finally said, his voice both dignified and grave as he crossed his arms and looked down.
“Tch…” Lucario exclaimed in annoyance, “Why does everyone know my name?”
“No spikes. There is no doubt about it...” Red said as he uncrossed his arms, “I am afraid I must capture you.”
“Yeah, figured as much” Lucario replied with a nod, looking the old man in the eye.
“… You seem quite intelligent” Red said as he reached out a hand in a friendly gesture, “Will you come quietly?”
“Hah! As if!” Lucario shouted, striking a battle pose, “I’m through with running away! It’s time I man up! Just take it easy, and don’t get a heart attack when I start getting serious!”
“Hey!” Zerobi yelled accusingly as both Red and his steed seemed oblivious of her, “Are you crazy!? That’s a legendary Pokémon! You couldn’t even HIT Suicune!”
“Don’t worry!” Lucario yelled back as his confidence overtook his fatigue, “The problem with fighting Suicune was that it had too much room to run around, this thing won’t escape me! Not to mention that this trainer’s already halfway down the grave!”
“Oh, for crying out…” Zerobi groaned while seeing that Red and Raikou had for an unknown reason not begun fighting, instead remaining completely still for some reason, “Well, if you’re gonna attack, better do it before they can react!”
“Of course! I’m not taking any risks this time!” Lucario said before he quickly dashed toward the motionless legendary, quickly trying to figure out if he should attack it like usual or try a new aura-based strike right off the bat.
He had not taken a single step towards the enemy before Raikou leaned back on its hind legs and Red crouched beneath the purple mane on its back. A massive electrical current instantly filled the entire room, making the bed and magazines on the ground crumple up and catch on fire. Neither Lucario nor Zerobi had even the tiniest chance of dodging as both their brains shut down and their legs folded on themselves.
When the paralyzation subsided, it was replaced by a searing pain coursing through both of them as they twisted and turned in agony on the ground. Zerobi screamed out loud, but Lucario’s voice was already spent and he instead gave off a tormented wheeze. Yellow bolts of lightning shot out of them and struck the walls as well as Raikou, who seemed to be completely unaffected by them.
As quickly as the thunder had struck, it was gone. Raikou stood tall above the two shaking cripples and saw the small papers around them turn into ash.
“Far too easy…” Red sighed to himself as he emerged from the purple mane, “Not even a battle anymore, just a single attack and it is over…”
“… UGH!” Lucario cried as he held his stomach and felt like barfing. He was on his back, staring up at the open sky through the broken ceiling.
“Good work, Raikou” Red said in a kind way while scratching Raikou who made an odd purr-like sound in return, “Pikachu would have been proud of you.”
“Y-You…” Lucario stammered weakly, struggling to get up. The powerful shock had stunned his body, but more than that it had made him realize just how exhausted he really was. His legs cried out in pain after having been running for so long, and the previous experiments with aura had crippled his arms with a lingering burning sensation that even the electricity could not compare with. The way he was, there was nothing he could do… Except…
“My…” a sorrowful voice sounded from the other side of the room, “My occult magazines… All gone…”
“Z-Zerobi… Run…!” Lucario shouted with the last of his strength, “He wants me!”
“I can’t…!” Lucario heard Zerobi respond from behind Raikou.
“No, I got you into this…” Lucario kept going, thinking that at the very least he would not have her life on his conscience, “You must leave me behind, an-“
“I said, I can’t!” Zerobi yelled back with an angry tone, “I’m paralyzed!” While they were talking, Red had turned around and finally noticed the wounded Weavile behind him.
“Oh…” Red said sadly as he stroked his beard, “… You were there all this time? Forgive me for involving you in this… We will be on our now shortly.” As he finished apologizing, he pulled a Pokéball from his belt at a speed comparable to Raikou’s lightning, turned around and threw it at Lucario. Barely mobile, Lucario saw it coming and somehow managed to roll to the side in order to escape it. The Pokéball hit the ground, before instantly flying back. He thought it might be a boomerang-like attack and kept his head down, but instead it simply returned to Red’s outstretched hand.
“This will be a lot easier if you just let yourself get caught…” Red sighed again, putting the Pokéball back in his belt.
“I will n-never be caught!” Lucario wheezed defiantly, even though he himself was having a hard time finding another way out of this.
“Listen closely” Red continued as he leaned forward and spoke as clearly as possible, “Either I catch you right now, or I will just have to use that electric attack again until you are completely immobile… And that is something neither of us want, right?”
“D-Don’t think you can…” Lucario kept going, trying to sit up but failing and falling on his back again.
“Do not be afraid…” Red said calmly, “As my Pokémon, you can be assured that I will let never let any harm come to you.”
“Screw you! I’m…” Lucario growled as he finally managed to sit up and tried standing up before falling on his knees in exhaustion, “… I belong to no one!” Before he could react, Red pulled out another Pokéball and threw it at him from his hip. Half of Lucario’s brain told him that such an absurd throw would never hit, while the other one was registering the fact that the green and white ball was slowly filling up his vision…
Lucario flinched as the contraption hit him right between the eyes, not really feeling it between the gaping wound on his shoulder, the burning sensation lingering in his arms and heavy damage everywhere else from the electricity. The ball fell down to the ground and started rolling away into a corner of the cave. Lucario tripped forward in shock expecting to turn into a red light, but noticed that his body remained solid and stopped himself with his arms halfway down.
“This is…” Red said with a pause as he stared at the collapsed wolf, “… Most unusual.” Time seemed to stand still for the three of them as Red thought about his next move, Zerobi and Lucario too stunned to think or act. After a long while, Red sighed deeply as he reached down to the backside of his belt and drew yet another Pokeball, one that was purple and white with large pink spots on it as surrounding an insignia of the letter ‘M’.
“The Master Ball - Quite a rarity” Red said to himself while adoring the machine in his hands for bit, “Even someone like me has trouble getting hands on one. It is precious, and really should not be used in a situation like this…” Zerobi knew all too well what he was talking about and begun scrambling away in terror, but Lucario was still wondering how he had managed not to get caught earlier.
“You… You gonna bludgeon me to death, or what?” Lucario said slowly, getting up on his knees again.
“Hmpf… It is not like I can take it with me once I am dead” Red continued as he clutched the master ball in his hand and turned his cap backwards in a determined manner, “Currently, my duty to capture you to ensure the safety of the future generations... And I will do everything I can to do so!”
The master ball escaped Red’s hand with a powerful throw and was sent spinning at Lucario with precise aim and amazing speed. For a moment Lucario thought about letting it hit him between the eyes again, but instead held out his hands in an attempt to stop it. He managed to catch it between his paws in midair, completely stopping it.
“The Master Ball… Failed…?” Red gasped in disbelief, “This… This cannot be!”
“Looks like… The one to catch something…” Lucario said with a smile feeding off his opponent’s surprise, “… Was me.”
“The only way that you cannot be caught by a master ball …” Red continued in an attempt to gather his thoughts, “… Is if you are not a Pokémon.”
“Heh…” Lucario chortled as he held the master ball in one hand, imitating Red from earlier, “Lucky me, then.”
“I never thought it would come to this…” Red kept going, having completely lost his cool as impossibility stared him in the face, “I cannot capture you, does that mean that I have to…” He suddenly became quiet and hunched over, seemingly in a battle of morals with himself.
“… No” he finally said out loud, sitting upright again, “Absolutely not. With the description I was given… But there are two of them… And this Lucario is…” He looked at the Weavile behind him, before looking at the Lucario in front of him, and finally lowered his head in a hopeless gesture.
“… You win” Red finally said as he scratched his beard, “If I cannot capture you, I am unable to become victorious.”
“I…” Lucario said as his vision grew foggy.
“Listen closely. I could end your life right here and now, but I will not. I only ask you for one thing in return…” Red said in a deep, serious voice as he stared at Lucario with gentle eyes, “… Please, do not make me regret it.”
Giving off a faint smile behind the beard, Red held on as Raikou howled and jumped through the hole above them, leaping on the walls to get outside.
“Take… That… You… Dull… Old…” Lucario stammered cockily, before exhaling and collapsing on the floor. The two Pokémon lay pained and immobile, and within seconds the cave was silent once more.
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(Epilogue of Episode I)
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The atmosphere was cool as the two Pokemon lay on the ground of the cave, staring up through the hole in the ceiling. Neither of them felt like talking, instead preferring to lie still and recover as best they could. The only one with a question positively burning in her mind was Zerobi.
“Why?” Zerobi groaned after a few minutes, breaking the silence, “Why didn’t the Pokéball work?”
“… He said so himself, didn’t he?” Lucario groaned back since he was already sick of not being able to give a straight answer, “I’m not a Pokémon.”
“… What…?” Zerobi whispered as if she had heard him wrong.
“I’m human” Lucario continued while trying to ignore a sudden sharp pain in his shoulder, “Grr… I was human up until just recently, when I suddenly woke up in this strange body.”
“… Huh…?” Zerobi mumbled in a confused way.
“I don’t remember how it happened, but I was a blue wolf being chased by the police dog squad” Lucario tried to chuckle, but simply could not through all the pain, “Then I met you.”
“Wait, you’re serious?” Zerobi asked, before giving off several rapid coughs. It sounded very painful and Lucario became worried, but was too weak to even bend up to see how much damage she had taken.
“… So?” Lucario said, “Have you heard anything like it before?”
“No” Zerobi replied with her dazedness apparent, “I mean, there’s a classic movie series dealing with it, but I’ve never heard about it actually happening.”
“Pokémon watch movies?” Lucario asked as he noticed the heavy scent of ash in the air, “Hmm… Well, seems you read magazines, too…”
“... My magazines…” Zerobi said sadly, before they both went quiet for a while. Fresh air entering from outside had already begun to replace the smoke as well as the dankness that had filled the cave for so many centuries. Dreading the next rainfall, she wondered if there was any way to fix it.
“… We can’t stay here” Zerobi said after many moments of silence and coming up short of ideas, “It’s not much of a hiding place with a direct pipeline leading outside above us.”
“It wasn’t much of a hiding place to begin with!” Lucario said loudly, “They found us, didn’t they?”
“And that’s not even the strangest thing that happened today…” Zerobi sighed as she noticed her paralyzation diminishing and finally sat upright, “So, what are you going to do now?”
“… Do?” Lucario replied, for the first time in his life feeling envious of not being able to sit up.
“Yeah” Zerobi kept going as she added a hint of sarcasm to her voice, “Mr. Human-Pokémon-That-Cannot-Be-Caught?”
“… Stick with Lucario” Lucario mumbled quietly, “Well, I’m probably still being chased by Suicune and a bunch of other *******s, so I guess I’ve got to get on the run again.”
“Where?” Zerobi asked bluntly.
“… Away?” Lucario responded, trying to out-blunt her.
“Ugh…“ Zerobi kept going, as she fell on her back again in exhaustion, “Do you have any supplies?”
“I don’t have anything but the clothes I’m wearing…” Lucario said depressingly before wanting to lighten up the mood a little, “… You know, my pants. Guess that’s more than you.”
For the next couple of minutes, they were both quiet. Zerobi was lying immobile on the ground, which Lucario thought was peculiar seeing how she was obviously able to sit up now. At first he did not question it as he felt relieved that he would get a chance to rest undisturbed, but as time passed he started to get worried. She had also been hit by the immense attack from Raikou earlier, and if she was not as resilient as he was…
“Hey… Are you still alive?” Lucario asked, trying to pick up any sign of life from his vertical position.
“… Fine” Zerobi suddenly said out loud.
“… Fine, what?” Lucario asked.
“I’ll come with you” Zerobi said, sitting up again.
“Uh…” Lucario exclaimed in surprise, “No, ‘alive’ means ‘not dead’ in human language.”
“Hmpf, I know what I said…” Zerobi muttered, “Either that or I stay here, in this broken hiding place that soon will probably be swarming with nasty trainers trying to bring you to justice.”
“… You miss Suicune or something?” Lucario asked as he tried to figure out a way to dissuade her, “This isn’t a pleasure cruise, everyone I meet is going to want me dead.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not exactly wanted by the law as it is” Zerobi snickered to herself, “We’ll have a better chance of survival if we stick together.”
“No, just…” Lucario continued, not knowing what to say or do, “You’re cool and all, but I always work alone. I don’t need a partner.”
“Obviously you do, since you don’t seem to know anything about Pokémon” Zerobi responded quickly and confidently, “In exchange, you can… No, you’d better tell me what it’s like being human.”
“… Being human, eh?” Lucario whispered to himself. Finally being able to move his arms a little, he felt something next to his right hand. Looked down, he saw the master ball Red had used earlier on the ground, discarded like an useless tool. He was still a bit curious after all the buildup the aged trainer had given, and managed to pick it up in his right hand.
“Oh hey, that’s…” Zerobi mumbled as she saw the thing in his hand which suddenly made her stammer, “… A-A master ball!?”
“Huh… I don’t get it” Lucario said before holding up the ball above him in order to study it in the light coming from outside, “How can such a small thing contain a Pokémon?”
“It’s quite complicated science…” Zerobi sighed, relived that the scary contraption was not in the hands of their enemy, “All I know is that if it gets you, you’re a slave for the rest of your life.”
“Hmm… I kind of want to try it out…” Lucario said slowly, eyeing the room for Zerobi’s location.
“K-Keep that thing away from me…!” Zerobi stuttered frightfully as fear welled up in her and she took a step back from him.
“You wanted to be with me, right?” Lucario said with a smile, “How about I catch you right now and make you my Pokémon?”
“W-What!?” Zerobi exclaimed, taken off guard by this unexpected turn of events. Lucario held the master ball high up into the air before throwing it away. It hit the bed in the corner of the room, and settled down quietly.
“Nah, just kidding” Lucario said, making Zerobi exhale deeply. He gave up on trying to moving as the mere action of throwing away the ball had used up the very last of his strength.
“Man, do you even know how scary it is, worrying about being captured by something like that!?” Zerobi shouted angrily at him, “Don’t abuse your privileges, and don’t joke around about it!”
“Y-You’ve got to have a sense of humor… If you’re going to follow me…” Lucario said weakly, the world spinning around him as he felt like he was fainting.
“What? Now you’ll let me come?” Zerobi responded, failing to disguise the eagerness in her voice.
“… Just… Let me sleep on it…” Lucario mumbled as he turned around and closed his eyes. Zerobi’s silence signified that he would finally gain the well deserved rest he had been craving so long. All the anguish and confusion softly faded away as he fell into a deep slumber.
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And so ends the first episode of this story, entitled 'Hunted Like A Dog, By A Dog'. Here is a preview of what you can expect on the next episode of The Human Species...
“Apparently, you’re still as crazy as ever… If you think there’s any hope for redemption after what you’ve done.”
The return of Snivy, the smuggest leaf of the law! But suddenly, a mysterious creature appears! Hmm, although slightly deformed, she looks a lot like our main character, doesn't she...?
"Lucario, you... You don't even recognize your own wife...?"
Conflicts are inevitable! Legendaries fall before hardships as heroes rise to the challenge, and even the most unlikely of beings are given a shot at having a great destiny...
This, and much, much more lies in the future of the story known as THE HUMAN SPECIES!
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