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Rated PG-13 for strong language and violence, and potentially disturbing scenes of disaster.

-:-

PROLOGUE

[A shadowed Earth is seen, and the shadows gradually lift to reveal the planet in full.]

Pokémon, the incredible creatures that dwell in every corner of our planet. With over six hundred known kinds and many more awaiting discovery, every part of the world has a Pokémon story to tell.

[In a thick forest, Petilil, Lilligant, Venipede, Whirlipede, Scolipede, Blitzle and Zebstrika lounge in and around a huge tree. Several Samurott, Lumineon, Gastrodon, Luvdisc, Huntail and Gorebyss swim in the deep ocean. A desert plays host to Dwebble, Crustle, Sandile, Trapinch, Vibrava, Flygon and a single Volcarona. Finally, Seel, Dewgong, Spheal, Sealeo, Walrein, Mamoswine and Abomasnow live on an icy tundra near the water.]

While many are common, there are some that have disappeared into the pages of legend…

[Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion line up next to each other on a cliff and roar in unison. Overhead, Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus fly past. In an old town, Reshiram and Zekrom tower over the land, looking up at a giant castle sticking out of the top of a mountain.]

There are many ways that Pokémon and people can interact. The biggest of them is the Pokémon battle, when trainers and their Pokémon compete against others to determine supremacy.

[On board a subway train, a red-haired girl wearing a yellow hat and yellow gloves along with a bluegreen vest over her navy-blue shirt is battling a man in a black-and-brown conductor's uniform. The girl is using Bisharp, while the man has a Haxorus out. A second train drives past in the opposite direction; inside, a boy with blonde hair and an orange jacket is using Vanilluxe and Jellicent against the Eelektross and Durant owned by his opponent, the white-and-brown-clad twin of the conductor from the first train.]

Now…

Whitegold City is a city in the southeast of the Kanto Region. Known for its rich folklore as well as its booming business district, it is the destination of Matt Chiaki, his adoptive daughter and student Olivia Mistbloom and friends Nekou Langley and Bunny Spruce. Together, the four of them solved the mystery behind the lost city of Argyros in the mountains near the Indigo Plateau, even travelling back in time to witness the history behind the war that nearly led to Argyros's destruction. Now, they head for Whitegold City for Matt to give a speech on his newly-developed energy system, but little do they know, an even greater adventure awaits…

-:-

The doors of the elevator opened right after the bell that indicated its arrival sounded. An old man, dressed well in a dark blue suit with golden arches going around his body from the four buttons on its front, stepped out. A blue combination cap with an emblem of a hexagonal snowflake Pokémon sat atop his head, and his well-polished brown leather shoes tapped loudly on the metal floor of the laboratory.

Raising his right hand up alongside his head, which was framed by blue-gray, shoulder-length hair and a thick beard of similar coloration, the man flashed a 'V' symbol and announced, "Victory Star!"

Three other people were in the lab already. There were two men in dark suits, one with thick red hair and the other with thin blue hair. They both were wearing dark sunglasses and had an insignia of an anchor merged with the letter 'E' on their breast pockets.

Along with them was a young female scientist dressed in a black lab coat. She also wore rectangular glasses, along with a flower-shaped hair clip to keep the front of her knee-length, dark purple hair out of her face. While the other two were waiting for the arrival of the old man on the elevator, she was simply sitting at a large computer bank placed right in front of three large monitors.

"Victory Star!" both of the men responded, returning the salute given to them by their leader.

The red-haired man was the first to offer some new information. "Captain Everton, sir, the latest reports are in. The device's effectiveness in sectors three and four has been at within 90% or greater of what we anticipated. "

"Shall we prepare for security measure D-10, sir?" asked the guard with blue hair.

The old man, Captain Everton, nodded quietly to his two subordinates. He then slowly walked over to the bank of computers, where he towered over the silent scientist.

"Activate the Dreamyarn Inceptor," he commanded, the lights from the computers shining in the monocle covering his left eye. "Show me the dreams of the Pokémon that have been put to sleep!"

"Y-yes, Captain Everton, sir…" demurred the woman, clearly afraid of what Everton might do if she disobeyed. "Activating the Dreamyarn Inceptor…"

After the scientist tapped several keys on her wide keyboard to enter the command, a nearby capsule illuminated, revealing a curled-up, pink-and-purple Pokémon that was vaguely porcine in appearance. Though she was not sleeping, her eyes were closed. A powerful energy pulse was suddenly forced through her body, making her writhe violently.

"Mushaaaaaaaaanaaaa!" was the cry that echoed through the lab. The Pokémon was in an agonizing amount of pain and her trainer, the scientist, knew it. Even though the woman thought she was responsible for this travesty, however, she felt powerless to stop it. Everton was simply too powerful.

The center monitor in her computer network lit up with a scanner map of all of Whitegold City. On the map the city was divided into four sections, two of which were glowing. The computer automatically zoomed into those two areas, then divided the screen into numerous different views.

"I see," Everton said as he evaluated the vantage points of the city he was receiving. A broad smile crept onto his face. "So, Victini, you haven't come out of hiding yet. That's fine. I haven't even gotten started yet." Turning away from the screens, Everton ordered, "Fennel, stay here and operate the Dreamyarn Inceptor. Foster, Baker, you two come with me. We have work to do."

-:-

A large part of Whitegold City was its marshes, which seemed to stretch on forever in a mass of thick trees and dark water. Somewhere within this murky maze was a shack with a back porch right on the water.

An elderly woman dressed in ragged clothing lived there, and she was sweeping her floors with the help of her Gothitelle, a Pokémon with the appearance of a girl in a dress made up of conical black sections, each fronted with a white ribbon.

Quite suddenly, Gothitelle stiffened up. The four flattened, disc-like protrusions on each side of her head became still.

"Gothi…" she said nervously.

"Gothitelle, what's wrong?" asked the woman of her Pokémon. "Wait… I think I sense it too. A terrible tragedy is about to unfold in this city…"

Pokémon:

Operation GEAR

[A ground-level view from within some thick underbrush is seen.]

Troy Baker

Trina Nishimura

Bridget Hoffman

Caitlin Glass

[The view switches to the surface of dark water briefly before submerging.]

Lisa Ortiz

Colleen Clinkenbeard

J. Michael Tatum

Crispin Freeman

Vic Mignogna

Kari Wahlgren

Rachael Lillis

Saori Hayami

Shinichiro Miki

featuring Michael Ironside as Captain Liam Everton

[The view switches to scaling the side of a tall skyscraper; at the top it merges into churning black storm clouds.]

-The Victory Star of Fate

-:-

Whitegold City's highly developed business district was right on the shore of a wide river, which was bisected by a large iron bridge. Underneath the blazing sun, a two-level ferry boat sailed through the glittering waters toward a ferry station at the edge of the city.

Inside the second-floor cabin on the boat, a group of four people were sitting at a table in the midst of watching a video being played introducing the passengers to Whitegold City.

When the sole male member of the group – a very tall man dressed in a silver-lined blue longcoat with golden feather patterns on the lapels – sighed deeply, it incited a reaction from one of his companions, a curvaceous young woman with long black hair accented with red streaks.

"What's the matter, Matt?" she ribbed him, shifting herself around in her seat. "Has the stage fright bug gotten to you?"

"Oh, shut up, Nekou," Matt shot back, running his hand through his shoulder-length blonde hair, having removed the wide-brimmed, feather-crested blue hat he usually wore. "I'm not in the mood to deal with your nonsense at the moment."

"Well that's fine! It's not like I was going to help you, anyway, I was making fun of you!"

"Sure. By the way, fix your shirt."

Matt wasn't saying this just to insult her; Nekou's blue top – which was only buttoned in one place so as to reveal both her midriff and quite a bit of her cleavage – was beginning to become undone. Flushing intensely, Nekou fixed the button and covered herself with her arms.

"I-I… you haven't earned that right yet!"

"Like you're giving your speech dressed like that?" interjected the youngest of the group, a fourteen-year old girl wearing a blue cape and pink boots. Her cape matched the color of her long hair, which ended in thick curls over her shoulders, and had the same silver lining as Matt's coat.

"Olivia, please, don't start…" Matt said, clearly exasperated by having to deal with both Nekou and now Olivia as well. "We're all getting clothes for the speech, alright?"

"Olivia, I'll help you pick something out," the fourth member of the group, a woman in her early thirties with brown twintails.

"But don't you already have your outfit, Bunny?"

Olivia had a point; Bunny's black-and-gray business suit was already quite formal. "Well, that's true, but I want to look nice for Matt's speech too."

"I'll help you pick something out too then!"

Bunny and Olivia's exchange was interrupted by the arrival of a member of the ferry's staff. "Do you four have passes already?"

"Passes?" Matt asked. He had been caught well off-guard by the sudden question.

"Captain Everton has a rule in place that everyone inside Whitegold City's boundaries must have an identification pass of some kind," explained the man. "It's for security purposes. There are two types of passes, one for residents of the city and one for guests."

"The four of us are guests of Everton, actually," Bunny informed.

"I see. Well, allow me to take your pictures and I'll get those guest passes ready right away."

Everything was going smoothly until the man took a camera out of his jacket. The moment she saw it, Nekou flinched and hid behind Matt, clenching his sleeve as she did so.

"No!" she screeched in a highly defensive manner.

"Wait…" Matt's eyes widened as he realized what was going on. "You're afraid of getting your picture taken, aren't you?" When he saw her nod nervously, he knew the solution right away. "You can be in the picture with me. They can use the same picture for both of our passes."

It took a moment for Nekou to come to accept this offer, and she emerged enough from behind Matt to be seen in the picture. Nevertheless, she never let go of his arm and jumped noticeably when the camera's flash went off. Bunny and Olivia, meanwhile, got their pictures taken without incident, and the man went off to create the passes.

After a minute of somewhat awkward silence, Nekou blurted out, "I just don't like doing it! It doesn't make me a bad…"

"Nekou, relax, there's nothing to worry about," Matt consoled her. "So you're afraid of getting your picture taken. Big deal. I'm afraid of the dark and I'm almost thirty."

"Y-you're right… sorry…"

"Don't worry about it," Matt said with a smile.

"I like getting my picture taken," Olivia chimed in at random. "You know why? Someone has to look at you to do it."

"You sure do like attention, don't you…" Matt sarcastically uttered under his breath, while adjusting the unusual glasses on his face. Only the right-hand half appeared to be normal, blue-tinted circular glasses, while the left side was actually a golden face mask in the shape of a stylized Ho-oh with a purple rose-pattern eyepiece over where his left eye was.

Just then, the man from the ferry staff arrived holding four credit card-sized passes. They were mainly colored black but also had a gold trim around the edges.

"Sorry to have kept you waiting. Four Whitegold City guest passes, right here."

Matt and Nekou received their passes first, and as planned, both cards had the picture of Nekou hiding partially behind Matt on them. Olivia had made an over-the-top pose for hers, looking over her shoulder slightly and winking. Bunny's was the tamest of the lot, featuring her just staring straight ahead into the camera.

"Thanks for everything." Flipping a coin from his pocket to the man as a tip, Matt added, "Take care of yourself."

"Attention all passengers," a female voice interrupted through the PA system on the ferry. "We will be making port in Whitegold City in a few minutes. Please have your passes ready."

Taking up his messenger bag, which had six silver buttons and a crest pattern based on a legendary Pokémon on it, Matt turned to his three female teammates. "Well, it's finally just about time. Let's have a good time in Whitegold City, alright?"

END of PROLOGUE



May 2012

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