A Pokemon fanfic written by 50calliberchaos..A Darker and Edgier take on Pokémon, this fic chronicles the journey of Ash Ketchum in a more realistic, dangerous Pokémon world where death and corruption are rife. Pokémon are dangerous enough that one red Gyarados can wipe out an entire town, science has focused mainly on researching Pokémon, leading to very advanced medicine but relatively little in terms of computers, transport etc, transportation is mainly on foot/per Pokémon (with cars being right out, even in the core region) and there being an actual frontier to human civilization.The story follows Ash Ketchum, but not as we know him from the anime. An early experience with Pokémon in his childhood teaches him to respect Pokémon for the dangerous nature they possess, a lesson that stays with him throughout the rest of the story. With his traveling companion Misty, a girl with a mysterious past, Ash attempts to get to the bottom of why Team Rocket are occupying Mt. Moon and trying to enter Cerulean Cave. Along the way he meets Bill the scientist, a reclusive inventor, Dawn, a fellow trainer with whom he shares a mysterious connection, Jesse and James, who are constantly at odds with Ash and Misty, and the ever manipulative Mewtwo. Warning: character deaths, violence, and gore ahead.
Action Girl: Janine. She throws herself at the enemy before she throws her Pokemon.
Affably Evil: The Big Badaka Mewtwo, surprisingly. He insists on talking to Ash with civility, offers him hospitality, and even proposes him to become sort-of friends and share the world.
Aloof Ally: Mewtwo would rather Ash survive. But if he doesn't, no big deal: he has enough plans in the background that he can afford to lose one pawn.
Almost Dead Guy: Johanna, who holds on just long enough to give Ash her Charmeleon and tell it to obey him.
Anti-Villain: Koga may have sold out his clan and his city to Team Rocket, but only so he could find a cure for his daughter's disease.
May was one, but slow became more heroic.
Giovanni tries to present himself as one of these. He's hardly the most trustworthy character, however.
Anyone Can Die: A lot of things (people and Pokemon) die in this fic, so we'll just list the plot-relevant ones. The entire population of Pallet Town – minus Ash and Oak, but including Delia –, Cade, Misty's Staryu, Violet, Ash's Fearow, Johanna, Jessie's Charizard, Fey, and Lt. Surge. This is just from the pre-Time Skip chapters.
In a later chapter, Jesse and MISTY. The fanbase has been flipping their shit in the reviews.
Later on still, James, Ash's Butterfree, and Pikachu. Yeah, his first Pokemon is dead.
Professor Oak, Clair, and all their Pokemon are killed on Cinnabar.
Elm's dies too, in chapter 30, in what was probably the most satisfying death in the entire story thus far.
All of May's, Ash's and Giovanni's Pokemon do not survive the final battle. Giovanni is dead too. Ash was briefly killed and came Back from the Dead.
Armor Is Useless: Averted big time. Throughout the story armor is shown to be a main reason the heroes are still alive.
The battle for Celadon drives this trope home like a sledgehammer where it is specifically shown that one of the things that makes the event horrific is how long soldiers have to beat on each other just to get through their opponent's armor.
Misty's death is due in large part to her opting out of wearing armor.
On Cinnabar, Ash's armor saves his life when the specially designed heat-shielding in the suit save him from a Salamence's breath weapon.
Artistic License - Economics: Invoked in-universe. The people of Celadon city see nothing wrong with paying for timber, iron, ect., with money that they print (while exporting next to nothing). As Erika points out, this is a very bad idea.
Badass Normal: Most of the named cast qualify. Misty and Brock are both shown to be deadly in combat, both with Pokemon and by themselves. Officer Jenny and Erika both kick some serious ass, and let's not even start on Jesse and James.
The Beastmaster: Everyone with a Pokemon, but especially Ash, who seems to command unusual respect and obedience from Pokemon around him. There's a good reason for that: savants are basically beings born to be beastmasters.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with Officer Jenny, who is expressly shown to have suffered all of the physical effects of months in a shitty prison.
Big Bad Ensemble: At first, Team Rocket serves as the main antagonist force, but Elm and Mewtwo are giving the group a run for its money. After Elm's death and Team Rocket's Enemy Mine with Ash, Mewtwo becomes the only Big Bad.
Subverted, as it is revealed the story had only one Big Bad from the beginning: Mewtwo, who manipulated Elm, Ash, and everyone to destroy mankind.
Cain and Abel: Misty, Violet and Kasumi, though the exact roles are in question due to unreliable narrators. Violet is agreed to be an Abel and Misty admits she was a Cain in the past, but Kasumi could have been either one. Plus Misty's Heel-Face Turn and Kasumi's animosity towards her makes things more complicated.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Janine displays some of this when she thinks Sabrina's getting too close to Ash. Vicki lampshades it almost immediately.
Composite Character: Gary apparently doesn't exist in this universe, so Ash takes his place as Oak's grandson.
Cowboy Cop: This is pretty much the golden rule of the Fuchsia Gym.
Crapsack World: Pokemon are deadly dangerous. And thanks to the machinations of Team Rocket, Elm, and Mewtwo, Kanto is becoming a steadily worse place to live (food shortages, open war over cities, the works). Ash and company are working to fix this and eventually do.
From the stories coming from Cinnabar, the other regions may be even worse.
The Orange Islands are in the grasp of a populist revolutionary council that overthrew the sitting King, and now has its sights set on Invading Kanto, starting with Cinnibar Island.
Hoenn has been torn apart by a devastating civil war and is almost a total loss. May still has hope for Hoenn's future, and plans on ruling it as queen.
As bad as those are, Orre is implied to be even worse.
Darker and Edgier: Everything! But to be specific, the Pokemon are really wild and dangerous wandering monsters. This means that the safest places are the cities which are protected by the gyms, but this protection comes with a price of its own: namely, the gym leaders basically run the cities. Team Rocket masquerades as a community service organization even as they cause economic havoc, take away food sources, and run horrific experiments. And that's not even getting into the characters...
Deadline News: During the Johto/Cinnabar War, a cameraman is killed by an attacking Gyarados.
Deceptive Disciple: May may be Professor Elm's protege, but she never believed the lies he fed her about how Oak murdered her family. That doesn't exactly mean that she finds him innocent, either...
Deconstruction Fic: The whole fic is essentially an examination of how dangerous a realistic Pokemon universe would be.
Defeat Means Friendship: While catching Pokemon still works this way, it's not instantaneous. For example, after catching Fearow, Ash and Misty release all their Pokemon before releasing Fearow for the first time, ready to fight it if it tries anything.
Determinator: Ash embodies determination. Even by the end of the Vermilion arc, you'll wonder how someone can endure that kind of punishment. By the end of the Celadon and Saffron arcs, you'll wonder how anyone can function as a person after what he's been through. And as of the Cinnabar arc...you get the idea.
Freudian Excuse: Koga had to watch his wife slowly waste away from Huntington's. Upon realizing that his daughter Janine had it as well (and would die even younger then her mother), he turned to Team Rocket for help.
Friend to All Living Things: Ash. He seems to command an unusual amount of respect from Pokemon he catches or commands, and they seem to intuitively understand his orders. Most notable with Blastoise, who is described by Misty as rather dense, stubborn and tactically disinclined, but under Ash's command suddenly understands completely new tactics and obeys without hesitation. There's a reason for this.
From Bad to Worse: Ash goes from losing his entire hometown, his mother, and entire childhood in a night to being thrown into a continent-spanning conspiracy that culminates in him being stabbed, thrown off waterfalls, attacked by Jesse and James over and over, and generally nearly killed on a fairly regular basis. Oh, and then Misty, his lover, is brutally murdered in a battle he insisted they fight. Not to mention Pikachu gets killed as well. And then Professor Oak... How much worse can things get?
Ash is an interesting example. He inherited some of his grandfather's scientific talent by working with the man, though he still displays the lack of book-knowledge one would expect from a simple frontier kid with no formal training in much of anything other than Pokemon, as seen in his conversations with Erika.
Dawn also qualifies; Oak says that she's better than Ash.
Janine seems to have upgraded to full time party member, she's been around all through Cinnabar.
Gut Feeling: Savant powers manifest as an intuitive sense of exactly what needs to be done. At one point Bill tells Ash he should listen to his little thoughts that come from nowhere, because they're right.
Heroic Neutral: Sabrina is a gray version of this trope; she cares about Saffron's well-being above all else, and any friends of Saffron are friends of hers. Even if they are trying to kill each other.
Hero Killer: Jessie and James. No, seriously. They have a Charizard, for Arceus' sake! Most of the reason they haven't killed Ash was because of his savant heritagenote which, for example, allowed him to survive a lethal Smog cloud.
In the Hood: Seems to be the standard uniform for the Fuchsia Gym.
I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Misty expresses surprise that Ash can bond with and control Pokemon on a level that shouldn't be possible; on numerous occasions she observes that Ash performs actions with just-caught Pokemon that would have left anyone else dead. Ash is completely unaware of this until he gets told he's a savant.
Knife Nut: Ash, Misty and Brock all carry knives. Ash in particular, who escaped a few sticky situations by throwing his.
Lady of War: Erika has a flavor of this to her. While she maintains an air of royalty about her, to the point of being a major pain in the ass, she can also be a surprisingly potent force on the battlefield if killing a Scyther is any indication.
Lamarck Was Right: Apparently being around a specific type of Pokemon can, over generations, cause humans to take on the aspects of that type of Pokemon. Then there are savants, who attune with Pokemon in general.
The Lost Woods: Viridian Forest. At a certain point, the canopy covers the sky completely, not letting any light in. The air becomes completely still. The temperature drops sharply in certain areas. The trail gets ever narrower, making it easy to get lost. And God help you if you stumble upon a silky white podor a clearing full of them... Even Indigo Plateau Rangers, some of the toughest survivalists Kanto has to offer, aren't safe, as Ash and Misty eventually find out.
Physical God: Ash, after gaining Mewtwo's powers. He can control even the three Legendary Birds.
Pragmatic Villainy: James. He usually keeps Jessie in line, and has warned her that he will have no choice but to kill her if she lets her urges override common sense.
Prepare to Die: In Chapter 30, Ash and May confront Elm. Ash gives us this:
"I'm Ash Ketchum (...)You killed my mother, destroyed my home, and murdered my grandfather. Today, you die."
Psychic Powers: The usual suspects, but Ash and other savants seem to have a very subtle, yet effective, version of this.
Reality Ensues: Cabe the Bug catcher pulls out a knife that Ash stabbed into him, only for it to cause the bleeding to get a lot worse.
Red Shirt: Tends to be averted. Regular joes wear armor and carry weapons that are no more or less deadly than what the heroes get. Pokemon notwithstanding, everyone is on pretty equal ground, which is, of course, what sets the heroes apart.
Relationship Upgrade: Ash and Misty get into a relationship, and have explicitly had sex. It's strongly implied that Jessie and James have had the same. Ash and Janine also have one much later on.
Ship Tease: Ash/Janine has been hinted at a lot ever since Misty's death.
Shoot the Messenger: During the battle of Celadon, Brock, who is leading Celadon's forces, is warned by an enemy messenger that if they do not surrender, then there will be no quarter given. Brock responds by riding forward, shouting "IF!" and ordering his archers to attack. It does not end well for the messenger.
Time Skip: The fic goes a year ahead in time after Ash becomes Gym Leader of Vermillion City.
Title Drop: After so long, it actually gets said as the cliffhanger in Chapter 31
Took a Level in Badass: Every single character compared to their canon counteparts, due to the much more dangerous world they live in. But special mention goes to Jessie and James, who went from jokes to outright menaces. Also in-story for Ash after he becomes Gym leader.
Transhuman Aliens: Humanity seems to be set out for this as they adapt to the Pokemon around them. Ash is one of these, a savant, able to bond with Pokemon on a deeper unconscious level.
Unreliable Narrator: Both Kasumi and Misty give conflicting stories about Misty's past, with no indication of who's telling the truth so far.
Unwitting Pawn: Everyone except Team Rocket, for Mewtwo. Ash takes the cake.
Chapter 25. Pikachu dies. James dies. Jessie might still be alive. Giovanni is Ash's father.
Word of God is that Jessie is still dead and James saying otherwise was just his taking one last stab at Ash before the end.
Chapter 35: Mewtwo reveals itself as the mastermind behind everything, that Ash was Unwitting Pawn all along, defeated May and Giovanni, is about to kill all of the main characters, and the final battle begins.
With This Herring: When Ash and Misty first set out, they're given body armor by Professor Oak, which was rather crappy, but did the job well enough. This is due in part to the fact that Oak barely had any resources to scrape together considering Pallet Town was destroyed. When they get to Bill, he gives them two very nice sets of armor which Brock says even the Elite Four would like, which Ash reasons is because the Pokedex cataloguing mission they're on is incredibly dangerous and it would only make sense for them to receive such high-end gear. In addition to the armor, Bill replenishes their supplies of rations, anti-toxins, gear, etc. and parts with a joke about how they're draining what he has.