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Fanfic / Operation GEAR

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Operation GEAR is the collective name for a trilogy (later quadrilogy) of Pokémon fanfics written by The Great Butler/Nando. It is the successor to the Enigma Shadow series, and is comprised of The Firestorm Rebellion, The Victory Star of Fate, and The Angel of Reckoning.

Five years have passed since the Downer Ending of Pokémon XD^3: The Waves of Truth, and for many of those who were involved, things have not gotten better. Still unaware of her father Rich's death half a decade ago, Olivia Mistbloom ardently believes that he abandoned her and disappeared. As per Rich's final wishes, his daughter has been in the care and teaching of Matt Chiaki, whose own scars - both literal and figurative - have also deepened. While preparing Olivia to finally become a Pokémon Trainer in her own right, his Survivor Guilt and feeling of responsibility over the whole thing has led to his obsession with finding the truth behind it all. Early on, they pick up a small handful of teammates - a rude and thieving but generally good-natured woman named Nekou and Matt's old archeologist friend Bunny Spruce.


In The Firestorm Rebellion, Matt and Olivia arrive at the Indigo Plateau to attend a special tournament sponsored by the Frontier Society, the new battling circuit Rich was developing during the last months of his life; it is now under his widow Anabel's control. There, they meet Nekou and Bunny, encounter a hobbled, weakened Team Rocket, and ultimately go on an archeology expedition to investigate a ruined town. Through a series of bizarre events, they accidentally Time Travel back to the nineteenth century and become entangled in the revolution that destroyed the town in the first place, forcing them to solve the crisis of the past while still finding a way back.

The Victory Star of Fate, which takes place immediately after The Firestorm Rebellion, sees the dysfunctional foursome head for Whitegold City in southeast Kanto. There, Matt is to give a speech about an alternative energy source he developed at the headquarters of the oil magnate Liam Everton. Little does he know that there are sinister motives afoot in the city, surrounding the city's festival, its folklore and even Matt's speech itself; this grand plan is orchestrated by Liam Everton himself, and is part of his decades-long quest to capture the Pokémon Victini and make its powers of victory his own. Matt, Nekou, Olivia and Bunny quickly become embroiled in a race to stop Everton's plot before it comes to fruition and destroys Whitegold City and all inside.


The final installment of the trilogy, The Angel of Reckoning, started May 5th, 2012. The story involves Olivia's quest finally starting, Matt, Olivia and Nekou seeking their own truths, and the rebellion of the oppressed people of the Tenganist religion framed by the moves of the mysterious cult, Polaris, who plan to create a revolution in Johto and Kanto as part of a larger plot to fulfill their beliefs.

In 2018, a fourth installment, The Gardener of Gratitude, was added to the series. Unlike the three main installments, this one acts as a prequel set during the events of XD^3 and is a remake of an Enigma Shadow spin-off fic of a similar name. It sees Matt and Cassy travel to the isolated kingdom of La Ciudad Dorada on the invitation of the land's prince to solve a mystery Matt's grandfather worked on prior to his death, and meet up with others on their way to discovering the truth behind a rumored city made entirely of gold while preventing a potential civil war.


Surprisingly enough, despite the quadrilogy's connections to the Enigma Shadow trilogy, it can be easily tackled as its own work, and Word of God has given hints that it's probably not a bad idea.

Tropes found in Operation GEAR include:

  • Action Girlfriend: Though they'd probably both deny it, there's mounting evidence Nekou has some interest in Matt. It's starting to seem like he returns it, too.
  • Affably Evil: A number of the Team Rocket members are surprisingly agreeable even despite their mission. In Polaris, Archer uses this in conjunction with Smug Snake, while Ghetsis presents it as a decoy.
  • Anti-Hero / Nominal Hero: Nekou's motives are seemingly overwhelmingly selfish. Fitting for a Team Rocket member.
  • Alternate Continuity: Word of God states that the setting is a universe combining the games and anime; one example is that Jessie, James and Meowth received their promotion in the Best Wishes! arc, but the skipped Team Rocket VS. Team Plasma! episodes occurred in their original place, and they never went back to their white uniforms.
    • When he joins Polaris, Lysandre reveals that in this timeline, he never formally founded Team Flare.
  • All There in the Manual: Ada, Trevor and Rosalie's stories are fleshed out in a backstory post provided by the author. It isn't clear yet if many of these details, such as Ada's previous career as an analyst working for Bill on the PC Storage System or the specifics of Trevor's acting career, will come into play. Rosalie's background as a geneticist and botanist appears in Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 1), however.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Day of Reckoning and whatever Polaris has planned for it shows definite signs of this. Ghetsis appears to have a head start on the others, having secured information on the myths surrounding it that he needs Concordia and Anthea to decode in secret from the rest of the Sacred Helix.
    • Explicitly confirmed in Father, and then some: Polaris's crusade against the Pokémon League is a ruse. Their true objective is to sow chaos and despair so they can fully summon Dark Matter, a supernatural world-ending force, thus completing a prophecy that has existed for at least five thousand years.
  • Ancient Evil: Dark Matter.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Pierce is on the receiving end of one from, of all people, the Tenganist prophet in Chapter 10.
  • Anyone Can Die: Even though it looked like the story was moving in the direction of rescuing him, Professor Elm gets blown up by the Tenganists' bomb meant for Ghetsis in chapter 19. In a particularly cruel twist of fate it is strongly implied Ghetsis killed his family too.
    • Giovanni also bites it in the same chapter.
  • Artificial Limbs: Colonel Nixon has a grotesque steam-powered prosthetic arm that he hides under his cape. Also, Matt's cybernetic limbs, which are external unlike most of the rest of his mechanical implants.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Olivia slips into this during her battle with Bugsy, as she slides toward the Despair Event Horizon.
  • The Atoner: Matt is driven by guilt for his (perceived) failures of five years ago and tries to help Olivia as a result.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Most of the names are (generally) normal, but then there's Nekou Langley, whose name is the least unusual thing about her.
  • Ax-Crazy: Nixon once he reveals his prosthetic arm fights Matt with a huge axe singlehandedly.
  • Badass Beard: General Bjorn Zerossen and Liam Everton both have one.
  • Badass Boast: Yung at the end of the conflict on the train.
    Yung: You beat Mewtwo, but all you did was waste time. Too bad you came out all this way, but it looks like I win!
  • Badass Bookworm: When not fighting, eating or complaining, Nekou can usually be found reading, including chemistry books.
  • Badass Family: Agenta and Althea. The former has no fear even when facing imminent death as a human sacrifice. And that's saying absolutely nothing of her mother, who you do not want to cross, lest you find out just how vicious a warrior she can be.
  • Badass Grandpa: Zinzolin gets a spotlight turn in Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 1) and runs with it at full force. He first gives an effective presentation of a speech written by Ghetsis, then abruptly switches to combat Team Rocket when they attack.
  • Badass Longcoat: Matt has one.
    • Nekou gets one too in Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 1).
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Seemingly averted at the end of Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 2), as there's no indication the bar Nekou took the others to was actually involved with Team Rocket.
  • Batman Gambit: Liam Everton is a master of this, tricking the citizens of Whitegold City into a death trap so he could find and capture Victini, and they would have been none the wiser if it wasn't for the Triad of Revenge's efforts. Using Darkrai to bait out Cresselia and then Victini is another part of it, as is taking over the world's energy supply as a stepping stone to seizing control of the entire world.
    • Team Rocket's plan to have the Tenganists bomb the Magnet Train shipping the Meteonite so they could steal it. Except Polaris saw it coming and sent a decoy.
  • Beard of Evil: Zinzolin has a goatee.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Matt and Nekou sure seem to be developing this. Her initial advances appeared to just be her being a Troll but the kiss at the end of Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 2) was blatantly genuine, as was her angry outburst about why he should want to live. On his part he is becoming more and more tolerant of her wild behaviors.
  • Berserk Button: Liam Everton goes totally off the deep end in full when his assets get frozen upon the discovery of his plan, effectively destroying it.
    • Zinzolin gets set off by encountering Team Rocket.
    • For Nekou, it's hearing someone wishing to die.
  • Big Bad: Polaris as a whole, Father specifically.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hethna makes a well-timed return to Whitegold City to save its trainer and his friends from Liam Everton's Hydreigon.
    • Looker arrives in Chapter 10 just in the nick of time. Otherwise, Nekou might very well have killed Matt.
    • In chapter 20, Mewtwo arrives from the Sinjoh Ruins just in time to turn the tide against Ho-oh under Ghetsis' control.
  • Bi the Way: Nekou has a reputation for seducing men on her missions, and also is in a casual relationship with Ada.
  • Black and Gray Morality: On one side, a brutally violent oil executive who will drive the world into poverty in order to subjugate nations to his rule. On the other, the head of Team Rocket, who only seems to care about stopping said oil executive because it will protect his interests.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in The Angel of Reckoning, where Team Rocket, a radical political organization/secretive cult, and a terrorist group made of the last survivors of a dying race butt heads. And that's just the start.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Nekou shows fleeting hints of it. It's escalating in recent chapters.
  • Break the Cutie: The chain of events that begin with Olivia finding out about Rich's death, bottoming out at Azalea Gym.
  • Broken Bird: Both Nekou and Olivia. Olivia seems to be recovering as of Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 2), but as of that same chapter, the cracks in Nekou's facade are beginning to become more and more apparent.
  • Celibate Hero: Matt deliberately ignores or plays down Nekou's (insincere?) attempts to flirt with him. These are later revealed to be sincere, but with ulterior motives.
  • Character Development: Olivia has gone from obsessively pursuing her single-minded goal of getting Rich's approval to shutting herself off from everyone but Nekou to finally starting to open up to others, evidenced by her accepting attention and affection from an entirely separate person by accepting Monroe's date. Later, she puts her grief and desperation over her father seemingly to rest and accepts her new purpose of fighting for a cause he'd have supported.
  • Chekhov's Gun: That "bursting with energy" comment Nikolai made offhandedly to Olivia about Oshawott in "Hard Reset?" Oshawott was ready to evolve, a fact that saved her challenge with Bugsy.
  • Cliffhanger: Most notably Chapter 5 of The Victory Star of Fate (ending with the dam breaking, leaving Whitegold City to flood) and Chapter 1 of The Angel of Reckoning, in which Professor Juniper is at Professor Elm's lab instead of him.
    • Chapter 8 of The Angel of Reckoning ends immediately after Matt is forced to acknowledge the truth about Rich's fate to Olivia after Avril inadvertently reveals it.
    • Chapter 11 ends on Dr. Zager and Proton observing inexplicable phenomena in Ilex Forest and Olivia getting violently ill.
    • Chapter 14 ends with the Tenganists accidentally bombing a train full of International Police members, killing everyone aboard but Looker and Jacob, who they kidnap.
  • Chess Motifs: The appearances of the Bisharp Clan come in chapters with titles referencing chess language.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A huge proportion of the profanity in this series is exclusively from Nekou.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Nekou's black-and-red hair and black clothing turns out to be symbolic of her membership in Team Rocket, an organization also fond of those colors.
  • Continuity Nod: Rowena returns from The Victory Star of Fate to cover Polaris's speeches, and specifically seeks out Matt due to his interactions with them in Whitegold City and Violet City.
  • Cool Car: The antique limo used by Giovanni to travel to Goldenrod City with Ariana, Jessie and James.
  • Cool Plane: Finansielle has an office on one.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Liam Everton.
    • The way Lysandre is portrayed hints he may go fully in this direction. He does.
    • Gabriella Bouchard is really Finansielle.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: Father reveals that Polaris, or at least its leadership, serves Dark Matter and aims to sacrifice the world to it. Everything they're doing against the Pokémon League is purely meant to sow despair, not any sort of social or economic justice.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Vaguely hinted at in The Firestorm Rebellion, but made very clear in The Victory Star of Fate.
    • Later, the main thrust of the plot of The Angel of Reckoning centers on this. Polaris aims to rally the public to their side by highlighting the inherent problems in society.
  • Crew of One: Averted with Polaris's Adenosine Base. It is at first implied that Colress is the only scientist there, but he has multiple colleagues there working in other labs, as revealed in Hard Reset.
  • Crushing the Populace: Liam Everton makes it very clear he intends to do this to Sinnoh.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Many characters have names that blend both Western and Eastern influences, particularly the Chiaki family, whose children are named Matt and Amanda while their mother is named Fumika. The family name came from the paternal side, with a grandfather whose first name was Sutter. Bill's family is similar, as one of his sisters is named Audrey and the other is named Mako.
    • Another example is the culture of the Tenganists, which blends Asian and European influences. This is reflected in the naming of individual people, such as "Kristos," "Agenta" and "Althea" against "Saeko Oryo" and the Japanese names of the Kimono Girls, as well as other cultural practices such as their food, an example being Agenta and Althea making loukoumades, a fried Greek pastry.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Matt, Bunny and Petrel struggle against Yung's Mirage Mewtwo. As soon as Ada, Trevor and Pierce show up, Ada's Milotic utterly destroys Mewtwo with Mirror Coat.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: One of Polaris's teachings opposes the mixture of mechanical technology and biological matter due to the principle that it undermines the dignity of DNA and natural biology.
    • Matt sees himself as worth less than ordinary humans because he feels he is no longer like them. To a degree, he did the soul-eating to himself when he had his brain altered to remove the worst parts of his personality.
  • Cyborg: Matt became one as a result of severe injuries he suffered in the past.
  • Dance Battler: Arcade Star Dahlia
  • Dark Action Girl: Nekou, who dances on both sides of the good guy/bad guy line.
  • Darkest Hour: Chapter 6 of The Victory Star of Fate is even titled "Whitegold City's Darkest Hour." The dam has broken, leaving Whitegold City to flood. Liam Everton has his Hydreigon ready to go on a rampage. The storm is growing too big to control. Are you surprised it's titled that?
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nekou can't go one chapter without at least one snark somewhere.
  • Death Is Dramatic: In full effect for Agenta. Subverted for Liam Everton, who merely gets out one final thought before setting his Hydreigon completely loose on the city. The protagonists are not certain of his death until his body is found in the credits.
  • Death Trap: The Whitegold Dome.
  • Deconstruction: The Angel of Reckoning largely began as an ordinary journey fic, though it showed signs early on - such as Professor Elm missing - of being something more complicated. This began to come more into effect by Chapter 4, when Ghetsis delivers a speech decrying the system in which the world of Pokémon trainers operates... which a number of people in the crowd actually listened to.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Happens after Matt defeats Katorena, bringing her onto the team for the rest of The Victory Star of Fate.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Olivia steps right up to it in "Hard Reset" and dances on the edge for some time before finally pulling back.
  • Deuteragonist: Shifts back and forth between Matt and Olivia.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Somehow Nixon knew that Matt was lying to him about the Life Orb being turned over, and furthermore, the real orb didn't have to be on the pedestal, it just had to be in the chamber. The result? Agenta's body gets used to resurrect Zoroark, she dies and Zoroark goes on a rampage.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Because his own bad judgment resulted in his leading his soldiers to their deaths during the war, Liam Everton now wishes to destroy Sinnoh and drive the survivors into poverty to punish them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Word of God states that Polaris's speech in Goldenrod City drew inspiration from some of the 2010 Tea Party rallies. Occupy Wall Street imagery could also be found.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: A potential heroic version averted. Rowena threatens to carry it out if Midori doesn't cooperate. Midori goes along with it and broadcasts Matt's message.
    • In Father, Polaris hijacks Lysandre and Gabriella's broadcast so Father can make his announcement to the world. "Hijacks" in quotes, because Lysandre and Gabriella are themselves Polaris members.
  • Dramatic Unmask: When Séduire aka Cassy is unmasked in Ilex Forest, it comes at the climax of an intense argument in which she begs Matt to reveal her identity until he gives in.
    • Averted when Getriebe's identity is revealed. He is merely shown as Thorton speaking to Colress and Jeunes with no fanfare.
  • Driven to Suicide: Captain Becket Everton
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Members of Polaris play a minor role in the plot of The Victory Star of Fate before their role in The Angel of Reckoning.
  • Eat the Rich: Polaris's message is that the Pokémon League has built a life of luxury for the upper class on the backs of the lesser fortunate, and they spur on the downtrodden to take what the organization presents as rightfully theirs.
  • The Emperor: Ghetsis doesn't just use 'Harmonia' as his surname now, he refers to himself as the 'King of Harmonia.'
  • The Empire: The Tohjo Continent was previously this, led by the ancestors of the Battle Castle's Caitlin. It fell apart some time after the events of The Firestorm Rebellion.
  • End of an Age: Polaris is heralding the end of the Pokémon League as the force that holds society together.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Nekou, despite being an Admin-rank member of Team Rocket, clearly holds genuine affection for Olivia.
  • Everyone Can See It: Katorena immediately told Matt and Nekou to "get a room" after Nekou kissed him at the end of The Victory Star of Fate. Bunny might be seeing it too now.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Everton International's headquarters. It's based on a real-life building, no less.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Angel of Reckoning pits a dying mafia syndicate, a revolutionary cult and a band of religious terrorists against each other.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Matt's artificial eye has rings in its middle.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Woods pulls one, but quickly turns back.
    • In The Angel of Reckoning Chapter 6, Meowth joins Polaris after receiving a Mind Rape from the Meteonite. He goes back to normal in Chapter 14.
    • In Sweet Little Lies Matt's former classmate and Frontier Brain Thorton is revealed to be the Chromosome known as Getriebe.
  • A Father to His Men: Matt, of sorts. He willingly almost sacrifices himself to try and save Bunny and the others from a runaway train.
  • Femme Fatale: Nekou takes this trope and runs with it.
  • First Chapter Spoiler: Azrael is born in the very first scene of The Angel of Reckoning, meaning the entity Polaris needs for their goals is already within their grasp despite all the other work they must do.
  • Fix Fic: The Team Rocket VS. Team Plasma! Aborted Arc from the Best Wishes! series, which as of this writing has still not aired anywhere in the world, will be restored to its original placement in the storyline and retold in a pair of flashback chapters - and in a rather creepy coincidence, they're numbered 23 and 24, the original episodes' numbers.
  • Flawed Prototype: Matt himself. His cybernetic eye cannot be completely shut off, meaning it never stops taking in data and eventually would overwhelm his brain. The mask he wears acts to cover it most of the time to prevent this. While sleeping, he wears an eye patch instead.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Nekou's monstrous berserk state and Healing Factor are foreshadowed by how much she eats; such abilities would require great amounts of energy.
    • To Professor Elm's whereabouts:
      • He was stated to have gone to visit Mr. Pokémon about something, and Mr. Pokémon, in turn, revealed Elm went to the Ruins of Alph. Mr. Pokémon turned out to be a member of Polaris, and the Ruins of Alph were already under their control, revealing exactly how and where he was captured.
    • To Nekou's true identity:
      • She has long, black hair with red streaks. Red and black are the colors of Team Rocket.
      • Ada made an Early-Bird Cameo at the end of The Firestorm Rebellion talking to her.
      • Near The Reveal, she adopts a uniform very clearly based on the ones worn by Stacia, Ada and Trevor.
      • Her constant open revulsion to anything having to do with Team Plasma or Polaris.
      • Her antagonistic relationship with Silver.
      • In Disconnection, she was constantly working on her laptop. In that same chapter, the other Team Rocket members were discussing a "field agent" who was uploading the Atlas program to the International Police's servers.
      • She seemed openly dismayed when she found out Olivia and Silver went to the Slowpoke Well in Alekhine's Gun. This was probably because she knew Proton was there.
      • Her familiarity with Chaos, and later Colress's stated desire to have a rematch with "Miss Lalume," hint at her past interaction with Team Plasma.
      • Her ability to assure the siblings in Ilex Forest that Team Rocket didn't steal their Ivysaur, because of her familiarity with Team Rocket's style. Ironically, one line earlier, the brother accused her of being a Team Rocket member.
  • Fortune Teller: Aurelie
  • For Your Own Good: Liam Everton briefly tries to use this as an excuse for his actions, but quickly drops it.
  • Four Is Death: Finansielle, the Fourth Chromosome, is the real creator of Polaris and the apparent mastermind of the effort to end all existence by awakening Dark Matter.
  • Friendly Enemy: Petrel is overwhelmingly jovial toward Matt and Bunny when they meet, although he needs to form a temporary alliance with them to fight Yung.
  • From Bad to Worse: Olivia's suffering was bad enough for the first arc, but in the course of only one chapter, when Polaris begins to make their case to the people in person it brings with it open war between them and Team Rocket followed by a terrorist bombing that results in a number of innocent deaths.
  • Genre Shift: The Angel of Reckoning begins as a traditional "trainer journey" fic, just with more emotional pain for its leads and sci-fi elements. When Polaris takes center stage, it shifts into a political/spy drama with subplots about terrorism and factional warfare. Still later, the sci-fi increases in prominence and horror elements come in.
  • The Glomp: Nekou gave Olivia one when they first met in "The Firestorm Rebellion."
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: If you're looking at Nekou and she has these, run. What's about to follow is particularly unpleasant for anyone and everyone nearby. It took all three of the Shadow Triad to even stand on a level playing field with her.
  • Golem: Hethna, Matt's Golurk. formerly Agenta's
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Kratos and his men went mad after building the Coronet Rosary, when they discovered it would bring about the end of the universe, which they built it to prevent.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The birth of Azrael as depicted in The Day an Angel Fell to Earth. Or maybe it was Gone Horribly Right. Poor Chimere...
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Nekou's glasses double as high-tech computerized scanners. Later, they're shown to have a microphone in them as well.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Matt still bears the burn scars on his torso from his gruesome injuries five years ago. He admits to Nekou that he kept them while he could have gotten rid of them during his cybernetic surgeries because he wanted a reminder of what he was fighting for.
    • On the evil side, Yung has a huge scar torn across his face. It is implied he got from suffering Not Quite Dead in the past.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Dark Matter.
  • Gut Punch: It could have arguably come at several points, but the most likely candidate would be Olivia finding out that Rich is dead from Avril.
  • Handicapped Badass: Amanda Chiaki, full stop.
    • Matt could count as one too. Much of his body was replaced with cybernetic implants to enable him to recover from horrific injuries.
  • Harmful To Children: Even though Olivia has, by her own admission, "seen some shit," the incidents caused by Polaris are clearly traumatizing her.
  • Healing Factor: Nekou recovers after only about a week from a gunshot wound through the shoulder. It gets kicked Up to Eleven when she falls into her animalistic state - she recovers from what should have been a fatal blow, being crushed by an Onix, in mere minutes. She then punches said Onix with enough force to hurt it, breaks her arm in the process, and heals almost instantly.
    • This would explain her Big Eater tendencies; she's always eating so she has enough energy to heal, whether she knows it or not.
    • Olivia might have one too, judging from how quickly her broken leg healed.
  • Hearing Voices: Nekou makes an attempt to connect with her bestial side in a controlled environment, only to end up in a horrifying argument with what sounds like an evil version of herself.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Years of blaming himself for Eleanor Laplace and Rich Mistbloom's deaths compounded by the trauma of his extensive surgeries and then Agenta's death have taken their toll on Matt.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Liam Everton's Cryogonal and Klinklang finally get fed up and turn on him.
  • Heroic BSoD: After Agenta dies, Matt suffers one, ending in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Zoroark with his bare hands before Althea gets involved.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Agenta.
    • Victini nearly carries it out before being saved at the last minute by Cresselia, who sacrifices herself instead.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Olivia's Oshawott pulls out a great one as he nearly loses to Bugsy's Scyther, finding the energy to evolve and fight back. Keep in mind, even after evolving, one more of Scyther's attacks would still have ended it.
  • Hidden Badass: Holy shit, Ada. The meek, nervous analyst who can barely present the results of her research ends up being the one to destroy Yung's Mirage Mewtwo. In one hit.
  • Hidden Depths: Below the constant profanity and vulgar behavior, Nekou is suprisingly thoughtful, intelligent and caring.
  • Hope Spot: Polaris claims to be offering this to the poor in Johto and Kanto.
    • The Prophet represents a personified one to the other Tenganists.
  • I Have Your Wife: Ghetsis threatens to harm Professor Elm's wife and son to gain his cooperation.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Nekou gets run through by Pestilence's Doublade during the battle against Ghetsis's forces in Ecruteak City. It nearly kills her, but she revives, transforms and goes on a violent One-Woman Army rampage.
  • Instant Sedation: "Meromero," the perfume given to Nekou by Rosalie, knocks the guard it's used on out immediately.
  • In the Back: How Pestilence nearly kills Nekou with his Doublade.
  • Knife Nut: Nekou, full stop. She won't kill you, but she will hurt you.
    Matt: "Did you kill this guy?"
    Nekou: "No, I stabbed him where he’ll lose just enough blood to pass out for a while. If there’s one thing I know it’s where to hit to get the results I want.”
  • Knight of Cerebus: Colonel Nixon in The Firestorm Rebellion and Liam Everton in The Victory Star of Fate, befitting of their positions as the central antagonists.
    • Polaris has been present since the start, but when they begin appearing in person, things get way darker.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: As soon as Ho-oh is freed from Ghetsis' control, Finansielle pulls the plug on the mission and calls Colress back. It's implied that this was closing the trap on Ghetsis and they were already aware of his betrayal.
  • The Lad-ette: Nekou might be the most feminine and masculine character at the same time. She'll go from trying on clothes and bathing with candles and flower petals to drinking beer like a madman, eating everything in sight and swearing like a sailor in the blink of an eye.
  • Lady of War: Althea. Threatening anything she cares about will see you end up on the sharp end of a sword, being electrocuted to death by her flock of Sigilyph.
  • La Résistance: The surviving Tenganists are the main example, though Team Rocket also fit.
  • Liar Revealed: Nekou's membership in Team Rocket is forced out into the open when she has to call Rosalie for help with Olivia's illness.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Mewtwo, using both of its Mega Evolution forms. It nearly singlehandedly stands up to Ho-oh while an entire group of Pokémon struggled to stay even previously.
  • Lured into a Trap: Team Rocket and the Tenganists are tricked into bombing the wrong train, believing it's the one carrying the Meteonite.
  • Made of Iron: Nekou, especially in her primal state, in which she can break her arm and heal it in seconds. Matt's body makes him a literal invocation of the trope.
  • Mad Scientist: Several. Dr. Zager is a morally ambiguous one working for Team Rocket, but generally seems to be trying to accomplish good things for the world as long as the team benefits. Then there are the scientists working for Polaris, up to and including Dr. Yung, aka "Jeunes," who's gone even madder than he was before. Polaris's "Father" appears to be another.
    • Nekou makes herself out to be one.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mr. Pokémon.
  • Meganekko: Nekou. Stacia as well.
  • Meaningful Name: Azrael is, in a number of religious writings, the name of an angel associated with death - or reckoning - meaning Polaris's statements about a 'new world,' 'future world' and 'promised land' suddenly become pretty nasty Fridge Horror.
  • The Mentor: Before he died, Rich left plans for Matt to become Olivia's mentor. He does teach her, but she gravitates in most ways toward Nekou as a mentor instead.
  • Mind Rape: Happens to Meowth after he touches the destabilized Meteonite.
  • The Mole: Nekou feeds information on Matt, his friends and associates to Team Rocket, though she does it to illustrate how deeply tied to Polaris he is.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: The Angel of Reckoning and its maddening clash of morally questionable factions.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Nekou at the end of Chapter 10, when she realizes she fell into her berserk state and attacked her friends, terrifying Olivia in the process.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: A lot of the Sacred Helix use menacing-sounding aliases combined with masks that make them even more unsettling.
    • Darkness, Pestilence and Chaos, the chosen names of the Shadow Triad.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted for Nekou. She is at least somewhat emotionally dependent on Ariana, but all indications show that her skills and reputation were earned.
  • New Era Speech: Zinzolin's speech in Goldenrod City.
  • Nice Hat: Matt has two: a wide-brimmed blue hat with a yellow crest, and a white fedora.
    • The blue hat is dead as of Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 2).
  • Ninja: The Shadow Triad.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Matt was mindful of Nekou's skin-baring outfits early on, but as time passes he's clearly becoming more comfortable around her and no longer really notices.
  • Not Quite Dead: Nekou gets crushed by an Onix in Chapter 10, then gets up with a vengeance minutes later.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Though they're sort of Anti-Hero as well, points have to go to Jessie, James and Meowth. No longer the goofballs who can't battle without getting blasted off, they're now highly threatening agents who managed to stand toe-to-toe with both Zinzolin and Getriebe in battle. They even invoke Lampshade Hanging on their old reputations by using an exaggerated balloon weapon (apparently the one seen in Best Wishes! episode 142) and a fake blastoff to trick Polaris.
  • Official Couple: While Matt and Nekou are lost in Unresolved Sexual Tension, Olivia and Monroe are quickly becoming this, even going out on a movie date.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dr. Zager gets one as everything in Ilex Forest goes to hell at the end of Hard Reset.
  • One-Way Visor: Colress switches his glasses to a computerized one in Hard Reset.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Any time Nekou isn't a foulmouthed drunk with a violent streak, something serious is going on.
  • Painful Transformation: Nekou's full descent into her Primal Nekou state is rather terrifying. her bones including her spine deform, causing her to become taller and her limbs to elongate. It's noted that she would be in unsurvivable physical pain if the voice in her head wasn't somehow dispersing good-feeling sensations to coax her through it, but the mental clash between the two sides is frightening all by itself.
  • Parental Abandonment: Silver, and he's going to do something about it.
  • Parental Substitute: Matt and later Nekou to Olivia. She rejects Matt as one of these, though, and gravitates completely to Nekou.
  • Perma-Stubble: Matt.
  • Pet the Dog: In "Hard Reset," Jessie, James and Giovanni get one when they give money to the homeless trainer in Goldenrod City.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Matt's expressed varying degrees of ire at Nekou's habit of dressing in revealing clothing, though he's done it less and less over time as he just accepts it.
  • Police are Useless: Although in all fairness, the Goldenrod police were caught off guard by the size of the protest and Looker was surprised by what played out and opted to try and understand the situation first.
    • Word of God has stated that at some point the scene where Looker decides not to intervene in the battle between Zinzolin and Team Rocket will be changed to have him try and fail to reach the stage.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Nekou collapses as her transformation reverts following her fight with the Shadow Triad.
  • Precision F-Strike: Nekou is a master of these.
    Matt: Nekou!
    Polaris member: So that was her name? It’s a shame that a good collection of DNA had to go to waste like that. But, I’m done playing games. It’s about time the mission is fulfilled once and for…
    Nekou: Shut the fuck up!
    • Olivia got a great one in Goldenrod City Under Siege (Part 2).
    Monroe: Are your adventures always this crazy?
    Olivia: I've seen some shit.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Boy, did Olivia ever unleash a tirade on Matt when she found out he was hiding the reality of Rich's death from her.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Nekou. It seems to get even longer in some situations.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Ghetsis and his remaining followers from Team Plasma comprise an openly-rogue section of the Sacred Helix. His betrayal was ultimately anticipated by the leadership of Polaris, and his faction collapses when Father exposes the truth.
  • The Reveal: In "Father," it's revealed that Father isn't actually the creator of Polaris. Finansielle is, and she merely recruited him to her cause after finding him - as she describes it - "near death." He isn't even all that evil, as he's acting as Polaris's leader in order to be reunited with his family. Oh, and Finansielle is Gabriella Bouchard, who until this point seemed like a Bunny-Ears Lawyer and a trusted associate of Matt's.
  • Rewrite: Many elements of The Gardener of Gratitude are altered in the remake. Numerous characters such as Carter, Howard and Ross are dropped, and the latter's absence results in the "Pokémon Ranger" part of the story's title also being removed. Count Fernando's character is completely different, turning him into a far more sympathetic character than the Straw Misogynist he was previously. Sheena is added to the story to better frame her presence in The Angel of Reckoning, and instead of the antagonist using Heatran and Dusknoir exclusively, they are merely parts of a much larger army.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Polaris loves using this. Examples are laced throughout Zinzolin's speech, in which he uses landmarks in Goldenrod City to call attention to the inequalities of society.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Nekou does this a lot. Colress is a villainous example.
  • Scenery Porn: Goldenrod City's glitzy central area and surrounding slums are lovingly described.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Zoroark. It's revealed much later that "Zoroark" was actually a physical form of Dark Matter, a force that could end the universe if it gains its full power.
  • Sigil Spam: Team Rocket has their script-font 'R' on just about everything, including programmed all over their computer systems.
  • Ship Tease: Matt and Nekou are getting a lot of it, especially from Nekou's side directed at him. Olivia and Monroe are much more directly involved, with an all-but confession coming from him followed by a movie date.
    • Father was absolutely full of it for Matt and Nekou.
  • Shout-Out: Unsurprisingly, they're all over the place.
  • Sleazy Politician: In additon to being a billionaire oil tycoon with more money than he could possibly spend in his life, Liam Everton is also the "mayor" of Whitegold City.
  • Start of Darkness: It is explained that Yung became evil and obsessed after his parents were killed during Team Rocket's Mewtwo project.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Colonel Nixon is noted to be very similar to his ancestor Marcus, while Matt immediately notices that Bjorn Zerossen looks very much like his future descendant Viktor Zerossen (aka Zero).
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: When Nekou goes into her berserk state, she gains these.
  • Sweet Tooth: Dear God, Nekou.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Sacred Helix
  • Time Travel: In The Firestorm Rebellion. Olivia seems to have some connection to it.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Liam Everton tries torturing Matt's friends by binding them in his Cryogonal's ice chains. Nekou ends up liking it and mocks him for not making it tight enough.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Matt's pocketwatch, in which he keeps pictures of Eleanor and Sheena.
  • True Companions: Nekou is quite surprised to learn just how much Matt and Olivia are willing to stick with her.
    • The bond between Matt and Nekou becomes much deeper in "Father," where - even though they don't come out and flat out admit their attraction to each other - they pretty much confirm they're going to be together for a long, long time.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Matt and Nekou in spades. "Father" brings it to an entirely new level.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Nixon gets his when his artificial arm is exposed, leading him to go on an Ax-Crazy rampage against Matt. Meanwhile, Liam Everton spends much of The Victory Star of Fate slowly losing his composure until he finally snaps once his plan is found out and his assets frozen.
    • Ghetsis seems to have brief ones with little provocation, as seen when he violently lashes out at Concordia and Anthea for no real reason in Chapter 4 of The Angel of Reckoning.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 8, "The End of Innocence," of The Angel of Reckoning. Olivia loses her first Gym battle, then learns about Rich's fate in the worst way possible.
    • Chapter 10, "The Beasts Within," hits it in spades. Professor Elm's whereabouts are finally revealed - he's been kidnapped by Polaris and Ghetsis uses him to confirm part of his plans. Later, Nekou fully descends into the animalistic state hinted at previously for the first time, making the sheer terror she's capable of very clear.
    • Chapter 19, The Weight of the World (Part 1), has Ghetsis starting a riot with his speech, tricking the Tenganist Liberation Front into killing Professor Elm, and summoning Ho-oh. Oh, and he has a Transcendence of his own too.
    • By the end of Chapter 20, The Weight of the World (Part 2), Ghetsis nearly burns Ecruteak City to the ground with Ho-oh. Giovanni is seemingly dead. Dante is killed. The mysterious ally of the Prophet is Mewtwo. Nikolai is captured by the Shadow Triad for Polaris. Father's back in control of Polaris, too, and Ghetsis is gone in a stunning downfall. There's barely enough Wham to go around.
    • It keeps going in Chapter 21, "Father." Matt and Nekou's Unresolved Sexual Tension reaches unbearable levels. Lysandre is inducted into Polaris, replacing Ghetsis. The identities of most of the Sacred Helix are revealed. Gabriella is Finansielle, who is Polaris's real founder and secret leader, and as a result of her and Lysandre's roles, the Angel Corporation's new "Flare Network" media empire is actually a propaganda outlet for Polaris. The Tenganist prophet is Sheena, who Matt thought was murdered by Ghetsis, whose child is the infant Sheena was seen with. Polaris's true purpose is to resurrect an ancient force called Dark Matter and sacrifice the entire universe to it, and Azrael was created by merging human DNA and a tiny amount of Dark Matter that still existed. Finally, it's heavily implied that Father is actually Rich Mistbloom himself, somehow surviving or being brought back to life and now acting as the leader of Polaris. Whew.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Matt and Nekou have pretty much defined this trope from the start. The disconnected, depressed scientist and loud, profane spy have both butted heads and sought support from each other all throughout the escalating war with Polaris. Just as their relationship takes a dramatic turn to an intimate direction, circumstances force Nekou to reveal her membership in Team Rocket to the others.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Liam Everton and Baker.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Ghetsis threatens Professor Elm's son and wife to gain his cooperation.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In the end, Nixon still sacrifices Agenta to Zoroark and stages his failed rebellion that ends with his death and Zoroark's sealing, but all these events happen with different context. Nekou theorizes that this is the result of a law of time travel stipulating that the temporal continuum will try to fix itself if changes are made.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The Sinjoh Ruins were destroyed by Saeko's actions in the past, which destroyed the area's ability to sustain life and turned it into a wasteland trapped in perpetual winter. As a result, the Tenganists cannot live in their holy land anymore, at least for long. The only bit of hope left lies in the tiny bit of Gaia energy still present in the spring beneath the temple, and the temple's purpose as a mechanism to create the Jewel of Life, which forms the cornerstone of the Prophet's plan to restore the area to life and create a new country for her people to live in.

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