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Pokemon: The Origin of Species by Daystar Eld

Summary: Enter the world of Pokémon from a rational perspective. Instead of starting his journey in ignorance, Red has spent his years studying the creatures so central to his world... and he doesn't quite agree with all the information in his books. No time for rookie mistakes here: he's on a quest to discover the true nature of Pokémon, and maybe even find out where they really come from.

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A Rational Fic that drew inspiration from other such fics, the story attempts to craft the world of Pokemon in a way where everything has a scientific basis or is otherwise extensively researched.

Can also be read here.


Pokémon: The Origin of Species contains examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Bill is a talented scientist, but he has poor people skills. He couldn't remember why he asked to meet with Red and Leaf, having them go far out of their way in the process, and they consider "helping him get some drinks" to be a real possibility after a few minutes talking to him.
  • Animal Stampede: When enough Pokemon get scared, they flee in large numbers, causing a stampede. The larger the stampede, the greater the disaster. One such stampede occurred during a Tier 3 event that hit Vermillion City as a massive amount of Pokemon fled from an approaching Zapdos.
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  • Anyone Can Die: Everytime a big emergency happens, someone's going to die. Not just several treasured Pokemon, not just named characters that the protagonists just met, but even a party member has been killed in a Pokemon attack.
  • Behavioral Conditioning: Pokeballs have behaviour programs meant to make sure Pokemon cannot attack a human being as well as suppress other dangerous or inconvenient instincts. They can also be used to make a Pokemon respond to certain commands in a certain way. It is also possible to override the conditioning with Psychic powers, and Leaf is working with the Rangers to modify the conditioning to keep the part where they don't attack people while still keeping the rest of their instincts so they could still function in the wild.
  • Blow You Away: Red questions why Flying is a type when it's used to describe anything that could fly. Inspired by Red's questions, though, Pallet Labs managed to isolate the very substance whose abundance within a species became the new way of determining if it is a Flying-type or not.
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  • Call-Back: The chapter where Aiko was introduced is called Premortem. The chapter where the impact of her death was shown is called Postmortem.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Competitive Trainers play this smartly, often using customised commands for attack names so their opponent wouldn't know which attack is actually coming.
  • Casting a Shadow: There are Dark humans in the setting. Compared to Psychics, they can't really make use of their Dark attribute. All they have is complete immunity to Psychic powers, which can be either bane or boon depending on the given situation.
  • Challenging the Chief:
    • Gym challengers can battle the Leader for Membership at the gym, Mastery of the gym's teachings (which grants a badge), or Leadership of the gym, in ascending order of difficulty.
    • Blue challenges Lieutenant Surge in a different way; he makes a dig at the whole challenge system, because the gym is all about teaching teamwork but they fight the Leader as individuals. Surge is intrigued, and tells him to seek Membership and design a better system.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Blue and his older sister Daisy are both Dark. Only their family and friends know due to the stigma attached to being Dark.
  • Death Faked for You: Corrupt Gym Leaders have done this for several people. A lot of condemned Renegades had their executions faked by these corrupt Gym Leaders under the condition they work for them and never betray them. Giovanni has a large number of them under his employ. One is a Psychic Renegade named Tahu whom he bought from another Gym Leader in another region, who helps him determine which other Renegades sent to Giovanni can be trusted, and thus, spared.
  • Death World: Has many elements of this. Used to be completely this in the distant past before humans began domesticating Pokemon. The invention of Pokeballs has helped reduce the world's deathworldiness, but nowhere near enough. The protagonists' Pokemon die to various large-scale incidents.
  • Disappointed in You: Laura was extremely upset with Red breaking his promise to her regarding his Clefairy. It took Red taking part in the defence against a Stormbringer attack for them to move past that.
  • The Dreaded: Renegades, any criminals who would use Pokemon to attack humans, are widely feared. Because of the power of Pokemon, criminals using them in their activities are capable of significant amounts of damage. Those branded Renegades are put to death as quickly as possible to limit the damage. So feared are they that society accepts the occasional innocent person being wrongfully executed as an acceptable price to pay since a single Renegade running free could easily kill hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Red, Blue and Leaf have a lengthy discussion on why the Type Chart is the way it is.
  • The Empath: The first level of making a psychic connection involves sensing someone's emotions. And combining that with their words can be quite informative.
  • Famed In-Story: The three main characters all eventually become famous in their own right:
    • Blue was initially known by virtue of being Professor Oak's grandson, but he eventually gets fame on his own merits after winning his gym battles and helping out in various emergencies.
    • Leaf started becoming a household name after she started writing articles and helped Blue take down a Renegade.
    • Red became as famous as Blue and Leaf because he was the one who came up with a working plan to mass capture the notoriously difficult-to-catch Abra, and his research proved that there is something physical and detectable that gives a Psychic their powers.
  • Fantastic Racism: There is a social stigma against people who are Dark, to the point that in Kanto and the rest of the island chain, the old word for Dark was almost synonymous with Evil. Psychics also get some of this but to a lesser extent due to all the things they do for society, but they always fear that fear of Psychics will raise that stigma to be as bad as with Darks.
  • Fate Worse than Death: One chapter reveals why Pokeballs can't be used on humans: they can, but the effects it has on a human's mind are not pleasant. Humans that come back out are effectively brain-dead at worst, regressed to toddler level at best.
  • Genius Cripple: Mewtwo was created with a debilitating physical illness. This was on purpose as a means of keeping it under control. Giovanni fears what would happen if Mewtwo found that out. He practiced confessing what he did to Mewtwo with a holo-simulation but was interrupted before he could explain to Tahu what he'll do next.
  • Get Rich Quick Scheme: Red comes up with one while the group was in Cerulean City. Abra have high utility outside of battle due to their natural teleporting ability, but because of said ability, they are notoriously difficult to catch. But after thinking it over, Red comes up with a plan to mass-capture them. It was so successful that not only did they all become rich from it, it propelled all three of the group into Kanto's public consciousness when Red made the technique public. It resulted in lasting economic impact on the region as the price of Abra drops and new businesses pop up while existing businesses adapt to the sudden availability of teleporters on the market.
  • Goddamn Bats: Humorously lampshaded in-universe when Blue lists off the Pokemon that can be found in Mount Moon.
    Blue: Nothing really competitive, (starts ticking them off on his fingers) Zubat, Geodude, Sandshrew, Zubat, Paras, the rare Clefairy, Zubat, lower down there's Chingling, Absol, Bronzor, Zubat, Makuhita and if you're super lucky, Zubat.
  • Hammerspace: The same technology that allows Pokemon to be stored into Pokeballs also allows items to be stored in smaller spaces, making transport of items a lot easier. That technology being used on humans though is illegal due to things going wrong with a person's mind when they go through the process.
  • Human Popsicle:
    • Bill's lab contains Pokeballs capable of targeting humans, and an automated system to put him in one when he dies, in case future science will be able to fix him. He can't tell anyone about this because pokeballs capable of catching humans are illegal.
    • Giovanni also has Pokeballs that can target humans, which he uses on anyone in his organisation who screwed up or betrays him. All his subordinates in the know fear ever being punished this way.
  • Info Dump: To Blue's annoyance, Red is prone to explaining things in greater detail than he'd like, such as when Red explains behaviour theory and how it applies to Pokemon.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Leaf develops into one after finding joy in writing a news article about a museum and discovering that something went wrong in the handling of a Renegade.
  • Kaiju: The legendary birds are generally referred to as the Stormbringers, and are City threats just by their presence. If they were actually rampaging, rather than just flying around, they'd easily be Regional threats.
  • Killed Off for Real: A lot of named characters, humans and Pokemon, die as the story progresses, but the most impactful was Aiko's death. Blue and Red had a huge argument about what the latter should have done and it caused the group to split with Red leaving.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Discussed as an acceptable price to pay when it comes to the specific way society deals with Renegades as opposed to all other types of criminals. A few innocent people being wrongfully executed does not have equal weight as all the innocent people a Renegade can potentially kill, and Renegades have indeed devastated entire towns before. There are people that take issue with risking innocent people being condemned as Renegades, but they're in the minority.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Youngster Joey is depicted here as the protagonist of an educational film that's basically meant to show you what not to do when being a Pokemon trainer.
    • Red at one point asks Blue "...do you want to be the best, like no one ever was?" Blue responds by asking if Red is going to break out in song.
    • The fact that Dark is called Evil in the original Japanese games is adapted as part of the Fantastic Racism Dark people get.
    • Game Freak is mentioned as a video game company that designs the Trainer simulations.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Pokemon are for the most part dangerous. Pokeballs mitigate some, but not all, of the danger they pose.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Upon his first encounter with a Ghost-type Pokemon, Red experiences surrealism and fully appreciates the fact that they are just so different from other Pokemon.
  • Psychic Powers:
    • Red has Psychic abilities, but due to trauma from his father's death, he is initially unable to actually use them. Other Psychics are helping him overcome his trauma so he can use his powers.
    • Later on, Red did research on Abra and his research shows that there is something that grants Psychic powers, but being on the road, he can't isolate what that is himself. The research did propel him to a household name though.
  • Reality Ensues: Unlike the games, the crew of the SS Anne frown on people letting larger Pokemon out while on the boat outside of the presentations. For the most part, the boat simply isn't made for letting Pokemon out except in limited and controlled circumstances.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Leaf is the daughter and granddaughter of Aurea and Cedric Juniper in this fic.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: The main characters at one point do a variant that's called Fire-Water-Grass. The hand shapes are also different from the original game.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Aiko was in the story and with the group for long enough and with enough development that she was practically a main character. Her death hit the other three hard and many readers felt her loss. At the time of her death, she's been a part of the story for several arcs that add up to about a third of the story to then.
  • Secret Test of Character: Professor Oak pulls one on the trio before they even begin their journey. He purposefully alters the Pokedex data on Charmander about how its fire goes out when it dies to match the rumours of his time, wondering if Red, Blue or Leaf would notice and ask the right questions. He certainly didn't expect Red to catch on so quickly and independently discover the oil that powers Charmander's Fire-type attacks though.
  • Ship Tease: During the Cruise Convention, Red realises he has a crush on Leaf, and Leaf learns about this without Red knowing about it. They hit a rough patch though due to certain differing views and Aiko's death resulting in the split of the group.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: This is how Pressure works. They cause any living thing in range of the user's power to become scared, which leads to them making rash decisions, throwing them off their game, or in the worst case, causing an outright panic. After confirming that Absol can wield Pressure, the Rangers and the Trainers they worked with determine that this is the real cause of the bad luck that seemingly just happens around the species.
  • The Needs of the Many: Red has to make several hard choices during a Stormbringer attack. Blue strongly disagrees with one of them. Red refused to join a friend who was entering a burning building in an attempt to save people trapped inside. He thought it was too dangerous, that the roof would soon come down and kill them. It did.
  • To Be a Master: Blue doesn't just want to be the Champion of his region, he wants to be the greatest Champion of his region and lead them against the Storm Gods.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: This is part of why Renegades are so despised. Humanity’s survival has always been dependent on using Pokémon to protect themselves from other Pokemon that to turn those Pokemon against humanity is unthinkable. To go through with it is considered a huge act of betrayal against their fellow humans.
  • Wake-Up Call: Laura spent years putting her Intrepid Reporter career on hold, and forgot about the dangers involved up until she was given a huge reminder when police rocked up and confronted her and took her equipment. She later admits she needed that for her old training and experience to kick in after years of being left unused.
  • Wham Episode: In Chapter 67, due to his fight with Blue on what he should have done when Aiko went into a burning building to save people still trapped, Red splits from the group and ends his journey. With nothing else stopping him, he goes to Sabrina to accept her tutelage and become her student.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Compared to Real Life humans, the children of the setting are relatively mature due to Pokemon making the world deadlier and society is dependent on having as many hands as possible to deal with the incidents that happen relatively frequently. Even by the standards of the setting though, the three main characters are all incredibly mature for their age due to their upbringing under the leading Pokemon Professors of their respective regions.
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