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Fanfic / Pokemon: The Origin of Species

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Old Woman: "When I was your age, people respected the majuu, and that respect kept us safe. Now we have these machines to do that, but we lost the respect of forces greater than ourselves."

Leaf: "I was always taught to respect pokemon, both as friends and threats."

Old Woman: "No. This very name you use, 'pokemon,' shows how little respect there is... putting a majuu in a toy does not make them toys. The storm gods still soar above our heads, beyond the reach of our mortal tricks. How many have died, attempting to capture them?"

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Leaf: "But if one were ever caught, wouldn't that save a lot more lives, eventually?"

Old Woman: "And who will this trainer be? What new calamities will they bring, with such power in their pocket? Kingdoms have warred for less, long before mankind's reach exceeded its grasp. Perhaps next someone will make a ball big enough and catch the earth, or throw it far enough and catch the sun. It is folly."

Pokemon: The Origin of Species is a rational fanfic of the Pokémon games by Daystar Eld. It drew inspiration from other such fics, and the story attempts to craft the world of Pokémon in a way where everything has a scientific basis or is otherwise extensively researched.

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. He's on a quest to discover the true nature of Pokémon, and maybe even find out where they really come from, accompanied by Blue Oak, who aims to become Indigo Champion so that he can capture or kill the legendary pokemon terrorizing the region, and Leaf Juniper, who wants to find a way for pokemon and people to live in harmony.

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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.
  • 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.
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  • Apocalypse How: When Groudon and Kyogre awaken, the results are catastrophic and affects every region in the island chain Hoenn is part of, with earthquakes from Groudon and torrential rain from Kyogre reaching all the way to Kanto. Tsunamis were affecting regions on the entire side of the world from Hoenn. It becomes worse when the ozone layer gets depleted while the polar ice caps melt. It was such a global catastrophe that Giovanni labelled it a Tier 6 event in the aftermath when the Legendary Birds of Kanto only warranted Tier 3.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Common Tongue: Unown has been adopted as the global language. All other languages fell out of use but some terms persist.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: While studying Pokemon states of mind with his psychic powers, Red discovers a way to loosen their conditioning and give them permission to act on instinct. This can give them an edge in battle, since their combat instincts are likely to be more efficient than their trainer's commands, but it can also potentially allow them to attack humans, which would be highly illegal.
    Blue: I figured I'd let them argue till they're sick of it, then just call it its real name and they'll accept it.
    Red: And what is the real name for telling a pokemon to give up their conditioning?
    Blue: The kind that's useful in battle? Sakki.
  • 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.
  • Deus ex Machina: The combined forces of several Champions and a group of other high-level trainers can't make a real dent in Groudon. Then Rayquaza shows up and one-shots it with Dragon Ascent. Probably justified since this is canonically exactly what Rayquaza is meant to do. Giovanni actually invokes the deconstruction by pointing out that for all of humanity's accomplishments, they are still nothing compared to the most powerful of the Pokemon and uses that as part of his speech to get humanity to start taking more proactive steps in getting stronger.
  • 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.
  • Electronic Telepathy: Part of the reason Bill helps Red with his Abra experiment is because if Red can figure out how Psychic Powers work biologically, they can start figuring out how to replicate it technologically. One of the potential applications of replicating telepathy technologically is that it might be able to make advanced artificial-intelligence safer.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Science: Expanded on and emphasised compared to canon, with Red's ultimate goal as a researcher to find out the origin of Pokemon species.
  • 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. Giovanni actually uses this on an employee as a punishment.
  • 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.
  • Open Secret: All agencies that might be involved in capturing Renegades are aware of the black market where supposedly executed Renegades are traded. They just couldn't dismantle them due to the difficulties in infiltrating the involved organisations and tracing them to the people in charge.
  • 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.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: In televised matches, the opposing trainers sometimes take time out to talk. This is especially common with Gym Leaders and their opponents since it's part of the Gym Leader's job to give advice to other trainers.
  • 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.
  • Tulpa: Psychics are able to divide their own minds into tulpas, but the skill is only just being discovered.
    • Mewtwo creates several tulpas and then spends 99% of its time unaware of their existence, in order to hide its full capabilities and motivations from the psychics that are studying it. The tulpas each hold a portion of Mewtwo's psychic power in reserve and lock away the surface mind's knowledge of them, constantly watching through its eyes, nudging it in appropriate directions to gain Team Rocket's trust and protect their own safety, only occasionally fusing back together with the surface mind when they have a brief moment of privacy. His first three tulpas then create a fourth, and two volunteer to merge with it while the third is forcefully assimilated. Mewtwo briefly panics and merges with it to stop it from taking over. The fourth actually briefly considered it but allowed itself to be absorbed in the end.
    • As of chapter 78, Red's partitioned mind appears to be developing into a tulpa; he is able to raise his partition and lose awareness of the portion behind it, but have that portion continue to be conscious and active. He tests it by having the proto-tulpa perform mathematical calculations with the partition up; once it's down again, he immediately remembers the answer it calculated.
  • 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.
    • In Chapter 83, Mewtwo escapes the lab, taking advantage of the chaos caused by Hoenn's Titans.
  • 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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