((LEGAL STUFF: Ash Ketchum, Brock, Misty, Pikachu, etc., are all property of whoever owns the Pokemon franchise including Nintendo, Game Boy, and the anime/cartoon version (it's such a large collective I'm not sure who owns what). I don't intend to infringe on anybody's rights, and I'm not getting any money out of this. No profit is being made. Thank you, have a nice day...))
The Fall of the League
At age twelve, Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town finally realized his ultimate dream. After two long years of traveling, battling, and searching since he'd aquired his first Pokemon, he entered the Pokemon League Grand Tournament and bested all comers, defeating even the notoriously powerful leaders of the Pokemon League, the Elite Four. He was declared the Pokemon League Champion, the youngest in Tournament history.
He was given the honor of becoming a Pokemon Master, an expert trainer and undefeatable battler. When asked to choose what type of Pokemon he would be Master of, the young champion shrugged and replied, "I dunno. How about all of 'em?"
Graciously, the Elite Four granted the young man leave to take time to choose his Field of Mastery. He was given lucrative employment at the Pokemon League Center, helping rookie trainers, some older than he. His future with the Pokemon League seemed bright.
However, within a few weeks Ash was bored with life at the Center. The wanderlust that made him such a good Pokemon catcher was once again tugging at him, and Pokemon adventure lay beyond the confines of the Center's walls. He appeared before the Elite Four to ask permission to take a leave of absence to journey once again.
He was granted his request, if he would fulfill one command the League had for him--to take with him a special Calaloguing Pokedex to record new Pokemon species. Ash gladly complied, and with the blessings of the Elite Four, Professor Oak, and the rest of the Pokemon League, the young trainer left the Center.
Ash attempted to persuade his former traveling companions, Misty and Brock, to join him on this adventure. But his friends were weary of traipsing the world, and each had their own dreams and aspirations. Brock wished to be a Rock Pokemon Breeder with a Breeding Center of his own, to settle down with a nice girl and run a quiet operation with maybe a few battles here and there to keep him sharp. Misty wanted to return to Cerulean City and take over the family Gym there, with all its badge-battles and homey excitement, and one day become a Water Master and perhaps breed a few Water Pokemon of her own.
So Ash Ketchum set out by himself, with Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charizard in Pokeballs at his side, and the ever-faithful Pikachu on his shoulder. His friends bid him a bittersweet farewell, and as he disappeared into the distance, Misty shed a single tear.
His friends and family expected him to return in a few months for the resumption of school, but Ash did not appear. After six months passed, Mrs. Ketchum began to worry, and tentative search parties were sent out. No trace of the young trainer could be found. Bulletins were posted, missing person reports filed, and reward posters put up, trying to find any hint of him, but he had utterly vanished into the wilds. After two years of his absence, his family and friends began to mourn him as dead. No one had seen or heard of him in all that time.
Meanwhile, the Pokemon League was undergoing a twisted evolution.
Gary Oak won the Pokemon League Grand Tournament the year after Ash did, and became a member of the Pokemon Masters' Guild. He chose to Master Warrior Pokemon. The Elite Four were hesitant to acknowlege this unheard-of new type, but they allowed the young trainer to persist. Gary swore to create a class-type of special Warrior Pokemon. The Elite Four monitored his surprising progress with consternation.
In a stunning coup, however, Gary Oak, in a joint maneuver with the full force of Team Rocket, ousted the Elite Four and set himself up as the Pokemon Grand Master, the Master of all types of Pokemon. Giovanni, leader of Team Rocket, became his chief advisor and Team Rocket was absorbed into the Pokemon League. The Elite Four vanished inexplicably before "Master Oak" and his forces could crush them, and none knew where they had gone.
After this point, the Pokemon League became a thing of terror.
The Pokemon League usurped local governments in the immediate area and the surrounding provinces, using devoted Leaguers and former Rocketeers as soldiers. Private Pokemon holdings became a thing of the past, as any who wished to posess Pokemon had to become members of the Pokemon League and do Gary's bidding. Pokemon became the weapons of choice for the League, and battles often became lethal. Pokemon even began to be turned on helpless humans.
League control was everywhere. No one could buy or sell without a League identification card. No one could travel without authorization. No one had any freedom at all. The Pokemon League's range of domination grew steadily, as neighboring city-states fell one after another. Holding the sole power of the Pokemon in their hands and making it impossible for their opponents to posess any to fight back, there was no way for others to win.
And Gary Oak was at the head of it all, goaded by Giovanni, setting his sights on world domination.
Most of our old friends have learned to survive. By turning their Gyms into Breeding Centers and declaring their interest in Pokemon as non-combative, Brock and Misty have managed to get by, escaping the focus of Gary's attention by making themselves inconspicuous. Their lives are tense, dull, and miserable, like all other non-League holders of Pokemon, existing day-to-day and wondering when the League might come down on them. Everything seems hopeless, and the fate of the world seems sealed.
It has been five years since Ash left.
On to Chapter One