Part 1 [13/8/12]
"What- What happened to Pikachu?" Ash exclaims as Michael appears from a lift pod and Wes walks inside the Robo Metang.
"Maybe it isn't yours," Michael simply states.
Another of the lift pods open up and Rui gasps. "Grandfather's Pikachu!" she exclaims.
"Your grandfather's?" Ash asks, bewildered.
"Ah," is all Wes says.
"Oh wait," Michael speaks. "Didn't Eugan say his Pokemon had been taken?"
"So Eugan has a Pikachu as well?" Ash asks. "So where's my Pikachu?"
"Don't worry," Michael says. "We'll find him."
"But in the meantime, let's get this Pikachu back to Eugan," Wes says walking over to the Storage system. Pulling the Pokeball from its nub, and activating the PC at the same time, he calls the Pikachu to the ball and slams it back onto the nub. It is instantly sent back to the Pokemon Lab HQ Storage.
Wes then activates the computer and pulls up the messaging system. "Lily, we have a Pikachu that needs to go to Eugan, Rui's grandfather."
"Okay," Lily's voice comes through the speaker. "I'll get one of the team on it."
The link dies. "Now that's sorted," Wes says, "let's get outside and start hunting for clues as to where Team Snagem have been."
"Right," Ash says.
Wes, Michael and Ash walk outside, meeting May again. Makan then walks out. "So what are we doing?" he asks.
"Us four will take it on foot," Michael says. "Ash's Pokemon Watch, wasn't it? Anyway, that can communicate with our computer, so we'll call you if we need any assistance."
"Sure, Makan says. "We'll be following close behind."
As Makan then returns to the Robo Metang, the four start walking north. As they reach Route 101, both Ash and Michael scan with their Aura Readers, but don't detect any anomalies in the Pokemon. All four are careful not to get into any wild Pokemon battles, but there doesn't seem to be any Pokemon around.
"Where are all the Pokemon?" May asks.
"Hiding," Ash replies, and then he gets a reading from his Aura Reader. "What looks like a Zigzagoon directly east."
They all look in that direction to see a Zigzagoon, appearing more darker than normal, with a slight Shadow Aura visible.
"I'll deal with it," Michael says, and sends out Vibrava.
The battle goes quickly, with Vibrava charging at the Zigzagoon and knocking it flat. Once it falls to the floor, the Shadow Aura surrounding it dies.
"Looks like we now know why they're after the Pokemon Professors of the world," Wes says. "They can't keep the Pokemon Shadow after they are seriously injured."
"Hm. Interesting," Michael says.
Part 2 [18/8/12]
"If Cipher and all their research was took, that means, Team Snagem would have only what they knew to go by for making the Shadow Pokemon," Wes says. "They must have experimented with an even greater mass production than Cipher had, but didn't get all of the small things right. But instead of keeping them until all those problems were fixed, they let them loose anyway, figuring no-one would be able to beat them."
"All very interesting," Michael says. "But let's continue."
With the defeat of the Shadow Zigzagoon, wild Pokemon were cautiously starting to make there way out again. It wouldn't be good to get caught up in a wild free-for-all. Returning his Vibrava, Michael leads the way further north.
Reaching Oldale Town, Wes and Michael split up and wonder around the town, asking questions of suspicious activity in the area. When they returned, no-one had said they had.
They were walking to the Pokemon Center to get some refreshment when a stretcher bearing a boy is carried inside. A second one follows, also bearing a boy. Curious, Ash walks inside before the others.
Wes instantly overtakes Ash and asks the question all of them were wondering.
"What happened to them?"
"They were out on Route 102," one of the men carrying a stretcher replies. "We checked their Pokemon, but they are also out cold. We have no idea what caused this, but there are no Pokemon out wondering."
"Maybe another Shadow," Michael ventures.
"You mean there are more than just that poor Zigzagoon with that horrible Aura?" May cries out.
"Yes," Ash replies. "They are the Shadow Pokemon, and they are not responsive to reason. There hearts have been artificially closed and are put into service by a Team Snagem, who are much like Aqua and Magma."
"Well," May says. "Is it worth checking out?"
"Yes," Wes says. "Where do we go from here?"
"West," Ash says, as they all exit. "And this time, can I have a go? I want to try another capture."
"Sure," Michael says.
Exiting the Pokemon Center and walking west, they soon arrive at Route 102, and start scanning with their Aura Readers.
A rustle in the bushes alerts them before the Aura Readers do.
The Lotad had fallen asleep, and so hadn't seen the men that had rescued the two boys. Now, however, it saw four people. It starts to move forward, but then a Donphan appears. Moving back into the bushes, it calls upon its dark energies and summons a shadowy whip of vine to lash out at the Donphan.
It misses, but attacks again with the Shadow Vine. The Lotad didn't see the ball that hit it and was startled. While it was turned to an energy form, it was still able to think. And all it could think about was escape.
It was not to be however. Ash cheers as the Pokeball containing the Lotad returns to the grip of the Snag Machine.
May, who had never seen this, was in awe. "Wow," she softly says.
Part 3 [2/9/12]
"Yes," Wes says. "Watching a Snag happen is quite awesome. But maybe we'll never see an end to the amount of Shadow's."
"Well we need to continue," Michael says. "Otherwise we'll be ages trying to find our way."
"Petalburg City is just up ahead," May exclaims, "although there is still some way to go."
"Lead the way," Michael says.
Heading south-west, then heading directly west for a bit, the four then walk north-west then follow the trees north, where they come to a clearing. In the clearing are two Poochyena.
"Let me handle this," Wes says, releasing Hitmontop, which then charges the Poochyena down. The Poochyena are weak, however, and one hit knocks each of them down.
The Shadow Aura leaves each of them.
"All we have to do is follow the north-side trees into Petalburg City," Ash says.
And so they walk west, following the trees. When they reach Petalburg, May senses that something is amiss. When she mentions this to the others, Ash scans with his Aura Reader.
"There's somethi-" Ash starts, but doesn't get to continue as someone runs from the north screaming.
"In the gym! In the gym! Something attack my Pokemon and is attacking the leader!"
"Dad!" May starts running in the direction of the gym.
"What happened!" Michael shouts at the screaming man.
Coming to his senses, the man looks at the group of three. "Me and the leader were starting our battle when a single Maril came wandering in. It attacked my Pokemon first, then went for me. I ran for it, and so I can only think it is now attacking Norman."
"Let's go," Ash commands. The three of them then run to the gym. When they push their way inside, what they see is devastation.
May, with a Glaceon out, surrounded by three Maril with visible Shadow Aura. Norman, standing behind the Maril, his Vigoroth lay on the floor, out cold.
Part 4 [2/9/12]
"May! Be careful! Don't underestimate them!" Ash shouts.
All three Maril then attack as one, in different directions. May's Glaceon avoids all three attacks, and then uses Ice Beam on one of the Maril.
"She needs help," Wes says.
"Right," Ash says. "Noctowl! Go!"
The Noctowl appears from its ball, and at a command from Ash, charges another Maril down. May's Glaceon then uses Secret Power, glowing pink as it charges the Maril it had first attacked. Before it could fully hit the Maril, however, it was blasted backward. Not having felt a force of that magnitude before, it collapses.
"No!" May cries, returning the Glaceon and going for another ball.
"May, no," Michael says, and releases Metagross.
That Metagross then charges the other two Maril down. Working with Ash's Noctowl, all three Maril are then defeated shortly thereafter.
As both Pokemon are returned to their respective balls, the Shadow Aura from all three Maril detaches from them.
"What- What was that?" Norman asks.
"They are Shadow Pokemon," Wes starts.
"But what does that mean?"
Explaining all they knew, as well as introductions, took some time. By the time they were finished, Norman was already planning strategy.
"So Birch has been taken by this Team Snagem. Does Brendan know?"
"We haven't seen him," May says. "When you asked me to go to the Professor, I went to Brendan's house first, to ask if the Professor is away. The house was empty."
"Hmm. They could have gone elsewhere. I know Brendan likes his competitions at Battle Towers. Maybe that's where they are."
"Is this really important?" Wes asks. "Not to be rude, but we need to get more information and stop this threat."
"If the Professor is captured, he should know. Birch is his dad you know. And as well as that, he knows quite a lot about all the goings on in Hoenn."
"Fine. Where do we go?"
"Can you link me with a powerful computer?"
Ash lifts the Poke Watch to his mouth. "Makan. We need that computer."
Part 5 [9/9/12]
The Robo Metang lands in a clearing outside Petalburg's Gym, and Ash and co enter. Makan and Rui are already waiting by the computer. As the rest crowd around the computer, Krane appears in one of the lifts.
"Okay," Ash says. "Pull up a map of the entire region."
"Right," Makan acknowledges, and brings up the map.
"Okay, so we have the Trainer Hill, just north of Mauville City. Or there's the Battle Frontier south of the main region on an island."
"Let's go to the Trainer Hill first," Wes says. "Direct us."
Everyone then piles into the lift pods and heads up to the bridge. Ash then directs where Mauville is, and where the Trainer Hill is located from there. When they land, Wes, Michael and Ash walk into the building and ask whether Brendan has been seen. The receptionist says no, and they leave.
Ash then directs the Robo Metang to the Battle Frontier, but says they can't land. Instead, he gets on the link to them and asks around different places on the island.
Again, no-one had seen him.
"So where could he be?" Makan asks. "Are you sure you haven't missed out a battle area he might be at?"
"Yes?" Wes asks.
"Competitions in the running... Southern area..." Ash is working from his Pokewatch and suddenly comes up with something. "Head west."
"Sure," Makan says, pulling the Robo Metang into a westward position. It then accelerates off.
Some time into the journey, Ash says "Put a slight southern trajectory to the course."
"Right. The main island is to the right of us, and there seems to be another smaller island to the left of that." Makan is to the point with this description, and Ash sees the island too.
"That will be Dewford Town. Land to the east of it, and I'll get out. Wait for me."
"You're going in alone?" Michael asks.
"We need to keep this low key as possible. One person asking about any competitions is going to attract less attention than a whole group of people. They might get the sense that it's getting too popular."
"Fair point. Just hurry it up."
The Robo Metang lands, and Ash heads to a pod and goes down. The others see him enter the town, a few minutes later, Ash arrives back.
"Well," Wes says. "What did you find?"
"Fly to the east and keep low. The Abandoned Ship has now become a training place of the powerful."
Part 6 [27/9/12]
After flying east, they instantly see the Abandoned Ship, and the makeovers it has had. Once a wreck, it had now received a fresh lick of paint and had a pier extension built off its entry hole.
Ash contacted the authority of this new training ground, who had saw them in the sky and suggested landing on the boat itself. Once they had done this, the other told them that someone would come out to meet them.
Ash said he would go alone with May. The two of them walk out while the rest talk.
"Ah, hello," the man who had come out to meet them greeted. "What brings you here in such an unconventional mode of transport?"
"Brendan, and Professor Birch," Ash replies.
"Oh, well Brendan's here, but what of Professor Birch."
"Taken from his lab by a crime syndicate."
"Oh. Well... Brendan's in a tournament at the minute, but since we haven't got any links with the rest of the region yet, we haven't seen any news since we set up.
The man then leads Ash and May inside to the bridge area, which had been converted to a communications dock.
"Only short range to check in with boats coming to dock," the man guiding them says.
He takes them downstairs where an overlook showed an arena. Down in that arena, Brendan's Swampert had just dealt a massive attack to another trainer's Golem. That Golem then collapsed and the trainer returned it to its ball.
A horn then bellowed somewhere nearby, indicating the end of the match. Brendan and the other trainer moved forwards and shook hands, then each headed for a different side of the arena - Brendan returning his Swampert.
"Come on then," the man beside them says.
Heading down the passage and down some stairs, Ash and May are lead down into a large room with a lot of seats and trainers. Seeking out Brendan wasn't hard. He had sat down near the door he had just left.
When he saw them, he stood up. Wearing a red and black jacket, yellow and black gloves and trousers, and a bandana over his head, Brendan was slightly taller than any of them.
"What are you two doing here?" Brendan asks.
"Your dad has been kidnapped from his lab," May says bluntly.
"Dad..." Brendan says this slowly, as if not quite believing it. "How?"
"It will take too long to explain all the details," Ash begins, "but we've been tracking a crime syndicate from the far off region of Orre. They came to this region with hopes of testing trainers using Shadow Pokemon which they have created. But they needed help and have been capturing the worlds Pokemon Professors."
"No!" Brendan turns to the man who had led Ash and May here. "Sorry but I've got to go. There's no way they will get away with it."