Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon, etc., etc., etc. I do own the story and Max Oak and Danielle. Copy them at your own risk. (Not one you want to take when confronting a dragon. Trust me.) - Andrew Dice (AKA SpacedOutDragon)
The Journeys of Lance Ketchum
Book One: The Pokemon Trainer
By Andrew Dice
The young man walked up the path to the magnificent looking laboratory. His face was exceedingly handsome, with a sharp chin, eyebrows that went slightly beyond the back of his eyes and went right to his temples, a fairly small nose, and a perfectly sized mouth. His hair was very nearly black, and his hairline spiked down a bit right over his nose. It was a look that many called majestic. His ears were of the small variety, the lobes being attached to his head at the end. His arms went down below his waistline, and his whole look, his walk, armswing, everything was lordly. He measured about 6'1, a good size for a 16-year old. Everyone that knew him said that he would one day be great. He was Lance Ketchum.
As he neared the lab, he saw the sign that he had seen for many years: OAK POKEMON RESEARCH LABORATORY. Tomorrow, this place would be swamped with people coming to get their first Pokemon from the world's leading Pokemon expert, Professor Andrew Oak.
Lance was here today because he wanted to talk to Prof. Oak about something. Lance may be starting out on his journey tomorrow, but he hadn't really thought about what team he wanted until now. When he had thought about it, he realised that none of the books on Pokemon really covered the issue. He needed the advice of an expert.
Lance found the doors unlocked, which was no surprise: Prof. Oak had at least 3 visitors a day. Everybody wanted his advice on Pokemon, and Lance hoped that the Professor wouldn't be busy right now. He walked in, and asked the receptionist if the Professor was free.
"Yes," she replied, smiling sweetly at the boy. It was no secret that the Professor thought that Lance Ketchum showed incredible potential as a trainer. Even his name - "Ketchum" - was like an omen.
Lance thanked her and walked into the Lab Area. At one table, there was a brown-haired man in a white coat, who's hair was actually already starting to go grey at the edges. Under the coat he wore a red Polo-type shirt and a pair of brown slacks. His face was serious, but not grim. When Lance saw him, he immediately cried "Professor Oak!"
Prof. Oak turned around, and gave a look of surprise and joy. "Lance! Come in! I'm just preparing some of the Pokemon for tomorrow's mob scene." Lance came near, and saw a Charmander on the table.
"What do you mean by 'preparing'?" Lance asked. Didn't Prof. Oak just hand out Pokemon?
"I'm giving them vaccines, check-ups, things like that. Traveling can be hard on Pokemon and human alike." Prof. Oak put down the syringe he was holding. "Now, what can I do for you, Lance?"
"Prof. Oak, I've been thinking... I need to ask you about dragon Pokemon."
Oak's face lost a bit of it's happiness. This boy needs to forget about those old legends, he thought. "What's your question?" he asked with just a (unplanned) touch of annoyance in his voice.
"Well," said Lance, somewhat put off by the Professor's annoyance. "What I really want to do is raise some dragon Pokemon. The little I've heard says they are more powerful than any other Pokemon we know about. So thought, if I can raise some, I'll be the greatest trainer in the world!"
"You'd be the greatest if you can find them." Professor Oak said, not very surprised. "I've said before, the only two Dragons we really know about are Charmander and it's evolutions and Lapras. And Lapras is rapidly becoming rare, thanks to those blasted poacher gangs."
"Yes, but still, the legends would have to have SOME basis. So do you have any idea how I might find a Dragon type, other than Charmander over there?" Lance pointed to the little lizard on the table.
"*sigh*... well, no, I don't." Said Oak, a little exasperated. "If you want to find them, you'll be completely on your own, Lance. I, nor anyone on this planet, can help you. Now, please, Lance, I'm very busy. I imagine I'll see you tomorrow."
Lance sighed and went out. The receptionist saw how crestfallen he looked and asked what the matter was. "The dragonlessness of the world" he replied, and exited the building.
Several hours later, he was sitting by the small beach with his girlfriend, Christine. She was considered by many to be the cutest girl in Pallet Town, where they both lived and where the Oak Lab was located. Christine had brown hair and eyes, a good match to Lance's black hair and brown eyes. Her hair went down to her shoulders, and she often kept it loosely tied back. She was just a little shorter than Lance. Her complexion was as clear as crystal, and her voice soft as a dove. It was the general opinion of everyone in Pallet Town that Lance Ketchum had scored big time. And Christine Farand was generally envied by the rest of the girls.
Christine was trying her best to comfort Lance. "You really can't expect to be able to chase legends, Lance. Thousands have looked for those dragon Pokemon and come up empty handed."
"Yes, Christine, but still..." Lance replied. "I always dreamed, Christine, of becoming the first one to find them. I can feel it. I am the one who will find them. They must be out there... somewhere." He waved his hand toward the ocean.
"Lance..." began Christine, but Lance was too obviously lost in thought to hear her.
"It's getting late," he said at last. "We'd better head back."
They got up and started to head back to Pallet Town when Lance stopped. "What's wrong, Lance?" Chistine said.
"Shhh! I think I hear something," he replied.
They both listened for a second, and then they could clearly hear it, faint but clear. "Draaaaa... Draaaa... Draaaaa..."
"It sounds like it's coming from that direction," Christine said, pointing down the beach westward. They both dashed off in that direction. When they got there, they found what looked like a snake. "Ugh," Christine said, "It's an Ekans. Let's leave it."
"Does an Ekans make sounds like this?" Lance replied, while the creature was making sounds of "Draaa... Draaa... Tiiiii... Niiiii..."
Lance picked it up, and behold, it didn't even weigh ten pounds. He said "This thing's got to be a Pokemon. No normal creature I know is like this." He ran off toward Pallet Town with the thing still in his arms, and with Christine following.
When they reached Prof. Oak's lab, Lance handed the creature to Christine (who didn't seem too happy to take it, but when she held it she said it felt good to touch) and banged on the door to the lab. After about 3 minutes, Prof. Oak opened the door and said, "Yes... Lance! What brings you here now? It's late!"
"I know, Professor, but we've got a hurt Pokemon here! Can we bring it in?" Lance replied.
"A hurt Pokemon? Yes, yes, of course! Come in! But who has it?"
"Ah, hello Christiiiiiaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!"
The Professor took a few steps back and had to balance himself on the desk of the receptionist. He looked right at the Pokemon through all this.
"What's wrong, Professor?" Christine and Lance said together. "What kind of Pokemon is it?" added Lance, for which Christine gave him a little kick in the foot.
"Lance... you should be able to answer that question... look at it!"
Lance did. The Pokemon was maybe about 5 and a half feet in length, with a blue and white body. It's head was small in comparison to it's body, and it had black, shiny eyes (which were half-closed at the moment) and a snubby nose. It's ears looked like little wings.
"A... a... A DRATINI!!!!! IT'S A DRATINI!!! UNBELIEVEABLE!" shouted Lance, steadying himself on the desk in his turn. A look of absolute shock was on his face. "A Dratini. Incredible. Just incredible," he stated at length, in an obvious lack for words.
"Ummm... what's a Dratini?" Christine said, a little annoyed with the reactions of both those men.
"A Dratini is a mythical dragon Pokemon. I have never seen a live one before, and I even though the legend to be ridiculous," said Oak, who was finally able to stand without the help of the desk. Lance wasn't quite there yet. "Come! Let's get it into the lab! It clearly needs help!" With that, Prof. Oak took Dratini from Christine's hands and walked quickly to the lab with Lance and Christine behind. (Lance still needed Christine's help to walk.)
When they got to the lab, Oak placed Dratini on a bed and started examining it, with a tense Lance and Christine looking on. Lance finally said, "Will it be OK, Professor?"
"I think so" was the hurried reply. Oak examined Dratini for a few minutes, then breathed a sigh of relief. "Yes. It'll be OK. It's dehydrated, half-starved, and worn out from something, but we can fix that. Where on earth did you two find this?"
"Down at the beach," Christine replied. Oak nodded.
"I thought so. The old legends say Dratini was partially aqatic. Something must have happened to it, and it drifted onto the beach. But it'll be OK, once rests a while and gets fed."
Lance looked at the dragon for a minute. Finally, he said: "Umm, Professor..."
"I know what you're going to ask, Lance. The answer is NO." Oak said. "I know you found it, but there's no way it could go with you. I'm not sure it'll be well enough tomorrow, and besides, this is one of the greatest discoveries in Pokemon history. I can't possibly let it leave the lab. I'm sorry, Lance, but you just can't take it with you."
Lance lowered his head and sighed. The Professor said, "Cheer up! You've already done something great: proven the existence of the Dratini. If you keep this pace up, you'll have proven them all before you get back after winning all the badges!" Oak let out a hearty laugh at this, and Lance cheered up a little. "Now get home! You've got a big day tomorrow. Don't worry about this little fellow, he'll be fine. Go on!" Lance and Christine left the room, hand in hand. Oak turned and looked at the Dratini. "Incredible" he said as he shook his head.
The next morning, there was the expected mob scene at the Oak Lab. 14 people wanted to get starter Pokemon today, including Lance. Luckily for him, he arrived first. Christine, his parents, and most of his friends (and quite a few of the neighborhood girls) had come to see him off. He went in, and greeted Prof. Oak.
"Ready to choose?" Oak asked.
"I think you already know what I'm going to choose," replied Lance, laughing.
Oak took out a Pokeball from a domed device in the center of the room. He opened it, and out popped a Charmander.
"Charmander!" It said in a cherry voice.
Lance grinned. "Perfect! Just what I wanted. I'll take him." Oak handed him Charmander's Pokeball, along with six more and a small red object that looked something like a book. "Umm, what's that?"
"Oh! I forgot to tell you. This is a brand new invention of mine. I call it "Pokedex." It's an index of all known Pokemon, including all... legendary ones," Oak said with a grin. As if on cue, a voice said "Dratini!"
They both looked at the bed behind Oak. Dratini was sitting up, looking quite well. They both smiled.
"Professor, you're sure I can't take him? He looks well enough to me."
"No Lance, I'm afraid not." Oak said, rather sadly. "I know you mean only the best, but he must stay here. You understand." Lance nodded gravely. "Well, good luck! Come back when you are the most famous dragon tamer in the world," Oak added with a chuckle. Lance returned Charmander to his Pokeball, and walked out of the room while the next would-be trainer came in. While he was engaged in picking and Oak was in advising, they missed a sound of "Dratini" and didn't see a blue snake-like form follow Lance out the door.
Outside, his friends congradulated him on receiving a Pokemon of his very own. Christine came up and gave him a deep, long kiss. "I'll miss you" she said, her joy and sadness mingling in her words. "And I'll miss you. But I will be back!" Lance said, giving her one last long embrace. Then he walked off, heading for Viridian City. During all this, no one noticed a blue figure dart into the bushes outside the lab.
While he was walking, he heard a voice coming up behind him: "Lance! Wait up!"
Lance turned, and and yelled: "Max! Max Oak!"
"It's me, old buddy." Maximillian Oak was grinning ear to ear. He was Lance's best friend, and had been since they were Kindergardeners. "Get your new Pokemon?" Max asked.
"Oh yeah. Just look." WIth that he threw his Pokeball and out popped Charmander. "Charmander!" is said in that same cherry voice.
"Heh. Cool. Look at mine." With that Max whipped out a Pokeball and threw it. Out came a Squirtle. "Squirtle!" It said.
"A Sqirtle, huh? That's cool. But why a Squirtle?"
"Shell. Thick shell. Plus it evolves into something with built-in water cannons. I figure that's got to count for something. Why did you choose Charmander?"
Lance laughed. "You know I'm obsessed with dragons. He evolves into last remaining dragon type on earth, not counting the nearly exticnt Lapras."
"Speaking of which, I know what you found last night." With that a look of horror spread on Lance's face. But Max just laughed. "Don't worry, secret's safe with me. Why didn't you take it with you?"
"Your dad wouldn't let me. He said it was the greatest discovery in Pokemon history or something like that. Oh well."
"Tough luck man. Look, I've gotta be off, see you later."
Max walked toward Pallet Town, and Lance into the wilderness.
With all the new trainers happily with their Pokemon and on their way, Andrew Oak went back inside his lab for a breather. These days were always rough. Always a bunch of questions about Pokemon, what they can do, etc. He had been happy that Lance had known so much already. He's going all the way, Oak thought. He'll definitely get the title World's Greatest Pokemon Trainer, which was now held by Stefan Ranfeld. Just hope he finds another...
The Dratini was missing! It wasn't in the bed, or even anywhere in the lab. After a few minutes of searching, Oak called for his lab aide, Webster. Webster came running in. "Yes, sir?"
"Webster! Where's that Dratini? Did you see anyone walk out with it?"
"No sir. I didn't see anyone leave with it. But from the look of things, it left a while ago. Maybe it followed one of the trainers."
Followed one of the trainers? Oak laughed out loud.
"What's funny, sir?"
"Nothing, Webster. But if I'm right, that Dratini's still in good hands..."
Lance was walking along, with his Charmander out (he decided to let walk free for a while) and he said: "Charmander, you need a good name. How about Volvagia? It's a name from a video game, sure, but it's the name of a real kick-butt fire dragon."
"Charmander!" The little Charmander nodded it's head up and down.
"Good! Now, let's..."
Lance had scarce said these words when they both heard a voice behind them say "Dratini!" Lance spun on his heels and saw the little Dragon behind them.
"Dratini? Do you want to come with us?" The dragon responded by coming up and affectionately wrapping itself around Lance. "I guess this is a yes" he said, and Volvagia nodded in agreement. "You need a name like Volvagia, Dratini. Hmmm... does 'Drag'sound good?" The Dratini licked Lance. "Drag it is then! Well come on then, Drag, Volvagia! We're off to become the greatest Pokemon - Trainer combination in the world!"
And with that the trio proceeded up the road toward their destiny.