My name is John, I'm a 74 years old retired worker living peacefully with my beloved wife, Rose, in a small beach house in Fushia City and our young Meowth. In my room, pictures of all the pokemon companions that have accompanied me through life are kept lined up against the wall. Sometimes, when I feel sad, I look at them and smile, remembering the happy and sad times we spent together. Sometimes I take one in my hands and talk to it, as if it was still amongst the living. I tell them all my worries that I don’t feel brave enough to talk with my wife, kids, or even Meowth. It helps me. It keeps me happy.

I could spend days telling you each one of them’s story, but there is one in particular that I want to share with you. It’s a story of friendship and loyalty like none you’ve might have previously heard, and it all happened about 40 years ago…

Back in my days, I worked as a construction contractor for Silph Co and helped building the small port town of Vermillion into the large commercial coastal city it is today. Machamp was my best and most loyal friend, as well as my strongest co-worker. We made an incredible team together. He was always willing to help, he loved it, and seeing how much I appreciated his work was the best reward for him. However, he sometimes pushed himself too far, and I constantly had to keep an eye on him to make sure he wouldn’t get hurt or sick.

At some point, he even saved my life, when a weakened old concrete construction collapsed on me. Had he not been there to shield me, my human body would have been crushed to death. I remember the painful week I spent sobbing at his bed in the pokemon center, praying that he would survive. But Machamp was a strong boy, and he recovered completely within months though with a large pink scar across his back. From that day, I always felt like I had a large debt to repay him, I owed him my life after all, and it made our friendship even stronger, until that day… Every morning, I would wake early and head to the construction site, and since I couldn’t bring my pokeballs for safety reasons, Machamp would come join me on his own as soon as he woke up, usually around 9 or 10, but never past 11. He would always at least come for lunch even when he was sick, the reason being that I always made rice balls stuffed with various grilled meats for lunch, and he loved them. I would always share my lunch with him. But on that day, it was different. It was well past 10 and Machamp hadn’t shown up, though thinking it was a bit strange, I shrugged it off as him oversleeping or feeling sick. At 11:30 I finally saw him walking toward the construction site. Since the building was almost finished, I hadn’t gone to lunch yet, hoping to be able to finish early and go home to rest. As Machamp walked past me, a cold chill ran up my spine, but I didn’t pay attention to it. I welcomed him with a smile as usual and he started working, helping me move some leftover bricks away and clean the terrain. I noticed he was abnormally quiet, and avoided looking at me in the eyes. That was a strange behavior from him, but maybe he was just ashamed of himself for oversleeping and not helping me sooner. Again I shrugged it off.

At 12:30, I was starving, so I took a break and grabbed my lunch. There was about 1h of work left and the constructions were finished. I waved at Machamp to come eat with me, but he ignored me and kept working. Again thinking he was trying to make it for the hours of work he missed in the morning, I wasn’t too worried. I just didn’t want him to tire himself out from working too much.

At 1pm, I noticed in astonishment that he had finished everything, and we were ready to head back home. I grabbed my last rice ball and brought it with me to the finished building to give it to him as a reward before we left. But strangely, I couldn’t find him anywhere. I grew increasingly worried as time went by and my searches were fruitless, could an accident have happened to him? I called his name out loud, checking every corner of the construction site, for at least 2 hours, then thought I should better head back home. Maybe he had left on his own after he had finished his work and I didn’t notice… or I would come back with my wife, young kids and their Vulpix to search the area, but I sure hoped he had simply gone back home.

When I opened the front door to our house, my wife was in tears. Asking her what was wrong, she pointed at the TV. They were showing a live report at Silph co, policemen were circling the building. Apparently, it had just been discovered that the company, my own employer, was used as a cover for Team Rocket’s headquarters where they performed horrible experiments on pokemon in the high security floors of the corporate building. What I saw next shocked me speechless.

They replayed scenes filmed earlier that morning.  At 9am, the police was called after a trainer noticed “suspicious actions” from an individual trying to catch a pokemon without the use of a pokeball on an open road. The individual was then followed to Silph co. When the cops arrived, the individual panicked and instinctively pulled out a gun and killed the pokemon he had kidnapped, before the police had time to tackle him down. Shortly after, a helicopter came hovering above the scene and zoomed on the bloody pavement, and suddenly I recognized the large pink scar on the back of the lifeless machamp…

My legs became weak and I sat on the chair. Machamp had been killed at no later than 9:15 that morning while walking to the construction site; yet, I had seen him and even worked with him at noon.