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At Prof. Oak's science lab in Pallet, Red and Green gasp in disbelief as they listen to the professor's short message recorded in the Fame Checker. For some unexplained reasons, Oak is demanding the Pokédexes back from them , and has left behind directions on how the boys should return the devices with the item deposit system on his computer.

Thinking that he must have missed an important point, Red plays the recording over and over again, but to his dismay hears nothing more. Green soon discovers that his checker holds the same message, and Red can't understand why the professor has made such a decision. Then, without a word, Green turns around to walk back into the lab, and Red quickly trails after to see what his companion is up to. Accessing Oak's computer, Green follows his grandfather's directions on the Fame Checker, and initiates an electronic transporter nearby by opening up its dome-shaped glass shield. He places his own Pokédex inside, and reaches out his hand to Red, who instantly gets the meaning although no words were spoken.

After placing both Pokédexes into the transporter, the glass shield closes and the two boys watch silently as the high-tech devices get reduced into virtual particles before disappearing completely. Green remarks that he has no idea what Prof. Oak has in mind, but he believes there must be a sound reason, and Red grins that he feels the same way.

The two then exit the lab, and Red proceeds to send out his Aerodactyl, Aero. The prehistoric Pokémon spreads its wings and clutches onto its trainer's shoulders, while Green climbs onto Charizard, who is his best flying companion. Just as they're about to take off, Red remembers the Fame Checker and envelope meant for Blue, and quickly has Saur retrieve it with its vines. Calling back the grass Pokémon into its Pokéball afterwards, Red and Green soar high into the air and begin their flight towards Vermillion City.

Meanwhile, at the Vermillion seaport, a sailor of the Sea Gallop, a speedy liner which runs between Kanto and the Sevii Islands, is trotting along the harbour. He spots a girl with a pink umbrella in her hands sitting on a giant shell at the pier, and rationalizes that she must be a passenger waiting to board. He walks up to her and says it will be quite a while before departure, and wonders what made her arrive so early.

The girl grins that she is meeting her parents whom she hasn't seen for a very long time, and feels so excited that she could hardly wait. The sailor laughs that he definitely understands her impatience, and after a moment's thought, decides to let her board although it is way ahead of time. This makes the girl light up immediately, and she hurriedly takes out her Tri-pass to show it to the sailor.

The sailor then states that she might have to wait a little as it takes time to lower the accomodation ladder, but the girl tells him not to bother about it, and calls out the name Turtley. The sailor quickly jumps back in surprise when limbs and cannons suddenly shoot out from the big shell the girl is sitting on, and reveals itself to be a Blastoise. The girl adeptly hooks her arms around the giant turtle's legs, and the Pokémon without warning propels itself up into the air by blasting water out from its cannons.

The girl lands skillfully on the deck, and wears a big grin as she waves thank you to the sailor, saying that she will have fun exploring in the liner. It is only at this point that the sailor realizes the girl is in fact Blue, the second-runner-up in the previous Pokémon League Tournament, and also one of the few trainers who have received the Pokédex from the famous Prof. Oak.

Inside, Blue walks along the corridors of the liner, and is mesmerized by the luxurious built of the Sea Gallop. She decides to send out her full party, and her Jigglypuff, Jiggly; Clefable, Clef; Nidorina, Nidory; and Snubull all marvel at their beautiful surroundings the instant they pop out from their Pokéballs. Just then, Blue's umbrella, which is actually an item transformation of her Ditto, Ditty, begins wiggling around, and seems to have detected something.

Blue is still in the middle of asking what it sensed when all of a sudden, a fast moving creature dashes up to her from behind and knocks her over together with her Pokémon. Blue quickly collects herself and prepares to fight, but to her shock, her assailant appears to be invisible and lacks both form and substance. Unable to see their opponent, Turtley and the rest of Blue's team are hardly capable of retaliating, and could only stand to take the hits as the creature unleashes wave after wave of ferocious attack.

A while later, up in the air, Red still has trouble figuring out what the Tri-passes they found in the envelopes are for, but Green doesn't seem to have a single clue either. The Vermillion seaport soon comes into view, and the two boys quickly dislodge from their flyers and land right next to Sea Gallop's accomodation ladder, startling the sailor who is standing there.

As they retrieve Charizard and Aero, the sailor spots the Tri-passes in their hands, and realizes that they are his passengers as well. Hollering that the ship is about to depart, he ushers the two astonished boys onto the ladder and manages to get them on board just in time.

Once they're on the deck, the sailor brushes a sweat off his forehead and says it's interesting how there are always passengers who arrive early and those who come in the last minute. Upon a closer look at Red and Green, he exclaims that they are also Prof. Oak's Pokédex holders, and Red quickly denies it with a nervous look to avoid trouble.

The sailor laughs that he is probably thinking too much, and says it will certainly be too lucky of him to meet so many famous people in one day. Red and Green sweatdrop as the man continues to chuckle to himself, and grab the chance to slip away.

The sailor then makes a departure announcement to all passengers, and says the Sea Gallop shall now leave the Vermillion seaport, and head towards the far off One Island.

Inside, Blue is still struggling with the mysterious assailant that suddenly ambushed her along the corridors. Amid the ferocious fight, she manages to throw herself back onto the deck outside near the ship's rear, and thinks hard for a strategy.

Seeing how her six Pokémon could do nothing but keep on being assaulted by the invisible enemy, Blue knows that she needs to identify her opponent first and reaches into her bag. She then remembers that she no longer has the Pokédex, and decides to pull out the Silph Scope instead. Originally created to detect ghost Pokémon, the scope's compatibility has been modified and expanded by Blue to include all Pokémon, and the girl quickly puts it on to unveil the assailent's real identity.

Almost immediately, she sees an aqua green and orange creature with sharp ears and long tentacles, and knows that it is something she has never met before. Just then, with a terrifying speed and agility, the creature knocks her scope off with its tentacles, and starts constricting her around the waist and throat. Unable to speak or move, Blue wiggles in agony as she gets lifted off the ground, and notices the opening of a black hole on the deck floor. To her horror, half of her damanged Silph Scope gets pulled into the black hole, and breaks off from the remaining half before being totally engulfed by the darkness.

Meanwhile, in another part of the Sea Gallop, Red and Green are sitting on the long sofas, baffled by what's happening so far. Red says while he understands that Professor Oak gave them the Tri-passes for boarding the liner, he wonders what kind of place this One Island they're going to is. Green shrugs his shoulders, and remarks that he has no idea either.

A Pokéball rolls off from Red's belt, and his Pikachu, Pika, suddenly pops out from it. It trots towards an adjacent room and Red quickly calls after it, curious of what it is up to. Pika pulls at the trousers of a young man who's with a Farfetch'd, and the young man gasps in recognition as he looks down to see the electric rat. With a grin on its face, Pika shocks him with its electricity, and the young man happily picks it up, knowing for sure that it is the Pika he knows.

Red and Green enter the room to see that the young man is no other than the talented inventor, Bill, and their old friend instantly rushes over with joy to greet them. Green sarcastically remarks that he is surprised not to see his sister, and Bill embarrassedly mutters that Daisy is staying at home, causing Red and Pika to raise an inquisitive but knowing eyebrow at him.

Bill wonders if Red and Green are travelling to One Island for sightseeing, but does not wait for a reply and quickly praises the beauty of the place, saying that it is a pity he's going there for work and not a vacation. Red wants to know what kind of work Bill is talking about, and the young man explains that he needs to help a colleague named Celio repair the Pokémon Storage and Transfer System there. He reveals that across the nation, the system has been expanded and is actually maintained by a number of people, for instance Lanette in Hoenn, her sister Bridgette, and this man Celio he's going to meet who is responsible for monitoring the system on the Sevii Islands.

Red and Green seem baffled over the term Sevii Islands, and Bill is surprised that the two aren't aware of the full name of the place there're heading to. He points out that One Island is in fact the first of a collection of seven isolated islands towards the south of Kanto, and that the Sea Gallop is a regular liner which ferries people between them and Vermillion.

Bill's Pokégear suddenly beeps, and he answers to find Celio calling from the Network Center on One Island. With his Hoppip jumping around in the room, Celio hammers away on his computer keyboard, and tells Bill that the transfer system has gotten worse. While the connection to Kanto has been dysfunctioning for some time, the PokémonCenters on the islands themselves are now having trouble communicating between each other as well. Bill gets troubled upon hearing that, and says he shall see to the problem himself when he arrives. He tells Celio to wait for him at the Network Center, and terminates the call, wondering what could have gone wrong with the system.

Just then, Red and Green hear the sound of the arrival bell, and an announcement comes on to inform all passengers of the Sea Gallop's docking at One Island. People soon begin to get off board after the accomodation ladder is lowered, but up on the decks near the back of the liner, Blue is still struggling against the constraints of her invisible assailant.

The girl knows that she will never be able to get on the island if she doesn't find a way to break free, and tries to push herself towards the edge of the deck to look around for help. Instead, she spots her own parents waiting next to the accomodation ladder, and the middle-aged couple happen to look up and notice her at the same time. The man takes a glimpse at a photo of Blue he is holding as the woman begins to sob, and the two quickly dash onto the liner to meet their long-separated daughter.

Tears start to well up in Blue's eyes when she sees her parents coming close on the deck, but then a black hole suddenly opens up on the floor, and the couple seem totally oblivious to it. The girl recognizes it as the same void that consumed her Silph Scope earlier, and thrashes around hysterically to yell out, but to no avail.

Nearby, Red, Green and Bill are about to get off the Sea Gallop when they suddenly notice Blue. Red instantly notices the odd expression on her face, and hollers that their friend appears to be in trouble. The three quickly dash over, but are unfortunately a split second too late. Blue's parents step right into the black hole and in a blink of eye vanish into it, while Blue lets out a silent scream and watches in horror. The mysterious assailant then releases its grip, and disappears together with the black hole.

Red, Green and Bill stand with stunned looks on their faces as Blue trembles in disbelief and falls to her knees. Clutching her fists tight on the floor, the girl screams in a frenzy and demands to know why her parents have to be taken away from her in just a single moment before their reunion…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




270: The Darkness That Swallows!


Volume 23