Two figures darted around the Pokémon Center lobby, tinted light blue by the dim early morning light, like a skittish pair of Yanma gathering supplies and tools. Quietly so as not to awaken the sleeping Trainers and Pokémon taking up residence in the Center, the taller of the two came out from the clinic behind the counter and met up with the shorter feminine figure at a table in the adjacent food court. "Which is the only type with a resistance to the Dragon-type?" the woman quizzed just above a whisper as she filled a square shoulder pack with berries and food. "Steel," the boy answered. He took the pack from the woman and placed a handful of assorted medicines in another pocket. "Fastest priority move?" "Extreme Speed." "In the event you find yourself in Beedrill territory, what should be your first course of action?" "Either with a Fire-type or a flint and tinder, create a smoke source to pacify them then immediately leave their territory," the boy answered from memory. "Beedrill venom is fatally toxic to the human body after three stings, and toxic to most Pokémon barring Steel and Poison-types after seven so one should always carry antidotes when moving through wooded areas." "What should you do after eating on the road?" "Put out the fire and return all food stores to item balls or string the cooler up in a tree if an item ball isn't available." "And if –" she began. "Ma, chill," said the boy with a laugh. His voice was low and scratchy, only halfway through puberty. "I'll be fine. I didn't go through six years of Ranger training to not use it when I need to." "Okay, said the woman. She zipped up the black and gray shoulder pack and handed it off to the boy, her son, and stepped back to get a good look at him. He was tall and wiry and olive-skinned with a head of thick messy black hair that reached down to the nape of his neck. Behind a pair of square-framed glasses were the bright hazel eyes he shared with his mother shining with energy and anticipation, and he wore a form-fitting red jacket with white bands on the upper arms zipped up to his collarbone to display the black shirt underneath. The emblem of the Pokémon League was proudly displayed on the back in black. The boy put on the shoulder pack and tightened the Velcro strap across his chest before straightening out his hood. "Oh, Grey, I cannot believe we're doing this," his mother breathed. "If your father found out about this…" "He'd kill us. But he has to find out one way or another, Ma," Grey said in a harsh tone. "You shouldn't make promises you can't keep. I have to do this myself." His mother sniffled and wiped a tear away in the dark. Grey frowned. "I'm sorry." "No, no." His mother, Sara, stepped into the light revealing herself as a middle-aged Nurse Joy, a handful of gray streaks in her vibrant pink hair. She squeezed her son's shoulders and took a deep breath, then fixed him with a caring look and whispered, "I understand. Really, I do. Completely." Grey threw his arms around his mother in a tight embrace. The pair stood in silence for a while before breaking apart. Grey flashed his mother a thumbs up and a wide, reassuring grin. "Don't worry," he said confidently. "I know what I'm doing. I'll be safe; I promise." Sara sniffled and drew away from her son, a sad but proud smile on her face. She led him back into the main area of the Center and ducked under the counter, resurfacing with two essentials for her son's impending journey: a red Trainer Card with Grey's face, ID number and country of origin and something rarely seen in the region of Almia, a shiny new pokéball. Grey placed the card in his wallet and clipped the translucent red and white sphere to one of the six magnets on the strap of his bag. "Something's missing," he said. "Oh!" Grey ran into his mother's office in the clinic and came back with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows and a pair of black padded fingerless gauntlets with steel plates on the backs of the hand and forearms. A square blue and black board was tucked safely between his back and shoulder bag. "Can't forget these," he said grinning. "Considering who's coming with me, I'll need 'em. Right, boy?" A blue snout poked out from behind Grey's leg and sunk sharp fangs into metal and padding. Grey lifted his hand up to his face and brought the totodile hanging off it to eyelevel. The little one hissed and grinned through its mouthful. "Richter still doesn't seem to understand that biting isn't a sign of affection between humans," said a chuckling Sara. The totodile was lifted over its Trainer's head and dropped down to snuggle into his hair. "Yeah but with these, I can handle anything this little monster throws at me," Grey said with confidence and a flex of his fingers. "Are you sure you'll need the sky-board?" asked Sara. Grey nodded. "Yep. It's a quick and easy way to travel and it's much faster than my Running Shoes." The first rays of dull gold sunlight crawled through the Center's glass sliding doors and cast itself on the walls mixing with the pale blue. Grey held his gaze on the outside beyond the door then looked back at his tearfully smiling mother. Richter jumped down from Grey's head and nudged Sara's leg comfortingly. "We'll see you later, Ma," he said starting out the door. Richter gurgled and waved goodbye then hurriedly trotted after his Trainer and jumping onto his shoulder. "If you ever get in trouble…!" Sara called. "I know what to do!" her son called back. "I've been practicing." Sara allowed herself a smile as she watched her youngest child's back walk into town, retreating into the light of the rising sun. He wasn't leaving his home behind, she told herself firmly. Home will always be here in Puel Town waiting for him. Grey was going on a journey to find himself and to grow, just as the tradition of the world says. Sara laughed. It was ironic she thought, that tradition was what had made him want to leave and yet, was the very thing he was following away from home. A New Challenger Chapter 001: New Game Wingull cried overhead as the pursued the high speed ocean liner and the other passengers chatted amiably amongst themselves. A sailor challenged a little girl's father to a battle while another drew a crowd and started taking bets. Grey was aware of none of this. He leaned forward against the railing of the ship immersed in thought. "So this is it, partner." The boy took a deep breath and fought down his nerves by thinking about Puel Town and what it was like to watch his hometown wake up and start its day. Albert, the man who ran the small Poké Mart down the street from his mother's Pokémon Center, flipping the "Closed" sign to "Open" and going off to sweep the floor; the same flock of pidgey that had taken up residence in the park a few years ago flying overhead chirping stridently; Randy, the Pokémon Ranger on town watch duty walking by and waving to the pokémon/trainer pair with a tired smile. It'd be the last time he'd see that chain of events unfold the same way every time he got up in the morning and that thought only made him miss his home. "Can't have that," he muttered so he pushed the memories down and focused on the sea beneath the ferry he had boarded only a half hour earlier. You're scared. The childlike voice rang out in Grey's mind and made him acknowledge its owner. Richter mimicked his owner's pose and leaned against the lower bar of the railing "I am not, Richter," the boy denied vehemently. "Just a lot to take in, y'know?" I guess but it's not that big a deal, fraidy cat. The crocodilian grinned and put his tiny hand over his snout to muffle his snickering. "Shut up." The boy laughed and lightly nudged his partner with the tip of his shoe. "Okay, fine, I'm a little scared. But who wouldn't be?" You were taught how to survive in the wild and you're psychic! What've you got to be araid of? Richter hissed and jumped up to nip at Grey's finger. He missed but nonetheless puffed up emanating pride. "I know that and I know I've got you with me but let's be honest here; who's gonna be afraid of a two-foot tall blue crocodile?" Richter nipped at him again and bit into the gauntlet. "Hah! Knew these were a good investment!" The totodile laughed and crawled up Grey's leg up to his head to nestle himself into the boy's hair and enjoy the sea breeze. "Once we get off, we gotta meet up with our starting group and go to the Hawthorne Pokémon Research Lab, Richter. Remember that." You're asking me to keep track of stuff? "Probably a bad idea, I know," laughed Grey. "I've got the pamphlet here but just try, okay?" No promises. The pair remained in their spot the entire ferry ride thinking about their destination: the Silver Ring Archipelago, a new frontier for the Pokémon League. Relatively unsettled and therefore unprotected from wild Pokémon, the archipelago's government petitioned the League to set up a branch in the region. The League quickly acquiesced and dispatched officials to oversee the Gym Leader selection process. Fifteen years later, a Gym Circuit followed attracting aspiring Trainers from the world over. Sure, an underdeveloped region was far more dangerous than settled areas like Sinnoh and Unova but the thrill of the wilds was part of what made the area so attractive. That and, supposedly, the area had been lacking in its Pokémon population which made the League take action by relocating handfuls of the appropriate species of Pokémon from their original homes to the appropriate biomes in the Silver Ring. The population then skyrocketed and balanced out the fragile island ecosystems and rumor had it that the League had sent in a fair amount of rare Pokémon to the island to increase the influx of migrating Trainers. Several questions buzzed around in Grey's mind. What kind of Gym Leaders resided in the archipelago? What were the towns and cities like? What should he expect? What kinds of Pokémon would he see? Just thinking about it made his pulse quicken in anticipation. Around midafternoon, the ocean liner docked amongst a row of fishing and motor boats at the first stop in Grey and Richter's journey, a quaint seaside village a good deal from the edge of a balmy forest known as Breeze Town. Careful to avoid the golduck and floatzel pair dragging a loaded fishing net out of the water and onto the docks, the pair disembarked and dislodged themselves from the group of other passengers to take in the sights on their way to Breeze Town's marketplace. "Hey, check it out," Grey heard a tall muscly dock workers say to his sandy-blonde haired friend. "Another new one." "That makes four today alone. We've been gettin' a lot of Trainers comin' our way lately." "Mostly kids," the blonde one added. "Man…" Grey mulled over what he heard and reasoned the other three Trainers before him must be those in his starting group. From the way the blonde one spoke, it seemed like Trainers his age were a rarity in the archipelago. But he spoke with an odd tone of voice like a cross between pity and disappointment. "Now what could that mean?" He felt Richter shrug and did the same as he continued into town thinking that things will sort themselves out. The houses in their immediate area were located fairly close to the boat docks and market and rarely bigger than two stories. They shared the same white-house-blue-roof color scheme as the larger houses scattered further from the sea near the great meadow overlooking the beach. The cries of wingull were still audible among the ocean waves and busy sounds of a marketplace inundated with the smell of cool sea air. The marketplace itself, a sprawling network of stalls and stands on the beach organized to allow space for wide sandy streets, was flooded with people and Pokémon doing business. Richter stretched and let himself go limp atop Grey's head sighing contentedly and basking in the sun. Aaaah, sun! A venusaur basking near a fruit stand sounded off its agreement with the little one. "I know, it's so warm here," Grey agreed. "Just how I like it!" "In that heavy jacket? How're you not on fire right now, mister?" Grey turned to the commenter, a suntanned boy around eleven years old wearing a dusty white headband, white Bermuda shorts and an open blue vest with no shirt underneath. "I'm heat proof," joked Grey. The boy's eyes widened in wonderment. "Really? Hey, are you a Fire-type or somethin'?" "Son, don't pester him," said the boy's father, the man working the fruit stand dressed similarly to his son. "Sorry, dad!" He then focused his gaze on Richter and found himself locked in a staring match with the Pokémon. "Sorry; we don't get many Trainers passing through here so he's been a little hyper what with you being the fourth today alone." "Yeah, I heard that down at the docks." Grey awkwardly approached the stand almost bumping into a stout woman hauling a heavy barrel of fish. "Sorry!" he shouted after the angrily muttering woman. The fruit stand man gave a booming laugh and Grey's ears and cheeks tinged pink. "This is a nice place," he said sheepishly trying to change the subject. "Heh, yeah. Welcome to Breeze Town, the premier agricultural spot on Pacific Island." The man gave the boy and his totodile a quick once over and put a hand to his chin in thought. Then his eyes rested on the pokéball proudly displayed on the strap of Grey's bag and he smirked. "Guess we're easy to spot. Trainers, I mean," he corrected when the man gave him a puzzled look. He took a quick look around and said, "Looks like most everyone that lives here's dressed in light colors like blue or yellow and white so when someone like me comes along…" "You stick out like a sore thumb," the man finished with a laugh. A moment of silence passed between the two strangers as Grey looked around some more at the town. "H-Has the League's involvement been bad or good for the place?" he finally asked. The man shrugged. "Nothing's really changed much. Though, with the addition of some Grass and Water-type Pokémon that didn't live here before, agriculture's taken a huge upturn. Good for guys like me who make their livin' farming." The venusaur behind the man growled softly when three children climbed on top of it to play. "And I met Venusaur back there so he helps guard my crops." "Nice," said Grey. "Richter here and I've been together since I was ten when I picked up his egg. We've been through a lot together, right partner?" The crocodile squawked and rubbed his snout into Grey's hair. "Probably stating the obvious," the man began, "but I'm guessing you came out here to start a journey." "Yeah. Got this pamphlet here," Grey pulled a folded up blue pamphlet from his back pocket with his face, name, and ID number printed on the front, "that says to meet up with my starting group at the local professor's place." "You'll want the Hawthorne research lab. It's on the outskirts of town in the meadow." "There's this biiiiiig enclosure behind it where the Professor does her work. Just keep heading straight out of town; you can't miss it," his son finished. Grey was already running in that direction before the man finished. "Thanks!" he shouted. "You're welcome!" He ran until beach sands became sparse dry grass and then open prairie and the edge of the forest came into full view. A handful of houses each with their own farm were scattered across the grassland but none of them looked to be the one he and Richter were looking for. Grey stopped as he crested a hill. He blocked the sun from his eyes with a hand and scanned around. There! Richter pointed towards the distance from his post atop Grey's head. "Where?" Then he saw it; a large four-story house with a tall fence enclosing a substantial area of the prairie behind it. The glittering manmade lake in the center of the enclosure had caught Richter's attention. Grinning, Grey pulled the sky-board out from its pouch on his bag, unfolded it and twisted it so the bottom half's air jets were facing downward. There was a click click that meant the circuits were connected and Grey dropped the board and stood on the discs in the face of the sky-board before pressing the activation button on his Running Shoes. You sure we should be doing this? "Probably not but the ride here was kinda boring and I need a rush!" The mechanisms in the board and the shoes synced up and the board's air jets started up lifting Grey a half foot off the ground. Grey leaned forward and the board propelled itself forward gaining speed until its rider and his Pokémon were flying down the hill and through the prairie. He slowed to a cruising speed and weaved in between a close pair of apple trees on one of the farms, accelerated toward the lab's fence and prepared to jump. Crouching low, Grey ollied over the fence spurred higher by a burst of air from the board, and made a wide turn over the edge of the lake scaring a few poliwag and wooper just coming out of the water. As he neared the back door, a nidoking reared up from within the tall grass and glared at the pair of intruders. The beast snarled and swiped at them with its tail; Grey jumped off the board over it only to be caught within the Drill Pokémon's grasp and brought to eyelevel. "Hi there," said Grey, wholly unafraid. "We're looking for Professor Hawthorne." The nidoking snorted in Grey's face and picked up the sky-board. Richter yipped a hello and poked at the behemoth's nose. Nidoking thumped over to the back door and dropped the pair there before handing Grey his board and going back into the enclosure. Grey smiled and thanked him before knocking on the door, announcing himself and entering the lab. The sight that greeted him was not was he was expecting. The shiny floors were littered with discarded papers scrawled on by someone with chickenscratch handwriting and a seemingly equal number were taped to the white walls. Various small Pokémon such as meowth, nidoran, kricketot, and sewaddle were scurrying around cooing and meowing and chirping while four researchers in long lab coats, two men and two women, ran around either trying to return them to their balls or taking notes on how two species interacted. A meowth tried to pounce on a pidgey and grey was about to say something but stopped when he saw that the two were merely play-fighting instead of the cat eating the bird like he expected. "Okay… This place is kind of a mess," he said aloud catching the attention of one of the researchers, a tall brunette in thick glasses with a pink butterfree pin holding her hair back. "The professor is upstairs in her study," she said. She stopped herself and asked, "You are one of the Trainers in the starting group, right?" "Yeah, that's me." Grey flashed the pamphlet and his Trainer Card and she smiled. "Good; we've been waiting for you. Head on upstairs. Sorry about the mess." "It's cool, I've seen worse." She laughed. "Worse than this?" Then she became confused as a thought struck her. "Wait, you came in from the back, right?" "Yeah, why?" "The professor's nidoking is back there." Grey tilted his head sincerely not getting the point. "So…?" "That thing can snap your spine like a twig and he would if he were wild. Most people that visit think he is. How did I not hear you screaming bloody murder when you must have seen him?" "I could tell he was friendly." Grey shrugged. "He didn't seem all that scary to me. If he were wild, maybe." The intern gave him a dumbstruck look but when Meowth yowled in pain when Pidgey's talons accidentally scratched its side, she decided there were more important things to tend to. "Okay, then. Just head upstairs and go to the left. And keep your totodile in his ball, please!" she added. But Grey was already heading up the stairs. Professor Hawthorne's study was at the west end of a long, dim, pink-walled hallway. Grey opened the door and the first two things he noticed were that the air was saturated with the smell of hazelnut coffee and that the room was large but still managed to feel cramped and crowded. The pink walls had shadows thrown on them by the closed blinds on the windows and the large desk at the front was stained by brown rings and strewn with pens, pencils and scattered papers. A coffee maker sat in a corner of the desk housing a half-full coffee pot and next to that was a red mug that read "Foxy Mama" in black script. Grey stifled a laugh. An open mini-fridge was tucked in the corner to the left of the desk and a lamp stood to its right. In the center of the room was a large cylindrical container with a red domed top which four people were seated around: a two young men around Grey's age chatting amiably, one a straight-haired blonde wearing sunglasses on his head and the other handsome brunette; a short girl in a white wavy off-the-shoulder top who kept her hair in a long blonde ponytail; and a pale, thin-faced willowy redhead with silver streaks in her hair. Her dingy labcoat was stained with coffee like the desk that was presumably hers and she kept her hair straight down to the small of her back. She wore a simple blue dress and flats, and was eyeing the newcomer with some interest in her narrow brown eyes. "You're late," she said. Her voice was deep and rich. Grey was then aware of the fact that the coffee smell was coming mostly from her. "We've been waiting twenty minutes and it's rude to keep a lady waiting." She flipped her hair and frowned. Grey scowled turning his gaze away from her and pouting. "Punctuality's never really been a strong point of mine. Sorry." All eyes were now on the two of them and the hissing totodile atop Grey's head. The other children were silent. The boy and the woman locked eyes and glared at one another until the woman allowed herself a smirk and stood up. "Good; someone with moxie," she said clapping the boy's shoulder. "I like that. Kids these days are too polite." Grey and Richter visibly eased up and smiled. "But if it were anyone else but me, they'd have kicked your scrawny ass." "And adults these days are too serious," the boy retorted, "and I think that was a challenge, old lady." The professor shook her head and chuckled. "My name's Amelia Hawthorne. Don't call me 'professor'. I guess you're…" Amelia retrieved a clipboard from her messy desk and flipped through to the last page. "Greyson Thomas?" "Just Grey." "Good to meet you, Grey." Amelia sat back down and gestured to the empty folding chair between her and the blonde girl. "Have a seat, kid. I'll have to ask you to keep your totodile in its ball, though." Richter went without complaint, miniaturizing and disappearing into it in a flash of white light. Grey smiled at the totodile in the ball who flashed him a thumbs up before being clipped to Grey's bag's strap again. "Now, everyone go around and introduce themselves," Amelia said. The blonde girl was the first to do so, shooting up from her seat and pointing skyward. "Amber Dane! Azalea Town, Johto!" she said loudly for all to hear. She giggled and swept an arm across the people before her, shouting, "Let's get one thing clear: I'm gonna be a strong Trainer; stronger than anyone here!" "Yeah, yeah, nice sentiment," drawled the blonde boy. "Now siddown, sweetie, and calm your tits." Amber scowled at him and plopped down in her seat with a huff muttering curses. The blonde young man stood up and undid the buttons on his crimson vest to smooth out the bright yellow shirt underneath. Stuffing his hands in the pockets of his baggy camouflage pants, he said, "I'm Derek Quinn. This here's my bud, Jimmy. I'm from Three Island in the Sevii Archipelago." He extended a friendly hand to Grey who shook it without hesitation. "Look forward to bein' trainin' buddies and whatnot." "That's not exactly how this whole starting group thing works, Derek," laughed the brunette as he stood up. He was of average height and handsome with strong blue eyes, a deep voice and a decent build under his open blue fleece jacket and white t-shirt. Grey spotted two pokéballs at his belt whereas he and the other two had only one. "And my name's not Jimmy. It's Jameson. Jameson Rhodes from Fuchsia City in Kanto, but I go by plain old James." Amber waved flirtatiously at him and Amelia bit back what would have been roaring laughter. Then he and Grey's gazes met and a short burst of tension passed between them. Jameson frowned at Grey and opened his mouth to speak before thinking better of it and sitting back down. "Uhm…" Grey looked around and shifted uneasily. "Grey. Puel Town, Almia. This is Richter." Richter grunted a hello. "Well, now that we're all acquainted," said Amelia, "let's begin your briefing… Or whatever the hell it's called." William was bored. There was no other word for it; he was truly, completely, unequivocally, totally bored. There was no sport or pleasure in winning like this, he thought glumly as the wild torterra before him struggled to move kicking dust up from the balmy forest floor. The uniformed grunts under his command surrounded and closed in on the beast with their Pokémon out to defend them in the unlikely event the torterra broke free. No challenge at all. A victory is only a victory when one side has dominated the other and established themselves as king of the mountain. Total abject defeat must befall the losing party if one would wish to derive true satisfaction from winning. With the device in his hands, there was none of that. The fight would end as soon as it started. He sighed. "No fun at all," he groaned. "Either way, test 22 complete. Can we go home now?" "Sorry, sir, but until the scientists meet their testing quota, we can't leave the area yet," one of the grunts not handling the torterra said with a salute. "Fine!" William approached the team of three scientists at their portable console and looked at the screens. None of the information made sense to him so he just asked them outright, "How much longer?" "Ten more tests should do it," said the head scientist, a balding brown-skinned man. "I'm sorry, Sir William," he said when the admin huffed in annoyance, "but we want to ensure the device works completely before he do anything else. You know how integral the Frequency Net is to the organization's plans." William gave the device in his hands a piercing glare as if it were its fault he was stuck here and not off somewhere battling or causing chaos. It was unassuming enough; a dull gray box with a speaker connected to a megaphone via a spiraling chord. Emperor Otto had told them before they set out to test that the Frequency Net was probably the most important thing to the organization at this point. If it worked, it would make their secondary objective of collecting resources and recruiting new members that much simpler. But William didn't want simple. He wanted a challenge and this vile thing made it too easy for him. "We're ready for the next test," said one of the scientists. "Grunts, hold it still!" A chatter rose into the air punctuated by the Continent Pokémon's grunts of protest as it tried to free itself from the psychic stranglehold of two hypno and a gothitelle. The grunts not controlling the Psychic-types backed off but dropped into ready stances with their hands over their belts. "I guess I can't ignore an order from the top," William said resignedly. He turned back to the torterra and recalibrated the device from the set of dials on the back of the speaker. "Let's just make this quick. Test 23 commen—" One of the hypno got too close to the torterra's head and the massive tortoise took the chance to lash out with a vicious Crunch attack. Torterra clamped its jaws around the Hypnosis Pokémon's right arm, pulled and bit down as hard as it could. There was a loud SNAP! and a sickening pop and the hypno fell to its knees clutching its bloody dislocated limb. The display of violence shocked the other two psychics causing them to lose concentration and, consequently, their hold on the tortoise. Indignant and enraged, Torterra roared, reared up and brought its front limbs down on the ground tearing the ground asunder with Earthquake. The grunts and their pokémon scattered in fear and the scientists ducked down behind their consoles for safety. One of them yelled at William to take cover but the man seemed not to hear him over the din. William produced a pokéball from the inside pocket of his pristine brown military uniform and wordlessly tossed into the air. A scizor emerged from it and hovered overhead, steely eyed and ready for combat. "Bullet Punch." The Pincer Pokémon sped downwards at Torterra with an arm outstretched, pincers glowing a rusty red and slugged the Continent Pokémon will all its considerable might. William then ordered his pokémon to flip the beast over; Scizor latched onto the sides of the dazed torterra's shell and turned the monster over onto its left side. Torterra flailed its stubby limbs around in a vain attempt to right itself while William approached grinning like a madman. The man in the brown uniform reared his right arm back, the knight's armor covering it glinting in the sparse forest light and punched Torterra himself. "Silence, beast!" he commanded. Torterra would not oblige. Frowning, he picked up the Frequency Net and turned it to full blast. It sounded off with a tone the humans almost could not hear and the Continent Pokémon went stock still. Scizor gently pushed Torterra back onto its feet and returned to its master's side to kneel. "Now then." His grin grew wider and more menacing. "Seed Bomb." Against its will, Torterra opened its maw and a glowing green orb took form inside it. It turned around like a tank taking aim at a target and launched the attack at a tree. The blast stripped the bark away and destroyed a good third of the trunk sending splinters flying everywhere. "Well," said one whimpering grunt as he tended to his injured hypno, "we know it works now." "Yes," drawled William, "I believe we do. Still a boring way to win." ----------------------------------------------------------------------- !Grey obtained a new item! Item Ball x3 - Works by the same principle as a pokéball only it works on items and not pokémon. One holds a large food cooler; one holds a pot, pan, some bowls, plates, and utensils in a container; the last one is empty. Running Shoes - Tech by Silph Co., designed by Soul Engine Ltd. Uses compressed air bursts to propel a runner forward at high speeds. Difficult to learn to use. Sky-board - A recent new development from Silph Co. to be used with Running Shoes. Utilizes compressed air jets in the shoes as well as those already in the board for lift, while an intake fan in the nose pulls air into a compressor and shoots it out the tail for propulsion. Collapsible. Controlled by rider's shifting weight. Quick, clean and effective mode of transport. Gauntlets - Fingerless gloves extending to the elbow. Thick padding and steel plates on the backs of the hand and forearm provide ample protection from low-to-mid-level attacks from wild pokémon. Great for blocking Richter's teeth. Thermal Jacket - Stylish and functional; fits to body and holds heat to the wearer during those cold nights on the road and keeps one cool during the day. Emblazoned with the League Emblem. Tech by Silph Co., designed by Soul Engine Ltd., sponsored by the Pokemon League. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Forgot to put these here first time around. Better to let you know he has them then to mention them later and have you go "wait, what?". Let me know if this is superfluous and I'll take 'em down.