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Misc > Fun Stuff > Ash Ketchum vs Climate Change - 03

Intro - 01 - 02 - 03 - 04

Ash Ketchum vs Climate Change - Part 03

When he came to, he was standing on the bridge of some kind of flying machine. Out the windows, he could see the propellers. Yet, with a sudden rush of blood in his ears, he felt the girl beside him. The orb was nowhere to be seen. Was this a trap? The fearful expression on her face told him it was not her fault.

His eyes narrowed on the figure in the chair.

'If you're the one who brought us here,' Ash yelled. 'I want to know why! I want to know why you're destroying the land outside and keeping a perfect garden indoors. Even I know air conditioning isn't that good to control the environment like that.'

The man in the commanding chair swung his seat around to face Ash and the girl.

'Welcome, Ash,' he said. 'My name is Lawrence the Third, but you can call me Lawrie. Your grandfather is Professor Oak, correct? He is a brilliant scientist, a great naturalist. I share your grandfather's respect of nature and sought to preserve it in my garden.'

'Then explain the crystals!' Ash cried out, 'That's not natural. You're no conservationist. You've displaced all the Pokemon who used to live outside.'

As he spoke, Lawrie pressed a button and a streak of crystal raced out of the ground and froze before him.

'Impressive, aren't they? Well, Ash, I thought you might understand what I was trying to do here. You think I am destroying the land but I am merely studying it. The plants, the Pokemon, they will all return to the environment once I'm done with it. It is safer for them to be away right now.'

'And who said it was okay to do this?' Ash shouted. 'Who gave you permission? Experiments that cause this level of destruction should be illegal!'

Ash raced to the nearest window and pointed at a barren, frozen landscape covered in giant, alien, folded flowers. 'What good does this do? There is not a single Pokemon. Tell me that.'

Lawrie was bemused. 'Actually, the government gave myself and my team a lot of money to develop this technology and then use it to study the effects of weather changes - and create crops that can withstand the cold. Have you noticed that the plants are all alive despite being frozen? When they thaw, they'll be perfectly fine. They look alien because that's what it takes to withstand such extreme temperatures. What you're looking at is the result of my hard work, my team's hard work, and the countless work of other scientists. We're trying to protect this world, not destroy it.' He motioned out the window.

'Even as you peer outside, at Cinnabar Island and the skyscrapers that grace the skyline and the lightning that strikes the buildings... Pokemon are displaced from those areas. Do you think that was my doing?'

Ash peered through the window, watching. 'Well, isn't it? They wouldn't have left if the weather was normal.'

'I did not cause the widespread changes you see in the Pokemon world, Ash.' Lawrie sent his chair up toward the ceiling, where Ash noticed it was covered in an intricate painting. 'No. I am here to study and protect it. It is not only legal but well supported by the government. The problem you are seeking answers for goes further than one man.'

Lawrie's chair descended and he pointed a scope into the distance. 'It is nice to have visitors every now and again, but I am afraid they sometimes get lost.'

Ash suddenly saw an image in his mind.

The girl standing by a canal, alone. That was how he felt right now, alone. A bubbling rage seared his heart but a heavy weight crushed his shoulders.

'You're telling me you created this intricate contraption for the sake of testing your pet theories? You have nothing to do with the larger changes?'

'That is exactly what I am saying. And is it really such a surprise?'

'Then...' Ash wondered. 'What about that bright light? The teleportation devices? The orb? Is that yours too?' When Lawrie nodded, he felt his anger rising again. 'If you can teleport people from one location to another, why don't you use that to bring back all the displaced Pokemon? The ones who died leaving their homes!'

'The orb powers the garden, and when the orb is removed the light disappears. The teleportation technology only has a small radius, as its function is purely to escort visitors safetly to and from the complex. I'll take that orb back, thank you very much.'

Lawrie took the orb from the trembling girl. As it left her hands its luster did not fade as it was returned to a mechanical holder. As its power reactivated, Ash fell back with the force of the light.

'Pika pi!' Pikachu shouted over the roar in their ears.

'I'm here,' Ash croaked. 'I've got you, Pikachu. And...' He reached toward the girl, grasping her arm.

'I'll take you back home. Wherever it is.'

The light faded and Ash blinked. The girl was standing next to Lawrie, hands nervously wrung together.

'Bianca is my daughter,' Lawrie said. 'She has a home in the area you call the garden. When you leave, I will ensure she returns to her room. She is safe here. She and her mother - my wife - are safe here in our home.' Lawrie looked over his computer interface and raised an eyebrow. 'Would you like to know another reason the government let me set up experiments here?'

'What's that?' Ash asked.

Lawrie motioned toward the window. 'Look outside.'

'It's disturbing to look at, isn't it? Crystals growing like pillars out of the ground, moving seemingly with a life of their own. As a scientist, I find their development patterns fascinating, absorbing minerals and energy from the ground and air to produce new structures. Do you think people would be concerned to see it? Doesn't this look like real climate change to you? Don't you think it dimishes the importance of actual climate change?'

'... What are you saying?' Ash mumbled.

'I live in a huge machine that people can see from miles away. Like you, they get concerned. They think they have found the true enemy. But this is just a diversion, a scapegoat. The government is, in a way, drawing attention away from the fact that they need to do more.'

'At this very moment, Professor Oak is being interviewed by a small reporting crew about the true causes and effects of climate change... But few people will listen, let alone know what to do with the information.'

'Bushfires razing houses to the ground, scorching the earth and destroying the livelihoods of millions of Pokemon that depend on them for their homes...

'Cold shocks, tornadoes, floods displacing people and killing people because their heater was too expensive to run...

'Electrical storms that take out the electricity of whole towns. Public arguments about what kind of energy to use, so-called debates... It helps nobody. The enemy is right in front of us.'

'There is no time left for creating diversions.'

'Pika,' Pikachu whispered, pointing out the window. Ash peered outside, seeing a barren mountain range far beyond the reach of the alien crystals.

'Chu...' Pikachu's ears dropped, tail flopping onto the ground. Sadness filled its gaze.

'I know, Pikachu,' Ash said, softly, kneeling to pat its head. 'The world is not what it was. It is slowly dying...'

'You are quite right,' Lawrie went on. 'Soon all that will be left to enjoy it are the legendary Pokemon which thrive in extremes.'

'But the common Pokemon? The normal types, the insect types, the ones that help our ecosystem thrive? Who lack special resistances? They will die on their journey to a new home.'

Ash exchanged an uneasy look with Pikachu.

'Then... That's it,' Ash said, defeated. 'The world is doomed, thanks for coming to my talk?'

Lawrie smirked. 'I do appreciate you humoring me.'

'That's just great.' Ash grumbled. He brushed off the girl's touch and left the room, returning the garden which seemed to call him back.

Ash remembered the feeling of awe he experienced walking through the garden. After thinking about it, he was not surprised the girl preferred the climate-controlled artificial garden to the real one outside. Although the real one was beautiful, it was being worn down... It wasn't always safe. Up above the clouds, they were protected from everything below.

He looked out the window as a sunset turned the sky and room purple and pink. Pikachu leaned against his leg to comfort him. How could they possibly preserve a world that was already experiencing massive devastation and destruction, and was on a trajectory to continue doing so?

'Well, now what am I supposed to do?'

'I can help you find a way out,' Lawrie's voice echoed through the speakers.

'I'll find my own way out, thanks,' Ash grumbled.

The girl, Bianca, caught up with him in the garden and smiled at him shyly.

'Wait...' Ash said. 'Bianca. Are you really going to stay here? You could come with me on my adventures. We could try find a way to help the Pokemon.'

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