Heart Conversion at 58% "Readings are stable. We should be able to proceed by Wednesday morning." "Oh goody! It's been getting so stuffy in here." "Then we can start converting live subjects soon. The commander will be pleased." "And then the real fun begins, riiiiiiight?" "Only after the commander gives us our orders. Until then we wait." "He's not just gonna have us sit around, though... that's no fair." Heart Conversion at 63% "You won't have to wait for long, Cassandra. You'll be able to play your little games soon enough." A fit of giggles erupts. A masculine sigh. "Calm yourself, Altair. Some people want to watch the world burn; Cassandra chooses to carry the proverbial torch. You too will see the outcome of all this research in time." ". . . Yes, sir." The fit of giggles trails off and all is silence. Silence and darkness. – – – – – Day and Time: Sunday – Morning Location: Violet City The city bustles about, blissfully ignorant to the dark times ahead. People meander throughout the many restored buildings and spend their time enjoying the early summer heat – the sun beats its harsh rays down joyfully. Most citizens have ice cream cones or cold drinks in their hands, but there is one boy, a simple visiting Pokémon Trainer, who sits outside a tiny café with only a drink in his hands. There are flyers plastered with pictures of Falkner, the Violet City Gym Leader, and several signs pointing out the direction of the gym, but there is something about this trainer that would suggest to anyone nearby that perhaps the gym challenge just isn't quite the right fit. No one speaks to him. At least, not as of yet. He is merely left to his thoughts. Location: Route 29 Although equally as unaware of what looms in the depths of the future, trainers traveling along Route 29 face much less of the heat than those in Violet City. The canopy of tall trees creates quite a cover – much of the path is shady and there is little to upset the natural serenity. Perhaps a Sentret rushes through the brush, but everything is calm otherwise. This is the perfect setting for all new trainers and it seems that one got started quite early that morning; much sooner than most, she had to have begun her journey before the sun arose, for she has made it just about halfway. A sign sticks out as the road forks. One direction leads toward Cherrygrove City whereas the other will take her up toward Routes 46 and 45. It is at this point that she had a very weighty decision to make. Will she proceed toward Cherrygrove and make her way to Violet City on the more traditional route? Or will she opt to head north and continue on to Blackthorn City? The choice is hers alone. Location: Newbark Town Neither instance matters for two young trainers patiently (or perhaps not so patiently) waiting outside Professor Elm's Pokémon Laboratory. The quirky little man had apparently stepped out the previous day or so to go visit a colleague of his staying in Cherrygrove City and was due back early this morning. At this point, he has not made his return. The older of the two boys looks less than enthused. – – – – – Leven crossed his arms and let out a small huff. He wasn't quite aggravated, but waiting for the professor most definitely wasn't on his top ten list of things to be doing today. He had been waiting so long to be able to start his journey and now the time seemed to tick by even slower. He sighed. He certainly hoped the professor would arrive soon. The sooner the man did, the sooner he could make up for all this lost time – some other trainers had apparently left way before him. If any of them were Coordinators like him then they would have ample time to practice with their Pokémon before the first contest in Cherrygrove! He couldn't possibly lose because of a disadvantage like that – it just wouldn't be fair! Come on, he thought, trying to will the eccentric man to appear along the road that led out to Route 29. Return already! The look on his face certainly showed just how determined he was to get things started. Perhaps the other boy felt differently? Leven certainly wasn't paying enough attention to him at the moment to get a read on him.