The Lab sat on the crest of a hill, glinting in the sunlight. It was a relic from times long past, when humans ruled and pokémon were domesticated and small. It consisted of two parts; the first a massive, multistory building which connected to the second, an even larger, glass-enclosed dome which held a miniature forest, a small pond, and a grassy field. Most of the laboratories were now closed down, though a few were kept open for use as classrooms, storage rooms, and one still served scientific function. The Dome, on the other hand, was in constant use, for magikarp were harvested in the pond for food, and those pokémon that were trained from birth to serve humankind lived within until Called into service. However, the number of those pokémon was prone to rapid fluctuation as they depended solely on eggs harvested from the wild. No breeding pairs had ever been established, except among the magikarp which were useless in all regards except as food. The complex was kept safe by a constant vigil of the Seven. The Seven each held watch with the pokémon they had tamed for a full day and night, rested upon being relieved, then struck off into the world until the next week.
It was to the Lab that Red ran, struggling to put on his jacket. He was late, and the Ceremony of Calling was to have taken place that morning. The hill upon which the Lab sat was so tall and steep, Red was forced to walk it. At reaching the peak, he stopped, awed. Though he had been here before, the sight was so powerful that it took his breath. He saw a figure on the roof, and knew it instantly to be one of the Seven. He couldn't see which it was, as the figure was silhouetted by the rising sun, and the Robes of the Guardian prevented him from determining gender. He stared for a while, somewhat dazzled by the power of the sight, then remembered the urgency of his situation. He sprinted in through the doorway. Once, the portal had been filled with great sliding glass doors, but since the Fall they stopped working and were removed with the few pokémon that remained under human control at that time. Now it remained open always, increasing the need for a constant watch. Red hurried down a long hall and entered a room that was used only once a year. To his great dismay it was empty. He was about to leave when a soft voice spoke, "You're late." The voice came from a dark corner of the room. Red could just make out a chair which swiveled around as he watched. A large figure rose from it and stepped into the light. It was Oak. Once an esteemed professor, he now led the small community. The muscle-bound man stood over two meters in height, and had a long scar from his jaw to above his left eye socket. The eye that once was housed there had been lost when Oak fought off a rhyhorn alone. He was lucky he lost only his eye. The man never wore a patch, though, and kept the socket empty. Red immediately began stammering an apology, but trailed of when Oak raised a hand. It was missing its ring finger, though Red didn't know the tale behind that. Oak walked to the far side of the room. He opened a door, and entered, with Red trailing behind. He led Red to the back of a dim room, where a row of cages awaited. "One remains. Take it, use it, and preserve the fragile peace we know."Oak took a cage in one hand, and gave it to Red, who staggered from the weight of it. "Go." Oak commanded. Red obeyed, and when he reached the hall he sprinted out. Upon reaching the entrance he reconsidered his destination, and turned for the Dome. Once within, he set the cage on a lone rock on the field, near both the pond and the forest. He reached for the cage, and opened the door, knowing as he did so that it marked the end - the death - of his childhood. The door swung out, and his breath caught in his throat.