Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon or its characters.  They belong to Nintendo and TV Tokyo.

Author's Notes: Here's one of my earlier works.  My first fanfic, to be exact!  Completed in March of '99, so please excuse its poor quality.  I was young and didn't know any better!

Chapter 1

It was a beautiful day, and our heroes were on a dirt path in the wilderness.  The sky grew dark.

"It's getting dark real soon, and we have to find some place to spend the night," said Brock.

"And I'm getting really hungry," grumbled Misty, "and so is Togepi."  Togepi, who was cradled in Misty's arms, replied with a happy "Toge-toge-prriiii!"

They continued to walk on down the path until they saw a large wooden cabin with a large P above the door.

"Oh look!  A Pokemon Centre!" cried Ash as he pointed towards it.  Pikachu, who was resting on Ash's head, let out an excited and weary "Pika-pi!"

Soon, all three of them were running towards the centre.  When they reached it, an identical Nurse Joy looked up from her desk.

"May I help you?" she asked in her kind and soft voice.

"We would like a place to stay for tonight, if it's okay with you," said Ash.

"Don't forget, Ash, we're really hungry," added Misty.

Brock was standing behind them, his face a bright red hue, and he was muttering, "Uhgn... she's the most beautiful one..."

"Oh, Brock!  They're all the same!" said Misty.

"Sure, all of you can you can stay for tonight.  And thank you for the comment, Brock!" replied Joy.

Brock's face turned even redder as his friends followed Nurse Joy to their rooms.  Misty turned around and saw him standing still, with his face in that goofy look.  So she grabbed his arm and dragged him with her.

They saw their rooms and unpacked as Nurse Joy went to make them some food.

Brock went back to the lobby of the centre and saw the PCs in the corner.

Maybe I'll call home, he thought.  It has been a while.

He walked over to a PC and turned it on.  He dialed his home number.

His father answered the phone.  Flint was wearing an apron, and he looked all worn out.  Brock could hear some yelling and laughing in the background.

Flint looked up at the screen and his face lost some of its weariness.  "Hello Brock!" said Flint.

"Hey dad," he replied. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this, when I left, we weren't exactly getting along. "How are things back home?  It seems you're getting the hang of things."

"I'm just fine, and so are your brothers and sisters.  As soon as you left, I took over the gym.  It seems being a failure at pokemon training has taught me a few lessons."

"Is the gym okay?  Are you winning any matches still?"

Flint's face became grave.

"What is it, dad?" asked Brock worriedly.

"It seems that I was winning, until a new trainer came into town," he explained.  "Before the match, the trainer asked that if he won, I wouldn't reveal his identity.  I promised him that.  I was sure that I wouldn't lose, but this trainer's pokemon defeated me and seriously injured mine.  I rushed them quickly to the Pokecentre and they all were in the ICU for days.  Trainers going to the gym had similar experiences like mine."

Brock nearly fell out of his chair.  Who would do this to pokemon and my father!  "I'll try to get there as soon as I can!"

Brock said good-bye and closed the PC.  He had to tell Ash and Misty that they had to leave for Pewter City tomorrow.

Outside of the Pokecentre's, Team Rocket saw Brock turn off the PC and rush to join the others for dinner.

"It seems that they're going to Pewter City tomorrow," explained Meowth.

"It'll be a perfect opportunity to get that Pikachu for the boss!" said Jesse.

"But Jesse, aren't we going to fail like all of the other schemes?" said James.

Jesse took out a mallet and whacked him in the back of the head.  "You listen here!  We are not going to fail!  It is a wonderful scheme, and perfectly foolproof!" yelled Jesse.

"Hey!  Let's see what those brats say about going to Pewter City!" suggested Meowth.

The three of them moved to the window of the cafeteria.

"Brock, we'll go to Pewter City with you, but it's a long walk from here to there," said Misty.

"Yeah, I agree with Misty.  If we took a car or a plane, we could get there faster," replied Ash.

"You guys are right, we don't have the money to get a plane ticket or rent a car, so I guess I'll have to let that new gym leader go on hurting pokemon," said Brock sadly.

"Let's sleep on it tonight, and we'll see what we can do in the morning," said Ash.

All of them left the table as soon as they were done eating and went to bed.

Team Rocket heard everything while they were outside.

"Hmm, I think I know what we should do," began Jesse.

"Is it a wonderful plan?" asked James, as he nursed the large lump on his head.

"It sure is.  Meowth, do we still have the Team Rocket helicopter?" asked Jesse.

Meowth's face widened with alarm as he knew what the chopper was for.  "No way are we giving those brats the chopper!" he exclaimed.

"Meowth, it's either that or the balloon."

"We could follow in the chopper while they take the balloon," Meowth suggested.

"Then we won't be able to get Pikachu faster!" cried Jesse.

They got up and went to a small clearing where the air balloon was.  They all got in and flew up to where their helicopter waited.

All night, everyone slept soundly, except for Brock.

Ash snored loudly and mumbled something about a new badge and catching every single pokemon in the world.  Pikachu's ears perked up a little at Ash's mumbling.

Togepi was all curled up beside Misty and they seemed to be sleeping soundly.

How can I defeat this ruthless trainer?  He seems to be so strong, he thought. I don't know if I'm willing to put my pokemon on the line for honour. He sighed heavily and tried to sleep.