The Magnetic Raiders
Most people today remember the Kanto-Johto War as a brief skirmish that was merely the results of two nations suddenly discovering the other one exists. History books tend to skirt around the fact that for eight years, those two nations fought ruthlessly, vying for control of the common border and ultimately wishing to push into each other’s territory, and will omit the shocking 250,000 missing or dead. Because of that, few people remember the valiant accomplishments of a small group of men in the Johto Army, who located and would eventually secure the most horrible Prisoner of War camp in all of Kanto. They were known as the Magnetic Raiders, and this is their story.
~ ~ ~
Four men pulled themselves up a sloped and muddy hill, grunting with fatigue as they made their way. They would be on the Johto-Kanto border once they reached the top, though they were not embarking on a combat mission. Their Sergeant held in one hand a topographical map, and a compass in the other. He murmured to himself as he attempted to decipher where it was they went off course, for they surely would not be sent to cross the border on such an open section. Sergeant Knapp was a sturdy, yet un-intimidating man of some thirty years. He was by the book, wearing his standard issue combat fatigues and helmet, and a heavily loaded pack around his waist. The large helmet obscured most of his face, save for his dirty cheeks and unkempt facial hair. Seeming frustrated by the coordinates, he turned to the men.
“Hunker down for fifteen minutes, but keeps your eyes peeled,” he ordered. “Simpson!”
“Get in contact with HQ and request our position. Tell them we’re off our route and we need to get back to these coordinates.”
Private Simpson was, like most, a draftee. But it was his intelligence and uncanny understanding of radio science that landed him on the comparatively safe Magnetic Raiders recon unit. Simpson was able to utilize a Pokemon known as Magnemite, to send messages across miles of terrain to Headquarters, where a receiver, who would also have a Magnemite to pick up the message. By twisting the screw atop a Magnemite’s head, a skilled radioman could release radio frequencies of varying pitch, which could be drawn out or cut short to form Morse code. Much training was required to be able to form a cohesive message this way, making radiomen few and far between. Because of this, a radioman was often heavily protected, and Simpson enjoyed this luxury.
Simpson’s olive drab fatigues had a special magnetic patch sewed on the back, allowing him to carry his Magnemite as if it were a backpack. At the time, Pokeballs were a mostly unknown technology to the Raiders, of whom only the Captain was able to permanently keep a combat Pokemon by storing it in an Apricorn, the predecessor of what would soon come to be commonly referred to as Pokeballs.
Besides Magnemite and the Captain’s Pokemon, the rest of the team would only utilize what creatures they could find, and only until they either died, or escaped. They would entice a wild Pokemon to them with food, or in some cases simply overpower and tie a rope around it. Because Pokemon were unreliable as weapons, each soldier wielded a firearm, typically a single-shot, bolt-action rifle. Most soldiers didn’t care for it. The weapons were poorly constructed en masse, with defective units frequently getting past the shoddy inspection. But the Magnetic Raiders, along with the rest of the Johto Armed Forces, would have to make due.
Simpson crouched down and reached his hands back over his shoulders, grasping the u-shaped magnets on both sides of the steel orb. With a tug, he plucked the Pokemon off of the magnetic patch, and began to send a message.
“Ready with that Magnemite, Simpson?” asked Sergeant Knapp.
“Affirmative,” the radioman replied. “What’s the message?”
“Tell HQ that we’re off our route and we need new directions to our destination on the border.”
Twisting the screw, Simpson was able to produce the message. Faint beeping sounds could be heard resonating from the Pokemon as the radio waves began to emanate. The men waited silently for several minutes, watching for Magnemite to begin relaying a reply. Suddenly, its magnets began spinning, and Magnemite began producing audible beeps and buzzes. Simpson began studying the message as it repeated over and over, as was the standard procedure to ensure the code was interpreted correctly.
- .-- --- / -- .. .-.. . ... / -. --- .-. - .... .-.-.- / - ..- -. -. . .-.. / ..- -. -.. . .-. / -- --- ..- -. - .- .. -. .-.-.- / ..-. . .-. .- .-.. / -.-. .-. . .- - ..- .-. . ... / .. -. ... .. -.. . .-.-.- / . -. - . .-. / .- ..-. - . .-. / -.. .- .-. -.- --..-- / . -..- .. - / -... . ..-. --- .-. . / -.. .- .-- -. .-.-.-
“What’s it saying?” asked the Sergeant.
“Um… We need to go North… uh, was that two or twenty-two? Wait, wait, it was two. Two miles North. Mountain… Mountain! It’s there, that one right on the horizon, that’s where we’re headed.”
“Are you crazy?” asked Farley, one of the soldiers. “There are Kanto bases all over that mountain. No Recon unit is fightin’ its way through that.”
“Hold on, there’s more to it, give me a second here…” said Simpson. “ There’s a… There’s a tunnel that goes straight under the mountain. Headquarters says to use it, but only to go in after dark.”
“Slip right under ‘em,” said Sergeant Knapp.
“I don’t know about that one, sir,” interjected Booker, a soldier who specialized in studying Pokemon. “There’s always especially vicious Pokemon living in caves and tunnels like that. Blood-sucking vampire bats that fall on us from the ceiling and hulking boulders-come-to-life that our rifles wouldn’t even scratch…”
“Well, what would you rather fight?” Farley asked. “Over a hundred Kanto soldiers, or Pokemon that we don’t even know if they’re there or not?”
“Enough,” began the Sergeant. “HQ said to go underground at night, and to be out by morning. If there are vampire bats, then they’d be outside the cave at night, and back by morning – it makes sense that HQ would tell us to go in like that. They’ve already accounted for the creatures lurking within, and they’re making sure we miss them completely.”
Amidst the men’s loud conversation was a whizzing sound spiraling through the air.
“What the hell is that?” asked Booker.
“Get down!” shouted Sergeant Knapp. “Find some cover! Over there! Over there! Get in the ditch!”
Sergeant Knapp ducked down and dove into a shallow, muddy ditch, followed by Simpson, Booker, and Farley. They hugged the slope, trying to avoid whatever it was the enemy was throwing at them. Knapp raised his head out of the ditch for a split-second. He saw a volley of white orbs flying towards them. Farley too stood out of cover to try and see what was happening, but exposed much more of his body than the Sergeant had done. One of the white orbs hit him directly in the chest, exploding in a splash of thick, yellow-colored yolk. The gel-like substance began to sizzle, burning clean through his uniform and grafting to his skin, generating a disturbing sizzling sound.
“Ah! Ah! Ahhhh!” Farley screamed uncontrollably, trying to wipe the burning yolk off his chest with his hands, only spreading the burn around.
“Hang on!” shouted the Sergeant. Knapp picked up a handful of mud and tried to wipe the gel off of Farley, though it had already caused serious burns. “Booker! What are these things?”
“I don’t know, Sarge, I can’t see it!” Booker yelled. He quickly popped up to take a quick glance before ducking back down. Each time he saw more and more of what was happening. He thought he saw a walking tree, with three faces.
“What is it?” Knapp asked again.
“It’s a tree with three faces, I’m trying to remember the- I got it, it’s an Exeggutor. That’s what’s throwing the Egg Bombs at us!”
“Ah, ****. Booker, get over here and help me with Farley. Simpson, see if you can get a shot on that Exeggutor. Shoot that monster in the head! Any head!”
Simpson held his rifle in an awkward stance; combat was not his forte, and the recon unit rarely encountered serious resistance. He quickly popped up out of cover, and took a shot at the Exeggutor. It was a glance shot that soared past the monster completely. Ducking back down, Simpson reached into his pocket, feeling around for another bullet. He grasped one within his fist, but as he pulled it out of his pocket, several other rounds came with it. They instantly sank into the mud. Undeterred by his blunder, Simpson clumsily loaded the bullet into his rifle. He raised his head to line up a shot, only to see an Egg Bomb hurling in his direction. He fell back into the ditch just quick enough to avoid a direct impact, with the explosive hitting the tip of the ditch, though the splash of yolk made it over the ridge. Simpson could feel the strange substance burning through his helmet. Looking over his shoulder, he could also see some of the jellied yellow liquid sticking to Magnemite, sizzling into its steel body.
Sergeant Knapp and Booker had managed to wipe most of the yolk off of Farley, though he was left with painful burns, and a tattered uniform filled with holes. Knapp looked over at Simpson, and noticed the yolk burning through his helmet.
“Simpson! Take your helmet off! You don’t want to get that **** on your head!”
“Ahh, alright! He shouted, frantically tossing the destroyed helmet from his head.
The radioman stood up for a couple of seconds, dangerously exposing himself as he attempted to line up a shot on the Exeggutor. The rifle shook in his hands. He squeezed the trigger, releasing the round. It hit the Exeggutor’s middle head, causing it to burst in a small explosion of yolky membrane. The creature stumbled briefly, before falling to the ground.
“There you go Simpson!” said the Sergeant.
Simpson reached into his pocket for another bullet, but there were none, and the ones he spilled out accidentally had already sunk into the mud.
“I’m out, Sarge!” he shouted.
“Here, take my-“ he was cut off by a gargantuan explosion.
A massive fireball, comparable to the size of a meteor, came crashing down to earth just short of the ditch. Before they could even react, another flaming mortar was already hurdling towards them.
“Incoming!” roared the Sergeant. “Move! Go left, go left!”
“I need ammo!” Simpson repeated.
“Here, catch!” Knapp said as he tossed one of the packs lining his waist to the radioman. “Simpson, get over here, we have to move!”
The second fireball landed in the ditch, knocking Simpson over as the rest of the squad ran away. He struggled to his feet, only to see an orange dragon take to the skies. It sported a massive wingspan, and its tail kept a flame like a candle. It was chasing Knapp, Booker, and Farley, who were all separated from Simpson by a raging wildfire caused by the mortars. The three Magnetic Raiders sprinted as fast as they could, dodging frequent blasts of fire from the dragon’s mouth. Simpson knew he wouldn’t catch up to them, and took off in the opposite direction. He thought he’d get away safely, seeing as the dragon was focused on the others.
The radioman climbed out of the ditch and began to dash, as bullets started whizzing past him. He glanced quickly over his shoulder, and saw several Kanto soldiers standing near the dead Exeggutor. Simpson did not try to return fire, only running as quickly as he could. He heard a shot ricochet off of Magnemite, though he couldn’t stop to check on it. Unknown to him, the dragon had temporarily haunted its pursuit of the others, having spotted Simpson. It formed yet another meteor-like mortar, and lobbed it at the fleeing radioman. He looked back for a split-second, seeing the fireball speeding towards him. Petrified, and with no cover in sight, he dove to the ground and covered his head with his hands. The meteor’s reflection could be seen in Magnemite’s wide eye as it neared. It touched down, in a deafening explosion of fire…