An Abundance Of Solace Part 1 Of 3
The plains were as open and wide as could be as my path led me further away from Fuchsia City. The green grass poked out in patches beneath the glistening white snow that crunched beneath my boots. A cold burst of air blew light snow against my face as I pushed my hands deeper into the pockets of my coat, lowering my head against the forceful cold.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the warmer weather. Though a nice sunny day was appreciated on occasion, if it were up to me, the world would live in endless days of cold and snow, only to be interrupted by a good old chilly, rainy storm. It simply fit me.
I kicked up snow as I walked, smiling a little. How lucky I was to be alone today. How lucky I was to be living on my own, free to travel as I felt necessary. I had a great life. Maybe. Am I really so lucky? I wondered. It’s been fun on this journey so far, but it’s been dangerous, too. In fact, it’s been downright terrifying. Is this the life I prefer to live? Is this truly what makes me happy? Am I satisfied so far with my decision to become a Pokemon Trainer?
There I was, thinking too much, as usual. Or maybe, for somebody on a journey traveling the world with Pokemon and having experienced what I’ve gone through so far, I had every right to be in the mindstate I was in. Of course, I was always this way, even before beginning my Pokemon journey. Thinking about the future, and life, and never being satisfied with what was going on in the now, was a common occurrence in my head.
“Ssslloooooooooww…” a voice yawned loudly from somewhere nearby. It was a Pokemon who was staring up at me, smiling goofily.
“Hey!” I stopped. “A Slowpoke!” I pulled out my Pokedex.
Slowpoke. The Dopey Pokemon. Very dimwitted, it takes them a long time to feel any pain. They often spend their time fishing with their own tail, their faces seeming lost in thought, though it is probably not thinking of anything at all.
A wild Slowpoke out here? I thought. What a chance to capture yet another great Pokemon. I grabbed a Poke Ball from my belt to battle Slowpoke with and tossed it. “Weepinbell, go!”
“BEEEEELL!” Weepinbell called out as it appeared.
“Pooooooke…” Slowpoke responded, its eyes slowly lowering to its opponent.
“Weepinbell, use Slam attack, now!”
Weepinbell’s vine reached out to grab Slowpoke.
A scream was followed by a brown figure that flew at Weepinbell and kicked it!
“Beeeeell!” Weepinbell flew through the air, its attack interrupted.
“Whoa!” I stumbled backwards as a figured loomed tall with its back to me. “What the…?”
A Hitmonlee stood in front of me, gazing at Weepinbell, bouncing on his feet, his springy legs increasing and decreasing in size rapidly.
Hitmonlee, the Kicking Pokemon and the evolved form of Tyrogue. A Hitmonlee’s legs can increase and decrease in size when necessary. The length their legs can reach when in battle often surprises their opponents.
“Wow! I can’t believe I found me a wild Hitmonlee!” I reveled.
“Well, good, because you didn’t!” a voice shouted out. A guy strolled up to us all, glaring at me with crossed, muscular arms. His long hair was tied in a ponytail. “That Hitmonlee is mine, and that Slowpoke is not for capture!”
“Who are you?” I asked, my heart beating rapidly.
“My name is Will,” he said, still glaring at me. He spoke with an accent, as if we were from some country area. “Will Laramie. This is the Big P Pokemon Ranch, owned by the Laramie family, and you have no permission to capture any Pokemon in this area. We work hard raising the Pokemon here so they can grow up the right way, and it’s against the law to capture Pokemon here.”
“The Big P Pokemon Ranch?” I asked. “I’m not too sure I’m familiar with this… WAIT! This is the Big P Pokemon Ranch??”
“Yeah, chuckle head,” Will said, still giving me a sharp, impatient glare.
“I’m so sorry!” I said, shaking my head innocently.
This place was world famous for raising herds of wild Pokemon. The Pokemon raised here have been proven to come out a little stronger than other Pokemon because they’re raised in a natural environment. They even hold the Big P Pokemon Race, to determine which Pokemon has been raised the best.
“Well, you just leave the Pokemon here alone, and you’ll be just fine, understood?” Will snapped.
“Yes, sir!” I said quickly, nodding. “I apologize again.”
Will’s face finally softened and he walked over to Hitmonlee. “This Hitmonlee of mine guards the area.”
“He does well!” I complemented. “I’m sorry to have intruded, Hitmonlee.”“Hitmon…LEE!” Hitmonlee replied, showing off a set of swift kicks.
I turned to Weepinbell. “You can return now.” When Weepinbell was inside its Poke Ball, I turned back to Will. “So this entire area is the ranch?”
“That’s right. I’ll show you around if you’re interested.”
“Yes! That’d be great!” I nodded enthusiastically. I was much more interested in leaving if I wasn’t going to be able to capture any Pokemon, but I had disrespected the ranch and Will enough and decided to be polite and accept his offer.
“Well, then come along with me,” Will said, walking ahead.
I followed after him and his Hitmonlee, observing the area.
“It’s winter right now, so not all of our Pokemon are outside,” Will told me. “Certain Pokemon aren’t fans of the cold, so we keep them indoors and let them out a little bit less. We have special homes for them indoors so they can be in a similar environment to the ones they’re used to in the wild. Specially crafted caves made from boulders and whatnot. It’s a lot of work, but we love our dear Pokemon here.”“That’s really amazing!”
“Hm. You can see some Pokemon don’t mind the cold too much, though.” Will pointed to some bird Pokemon nearby.
I pulled out my Pokedex to scan the unfamiliar Pokemon.
Pidove. The Tiny Pigeon Pokemon. Pidove usually live together in flocks in cities. They are very forgetful and may not understand all of their Trainer’s orders, making them difficult to raise.
“Pidove stay here all the time,” Will continued. “They don’t care what the weather is like.”
Somebody was standing near the flock of Pidove, smiling and petting one which stood on his shoulder.
We continued to walk, passing by a large group of adorable Igglybuff rolling around in the grass together. A girl was giggling as she chased them.
Igglybuff, the Balloon Pokemon. Care must be used when raising this Pokemon. Once it begins to bounce, stopping it is virtually impossible. Because Igglybuff love to practice singing, they are often found with a sore throat.
We walked through the snow together, Will in his blue coat and matching blue cap, his black jean legs tucked into his black boots as he trudged through the snow.
An enormous body of water sat a long distance away, but big enough to be clearly visible. Someone was crouched over near it, a few creatures near the surface.
Nearby, a girl seemed to be counting a group of Eevee which stood at attention near her.
Eevee. The Evolution Pokemon. This species of Pokemon can evolve into one of multiple different types of Pokemon depending on their environment.
Ekans, Farfetch’d, Rhyhorn, Voltorb; the different groups of Pokemon being taken care of by a different person were fascinating and numerous. This all reminded me a lot of Prof. Oak’s Research Lab.
“Wow. This place is truly something,” I mused.
“We take great pride in raising our Pokemon here,” Will stated.
“I’m very much impressed. This is truly a wonderful place. It really says something that Pokemon raised in nature with humans can turn out so healthy in comparison to Pokemon in nature raised without humans, and Pokemon raised by Trainers while traveling.”
Will turned to me and smiled. “Exactly! It’s proof that humans and Pokemon truly do need each other and should coexist peacefully.”
“Yeah,” I smiled back. I felt like we were finally on even footing.
Will didn’t seem so mad at me like he did earlier.
“Whoa! What Pokemon is that?” My eyes widened at the short, skinny creature.
Riolu. The Emanation Pokemon. Riolu have incredible stamina and strength and can travel incredible distances in a miniscule amount of time. Riolu has a special ability to sense and communicate through aura.
“Wow! It’s so cute!” I stared at the group of Pokemon playing with each other near a young man.
“Riolu can later evolve into Lucario,” Will informed me. “They’re a pretty cool Pokemon, too.”I checked my Pokedex to hear about Lucario.
Lucario. The Aura Pokemon and the evolved form of Riolu. Lucario is sensitive to an energy called aura. They use this to sense their opponent’s moves. This Pokemon is known to have some kind of a sense of loyalty and justice.
“Pretty cool! I wouldn’t mind having one of those.”
Will nodded. “Yeah, I’ll bet.”
We reached the widespread water and I gazed at how far it stretched, my eyes almost unable to reach the other end of it. I felt mesmerized by the crystal clarity and its sparkling beauty under the bright yet gloomy sky as snow dripped gently into it.
A young kid crouched near it, smiling as a bunch of Pokemon surrounded him both on land and water.
Ducklett. The Water Bird Pokemon. Ducklett are excellent swimmers and can defend themselves by spraying water from their feathers. Their favorite food to eat is peat moss.
Swanna. The White Bird Pokemon and Ducklett’s evolved form. Swanna fly high into the skies once the sun has risen. Whipping its neck around, it delivers incredibly powerful strikes at foes.
Swanna was truly beautiful.
I was completely stolen away by its looks and wanted one right away, like a little kid spotting candy in a store’s window. My foot went forward, carrying me one step closer. If I could even just pet one...
One of the Swanna turned to me suddenly, a threatening look on its face.
My body didn’t move any closer as I instantly changed my mind on touching it.
“SWAAANAAAAA!!” The one Swanna let out a sharp cry, raising its large, beautiful wings, and charged at me rapidly.
“AAAAAAHHH!!” I screamed, stumbling backwards, afraid to turn my back on it. “I’m sorry!! Please!!”
“Swanna! Stop!” the kid said, standing up.
Swanna stopped but kept its eyes on me.
“Come back here!” the kid spoke strongly.
Swanna glared at me longer before finally turning around and returning to the kid.
“Kid, you can’t just go up to wild Pokemon like that,” Will stormed up to me, obviously angry again. “As a Pokemon Trainer, you really ought to know better than that. Are you new to raising Pokemon or something?”“No!” I said loudly, embarrassed. “I’m pretty experienced enough, I guess... But…” I looked down in shame. “I should’ve known better…”
Will shook his head at me.
Sighing, I looked at all the Swanna. “They’re so beautiful…”
“They are,” Will agreed. “But look, don’t touch.”
“Slooooowbrooooo,” a Slowbro said from a short distance away from the kid surrounded by the Ducklett and Swanna.
There were several Slowbro and Slowpoke hanging out near the water in their own little section.
Slowbro. The Hermit Crab Pokemon. This is one of Slowpoke’s evolved forms when a Shellder bites a Slowpoke on its tail. The Shellder changes form and is able to travel on land and feed. Slowpoke is now able to stand on its hind legs and battle using its forepaws. If the Shellder somehow detaches from Slowbro, the Slowbro will resort back to the life of a Slowpoke.
“This place truly must be a paradise for Pokemon,” I considered. “You really can feel the love and trust here, and positive energy here. Makes me wonder if I should be keeping my Pokemon outside of their Poke Balls.”
“Ha,” Will uttered lightly. “Well, maybe you should. And maybe there’s an argument for the connection of Pokemon and Trainers through the Poke Ball. This is a debate that has been going on ever since the invention of the Poke Ball, mind you. Everyone raises Pokemon differently. Everyone communicates with their Pokemon differently. We have evidence that one way of taking care of Pokemon is better than another, and then we have evidence contradicting that. Some evidence states that Poke Balls help Pokemon grow closer with their Trainer in some regards. It’s not clear yet which method is best, conclusively. Not without a lot of arguing and ignoring one another, at least.” Will paused to release a sigh and shake his head. “Maybe different Pokemon grow better under differing circumstances. No two Pokemon are the same after all, right? Either way, as we grow, we learn. Hopefully, at least. The most important thing we know for sure is the love we give and receive to and from our Pokemon.” Will’s attitude and perspective on Pokemon filled me up warmly.
With a loud roar, a huge wave arose from the water and splashed down as the hugest Pokemon I’d ever seen leaped out!
I backed up, my heart pounding hard in my chest as I scanned the Pokemon with my Pokedex with a shaky hand.
Wailord. The Float Whale Pokemon and the evolved form of Wailmer. Wailord live in large packs, called pods. While hunting for prey, Wailord herd them by leaping out of the water and making a huge splash. It is not as heavy as its size would imply.
The enormous Pokemon splashed down from the water it came from, soaking the Slowpoke, Slowbro, Ducklett, Swanna, the kid near these Pokemon, Will, Hitmonlee, and myself.
I swallowed out of reflex, my mouth having been hanging open and taking in its fill, and then wiped my face. My body shook hard, highly disliking having been soaked, but I was still amazed by the magnificent Pokemon.
A loud noise could be heard from a very far away location and caused me to turn to look behind me.
“Did you hear that?” I asked Will.
“Yes,” Will replied quietly, also looking.
There was complete silence now.
Perhaps everyone was looking where I was.
“I’m really concerned about what that was,” Will spoke strongly.
We remained silent and still, waiting for something I wasn’t sure of, and then something came.
A second eruption of far away noise, but a little bit closer this time.
My heart slammed into my chest. “Will…?” What sounded like helicopter propellers made me raise my eyes to the sky. But before I could see it…
With a loud scream, I was thrown off my feet.
Will let out a raged and shocked yell.
The explosion rocked the ground, dropping everyone.
I rolled on the ground but soon came to a stop. It took me a moment before I was able to lift my head and take in the scene around me that stole my breath away in horror.
Fire blazed fiercely across the grass, smoke surrounding the area, blocking anything from being seen through the flames. The Pokemon and the people beyond it were out of sight, but their screams were everywhere.
The helicopter roared fiercely from above. The upper half of it was a shiny silver, the bottom half being pitch black. Barely visible from its position in the sky was what appeared to be a large S posted on the front of it in white. Objects fell out of the helicopter. Some of them exploded in midair noisily while a couple others hit the ground before blowing up with incredible force, pushing me back down.
Helpless in this mayhem, I screamed.
“What is this??!” Will bellowed from somewhere. “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???”
I looked up again but couldn’t see. My eyes were suddenly hit with a cloud of dust, forcing them closed as I covered them and wiped at them furiously. It was impossible for me to keep my eyes open through the pain and constant watering.
The continuous, terror filled, pained screams from humans and Pokemon alike continued to call out in a haunting melody.
What is this? I thought frantically. Why? Who is in the freaking helicopter? I was shaking so hard now, but I couldn’t just lay on the ground like this. I somehow managed up to my feet and rubbed my eyes once more, trying to clear them out and see around me. Everything was a wet blur. “WIIIILL!”
Explosions everywhere. It was as if I were in the middle of a war. The force threw me onto my back. More explosions erupted, sending powerful gusts of wind at me, bouncing me into the air. I screamed as I landed back down, pain shooting through me from my back. “HEEEEEEELP!!” I called desperately.
“HEY, KID!” I heard Will scream over the madness.
I kept my eyes closed and struggled to my feet again, not daring to open my eyes. “HEEEEEEELP!” I called out again.
“WHERE ARE YOU?!” I heard Will.
“WHERE ARE YOU?!”
“HERE!!!” my voice cracked.
Once again I was dropped down, landing on my face. I didn’t get up again. Covering my head with my hands, I refused to rise anymore.
“WHO IN THE HELL IS DOING THIS???” I heard Will rage. “THEY’RE TOSSING ELECTRODE AND GRAVELER OUT OF THAT HELICOPTER TO ATTACK US!!”
I gasped, sucking in dirt which caused me to choke. My hands dropped and pushed me up a little, enough so that I could look up at Will but closed my eyes immediately amongst the smoke around me. “WHAT???” I choked out.
“WILL!” I heard a voice cry out.
“MEGAN!” Will went.
“WILL, HELP ME!” the female voice was drowned out by several more bombs going off.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!” I flew through the air, pain shooting throughout me, my body on fire, and came down hard on my shoulder. I inhaled in pain and let it out in a cry of agony.
Who is causing this? I wondered as I groaned, unable to move. WHY?? My thoughts were interrupted by an “Electrode!”
I gasped at the sound. Weakly. Hoarsely. “WAIT!” I scrambled in great pain to my feet as I struggled to escape. Right before the Pokemon went off, a realization came to my mind. “OH, NO!”
I soared forward at once, slamming into something almost immediately.
“AAAAAUUUGGGGHHH!!!” someone screamed as I took them down. “MEGAN??” It was Will!
“IT’S GARY!” I shouted back.
“GARY? THE KID??”
“YEAH! GARY!! It’s my name!!”
Will let out an agitated groan and shoved me off of him. Before I could budge, he grabbed my hand, pulling me onto my feet.
I followed on shaky legs as explosion after explosion followed behind us.
“GARY, IF YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS, I DEMAND AN ANSWER!!!!”
“OF COURSE I DON’T KNOW WHO THIS IS!!” I shouted in offense. “I MEAN… I MIGHT KNOW WHO IT IS BUT THEY’RE NOT ASSOCIATES OF MINE!!!”BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Will kept pulling me forward.
I still couldn’t see anything. Everything was just a blur in the mix of my tears that were trying to flush out the crap in my eyes, but the more I blinked and rubbed at them, the more they burned and fought against me to stay shut.
Will clutched my hand, tugging me forward.
Could this be…? I pondered. Could this be the same group from before? The group with the Graveler from Pewter City who tried to blow up the Pokemon Center? The group who killed the Charizard? I remembered the mysterious incidents in the Hoenn region and in Sinnoh that was on the news.
Mt. Coronet’s explosion…
The water routes in the Hoenn region having electric currents flowing through them…
The Mt. Pyre fire…
The explosion in the Safari Zone in the Hoenn region…
And now this…
Could this all be connected? It had to be. This was a clear attack from the same group of maniacs. These ruthless people who believe Pokemon are evil. They were attacking this peaceful place for raising Pokemon!
Will yanked me in a different direction and I followed with no choice. “WHERE ARE WE GOING?!”
“THERE’S NO SAFE PLACE TO RUN!”
“THEN WHERE THE HELL ARE WE GOING, DAMNIT!”
“JUST RUN AND SHUT UP!!” Will barked at me.
More terrified than ever before in my entire life, I wished so badly I were back in Pallet Town, safe and sound. My mom remained strongly in my mind during this time. My mom, and how much I loved her. How right she was about not wanting me to go on this journey in the first place. I never would’ve imagined I’d be in this situation. If I get out of this, I’m going back home, I knew. I’m heading directly for Pallet Town and hugging and kissing my mother and never leaving home again. Mommy. I’m so sorry, I cried in my head as tears of sorrow were now coming from my eyes. I love you. Mommy, I love you. I’m so sorry I didn’t listen. Mommy, I love you. I love you! My eyes tightened even tighter, more tears being wrung out of my head as I continued to run with Will.
“MEGAAAAAN!!” Will shouted in fury. “MEGAN, WHERE ARE YOU??!!”
I didn’t know who Megan was, but Will’s panicked voice sent shivers down to my soul.
“WHERE IS OFFICER JENNY?? SHE SHOULD BE HERE BY NOW!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!” Will roared out.
Tears continued to stream down my face. I wiped my eyes repeatedly. “WILLIAM!!! PLEASE!!! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO??” I pleaded.
“WE’RE GONNA GET OUT OF HERE!” Will answered. “MEEEEEGAAAAAAANNN!!”
Squinting through my eyes, I could see that the cloud of dirt and smoke around us was starting to clear a little bit. I screamed and tried to stop as a stream of fire was blasted in front of Will’s running path, but Will yanked me forward against my will, into the flames!! My eyes popped open in terror as I was forced forward and reached the fire, just as it disappeared! As I ran into the spot the fire once was, I heard a loud bark.
A Growlithe was growling at me. It had used a Fire attack in the direction me and Will were running through. But, why?
I turned in the direction the fire had aimed at and saw a bulky creature that seemed to be covered in metal.
Was Growlithe attacking that Pokemon? Why?
I didn’t have time to think on it as Will continued to pull me forward, past the two Pokemon.
Something flew past me and Will with a loud cry. It slammed into another creature that charged at it from the ground.
It appeared to be a Pidgeot and what I was sure was called a Hariyama, fighting. Pidgeot pecked viciously at Hariyama, beating it with its wings while Hariyama swung its enormous open palms at Pidgeot. Neither Pokemon gave in and attacked continuously.
Will tugged me around the fighting brutes.
“Will! What’s going on here?? Are the Pokemon actually fighting with each other?”
“They’re confused!” Will screamed impatiently. “This is nothing but utter chaos and confusion! All the explosions and everything is scaring the Pokemon and now everything is just fighting with one another! There’s no control! I don’t even know where anybody else is! MEGAAA-”
Will’s yell was interrupted by the earth shaking violently beneath our feet. With a loud explosion of dirt, something huge burst from the ground a couple of feet in front of us, roaring loud enough to push me and Will back a couple of feet.
Will and I gazed up at the huge, snakelike monster that towered many, many feet over us both.
“Is that… a Pokemon?” I whispered.
“Steelix,” Will whispered back. “A lot larger than the average Steelix, though.”
I gazed at the incredible height on the Pokemon in disbelief. I‘d never seen anything as tall as this Pokemon.
Steelix roared furiously at us, its stinky, stale breath nearly knocking me down except that Will was still holding onto my arm.
“Can’t you control it?” I whispered to Will frantically.
“It’s mad beyond control. I don’t think anyone could control this thing.”
With a screech that nearly shattered my eardrums, causing me to scream and cover my ears, Steelix leaped forward to attack.
“MONLEEEEEE!” Hitmonlee leaped forward and kicked Steelix in its middle.
Steelix cried out in surprise from the attack as it was thrown back by the blow.
I couldn’t believe the giant metal beast really had been taken back by that.
“HITMONLEE, LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!” Will grabbed my arm and yanked it away from my ear, pulling me forward.
I hadn’t seen Hitmonlee all this time, but now, he was running alongside us in plain view.
I was gasping for air, but I knew better than to stop and forced myself to keep running.
We ran past the enormous Steelix on the ground. Shortly after we got away from it, I heard its terrifying yell.
I turned to look behind me but Will yanked my arm hard and I focused on the path ahead of us.
“DON’T SLOW DOWN!! KEEP UP OR DIE!”
I felt a cramp in my stomach, but I used all my energy and willpower to keep moving, crying openly. I just wanted to be out of here and with my mom. Not raising Pokemon or collecting Badges. I just wanted to be home with my mommy!
“Gary!” Will said sternly, no longer shouting, coming to a stop.
The explosions were now over. The only sound now was raging fires and the screams and cries of various Pokemon.
Will’s face looked like it was made of stone. “Get out of here!”
“Huh?” I gasped in shock, breathing hard to get my breath back in me.
“This is the end of the ranch! Keep on running and get out of here!”
“And leave you here? HELL NO!”
“YOU STUPID CHILD, GET OUT OF HERE!!” He grabbed me, digging his nails into my shoulders. He switched places with where I was standing and shoved me backwards. “DON’T BE STUPID! GET OUT!!”
“I’m not leaving you, Will!” I insisted, a side of my brain pleading for me to run while I still could. “I refuse! I have Pokemon!! I can battle!! We can help!!”
Will slapped me across the face.
I nearly fell to the floor, my eyes instantly filling up with tears.
“GET OUT OF HERE!!” Will sounded exhausted, tired of arguing with me over this. “Officer Jenny isn’t here and I know damn well she should’ve been alerted by now! She isn’t even far from here! Next to the Laramie Big P Ranch is the Pokemon Preservation Area, an area where it’s also illegal to capture Pokemon! She should have been alerted that there was some kind of danger going on here! She still hasn’t contacted me nor arrived yet! Something is wrong! Get out of here and find out what’s wrong, Gary!”
“What about you?” I demanded, not moving.
Will glared at me for a moment, the screams and cries of battling, angry Pokemon closeby. “Get help,” Will said finally, letting out his breath in exasperation. “You want to help so damn bad? Then go get some help for us. Don’t be a freaking hero and die. Don’t die for nothing you fool! Actually do something to save us if you want to help so damn bad!” Will shoved me again, forcing me to struggle to fight through the dizziness and weariness to not fall.
I didn’t turn from him, squinting my eyes at him angrily.
Will leered back. “I have Hitmonlee. I’m not alone in this,” he assured me.
I wasn’t comforted by this, and stayed where I was. Will’s eyes burned into mine like red hot steel spears, making it impossible to stand there any longer. I nodded once and ran as fast as I could away from him.
“And don’t look bad, damnit!”
I ran for what seemed only ten seconds at the most before I heard Will yell something.
It sounded like an order of some kind. Maybe it was to Hitmonlee.
I didn’t turn back, like he told me.
There was a loud roar.
I didn’t turn back.
I kept running.
I ran forth into the Pokemon Preservation Area, completely out of breath, but didn’t stop.
My Pokemon’s lives.
The people and Pokemon of the Big P Pokemon Ranch’s lives.
All depended on me continuing to run.