The Change#

The Change (noun) and being Changed (verb) are the official terms for the anthropomorphication of Pokémon, with the colloquial term ‘morphed’ used much more frequently. It is spoken of rarely by name, both for lack of a need to, and to avoid what is an excessively uncomfortable topic for many. Due to the trauma involved for First and Second generation Pokemorphs, publicly speaking of it is frowned upon. Even in closed quarters there are many who will refuse to speak of what their experience was like, though others are willing to dutifully share history, and others, most commonly among Plasma’s morphs, recall the process in elated or dreamlike tones. The procedure itself requires specialized equipment of multiple varieties, essentially consuming an entire room’s worth of space, and is performed under experienced attendance.

To create a morph, a Pokémon is placed in a chamber and injected with Agent Armageddon. The dose of ‘AA’ is dependent purely on the size of the source creature, and the substance needs configuration with human genetic information. Whenever possible, the Pokémon’s Trainer is used, as it is observed to significantly increase the success rate. In present day, would-be morphs can pick any willing human. Once inside, the subject is restrained by numerous adjustable straps to allow some physical guidance in properly changing the body. In First and Second Generations, the straps also served- along with power suppression devices- to prevent the forming morph from thrashing around and damaging the chamber itself. Tubes are fitted to allow air and sustenance to be provided. After being so prepared and restrained, the chamber is flooded with thick purple liquid, which is slowly and constantly cycled. Including Potion contents, the liquid provides more physical support, growth promotion, and a low-grade influx of healing to offset the continual cellular damage.

In its first iteration, The Change took around seventeen days, reduced to ten in the Second Generation, then raised to fourteen in Plasma’s Unovan version in exchange for the modifications that made the process far more comfortable and more likely to succeed. The current Liberated Generation version takes sixteen days to complete, slightly increasing the rate of success over the Unovan; no version has come without some risk of complication or death. Rocket’s version of the process was invariably intensely painful, to the point of forcing states of consciousness and unconsciousness in lieu of sleep. Plasma’s version is significantly muted by comparison, with intermittent periods of intense pain rarely breaking through an overall numbness and foggy mental state, sleep and dreams coming easily.

While the nanomachines in Agent Armageddon allow the process to be digitally guided to a rough degree, it is by no means an exact process; control is limited to focusing on higher or lower development in general body areas to compensate for Pokémon shapes and sizes. In the common event precision is required, half-complete morphs can be temporarily removed and undergo corrective surgery before being reinserted into the morphing chamber. These instances, along with the tubes, restraints, submersion, altered consciousness, and viewing blurry figures through transparent purple liquid and a wall of reinforced glass, form the majority of the memories for those who have gone through The Change.

Though the process is viewed in some regards as miraculous, a more mundane side is that a morph does not emerge ready to function with their new body; so much attention goes into the morphing itself that the required weeks of physical therapy to so much as walk afterward tend to be glossed over in discussion after the fact, though not Plasma’s disclosure and paperwork. Adjusting to an expanded mind also can be heavily disorienting to a new morph, and sometimes just as traumatic as the physical changes. Finally, learning to effectively speak a human language takes years to accomplish, though the fallback of using Pokéspeech exists for a morph, albeit after a period of readjustment to altered vocal cords.