Skylar was born the only child of an average, middle-class family in Vientown, Almia. Her parents were loving and supportive, and the environment was good. The close proximity to the Ranger School guaranteed a steady supply of good influences. Though her parents fought behind closed doors, it never grew violent. She was practically spoiled.
And yet... something in her was broken. Despite everything going right, despite having no real reason to be upset, a heavy weight appeared in her chest and never went away. Her lively eyes would dull, and childlike wonder turned quickly to apathy. The reason was far beyond her or anyone else's control -- mental illness can happen to anyone, regardless of the circumstances. But somehow, her good fortune made it worse. Maybe if she had reason to be upset, maybe if she'd had a less fortunate childhood, then she'd be justified in her depression, she thought. She didn't deserve the life she had. Someone else should have had it. She was worthless. Just taking up resources.
Naturally, her parents worried for her. What had they done wrong? What could have prevented this? They sent her to therapy, gave her medication. Seeing how much they all cared for her, Skylar felt the weight grow heavier. She didn't deserve this. They were wasting their energy on her. But she couldn't stop them. She tried to stop them, but they were determined to help. So, with no other choice, Skylar sucked it up. She took all of those negative feelings deep inside of her and sealed them away where no one would suffer from them but her.
Those around her were relieved. It was fixed, they thought. They didn't have to worry about it. Skylar wasn't about to correct them. Soon after that, she turned her attention to the Ranger school. She'd been around them all her life. Rangers were people who existed to make other people's lives better. To protect the innocent and bring justice onto individuals who would take advantage of them. She liked that idea. Though she could never shake the feeling of being a burden on everyone else, of not being worth the resources, she could at least help others. Just working for herself would be selfish. Working to live would be selfish. She needed to work for the good of other people.
And so, Skylar Siegel joined the Ranger School. Almia is much different than other regions; rather than capturing Pokémon via strength and showing dominance, they prioritized friendship and coexistence. The rangers almost always captured Pokémon only temporarily, and using styluses instead of balls. Excepting, of course, one's partner Pokémon. The single Pokémon you took with you everywhere, that you could trust to be there when you needed them. Skylar absorbed the lessons on friendship and coexistence very well... but she grew attached to those around her. If she kept a Pokémon around for longer than a few minutes, she would project onto it, and it would hurt to say goodbye.
It was in the Ranger School that Skylar met Pip. Pip was a young Rotom, strangely sterile and detached for a species known to be mischievous and intense. They happened each other by chance -- the Rotom had been escaping capture or relocation to a "more fitting location", not liking the places they were assigned. But with the need to absorb electricity and their general curiosity, the Ranger School provided a fitting shelter. Where better to hide from Rangers than right under their nose? Besides, pre-graduates wouldn't recognize the signs of Rotom infestation.
Pip possessed Skylar's television, gaining an eye into the girl's private life as well as all else. And Pip grew interested, becoming a quiet observer of this strange girl who acted as cheerful as a Plusle only to crawl into bed and stare into nothingness with the same passive attention as one would normally stare at a television.
Pip, through their observation, also met second-hand Skylar's biggest influence in Ranger School. Her roommate, Alexis. Alexis was from Boyleland, and was a delinquent with a distaste for authority and an attitude. Almost stereotypical in her attempt to avoid stereotype.
Skylar had never met someone like that, though. Her life had been benign and boring. The idea of someone new, someone different, piqued her interest, and she became curious in her new roommate. Her eagerness to offer friendship turned off the other person at first. Nobody acted like that without some kind of motive. Skylar didn't understand this immediately, but she respected the other girl's dislike for her, and for the most part left her alone. This was the wrong move.
Alexis did not appreciate that. Her image was supposed to provoke disdain and occasionally fear, not apathy mixed with kindness. Her parents, rangers themselves, had thought that enrolling her in the Ranger School would shape her up, but instead of that, Alexis only doubled down on her behaviour. Disobedience and sarcasm and light vandalism were the orders of the day, though Skylar didn't understand why. Not at first.
The teachers did not respond to Alexis's misbehaviour like she was hoping, though. Most of them had dealt with this before, either in students or actual delinquents they'd dealt with if they were Rangers themselves. And compared to the awful things that could truly be done, Alexis was simply a nuisance.
And Alexis grew frustrated. She would trash their room, yell, kick, and cry. Skylar recoiled from this at first, hiding in the bathroom, but as she realized that the other girl didn't have it in her to harm others, she would stay in her room, staying quiet and out of the way. And eventually, that grew on Alexis's nerves, too. One day, the girl turned to the unresponsive Skylar and screamed at her, backing the girl up against the wall as she vented everything that had gone wrong.
As it turned out, Alexis was attention-starved. Perhaps it was because both of her parents were absent or busy when she was younger, or maybe there was something inherently "broken" in her as well, but Skylar understood. Human nature was to ignore things going right and focus on things going wrong. Correct the mistakes. As such, negative actions attracted a much bigger response than positive ones. Alexis needed to be validated, to be important.
Skylar didn't understand, not truly, but she found her heart reaching out to the other girl. She felt bad for her, but she resolved not to show it as best she could. And after the girl was done yelling and crying and screaming, she collapsed on her own bed, her throat raspy and broken up as she continued shouting obscenities into her pillow.
Pity was quite obviously not the solution. It was attention, sure, but not the "right" kind. Instead, she let it go for the night. It was the wrong time. But when the next day came around, she started to converse with Alexis. Simple things, like weather or television or classes. Things she knew they had in common. Alexis recoiled from this at first, much the same as earlier, but this time Skylar was determined. She continued to greet her and talk to her, her voice calm and apparently soothing, as she would be told later on.
And eventually, Alexis relented. They would talk and watch television, and exchanged phone numbers. Skylar got to know Alexis better than a lot of people did. But as teenagers do, they grew apart, and eventually Alexis quit Ranger School. They talked for about a year after she left, but after that, they never spoke again. Skylar regretted nothing -- they parted on good terms.
Pip watched all of this with the benign interest of someone who likes reality TV. When Alexis left, they were tempted to leave with her, to continue the story, but such a maneuver would be dangerous. Instead, they decided to stay with the less-interesting kind girl, who might make an interesting supporting character for someone else's arc one day.
Until the day she came home crying. Nothing had happened that day -- Skylar's bottled emotions simply boiled over, and she had to run from class to avoid anyone seeing her. She'd holed up in her dormitory, dead-eyed despite the tears flowing down her face. She was even laughing as she alternated between mocking her own emotions and begging herself to stop so things could go back to normal. Pip was thoroughly baffled by this. Humans weren't supposed to behave this way, were they? These were three different emotions. Was this some sort of human-glitch?
Things got worse over the course of the week. Skylar's monologues upon returning to her empty dorm grew more and more macabre, and Pip's disinterest turned to concern. Her voice was monotone, but her sentences were elaborate and detailed. She'd been thinking about this. Eventually, they turned dark to the point of calling someone, but Pip couldn't exactly contact the police. They would simply be collected and released to a "more fitting habitat". Seeing no other option, the Rotom was forced to reveal themselves, turning on the television and rapidly switching channels to communicate. It was by far the most stressful thing they'd ever done, having to watch several channels at once to scan for the proper words, stay within the television, and swap on the correct moment.
Skylar almost thought it was some kind of hallucination. When it responded to her commentary, she became even more convinced. Eventually, she laughed and decided there was no harm. It wasn't like anyone could see her. With the absence of Alexis and her own emotions nearly imploding on themselves, her television became her conversation/venting buddy.
She got more off of her chest than she had since she'd gone to therapy, and things started to get better. When they did, however, Skylar began to get concerned with herself. She was seeing things. Rangers weren't supposed to do that. The depression she could stifle, but hallucinations? No, this would ruin everything! The girl panicked, refusing to answer her television as her future fell apart in front of her eyes.
And finally, the Rotom left the television. Skylar's relief was palpable. Talking to a Pokémon, though rare, was much more "sane" than hallucinating a sentient television. Pip confessed their voyeuristic habits for her high school career, and Skylar admitted that their presence had helped her greatly. By the time Skylar was allowed to pick her partner Pokémon, there was no question. She'd come up with some story about how she'd met the Rotom in her own house during a thunderstorm, how they'd sought shelter. A lie, but one that let her keep her friend.
But right afterwards, just as Skylar was nearing graduation, her parents expressed their disappointment. They'd specifically bred a Ralts to stay with her. A caring, empathetic Pokémon that could either be a voice of compassion or protect her if she should ever be disarmed and overpowered by a stronger opponent. Skylar grew attached immediately to the tiny Feeling Pokémon, beyond happy to have two friends to talk to.
But Rangers in Almia can have but one Partner Pokémon. Skylar would have to decide. And between Pip and the Ralts, she chose a third option -- to leave. After all, Almia was a peaceful place, full of coexistence. Perhaps because people captured Pokémon so infrequently, sure, but there were places that needed law enforcement more than Almia ever would.
Numora became her new location of interest, and Skylar turned from Ranger School to a police academy. It was much rougher, true, but she could keep both of her friends. Friends which were powerful, and who she synergized well with. After a long, agonizing course, she completed police training. Her outlets through her Pokémon friends allowed her to suppress her depression well enough, and pass it off as circumstantial and thus unlikely to be a repeat incident.
She took to the streets, her eyes bright. Throughout her adventures, she befriended more Pokémon and even a few people, including an ex-gang leader from the Orre region, which only served to enforce her belief that everyone had reasons for their behaviour -- that everyone could be befriended and redeemed with the correct attitude adjustments and reinforcement.
One day, she happened upon a mission. Go into the haunted village and fight a Mimikyu that was causing trouble. But as she started in, she noticed something wrong. This wasn't hostile, it was protecting something. And through her compassion and intuition, she found a boy and gained a new partner.
The mission, once simple and routine, turned into a saga of cults and ghosts and stolen children. Skylar attempted to file reports, but things went by so fast that she could do nothing but gather her friends and desperately attempt to rescue the people who needed her. The trainer whose Pokémon she constantly butted heads with turned out to be a member of a cult, ready to sacrifice human beings for some nefarious purpose. As it turned out, the girl, like Alexis, turned out to be more than she seemed. She was a member of a long-dead cult, forced to continue to carry out their whims through an outside force. A Mega Gengar was manipulating her through blackmail and extortion and threats. The Gengar himself was the old cult leader who'd failed in his ritual suicide.
Things looked grim, but Skylar was determined. She continued to fight, pleaded to the girl, and refused to give in. And through her perseverence and frankly incredible luck, she won. No one died that night. The child was saved, and Skylar turned to the person she'd been fighting with all this time.
What to do? It wasn't her fault, and now that the Gengar was gone, the person who'd forced her to commit these crimes... if she took her back, the girl would go through an awful ordeal and possibly be sentenced guilty anyway due to the sentiment of the jury. Exhausted and buzzed with the energy of victory, Skylar decided to let the cult member, Chrysa, go. With the old trainer's blessings, she kept the Mimikyu who'd brought her into this so long ago.
Skylar finally returned to Collingwood, proud of herself. She filed the papers... and was summarily and unjustly fired for taking up work far above her station, for filing improper paperwork, and for making the current manager look bad. Perhaps if she'd appealed to the top, she could have kept her job, but Skylar instead quietly accepted her fate. She turned back to her apartment, remembering how her mother had taught her to make clothes and used that for a while as profit.
But it wasn't enough. Skylar went home, to Almia. She tried to be a Ranger again for a while, tried to release her team, but most of them just came back through various "coincidences". Things were different. They HAD to be different. Skylar dyed her hair and changed her attitude, and returned to Numora. She contacted the Chief of Police and requested a meeting, which... took a while. But she finally reached Darren, and spoke with him, explaining all that happened and asking very politely for her badge back.
He disapproved of releasing Chrysa, explaining that she probably wouldn't have even gone to prison. Skylar averted her eyes and nodded, saying that she understood. As a penalty, she would start over again at the very lowest rank... but she would regain her badge. If she ever saw Chrysa again, she would need to bring her in. Not for a crime, but to give her a life. A social worker, a network to rely on. Skylar's eyes sparked as she agreed to this condition, quietly resolving to do all she could to help her old "enemy" if she ever had the chance.
And with that, she took up her badge again, her Pokémon proud and excited to fight for "great justice" again. Well, in Julia's case it was just fighting in general, and Teeter was more excited to have a proper home again, but anyway. Skylar received a second chance to make things right, and to help others as best she could. It was not an opportunity she would waste.