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John Ford, also called the Shadowed Man is a mysterious and powerful figure in Rise of the Rockets. Originally introduced as a contact to Shadow Admin Sleight, Ford is a terrorist whose sole goal in life seems to be to end the Rocket-Liberty War, through any means necessary. While he has worked with Team Rocket in the past, Ford has his own agenda, which encompasses a large number of people, Pokémon, factions and areas. As he feels that everything has been put into place, Ford has recently begun putting his grand plan into action.
The Shadowed Man is notorious for using others to further his own goals, the biggest one being to take out both Team Liberty and Team Rocket so as to set up his own government and restore order to the world. Along with this, he has preformed other deeds for other purposes.
Ford's involvement in various events can be categorized by their importance to his own plan. Actions that are or were intended to greatly further his goals are considered "primary actions," while those that were meant to be small steps are considered "secondary actions."
- Sold the location of Team Liberty's main base to Team Rocket in exchange for the chance to kill Blackskull.
- Cause and Result: Unknown; may have been an attempt to weaken both Teams, as he has shown interest in killing not only leaders of Team Liberty, but those of Team Rocket as well. Succeeded in weakening both Teams.
- Warned Blackskull about Joker and Bluefalcon's confrontation; threatened to kill both if he did not arrive in the destroyed Control Center in thirty seconds.
- Cause and Result: Sought to lure Blackskull to his assassin, who had orders to kill Joker and Bluefalcon as well. Succeeded in luring Blackskull to them.
- Sent an assassin with Jessica Ortrune's group to kill Blackskull, Bluefalcon and Joker.
- Cause and Result: Sought to kill leaders of both Team Liberty and Team Rocket; partially succeeded, as Joker was injured. Failed in that Bluefalcon had been teleported out by the time the assassin had arrived, and even then neither Blackskull nor Joker were killed.
- Threatened to kill Bluefalcon if Blackskull did not hand over himself, Goldhawk and a 'device.'
- Cause and Result: Sought to weaken Team Liberty, as well as obtain an unknown object from Blackskull. Partially succeeded: When Blackskull could not meet any of the demanded aside from giving himself up, the Shadowed Man detonated a bomb, killing Bluefalcon and destroying the Server Room. He did not, however, acquire the device.
- Assisted Buzz in his attempt to kill Goldhawk and Ace.
- Cause and Result: Sought to weaken Team Liberty by killing another one of their leaders, as well as to keep them from getting info from Ace. Partially succeeded: Buzz was able to kill Ace, but failed to kill Goldhawk, due to the timely arrival of the legendary Raikou, who rescued him.
- Attacked Goldhawk and Blackskull in the Alamo.
- Cause and Result: Ford's primary goal was to weaken Team Liberty even further by killing another of their leaders. As his last attempts using puppets had failed, he saw fit to personally make sure his plan was fulfilled. Partially succeeded; while he was defeated in battle, Nine managed to pull Blackskull into an inter-dimensional portal, presumably killing him. Goldhawk, however, escaped the same fate.
- Allied Team Energon, the Searchers, and Team Galactic together.
- Cause and Result: Ford sought to create a new group so as to carry out his overall plan, using resources from each of the targeted groups for various purposes. Succeeded; using two of his apprentices, Ford convinced each group to ally with each other, as well as himself, creating the Hojohsin League.
- Hired Kevin Sparks in Unova to create another Mewtwo.
- Cause and Result: As part of the Hojohsin League's plan to end the war, a Pokémon with extremely powerful psychic abilities was required for use with the Searchers' mind control orbs. Succeeded; Sparks managed to create another Mewtwo, whose power is currently being tested by Quincy Adams.
- Installed James Pierce as the new President of Hoenn.
- Cause and Result: As Team Liberty's revolt against Ace had left Hoenn with an unfilled power void, Ford saw this as the perfect opportunity to get his scheme rolling, as it left Paradise on Southern Island as the only place in Hoenn requiring further removal of Rocket or Liberty commanders. Fairly successful; Pierce was praised by the populace for filling in the government hole, though his sudden appearance has received skepticism from some civilians, as well as several Rocket and Liberty agents.
- Informed Gavin Braner about the Rocket attack on the Alamo. Also gave a Skorupi to Braner, noting that his Pokémon had lost to Team Liberty agents moments before.
- Cause and Result: Sought to bring an end to Braner, possibly to weaken Team Rocket. Failed, as Braner retreated after a defeat against Jayron Aaron.
- Set up a sniper to kill Liberty Executive Richie Eston; warned Kyle Eston about this, threatening to kill Richie if he did not arrive there 'soon enough.'
- Cause and Result: Sought to weaken Team Liberty; knew that either death would be a blow, big or small, against Team Liberty. Failed: Kyle, while gravely injured from the sniper wound, was not killed, and even managed to save his unsuspecting father.
- Ordered Chris Ridot to head to the Server Room.
- Cause and Result: Unknown cause; presumably sought to weaken Team Liberty by killing another member in the Server Room explosion. Failed: Chris did not arrive until after the Server Room explosion occurred.
- Sent an assassin to lure Jayron Aaron into a trap and kill him.
- Cause and Result: Sought to keep Jayron from interfering with any more of his plans, as he was one of the agents who Blackskull had warned about him (and he had already caused him several minor problems.) Failed: the assassin blew up a warehouse filled with explosives that Jayron was in, killing another Liberty agent; however, by using his aura, Jayron barely managed to survive, as well as obtain some info from the assassin about the Shadowed Man.
True to his name, the Shadowed Man's true appearance was not known for quite a while, as his features have always been obscured by darkness when he video contacts his 'prey.' However, hints had been given about his appearance despite the shadows: the Shadowed Man is known to wear glasses, and has relatively short hair. He has an impish grin, which appears on his face when he has either placed his target in a position he wants them to be in or when there is something he wants. He has a cold, even voice, always hiding the true meaning behind his words with its calmness. Jayron Aaron managed to learn from an assassin who had been hired to kill him that an alias of his is John Ford, a name which has spread among the various groups since then.
Ford's appearance was finally revealed when he attacked the Alamo during Team Liberty's invasion of Paradise. He wore a long black coat and fedora, as well as a pair of black sunglasses and a black scarf around the lower half of his face. He stood at six feet tall and had dark hair, the exact color of which was hidden by his Darkrai.
Ford is a sly and manipulative, as well as confident, individual. From his very first appearance in Rise of the Rockets, he was shown to use his knowledge and information as a way to get Shadow Admin Sleight to do just what he wanted him to do, even daring to directly treat the Rocket Admin as an inferior while he spoke to him. His appearances since then have been marked by his manipulation of others to achieve his goals, intentionally putting them into positions where they have no choice but to do what he wants them to, either by threatening them or outwitting them and convincing the person in question that his course of action is the most logical one. Because of this and his actions towards those he interacts with, he is intensely disliked by most of the people he comes into contact with, and even some who have never even met him.
On top of the above, Ford's desire the bring about what he thinks of as "world peace" is strong enough to drown his sense of reason when it comes to empathy towards other humans. He is more than willing to use force, deception and death as a way to get Team Liberty and Team Rocket to stand down. While his intentions are certainly noble, they are nullified by the fact that he does not show concern for the lives of anyone, going so far as to back-stab those whom he helps when he no longer sees a need for them.
Ford is also an incredibly intelligent being. Taking three seemingly disconnected groups, he managed to forge a master plan to bring about the fall of Teams Rocket and Liberty, and through that found a way to end the war, which he is currently pursuing. Always a step ahead of his enemies, he seems to take virtually everything into consideration before making a move, so as to make sure that everything goes as he wants it to. Along with this, Ford is extremely secretive in nature, going to great lengths to hide his appearance from those he comes into contact with, as well as making sure that, if he needs to talk to someone or vice versa, he contacts them, not the other way around. He seems to have super intuition in regards to this, as he seems to almost always know when someone wants to speak to him.
Ford's larger than average Darkrai, which he used in his attack on the Alamo, is his only known battling Pokémon. This Darkrai is much more powerful than regular Darkrai, in that it can resist its weaknesses to Fighting Type and Bug Type moves, with its only real weakness being to light, and has also been shown to be able to rapidly recover from a large amount of damage inflicted on it by multiple opponents. It has also been shown to be able to use Palkia's signature Spacial Rend attack, demonstrated when it created a hole in space inside of the Alamo that soon after pulled Blackskull into another dimension, and as such it is possible that it can also utilize Dialga's Roar of Time as well. Despite this, it is not the "Alpha" Darkrai, as has been theorized by several people; while there was no explanation given for this originally, it has since been revealed that Ford's Darkrai, named Nine, was one of ten Darkrai who opposed Arceus long ago, after the Creator Pokemon had bestowed the ability to manipulate time and space onto the Darkrai. Led by SombraD, Nine was the most powerful of his followers, though left before the imprisonment of the other Darkrai; following Sombra's recent attempts to return to power, Nine has reluctantly joined in the cause again, though he sees little probability of the schemes succeeding. Other attacks at its disposal include Dark Void and Shadow Ball, as well as the ability to create tendrils of darkness that it can use to ensnare its opponents and the power to manipulate a sort of green fire.
Nine seems to be more level-headed than the other nine Darkrai -- he acknowledges the possibility of Sombra's plans failing, and follows Ford's order because he wishes to stop the war between Team Rocket and Team Liberty, something he and Ford both know can not be done peacefully. He is prone to annoyance when touched by beings he deems unworthy, as demonstrated when he burned Sombra's arm after being marked so as to be tracked later. Nine is not afraid of SombraD like the other Darkrai, having confidence that he would be able to defeat SombraD if the need arose, and might even have the skills to back that claim up. A unique trait of Nine is that he is able to control special, green flames, the exact same color as his eye.
- "You are remarkably ignorant. Do you honestly believe that I would let one of Team Rocket's Shadow Admins get captured? Quite the contrary. Everything that has happened related to Ace in the past week has gone exactly as I had planned. Those Shadow Pokémon that escaped? My doing. The 'loss' of Hoenn? Planned. Ace's meeting and subsequent 'capture' by Goldhawk? Right on cue. Her death? It worked out just as expected. Don't make assumptions if you don't have proof to back them -- they won't get you anywhere." -- The Shadowed Man in response to Searcher.
- ""Not if [the Shadowed Man] cut communications with you," [Ace] answered. "He's a hacker, there is no question about that. I suspect he's been using both sides -- the amount of power he's demonstrated... there's no questioning that..."" - Ace to Goldhawk, warning him about Ford.
- John Ford is named after two past presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy (35th President) and Gerald Ford (38th President.) This naming scheme carries over to his operatives as well.