pokeball headcanons: - pokeballs are all registered to their trainers' name and probably an ID number of some sort associated with that trainer; being captured in a pokeball gives a pokemon a kind of virtual microchip that marks it as belonging to that pokeball and that pokeball only, which is why trying to return a pokemon to the wrong ball or catch an already owned one doesn't work, and why to trade you have to use a special machine instead of just swapping pokeballs. essentially it goes pokemon linked to ball linked to trainer. -you can't get pokeballs registered in your name until you're ten, but it's very common for people's parents or bigger siblings or friends or whatever to keep a pokemon or two in their name and then trade them over when the real owner comes of age -you use the same button press to both return and release a pokemon from its ball, the function being determined by the ball itself according to whether it's full or empty, but you have to do a special kind of button press to actually free a pokemon, i.e. break its virtual microchip and link with its ball and return it to the wild. this is to stop people doing that by accident and having to catch their pokemon all over again or losing them entirely. -balls break if they capture a pokemon but it breaks out because they've already 'used up' their microchip imprinter but it didn't take and they only have the one. -although pokeballs keep their inhabitants in virtual stasis as energy rather than in any physical form, they still keep their consciousnesses. Balls make it easy to sleep and be unaware of the outside world, but if they resist this they can be dimly aware of what's going on outside and if there's a pressing reason they want out the ball will respond to it. some pokemon never get the hang of this and can't get out even if they really need to; others have perfected it and will get out for the dumbest reasons. depends on the pokemon.