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Keleri
29th July 2006, 4:52 AM
I don't normally do one-shots very often, but this one just came to me one night after a discussion here. I found it tonight after updating my 'fic on FFnet (nudge nudge), cleaned it up and decided to post it. Enjoy. Critique appreciated.

x.x.x.x.x


Rarity


He was wiping down the front desk when he heard the swish of the automatic doors. The attendant had been working there long enough that he barely even noticed it anymore, but it was getting late. Every additional trainer rankled, especially when he only had five minutes left on his shift.

The trainer strode in confidently—well, this was the pokémon center at Indigo Plateau, they all did that—shaking off her rain hat before closing the last few steps to the desk.

She had a nice smile. “Hi. These six, please,” she said. She pulled three capture balls off her belt, and then another three, the variously-colored spheres clattering onto the dented tray.

“Any badly hurt?” he said, through the kicked-dog smile that always seemed to find its way onto his face when dealing with trainers. The machine would tell him if a pokémon needed special treatment, but he always asked, just to see if any of them would lie about it.

Not many did, surprisingly.

She looked pensive, replaying the day’s battles in her mind, before saying, “No, I don’t believe so.”

He nodded. “Okay, should be about five minutes. Do you want us to call you on the PA?”

“No, that’s fine,” the trainer said, sliding him her trainer’s card. “I’ll come and get them when I’m ready—I feel frozen after walking in the rain.”

“Sure.”

She turned, walking off towards the lounge. They were overfilled because of the tournament, so it was likely to be noisy until the last few irate, sleepy trainers tried to smother the chattiest of their fellows with a backpack. He’d never worked the night shift, but apparently it could be as late as two in the morning if someone well-known had neglected to reserve a room in the ‘center or in one of the Plateau’s many hotels.

The day manager had met Lance when she’d first started working here, and Danika had met that mysterious fellow with the articuno who’d disappeared shortly after being disqualified for his gengar leaving the arena and attacking someone. She’d handled the actual master ball, the actual thing that held the icy beast, and she never knew, never suspected a thing until she saw him on TV, can you believe that? It’s a shame, really, I thought he was sort of cute, you know, but anyone who keeps pokémon like that gengar—and you know what everybody says about people who try to catch legendaries like that—well, they aren’t the sort of person you want to spend much time around, you know?

The attendant glanced down at the trainer card, out of habit; everybody who worked here was always hoping that they’d just helped someone famous—it took some of the sting off having to deal with the stuck-up, big-headed trainers that acted like it was they who were performing the service… and of course, the ones that came through, flatly denying the condition of their pokémon…

Kris Tallerin, said the black letters under the scratched, battered laminate.

Hmm. Where had he heard that name before?

Well, it wasn’t surprising that he didn’t know—he didn’t follow pokémon trainers as obsessively as some as some people did, poring over the gym wins and losses, trying to spot a rising star so they could say that they’d seen them first.

He slotted the worn, assorted pokéballs into the machine and closed the lid, the humming noise adding itself to the sounds from the lounge, which seemed to have risen in volume.

The attendant glanced at the clock and sighed—it was as if the minute hand had suddenly decided to work only as hard as its shorter companion, just like always—before saving the record of the pokémon the trainer had brought in to be healed.

He shifted his gaze to the countertop, where smudged fingerprints glared at him from where the light shone on it. Sighing again, he pulled a spray bottle of bleach out of the floor cupboard and proceeded to clean it, for what felt like the millionth time.

One minute, two minutes, four minutes, six… Tomoe was late again. The machine beeped loudly behind him and he ignored it, even though the counter was perfectly shiny. Finally he removed the pokéballs and put them back in the tray, the trainer’s ID card neatly slotted beside them.

It was getting dark out, though the drizzle kept coming down, visible to him only as a vague sense of motion against the glare of a lamp outside. He tidied the junk on the desk although it was already perfectly neat, and wondered, not for the first time, if he’d died and his punishment was to spend all eternity in a limbo of waiting…

Salvation appeared in the form of Tomoe, who arrived at the desk, puffing and blowing like an old tauros.

“Ohmigosh, Dev, I am so sorry! I honestly got here early but then I fell asleep in the break room! I’m so so so so so—”

“No, it’s okay, Tomoe,” he interrupted, “I’m glad you came. See you later,” he said, backing towards the door.

She smiled, embarrassed. “Okay. Bye, Deven.”

“Finally,” he whispered to himself as he trotted up the stairs to the locker room two at a time. A moment later, the pastel green shirt he wore as a uniform was safely shoved into his tiny locker and he was bundled up and ready to brave the elements.

He passed the entrance to the lounge as he was making his way out. The trainer from before was currently the center of attention in the room, and evidently loving it. Curiosity drew him nearer, as it looked like she was someone famous after all.

“Hey Kris, I heard Gin was going to be here. What do you think of that, eh?” someone was saying.

The girl grinned and shook her head, her long, turquoise blue pigtails waggling. “Gin? I’m surprised they didn’t lock him up after all the stuff he’s done—they say he’s gotten better, but dyeing the fur doesn’t change the monster under the skin.”

Several people nodded, yes, that’s just what we thought of him.

A gangly girl, her light green hair falling into her eyes, was pushed to the front of the crowd, clutching a sketchpad to her chest.

“Go on, just ask her!” said one of the people behind her.

“Um, Miss Tallerin?” the green-haired girl managed to gasp.

“Yes?” said the trainer, mostly amused.

“I… was wondering… if maybe—if it’s not too much trouble—if you could sign this—for me—please, I—”

“Of course,” Kris said generously, taking the sketchpad. “Got a pen?” The pen was produced. “Thanks,” she said, scribbling her autograph with practiced ease.

The girl held the returned paper with reverent awe. “Thank you so much,” she whispered. “You’re the one who inspired me to be a trainer…”

Kris grinned. “Are you in the tournament?”

The girl nodded.

“I’ll try to watch for you. I’m sure it’ll be worth it.”

The green-haired trainer gave a little scream of delight. “Go Cindy!” said one of her friends, thrusting a fist into the air.

“You really opened doors for all of us,” said a plump, magenta-haired girl in a breathless voice. “Female trainers were a real rarity before you came along!”

“That’s not true,” Deven found himself saying, and to his horror, Kris turned to look at him, and with her came the attention of everyone in the room.

“What?” said the plump girl, looking vaguely annoyed.

“Oh hey!” said Kris. “Did you come to tell me that my pokémon were ready? That’s awfully nice of you, most pokémon centers don’t give that sort of personal treatment.”

“Um, no, I didn’t—well, I mean, they are ready if you want them—I was just walking by—” He stopped, as a number of people were starting to smile at him. Just a barrel of laughs, he was.

“I wanted to say, female trainers weren’t a rarity. There’ve always been loads of female trainers. My—my mom was a trainer, and my aunt and a lot of their friends.”

Kris smiled, and he found himself seething at the patronizing look she was giving him.

“Were they serious trainers?” she asked him politely.

Well, not really… they’d go out during the summer and try to win a couple of badges here and there… but what did that have to do with anything?

“They were—”

“Just hobbyists, right?” said Kris, still polite.

Just hobbyists?

“I meant that serious female trainers were a rarity,” the magenta-haired girl interjected. There was some murmuring of agreement from the crowd; he was thinking about junior trainers, ladies and lasses in polite trainer’s slang.

He didn’t want to be here, he wanted to be—anywhere else. Outside in the rain was an easily accessible option, hinted his legs and the sliding doors to his right.

His mouth betrayed him. “Well then, what about the gym leaders? Half of them are female—and same with Lorelei and Agatha. And, and what about all the, all the”—his brain drudged up some more trainer slang—“tamers and cool-trainers and them? They were in the tournaments even back then.”

Kris was still smiling at him, the wayward child. She nodded as he spoke.

“Well, none of them were Champion, were they?”

Negrek
31st July 2006, 4:01 AM
Wow, I don't believe I've ever read a one-shot by you. Should be fun!

Before we get started with the real review, a couple mistakes:


...she said, pulling three capture balls off her belt, and then another three, clattering onto the dented tray.
That's a dangling participle... see how the last part, "clattering onto the dented tray", doesn't have any actual subject to attach itself to?



Well, it wasn’t surprising that he didn’t know—he didn’t follow pokémon trainers as obsessively as some as some people did, pouring over the gym wins and losses, trying to spot a rising star so they could say that they’d seen them first.
Should be "poring", not "pouring."



He passed the entrance to the lounge as he was making his way out, and noticed that the trainer from before was currently the center of attention in the room, and evidently loving it.
That's a biiit of a long sentence, there. You don't need any of the commas, however; you'd only need them if you were splitting up independent clauses, but only the first clause here is independent.

- The paragraph that begins "The day manager had met Lance..." seems a little out of place to me. I had to go back and look at the paragraph above to figure out what the continuity between the two was. Perhaps it's just me... it kinda threw me off a little.

Anyway, that's very interesting. There seem to be quite a few 'fics revolving around some female trainer going "against all odds" and being the first to do all sorts of stuff. But, really, there are numerous female trainers, aren't there?

Nicely done. This brought up a few things I hadn't really thought about before, such as people obsessively watching the training scene and getting real into rooting for their favorite candidates. Sort of like a sports team of one, or something. And keeping that pokecenter counter clean--talk about an excercise in futility!

As always, very nicely written and pleasant to read. This one-shot gave me a bit to think about and was a bit more light-hearted than what I generally find in one-shots into the bargain. Great job on this one.

BenJS
31st July 2006, 2:43 PM
So unless a female's the champion she's not serious, just a hobbiest, huh? That sounds a bit concieted.

That is, of cause, assuming she's actually the champion which would be why her name sounded familiar. If that's wrong then just ignore it.

But in that case I'd say she's quite overconfident, a tad arrogant perhaps.

Either way I liked, I love your writing.

Keleri
9th August 2006, 4:55 PM
That's a dangling participle... see how the last part, "clattering onto the dented tray", doesn't have any actual subject to attach itself to?
Oooh, tricky; I never would have noticed that. I'll rephrase it, I think. ^^


Should be "poring", not "pouring."
^^; Homophones! arararar.


That's a biiit of a long sentence, there. You don't need any of the commas, however; you'd only need them if you were splitting up independent clauses, but only the first clause here is independent.
Man, I've gotta learn all this grammar terminology. ^^; You're right though, it does sound a little awkward, so I'll split it up.


The paragraph that begins "The day manager had met Lance..." seems a little out of place to me. I had to go back and look at the paragraph above to figure out what the continuity between the two was. Perhaps it's just me... it kinda threw me off a little.
Hehe, yeah, that one's confused a few people. ^^; I'm not totally sure why I left it in, I think I just liked the 'stream of consciousness' effect it had.


Anyway, that's very interesting. There seem to be quite a few 'fics revolving around some female trainer going "against all odds" and being the first to do all sorts of stuff. But, really, there are numerous female trainers, aren't there?
Yeah, I was sort of trying to follow the reasoning of someone insisting that girls were downtrodden and discriminated against until pokemon crystal. The only way I could think of to explain this was that none of the female trainers mattered until one of them became champion (and who's to say there wasn't a female champion before Lance?)

But yeah. Those "against all odds" 'fics will always show up (and published books, too... lil' tiresome.), even if they are lacking in canonity here.


Nicely done. This brought up a few things I hadn't really thought about before, such as people obsessively watching the training scene and getting real into rooting for their favorite candidates. Sort of like a sports team of one, or something.
Yeah! I was thinking about how people get really into football or hockey, making up fantasy teams and stuff and trying to predict players' performance. And after all the shenanigans at the World Cup, I want to make some kind of world tournament that everyone gets worked up about, with all the crazy stuff that goes on at an event of that magnitude. xD ZIDANE used HEADBUTT!


As always, very nicely written and pleasant to read. This one-shot gave me a bit to think about and was a bit more light-hearted than what I generally find in one-shots into the bargain. Great job on this one.
Hee! Thanks. ^^ I was really happy when you commented, I'd felt kind of unloved for a couple days. x)


So unless a female's the champion she's not serious, just a hobbiest, huh? That sounds a bit concieted.
Yeah, like I said above, that's the reasoning I derive from people saying that Crystal was the first really good female trainer 'cause she was the first female avatar you could have in the games. The elites, gym leaders and countless NPCs you encounter in the games apparently didn't matter.


That is, of cause, assuming she's actually the champion which would be why her name sounded familiar. If that's wrong then just ignore it.
Nope, you're right! I think I might have been a little too subtle, using Crystal and Silver's japanese names (plus a completely fabricated slightly punning last name for Crystal), since I haven't heard anyone comment on them. (Or maybe they're just so obvious they don't need to be mentioned. ^^;; )


Either way I liked, I love your writing.
Haha, thanks. ^^ And thank you for commenting, I was a little sad when it slipped off the front page without anyone saying anything. ^^;

Nagashi
10th August 2006, 2:09 AM
A nice look into a very interesting issue in the Pokemon world, and a fascinating read; really made me think how rare it is to see a female champion who isn't the "first of her kind", or something along those lines...