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Xman96
14th May 2012, 4:47 AM
Alright everyone, I've decided to restart my fic. Mostly because after leaving it so long I want to take the fic in a whole new direction. The beginning will be the same, and then after that the fic will skip ahead a few years. So, here's the first chapter of the reboot.

As a note, this is part of the Non-Competitive Trainers Hangout Canon. A few of the other fics that are part of the same canon: League of Heroes (this is the one that started all of the other fics), Friends of Draco (and the others that are by Dracoburn), Journeymen, Tempest, Shiny Expert: Xander, Galactic Files, and Heroes League. I know that there are more, but I haven't been able to keep up with them all. They are all excellent reads.


Chapter 1: A New Discovery

***Professor Xander’s Laboratory, Formerly the P2 Lab***

“Alright, Jacobs, turn the power up by forty percent,” Professor Xander was attempting to revive an Anorith Fossil that he believed to be a shiny pokemon. Xander was an expert on shiny pokemon, and if this fossil turned out to be one, then his theory would become fact. He had been waiting for this moment since he was eighteen when he wrote his first paper on the phenomenon that is shiny pokemon. That was more than four years ago, and so much had happened since then. He put a dangerous criminal behind bars, he took out an attempt by Team Magma to force Mount Chimney to erupt, he helped in the Team Omega crisis, got promoted to Elite Four member, he had gotten married, and many other things. He had only become an official Pokemon Professor a short seven months ago. The P2 labs were discovered by two friends of his, Jo and David, during the Omega crisis. After all of that had been settled he came and checked out the abandoned lab, and found that it fit his needs perfectly. He had done a lot of renovating since then, and even put a battle field in.

“Yes Professor X,” That was Jacobs, Xander’s right hand man. Jacobs had been with Xander since the beginning. He was Xander’s assistant, and had become a good friend of his. A tall and lanky man with glasses, he fit the stereotypical scientist perfectly. This was in stark contrast with Xander, who was a man of six foot two, and was solidly built. Xander worked out regularly and on several occasions has tried to get Jacobs to join him, but to no avail. Professor X was a nickname that Xander had received amongst people in the scientific community, due to his name starting with X and the comic book character that goes by the same name. Xander’s friend Raj was the first one to coin the name.

Jacobs was just the one of many assistants that stayed at the lab to assist Xander. All in all, there were twenty-one staff members on the island. It was like one big family, you had the brother that you were close to, the weird cousin that you wondered if he was adopted, the crazy uncle, and everything in between.

The laser that was focusing on the fossil lit up brighter, “Alright, keep it there Jacobs. Just a little more…”

The fossil began to glow the familiar white light that appeared when a pokemon evolved. After the light faded, there was a red Anorith in the glass jar.

Xander smiled, “Raise the glass jar, and shut the machine down!” The assistants scrambled to do what he said, and in a moment, the machine was totally powered down and the glass was raised. Xander approached the pokemon and held it up. It was definitely a shiny pokemon, “Yes! This proves my theory!”

“Congratulations Professor X!” Jacobs ran over to see the Anorith, “Before you can make an announcement though, we have to examine this Anorith fully.”

“You’re right Jacobs, let’s get to it.” Xander stroked the Anorith as he and Jacobs walked down to the examination room. Although Xander studied pokemon, he wasn’t detached. Every pokemon that he studies is more often than not, one of his own. This Anorith he would train and it would become a part of his family of pokemon. When they got down to the examination room, Xander’s Xtranciever began to ring, “Jacobs, go ahead and start the examination process, I need to take this.”

“No problem Xander, we’ll have this done by the time you get back.”

“All right, just make sure you guys are thorough. I don’t need something for skeptics to pick at.”

“Hey, aren’t we always?”

Xander smiled, and left them to their work, he pressed a button on his Xtranciever, and a familiar face popped up, “Hello Prof. Birch, how are things going?”

“Things are going fine, but I’ve found some interesting pokemon.”

“How so, are they shiny?”

“No, these are normal in that respect, but I just scanned them with a pokedex, and their abilities aren’t what they should be.”

“First, could you tell me what species of pokemon you’re talking about?”

“Oh, right, sorry,” Prof. Birch was always a bit disorganized, even by Xander’s standards, “They are the standard Hoenn starters that I give out to new trainers, Torchic, Treecko, and a Mudkip.”

“So you said that their abilities are different than normal?”

“Yes, they are! The Torchic has Speed Boost, Treecko has Unburden, and Mudkip has Damp.”

Xander had encountered pokemon like this before. During one of the large scale battles against Team Omega they had encountered Drizzle Politoads and Drought Ninetails. Xander had used his illegal Snag Machine to capture one of each, and both were good friends of his now. “Those sound like interesting pokemon, but, why are you telling me this?”

“Well, after I read your latest paper on shiny pokemon, I began thinking that maybe these odd abilities are linked to one of the genomes of the pokemon. You’re the foremost scientist on pokemon genetics, so I thought I’d see of you could come and check them out.”

“Well, I suppose I could. It’ll be a few days before I can make out to Hoenn though.”

“No worries, the pokemon will still be here when you arrive.”

“Thanks Birch for letting me know, now I need to get back to the examination room.”

“Alright, I’ll be expecting you in three days, does that sound good?”

“Sounds fine Birch, see you then,” Xander logged off, and went back to the examination room.

***Two Hours Later***

“This can’t be right,” Xander was looking at the data that he had triple checked.

“It’s undeniable Professor X, this Anorith’s ability is Swift Swim,” Jacob was just as dumbfounded as Xander.

“This is very interesting. I wonder what’s causing this phenomenon?”

“What do you mean ‘phenomenon’?”

“I’m not quite sure. I’ve heard reports, and even seen firsthand, of pokemon that have different abilities. I mean, look at my Politoad and Ninetails.”

“True, but I thought those were isolated incidents.”

“So did I, but it’s looking like it’s more widespread. It could be a genetic mutation that’s beginning to show up in a few species. I wonder if all pokemon have this potential?”

“Perhaps now that you’ve solved the mystery of shiny pokemon, you could look into this. If you don’t mind me asking, who called?”

“I don’t mind, and it was Prof. Birch. He said that he has three Hoenn starters that have different abilities than they should have, just like this Anorith. How fortuitous that he would call today.”

“That is interesting; are you going to go visit him?”

“Yes, that is, after I finalize my paper, so I told him to expect me in three days, which means that I have about two days to finish it because of the plane ride.”

“Alright then. Do you want me to hold down the fort while you’re gone?”

“Please Jacobs, that would be a big help.”

“No problem. Enjoy your vacation.”

“Hey, I’ll be working the whole time I’m there.”

Jacobs began walking out of the examination room to input the data into the computers. Just before he left he turned around, “Sure you will.”

***Later that Night, in Xander’s Private Dining Room***

Xander had set up a beautiful dinner for him and his wife, Christy. He had met her back when he was eighteen, and they hit it off; though, they hadn’t started dating till about eighteen months ago. They had been happily married for the last six months to the day. He wasn’t into all of these little anniversaries, but Christy put up with a lot, and she liked to celebrate these kinds of things. His work often took him away from home, and, although Christy did come with him, they rarely got to spend much time together during these trips, due to Xander having to work. He had cooked the meal himself, and thought he did pretty well. Cooking was one of his hobbies, and he wasn’t half bad at it.

Christy walked in with a big smile on her face. She was a beautiful woman, she was thin, 5’5, and had long black hair. She was wearing simple blue jeans, and a white T-Shirt, the same as her husband. Neither of them really liked getting all dressed up, and preferred casual clothes whenever possible.
“This looks lovely dear,” She said with a smile. “What’s the occasion?” She joked.

“Here comes the test,” Xander joked back, “Luckily, I know the answer this time, it’s our six month anniversary.”

She nodded, “Hey, you actually remembered.”

“Of course I did, why wouldn’t I?”

“Come on, you’ve forgotten some important things.”

“Name one.”

“You forgot the rings at our wedding.”

Xander had forgotten the rings in his car on the day of his and Christy’s wedding, and while she was never mad about that, she did give him a hard time about it. She liked his little quirks, though, and thought it was cute. “I’m never gonna live that one down, am I?”

Christy laughed, “Nope, but let’s sit down and eat. What did you make?”
Xander pulled the chair out for his wife, and then lifted the lid off of the plate i
n front of her, “Crown rack of lamb.”

Xander had known that this was Christy’s favorite dish, and hoped that it would put her in a good mood for when he told her the news, “This looks delicious honey, but you didn’t have to go through all this trouble.”

“It was no trouble at all,” That was one of those lies that was often told to someone. It actually was quite a bit of trouble as Xander had never tried to make this before, and screwed up twice before he finally got it.

They began to talk over dinner about all sorts of things, Xander’s research, starting a family, and other miscellaneous things. When they were almost done, Xander decided it was time to tell her, “So, you know how we first met on that plane ride to Hoenn?”

“How could I forget, that may have been the worst flight I had ever been on. The only good part about it was that I met you.”

Xander smiled, “Well, I was thinking that maybe we could fly back there the day after tomorrow, and spend a few weeks there, you know, as a vacation.”
Christy’s smile grew wide and she jumped up and hugged him, “Are you serious?”

Xander kissed her, “Yep, it’s all booked.” He had planned to tell her about work, but he just couldn’t. She was so happy, and besides, he would only need a few hours with Prof. Birch…he hoped.

The rest of the night went well, but as Xander was lying in bed, he began to think, *Now just to figure out how to sneak away long enough to see Prof. Birch.*

***On the Plane to Littleroot Town***

Xander was flying in first class, well actually, there was only one class. He and Christy were flying in the one of the Researcher’s Foundation’s private jets. Christy had fallen asleep in the chair across from him, and he had some time to think. He thought about all that had happened in the last eighteen months or so. The biggest thing was undeniably him marrying Christy, but a close second was the quick succession of promotions in the Journeymen League. While they were staying at the Flare Gym, Raj asked him to officially join the League. Before this, Xander was just there paying Raj back for helping him during the Battle for Floraroma. After everything had been resolved, Raj had asked to speak with him. It turned out that one of the Elite Four members had given up battling because of Team Omega, and all of the destruction they caused. Raj then proceeded to promote him to the Elite Four. This suited Xander and his wife just fine, as Elite Four Challengers were few and far between. This allowed him and Christy to travel more.
Xander also thought about the relationships he had with the rest of the league members. Raj, who had gotten the league together, but wasn’t actually part of it himself, was a very good friend of Xander’s. The two had known each other since battling in Castelia City, almost four years ago.

Nate, who was perhaps the nastiest man Xander had ever met, well, Xander didn’t know much about Nate. He knew that Nate was the Dark type Elite Four member, but nothing besides that. Last Xander heard he was starting his journey over with a Mudkip. Why he was doing this, Xander had no idea.

Jo, who was a part time archeologist, wasn’t actually part of the league at all. She was currently challenging the gyms, just as Raj was. She had been called in to help during the Omega Crisis, and apparently, she used to be a gym leader. Xander talked to her a fair bit during down time. They both shared the same interest of uncovering pokemon mysteries. She had called him up multiple times to ask him questions about his Heatran, Latias, and his bond with Thunderus.

Cole was a bit of a mystery to Xander. He was known to the world as an elite trainer who helped to put down Team Galactic, Team Rocket, and Team Plasma. During the Team Omega crisis, Cole was pretty much the impromptu leader of the Journeymen, due to his knowledge of Ghetsis. Xander had never gotten to know Cole very well, and that was just as well. Cole didn’t approve of Xander having a Heatran and shiny Latias. Xander thought this was slightly hypocritical, as Cole himself had a shiny Entei, and a Victini. It didn’t really matter though, because after he had defeated Ghetsis, Cole left for the edge of the world looking for a pokemon named Keldeo. Xander had heard rumors of this pokemon, but never really thought about it much. If Cole wound up finding it, then more power to him.

Becca was another one of those people that Xander just never really talked much with. She was a bit brash, but besides that, he liked her just fine. They had visited during their stay at the Flare gym, but Xander had visited with everyone during that odd three month period. She and Cole seemed to be pretty close, but how far that relationship went, Xander didn’t know.

Mozzeh, who was a Dragon Master, was actually a friend of Xander’s before all this happened. The two had a friendly rivalry going on. Every time they got together they would have a pure dragon battle, and see whose team was the best.

Fire, who was actually the Steel type leader, was a free spirit, which was evident by her blazing red hair. Xander was actually a bit confused when he heard her name; he had thought that she was the Fire leader instead of Cole. Xander thought she was fun, but was too busy training to spend a lot of time with the members of the league.

Ammy was the Water leader of the Journeymen. She went through a tough time during the Omega crisis, as her pokemon were stolen. They were recovered by a strike team led by Cole. Xander was slightly bitter that he wasn’t part of that team, but he tried not to let it get to him.

Karin was a user of the Electric type, and one of the pokemon that Xander remembered vividly, was her Rotom, nicknamed Spooks. Xander remembered Spooks so well because it crashed his computer as a joke. He wasn’t amused. He was working on his final draft of a paper, and Spooks snuck in and just fried it. Xander had a few choice words to say to Karin, but Spooks restored his computer, and they made up. Karin became one of Xander’s close friends during those dark three months.

Xander sometimes wondered if the Journeymen were a bit too disorganized. He may travel a lot, but he was an Elite Four member. He hadn’t even had a single challenger since they had become an official league nine months ago. The fact that gym leaders were all over the place bothered him a bit. Cole had fallen completely off the map, and there was no way to contact him. This was the other problem he had with Cole. He wasn’t sure if he was completely committed to the league. The others could at least be contacted and a challenger could set up the time, but no one could with Cole. This league was just starting out, and they didn’t have more than eight gym leaders. Xander would never get a challenger until someone beat Cole. Xander did respect Cole, but deep down, he knew that he was a bit jealous of the man.

Just then, the PA system came on. Christy was stirred from her sleep, and looked around drowsily. Her hair was a mess, but she straightened it out quickly. Xander smiled a bit at her quickness to fix her hair. One of her quirks was that she didn’t really care what she wore, but her hair had to be perfect at all times. She actually carried her husband’s Leavanny around to style it. Leavanny had pretty much become Christy’s pokemon, and Xander was happy for Leavanny.

Xander and Christy buckled their seatbelts, and waited for the plane to land. The landing was smooth, and Xander was glad to be able to stretch. He went to go grab his luggage while Christy waited out in the main part of the airport. What Xander didn’t know is that Prof. Birch had sent a driver to pick the couple up.

After Xander got back with their luggage, he saw the look on his wife’s face, “What’s wrong?”

She smiled sarcastically, “Who’s that?” She pointed towards the man who held up the sign that said, “Professor X”.

“I can say with total honesty that I don’t know who that is, or who sent him,” He really didn’t know the man, or who sent him for sure. Although he knew that what he said was a lie that was truth by technicality.

She looked hurt, “You came here for work?”

“No, I came here for a vacation with you,” He held her hand, “It just so happens that Prof. Birch has something that he wants me to see, so I thought I would stop by and see it as long as we’re here.”

She wasn’t buying it, “Which came first?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, did you book this trip first and then he called, or did he call first, and then you booked the trip.”

Xander looked sheepish, “Does it really matter?”

“Yes it does, so which was it?”

He sighed, “Prof. Birch may have called me first, but-“

“I knew it!” She yelled. “Why can’t we ever just go anywhere without you having to visit someone, or someplace?”

“This won’t take long, we’ll go check into the hotel, and then I’ll visit Prof. Birch. It won’t take more than an hour.”

“Fine.”

Xander knew that he hadn’t heard the end of this one, but there was nothing he could do about it. He had to go and see these pokemon. He would make it up to her later.

***Prof. Birch’s Laboratory***

Prof. Birch’s lab looked like it did the last time Xander had been here; messy, unorganized, and in general disarray. Xander wasn’t the neatest person in the world, and he knew it, but there’s no way he could work in this type of environment. Birch came out of his examination room as Xander walked in, “Ah, Professor X, thanks for coming.” He sat down at his desk and moved some papers that were on the chair down to the floor. He pointed to the chair across from him, it too had a pile of papers on it, “Just set those on the floor, please sit.”

Xander did as he was asked, and sat down in the seat that was about four inches too short for him to be truly comfortable, “So how goes your research Birch?”

“It’s going pretty well.”

“What do you research anyways?”

“I’m researching the behaviors of pokemon when they are put into an alternative habitat.”

“Sounds interesting, but my wife wants me to hurry, so I don’t mean to be rude, but let’s get onto the reason for why I’m here.”

“Alright, that’s not a problem, if you’ll just come this way,“He motioned back to the examination room.

Xander followed Prof. Birch into the examination room, and this room was actually spotless to Xander’s surprise. Sitting on the examination table were three pokemon, a Torchic, a Treecko, and a Mudkip, just like Birch had said over the Xtranciever. “They look healthy,” Xander pet all three pokemon in turn, “But can I see their abilities.”

“Oh, um, yes, of course. Let’s go out back.” Birch returned all three of the pokemon, and left the examination room.

Xander followed Birch out back to a battlefield. “Alright, which one do you want to see first?”

Xander thought about it, “Let’s see Mudkip first.”

“Sounds good,” Birch sent out the small blue pokemon.

“Kiiiiip,” (Yawwwwnnn. Who are you?) It cooed cutely.

Birch grabbed another poke ball, “Now, for the pokemon that’ll let Mudkip show his ability,” He sent out a Geodude.

“Dude.” (Looks like I get to be the punching bag again.)

“Alright, Geodude, use Selfdestruct.” Geodude began to glow brightly, but Mudkip didn’t look concerned. It simply focused on the ground beneath Geodude, and he became soaked to the core in water. The explosion was anticlimactic, as it was nothing more than a little puff of smoke.

“Impressive,” Xander commented.

“Exactly! Which one do you want to see next?”

“Let’s see what that Treecko can do.”

“Alright, but he’ll need an item.”

“Then it’s a good thing I brought one,” Xander pulled a perfectly white gem out of his pocket, “This’ll do.”

Birch let out the small green gecko-like pokemon, “Ko!” (Where’s the fight?!) It called, ready for battle. Xander touched the stone to the pokemon’s head, and the stone turned a dull and opaque white. “Alright, now the Normal Gem’s power is imbued in Treecko. All he has to do is use his Pound attack and it’ll activate.”

“Alright then, looks like you’re way ahead of me. Okay, Treecko I need you to run as fast as you can around the arena.”

“Tree,” He nodded, and took off an incredible pace for a pokemon so young.

“That Treecko’s speed is impressive.”

“I know. Just wait till you see what happens after Unburden takes effect. Alright Treecko, use Pound on Geodude, and then run around the field again.”

Treecko did as Birch asked him to. He leapt at Geodude, and his tail began to glow the white that it always did during a Pound attack, but this time, it glowed twice as bright as normal. Usually this attack didn’t even faze Geodude, but he felt it this time.

Immediately afterwards Treecko began to run around the field at almost twice the speed that he did before, “Well, that’s impressive. Sceptile’s are already very fast. Something like this is very powerful.”

“You haven’t seen powerful yet. Look, before I show you how strong Torchic is, I want you to promise me something, don’t tell anyone about Torchic’s ability.”

“Why not?”

“A pokemon with the ability Speed Boost is very powerful. So far, the only pokemon that I can think of that have it, are Ninjask, and Yanmega. Neither can really use this ability to its full potential, but a Blaziken definitely could. I talked to the other region Professors, and we all agreed that the existence of this Torchic should be hidden from the general public, at least for now.”

“You’re afraid of poachers, aren’t you?”

“Yes, we are. I believe that a Blaziken with Speed Boost could take on legendary pokemon.”
“You can’t be serious.”

“I’ve never been more serious about anything in my life. Xander, I need you to promise me that you won’t tell anyone. Not even your wife.”

“Does your wife know about this?”

“No, Annabel doesn’t.”

“Alright, I swear.”

“Thank you. Now, let’s get on with the demonstration!”

Torchic was let out of his poke ball, “Chic?” (What’s going on?) It asked confused.

“Alright Torchic, are you ready?”

“Tor,” (No.) The small orange pokemon shook his head.

“Come on, I know you can do this,” Prof. Birch was kneeling down to be at near eye level with the tiny pokemon.

Torchic seemed to think about it for a minute, “To-Torchic…” (Al-alright, I’ll go…) He trotted off to the battlefield.

“He’s never liked battling.”

“Kind of ironic.”

“Yeah, it is. He has the potential to be on par with legendary pokemon, but without someone to show him the ropes, he won’t ever reach that
potential…”

Xander looked sideways at Birch, “Nice little hint there.”

Birch just shrugged, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Alright,
Torchic, use Protect.”

Torchic concentrated really hard, and a wall of red energy appeared around him, “Tor!” (I did it!)

“Good job Torchic. Alright, Geodude, use Rock Throw.” The pokemon formed a boulder out of the dirt, and sand beneath him, and sent it flying at the wall of protective energy. It bounced off, and Torchic started dancing.

“Torchic!” (It worked!) Just then, he began to glow red, and after about three seconds it dissipated.

“Good Torchic, now use Scratch!”

Torchic ran forward faster than before, and struck Geodude hard. Geodude tried to fend off the attacks, but Torchic was coming at him from so many different angles. Geodude tried to use another Rock Throw, but Torchic just dodged it with its enhanced speed. After another few seconds, he began to glow red again, and sped up even more, “Alright, I think Geodude’s had enough for today. Torchic and Geodude, return.”

“They are definitely impressive.”

“I know, that’s why I called you down here. Now, I have a favor to ask-“

“You want me to take these pokemon with me and travel with them?”

“Yes, I guess I wasn’t too subtle.”

Xander shook his head, “Not really.”

“So will ya do it?”

Xander thought about it for a moment, *These pokemon are interesting, and I am an Elite Four member. Besides, my final paper on shiny pokemon is about to be published, and I do need a new project…* “Alright, I’ll take them with me.”

“Thanks Professor X. These little guys need some world experience, but I can’t give them to just anyone.” He grabbed the three poke balls off of his belt and handed them to Xander.

“It’s no problem,” Xander took the poke balls.

Birch and Xander began walking back into the lab, “So, how’s the Journeymen League coming along?”

“It’s…coming, I guess.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just the fact that we’re kind of scattered.”

“How so?”

“Most of us are off doing other things in our down time, but for the most part we can all be contacted and told to go back our gyms for challengers.”
“For the most part? Is one of your members missing?”

“Not really missing, more like he’s chosen to drop off the face of the earth. I guess he’s doing some soul searching, which is all well and good, but I just wish that he wouldn’t just disappear.”

“Which leader’s missing?”

“Cole.”

“The elite trainer?!”

“That’s him.”

“He’s world renowned for being one of the best trainers in the world! You say he’s disappeared?”

“Yeah, I guess he’s looking for some legendary pokemon. I don’t care about that, it just bothers me that he can’t be contacted.”

“Yeah, I can see where that could be a problem,” They had arrived at the door to his lab, “Well, it was good to see you again Professor X, drop by anytime.”

“I will Birch, and thank you for these pokemon, they just might save my butt.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, nothing,” With that Xander left and headed back to the hotel.

***Back at the Littleroot Hotel***

Xander was riding up the elevator, and holding the Mudkip in his hands, *Let’s hope that this works…* He reached his floor and stepped off. His and Christy’s room was right in front of the elevator. He walked up and inserted his key card. It didn’t work. He tried again. It still didn’t work. After the eighth try the Christy came and opened the door, “Key card isn’t working?” She had a little smile on her face.

Xander raised his eyebrow, “What did you do?”

“I had them deactivate your key card.”

“Why would you do that?”

“I’m sorry, I know that I shouldn’t have, but you just really frustrated me. I know that work is important, but sometimes it feels like it’s more important to you than me.”

Xander felt bad, and he looked her in the eyes, “Trust me, you’re more important to me than anything, and to show it, I brought you something.”
“What did you bring me?!”

“Look at your feet.”

At Christy’s feet there was a Mukip that was rubbing against her leg, “Who’s
this little guy?” She said cutely as she picked him up.

“Muud!” (You smell nice, I like you!)

Xander laughed, “Well, he sure seems to like you, which is good considering he’s yours.”

Christy’s mouth gaped, “Really?!”

“Yep, Prof. Birch gave him to me for some research, but-“ Xander was interrupted as Christy kissed him.

“I’m sorry that I was so mad at you.”

“It’s fine, I kind of deserved some of it.”

“You’re right, you did,” She smiled and laughed. Xander joined in on the laughter.

“Well, there’s a reason why Prof. Birch gave me that pokemon. It’s special.”

“How so?”

“How about we discuss it over dinner, my treat.”

She seemed to ponder it for a minute, then smiled, “Sounds good.”


Ok, so this wasn't anything new to people wo have read my work but it won't be long before I have new chapters up. Reviews are always welcome.

Phoopes
15th May 2012, 5:32 AM
I don't know what led me to the Fan Fic section tonight, but I'm glad that I followed whatever instinct told me to come here. I remember reading this, and Shiny Expert: Xander, and loving both of them. Great to see some of your work again. I already know the plot and love it, so I'm not going to touch on that. However, there were a few minor things that bugged me while rereading this.


***Two Hours Later***

Things like this can be a bit distracting to a reader. Personally, I feel that they take away from the flow of the story. If used sparingly, I wouldn't be complaining about this at all. However, things like this are used quite a bit, and it's only the first chapter. I actually like to call these things "setting cheats." I feel this way because for the most part, you could just easily add description here instead of breaking the chapter up awkwardly with these. For example, later on you have one of these that said something to the extent of "later that night." Instead of that, maybe you could try adding in descriptive wordings that can make the reader still understand your point. In that case, a good idea might be to say, "The sun had sunk below the horizen long ago, and Xander yadda yadda yadda..." This makes the story flow better, and makes it a more interesting read.

The only other thing I can think of right now is that sometimes, your writing becomes a bit too much dialouge and not enough description. For example, when Professor Birch and Xander are discussing the Torchic, I personally believe that you could've had more there. Yes, we know what they are saying. But how are they feeling? What are their facial expressions like? How do they look? It's adding description like this that can definitely make your story much more interesting to read.

However, that's not to say that you're doing a bad job. Like I said before, I love the plots of your work, and am definitely looking forward to more from you. Just adding some description will go a long way, and make the story even better.

Stage On
15th May 2012, 6:11 AM
I really like the way you have the Pokemon talk and the interaction between Xander and other people he talks with such as his wife or fellow professors feels really naturally.

My only complaint is it almost feels like you're introducing too many characters to remember all at once by talking about just about everyone that makes up the Journeyman league. My eyes where practically spinning trying to follow who the heck all these people where.

On the other hand you've got me really curious to learn more about this Team Omega and to see what's up with Cole. I'm almost half expecting him to turn to the dark side and show up with his own Team now after having dropped off the map.

Xman96
15th May 2012, 7:08 AM
I really like the way you have the Pokemon talk and the interaction between Xander and other people he talks with such as his wife or fellow professors feels really naturally.

My only complaint is it almost feels like you're introducing too many characters to remember all at once by talking about just about everyone that makes up the Journeyman league. My eyes where practically spinning trying to follow who the heck all these people where.

On the other hand you've got me really curious to learn more about this Team Omega and to see what's up with Cole. I'm almost half expecting him to turn to the dark side and show up with his own Team now after having dropped off the map.

I really glad you posted because it reminded me that I need to put a little header at the top explaining that this is actually a part of a much bigger canon. All of those characters mentioned are actually part of other fics in the Non-Competitive Trainers Hangout. We all started writing these just about a year ago. Tomorrow I'll update the OP.

Glad to see you're still around Phoopes! I appreciate the comment on the whole time thing that I do, but I'm not sure what to do with that. I like your idea, but using those little "time lapses" I feel help me set the scene. I dunno, I'll take another look at that. About the descriptive thing, you are 100% right. The problem that I have is that I see the scene in my head, so I forget that I need to recreate the scene for readers. I'm trying to work on that in the new chapter, and eventually I want to get around to redoing the first three.

Thank you both for commenting, chapter two will be up tomorrow.

Xman96
15th May 2012, 6:48 PM
Okay, here's chapter two. There's not a whole lot else to say about it except that it might still be a bit lacking the descriptive department because I'm not going to do any revisions till I get a few more chapters written.


Chapter 2: A Change

Xander and Christy had spent the last week in Littleroot just enjoying the small town atmosphere and people. They were getting ready to go to dinner with Birch, his wife Annabel, and May, their daughter. Xander was curious to meet May because she was known as an excellent trainer. Xander heard that she even beat Cole in the Hoenn League. He was putting on his one and only suit. He hated the thing, but the restaurant they were going to had a dress code. Xander also felt weird not having the weight of his poke balls on his hip. Unfortunately there were also no pokemon allowed in the restaurant. Christy walked in and looked lovely in her satin red dress, “You look beautiful.”

She smiled, “Thanks. You don’t look to bad yourself.”

Xander nodded, “Shall we go?” She hooked her arm around his, and headed towards the elevators. They didn’t see Mudkip pop out of his poke ball in the bedroom.

Mudkip stretched and looked around, “Kip?” (Where did Christy go?) Mudkip looked around for a bit, and, after a search, realized they weren’t there. “Mud?” (Wonder where they went?) Mudkip hopped up onto the ledge of the window, and looked down. He saw Xander and Christy getting into a cab, “Kip, mud, mud!” (They aren’t leaving me behind!) Mudkip jumped from the window, and landed on an awning, which he then bounced off and onto the back of the cab. He hit the cab as it was driving away, and almost fell off. No one had noticed him, which was just fine because he wanted to surprise them.

The cab ride was uneventful, except for the numerous speed bumps throughout the town. Xander was tall at six foot two, and kept hitting his head on the ceiling when they hit one. Xander and Christy discussed their vacation, and where they would go next. She wanted to go somewhere tropical, and Xander wanted to avoid Mount Chimney because of bad memories. In the end, they agreed to go to Dewford city. Xander’s old mentor, Brawly, was the gym leader, and Xander wanted to see him. Christy knew this, but didn’t mind because it wasn’t work related.

They pulled up to the restaurant, and went in. Mukip jumped from the cab, and shook off some water that had gotten on him due to running straight through some puddles, “Kip!” (That was a wakeup call I didn’t need!) Mudkip followed Christy and Xander in the shadows, *I’ll surprise them for sure!* He thought mischievously, but when he tried to get in the door, he was abruptly picked up by a man in a suit.
“Who are you?” He said with his nose stuck up, “There are no pokemon allowed in this establishment,” He meticulously enunciated every word, and promptly threw Mudkip out onto the side-walk. Mudkip looked back up at him and soaked him head to toe. He responded by throwing a chair at the pokemon, who dodged it with no problem and simply walked off.

“Mudkip!” (Showed him!) Mudkip hopped onto a nearby window and looked in. He saw a bunch of people in suits and ties eating very small portions of food. He then saw Christy, Xander, and the Professor and his wife walk in. Mudkip wanted to get in there even more now. Birch may have been absent-minded, but Mudkip thought he was a nice guy, and wanted to see him again. He fiddled with the latch on the window a bit, and was able to flip it…

“So Professor X, how is your research coming along?” Annabel was always curious about Xander’s work. He had no idea why, but it was always a topic of discussion. Xander and Christy had gotten together with Birch and Annabel on a number of occasions, and they were good friends. Despite this, they had never met May, their daughter. She was a top trainer and was always travelling. She was just a bit younger than Xander, but was a very strong trainer.

“My research is coming along nicely. In fact, I believe that I’ve figure out exactly what causes shininess in pokemon. Now I’m just looking for a new project.”

“So I heard that you were one of the Elite Four members of the Journeymen. Is that true?” May was very forward, but Xander didn’t mind.

“Yes, I am. Why do you ask?”

“Mostly because I would like to battle an Elite Four member, even if he is from a green league.” Christy visibly smiled, but tried her best to hide it.

Birch looked appalled, “May, that’s not how you speak to a respected scientist, and battler!”

Xander held up a hand, “It’s okay Birch, May’s allowed to have her own opinion.” He looked hard at the nineteen year old, and spoke in a cool, even tone, “You’re right May, the Journeymen are the new kids on the block, but don’t forget, that we fought Team Omega while all of the others cowed in their places of safety. Wemade sacrifices to keep the world from going to hell. We fought on the front lines. We defeated Red and Ghetsis. You’re right May, we are new, but we are not to be trifled with.”

May all of a sudden looked somber, “I-I’m sorry I didn’t mean-“

“There’s nothing to apologize for. Simply learn to not make snap judgements.”

Xander seemed to have struck a chord with May, “Yes, Xander, I’ll try harder.”

“Good to hear,” He smiled, “Now, about that battle-“

Xander was interrupted as Mudkip leapt up onto his lap. He wagged his tail, “Kip. Mud?” (Hey there. Why did you leave me behind?)

Xander was startled, “Hey yourself. Sorry that we didn’t bring you, but pokemon aren’t allowed here.”

“Ip!” (Well they should be!)

Xander was starting to realize that Mudkip was going to be a handful. Everyone else at the table was staring, and Christy saw one of the patrons point at Mudkip and call over a waiter. Christy spoke to the entire table, “We might want to leave soon. I doubt we’ll be welcome much longer.”

The man from the front door began walking to the group, “I am so sorry that this filthy critter disturbed you sir.” He picked up Mudkip before
Xander could stop him, “I will dispose of him right away.”

He began to walk towards the open window, but Xander grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Xander stood a half of a foot taller than the man, and was much stronger.

The man seemed unfazed though, “Why not?”

Christy stood up and took Mudkip from the man, “Cause he’s mine!” She snapped at him. When she got Mudkip back she held him close and petted him.

The man seemed appalled, “If this rodent is yours, then you must leave the premises immediately!”

Xander shoved the man back as he let go, “No problem. Service here sucks anyways. Christy, let’s go.”

She nodded, and held onto Mudkip with one hand, and held Xander’s hand with the other. Birch, Annabel, and May left without saying anything to the man, and followed Xander.

When they got outside, Birch spoke to Xander, “I’m so sorry about that. I thought that this restaurant was better than it was.”

Xander shook his head, “It’s not your fault. To be honest, I hate these kinds of restaurants.” He undid his tie and shoved it in his pocket.

“There’s a really nice burger joint just down the road,” Annabel pointed out.

Christy smiled, “We’d like that.”

May nodded, “I’ve really missed that place since I left home.”

Birch smiled, “Sounds like it’s decided. Let’s go.” Birch led the way down the street.

***Bueller’s Burger’s***

Xander and the rest of the group were sitting around a circular booth and were all enjoying a burger. Christy, Annabel, and May were sitting there in their good dresses, and Xander and Birch were in their suits. They all got a couple of odd stares, but they didn’t care, in fact, they laughed about it. Towards the end of the meal, Xander began talking to May, “So, I believe we were talking about having a battle before we left the restaurant.”

She smiled, “We were. You name the time and place.”

“Well,” He turned to Christy, “Would it be okay with you if we had a battle?”

She thought about it, “Honestly, I’d love to see you battle May,” She looked at May and smiled, “I’m a big fan.” May nodded and smiled shyly.

“Alright,” Xander smiled, “It’s settled. So Birch, I have a favor to ask…”

Birch smiled widely and nodded, “You need to borrow my field?”

“Yeah, that would be great.”

“No problem, but only on one condition.”

“Why do I think I know what that is?”

“Cause you do. Annabel and I get to watch.”

Xander extended his hand to Birch, “Deal.”

“Deal,” Birch shook Xander’s outreached hand.

***Back at the Hotel Room***

Xander and Christy were in lying bed talking, “Well, tonight didn’t go how I’d expected.”

Christy furrowed her brow, “What do you mean?”

“Well, I didn’t exactly expect to get thrown out of the restaurant and get a battle with May.”

“Hey, we didn’t get thrown out. We left.”

Xander smiled, “Sure we did. Well, I’d better get to sleep. May’s an elite trainer, and it won’t be easy.” He leaned over and kissed Christy good night.

***8 A.M. Birch’s Battlefield, the Next Day***

Xander and Christy had slept well, and were up at 7 A.M. It was a brisk morning, so Xander had jeans, and a sweatshirt on. Christy wore the same thing, except, instead of Xander’s yellow sweatshirt, she had a pink one. Xander stood on one side of the clay battlefield, with May on the other. She wore her famous green bandana, and red shirt, with white shorts. Her parents were sitting next to Christy, and were both dressed appropriately.

“Alright May, you think it got what it takes to beat me?”

May was surprisingly serious, “I don’t go into a battle that I think I can’t win.”

“Your confidence is noted. Are you clear on the rules?”

“Yes. We will have a three on three, single battle. Substitutions are allowed.”

“Good, then here’s my first, go Weavile!” Xander threw out a red and white capsule that burst open, and released a pink, and yellow Weavile, that shone.

“Weavile!” (Ahh, finally, it’s been forever since my last battle!)

May looked confident, “That’s a beautiful Weavile, but she won’t last long. Breloom, let’s clean up fast.”

Breloom appeared in the same fashion that Weavile did, “Loom!” (I predict that you’ll last one attack!)

“I’ll give you the first move May.”

“Fine, but that’s your first, and last mistake. Breloom, use Mach Punch!”

“Sorry, but that was too predictable, Weavile, you know what to do,” Xander’s calmness annoyed May more than he knew.
Breloom took off at a blinding, speed, but Weavile had faced this attack many times. She knew that at those speeds, a pokemon had almost no control. Weavile capitalized on this by doing a front flip over the speeding Breloom, and landed on her feet as her opponent careened into the protective fence.

“How did you dodge that?!” May exclaimed.

Xander smirked, “That’s everyone’s first attack when they see a Weavile. So, we trained specifically to dodge Mach Punch. Now Weavile, Swords Dance towards Breloom, and execute an Ice Punch!”

“Counter that Breloom!”

Weavile began to leap and spin, honing her claws to a fine point all the while. Breloom began to glow orange, and simply stood there, waiting for the attack.

“Breloom won’t survive a single Ice Punch.” He smiled, sure of his first victory.

May held up a sash, “Ah, but I gave her a Focus Sash before the fight.”

“Oh no…”

Weavile’s claws began to glow with bluish-white energy, and struck Breloom head on. Breloom was hit hard on the head, and fell down. Weavile didn’t know about the Focus Sash, and was basking in her assumed victory.

“Weavile, look out!”

Weavile looked confused, and didn’t realize what was happening before it was too late. Breloom’s eyes snapped open, and she made a single, decisive blow to Weavile’s neck. Weavile didn’t feel anything, she just passed out. Xander was shocked that he didn’t anticipate something like that, “Weavile, return. That was a good move May, but don’t get cocky.”

“It’s only cocky if you can’t back it up.”

Xander laughed, “I’ll give you that. However, you haven’t met one of my most powerful pokemon, go, Heatran!”

The large magma, turtle pokemon came out of his shell, and let out a roar.

May looked nervous now, “I’ve heard about this guy. Too bad that Breloom can take him down!”

*She’s trying to mask her fear with bravado, this is good for me.* “Fine, then you can have the first move.”

“Okay, but last time you let me have the first move, you lost! Breloom, Mach Punch.”

Breloom charged straight towards Heatran, as her fist began to glow blue. Heatran knew exactly what to do though, and didn’t need Xander to tell him. He waited for Breloom to close the gap between the two, and at the last second, let loose an intense Magma Storm. A tornado of fire shot out of Heatran’s mouth, and engulfed the helpless Breloom. A few seconds later, the fire dissipated, and Breloom was lying unconscious, and slightly blackened.

The spectators’ mouths were wide open, and so was May’s, “Good job Heatran, you’re still good right?”

“Tran.” (I’m fine, that was one of the easiest wins ever.) He nodded.

The smallest of smiles came across Birch’s face.

May was a skilled trainer though, and wouldn’t let this small set back throw her off, “Your Heatran is very impressive. Now, meet the power house of my team, Hariyama!”

The large, muscular pokemon came out of his poke ball, and slapped his thighs, “Hariyama!” (Fight honorably, fire turtle!)

Heatran almost fell over laughing when he heard “fire turtle”, “Heatran.” (Alright, I’ll fight honorably, large thigh wrestler.)

Hariyama simply nodded, and failed to see the snide remark that Heatran had made.

Xander was glad that he learned to understand pokemon. He loved hilarious moments like this that no one else understood, “Will-O-Wisp, to cripple him!”

“Hariyama, take it.”

Xander was confused for just a moment before he realized what she was doing, but he realized it too late. Heatran sent out eight blue, fire orbs that flew at high speeds towards Hariyama. Hariyama simply stood there, and took each of the orbs, even dove to get hit by one of them. Heatran was very confused by this behavior, and was taken by surprise as Hariyama charged towards him, unhindered by his burns.

“Now Hariyama, finish Heatran with Close Combat!”

“Heatran, counter it with Earth Power!”

Heatran’s body began to glow orange, and he roared. As he did this, Hariyama continued his slow charge towards the large, legendary pokemon, but was slowed even more by explosions coming from the earth itself. Heatran was concentrating hard to stop Hariyama from getting any closer, but finally, Hariyama just took a Earth Power head on, and shrugged it off best he could. Heatran and Xander were shocked that he didn’t go down after taking that hit, but not only did he stay up, he began to thrash Heatran with his large hands. Heatran was smacked from each side, over and over again. Finally, Hariyama delivered the final blow; an uppercut directly under Heatran’s chins. Heatran went flying, and landed right on the security fence, which broke under his weight. Hariyama then fell over from the numerous burns that he had.

May took out his poke ball, “You did well Hariyama, sleep well.”

Xander did the same with his large pokemon, “I’ll get you something special when we’re back at the center. That was a good move May. I should’ve remembered that Hariyama’s can have Guts as an ability. Alright Dragonite, you’re turn.”

“Dragonite!” (It’s been too long since I’ve had a good battle!)

May was ecstatic, “That’s one of the few pokemon I haven’t seen, and it’s shiny! I gotta record this!” She whipped out her pokedex so fast, that Xander almost got whip lash just watching her. She scanned the shiny Dragonite, and got a look of confusion on her face, “Uh, Xander, my pokedex says that your Dragonite has the Multiscale ability. That can’t be right.”

Xander was perplexed, “Something has to be wrong with your pokedex,” He pulled out his own, and scanned Dragonite. His came up with the same results; Dragonite has the ability Multiscale. “That must be her hidden ability…” He muttered under his breath.

“What was that?”

“Nothing. Let’s conitinue, show your pokemon!”

Birch looked at the Dragonite with interest, he wondered what caused the sudden ability switch.

May shook the look of shock from her face, “Okay, if you say so. Go, Walrein!”

“That’s a good choice, but it won’t matter. Dragonite, use Thunderbolt!”

“Walrein, counter it with Ice Beam!”

Dragonite flew up high, and began to shoot off multiple Thunderbolt attacks. Walrein on the other hand didn’t even move, he just simply blocked each of Dragonite’s Thunderbolts, with an Ice Beam. After blocking five or so, he let loose a monster Ice Beam that struck Dragonite. She was hit in the stomach, and fell to the ground.

“Yes! Good job on taking down Dragonite Walrerin!”

Dragonite got up and shook off the dust.

May was dumbfounded, “What, why isn’t she knocked out!”

Xander smiled, “Multiscale doubles Dragonite’s defenses when she’s at full health. Know, Dragonite, use Roost, and follow it up with Thunderbolt!”

“Oh no you don’t, Walrein, use Ice Beam!”

Dragonite let her wings droop, and just took a second to rest. She felt rejuvenated, and fired off an incredible, and wicked Thunderbolt from her antennae. Walrein tried to counter it with Ice Beam, but the Thunderbolt was too strong. It simply overtook Walrein’s Ice Beam, and continued on to strike Walrein. Electricity coursed through the large, blue pokemon. It was too much, and he fainted.

May withdrew Walrein, and walked over to Xander, “Thank you for the battle. You definitely deserve to be an Elite Four member.”

Xander returned Dragonite, “It was a good battle. That Breloom of yours has been well trained.” He extended his hand, and she took it and shook it.

The spectators came onto the field, and Christy ran up and hugged Xander, “Great job honey!”

“Thanks Christy,” Xander was blushing.

Birch walked over to May, “You did well May, but do you see why Xander deserves your respect?”

May sighed, “Yes dad. I’m sorry about my big mouth earlier.”

“I’m just glad to see that you’ve learned your lesson.”

After Christy let go, Birch walked over and led Xander into his lab. After they got into the exam room, Birch shut the door.

“What was that?”

“What was what?” Xander replied.

“What happened to Dragonite?”

“I have no idea. I think we can say that almost all, if not all, pokemon have, what I’m now dubbing, a Hidden Ability.”

“I think you’re right. You do realize that this means there could, and probably are, more pokemon that are going to be as powerful as Torchic, right?”

“Yeah, which means we’re going to have to be extra careful. The fact that pokemon can acquire these abilities spontaneously might make keeping this a secret much harder.”

“Perhaps you could talk to Dragonite, maybe she did something to bring this change on her.”

“I suppose I could. I wonder if this permanent at all?”

“That’s something else we should look into.” Just then, Birch’s Xtranciever began ringing, “Excuse me for a moment.”

“Sure, no problem.”

Birch turned around and answered the device that was strapped to his wrist, “This is Birch, oh, hello Mandy.”

*Oh! I know her.* Mandy was a competent trainer that Xander had battled in the Unova league. In fact, she was the trainer that had beaten him in that fateful battle. She was also the trainer who he had traded Ursaring to. Xander didn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but a bunch of memories came flooding back to him, memories of his travels in Johto with Ursaring. Ursaring was given to him as a gift from his family. He had raised Ursaring from the moment she hatched. It had been a difficult decision to trade away his friend, but he felt it was the right decision all those years ago. He still felt it was right, and whenever he thought about his old friend, there was always a smile on his face, mixed with a
pang of sadness. That was the feeling he had now.

Birch stepped back into the room. He looked worried and in a hurry, “Xander, that trainer I was just talking to told me that had just faced a Blaziken with Speed Boost.”

Xander’s eyes went wide, “Looks like we aren’t the only ones that know about this.”

“That’s just the thing though, this guy, Dave is his name, doesn’t know that his Blaziken is out of the ordinary. He just thinks that his Blaziken is really fast.”

“That’s…not good. We should probably bring him in, and explain to him the situation.”

“Then we’d better do it fast. He’s currently on Mount Chimney battling anyone and everyone.”

Xander froze at that statement, “I’m not going to Mount Chimney.”

Birch was confused for just a moment, “That was nearly four years ago. You aren’t over it yet?”

Xander got a distant look in his eyes, “You never get over something like that. You move on, and I’ve done that. It doesn’t mean that I wanna go back to that place.”

“I understand that it must be hard for you to go back there, but you’re the only one I can trust to bring this guy in. I don’t want any more people to know about these Hidden Abilities. Please, do this as a favor to me.”

Xander had to think about it for a minute, then with a sigh he said, “Fine, I’ll do this, but don’t ever ask this of me again.”

Birch nodded solemnly, “I promise that I won’t.”

“I guess I’d better get going,” He began to walk out the door.

“Don’t you think you should tell Christy?”

Xander stopped in his tracks. He hadn’t thought about what Christy would say. Then, he had an idea, “Just let her know where I went, oh, and make sure she knows it was your idea.”

“Okay, it’s the least I can do for you.”

Xander smile, “Yeah, sure it is.” He then left, and walked outside. He quickly called out Salamence, and hopped on, “Just go, I’ll tell you where we’re going on the way.”

Salamence flew up as fast as he could, and Xander told him to head to Mount Chimney. Salamence hated the idea just as much as Xander, but went where Xander told him to go.

Rotomknight
15th May 2012, 8:12 PM
When will more be up.
look at siggy soon.

Xman96
15th May 2012, 10:32 PM
When will more be up.
look at siggy soon.

Glad you're liking it. My goal is going to be one chapter a week. Probably every Tuesday, but that could change when I get a job.

JX Valentine
16th May 2012, 5:07 AM
Sorry for taking so long to review you. As soon as I saw that you reposted your fic, I figured this was a great opportunity to finally catch up with you. I just hope you don't mind if I'm as blunt as usual throughout this, but I'll do my best to explain my thoughts along the way.


***Professor Xander’s Laboratory, Formerly the P2 Lab***

I'm going to have to agree with Phoopes. See, the thing is that you should be establishing the scene within its first paragraph. That is, if your narration is good and solid, your reader should be able to understand what time it is and where the action is taking place just by what you tell them. To go outside of the scene by throwing in a cue card is basically like hitting them over the head with the obvious.

So instead, you could say something like, "Professor Xander's laboratory was a complete mess. He hadn't had the chance to clean thanks to his constant experiments." Of course, you don't have to say something that specifies that it's a messy laboratory. That's just an example to show you one of many ways to handle that part of the narration. Note that a reader can not only picture the lab but also get the idea of where this scene is taking place just by reading the narration itself. That helps strengthen your writing by allowing it to rely on itself in order to get the job done, if that makes sense.


“Alright, Jacobs, turn the power up by forty percent,” Professor Xander was attempting to revive an Anorith Fossil that he believed to be a shiny pokemon.

First and foremost, dialogue tends to be tricky, but do you notice how everything outside of the quotation marks doesn't tell you how the quote itself is being said? That's your cue that you're not working with a dialogue tag, which means you don't need a comma.

Also, I notice that you don't capitalize "pokémon" in the first two instances, but you capitalize "Anorith Fossil" (which isn't a proper noun, considering you say "an Anorith Fossil," not "the Anorith Fossil"), "Pokémon Professor" (also not a proper noun), and various Pokémon species that are being used as common nouns (Ninetales and Politoed, for example). When it comes to Pokémon terms, you've got to remain consistent with a sensible set of rules. If you capitalize Pokémon species and professions in instances in which they're being used as common nouns (e.g., it's not a specific thing named Ninetales but instead a bunch of objects called Ninetales… or if you can substitute the word "fox" and have the same basic sentence), then you need to capitalize "Pokémon" as well because it falls under the same category. Meanwhile, if you don't capitalize "Pokémon," then don't capitalize species names. It'd be a lot like capitalizing "mouse" but not "animal."

Lastly, you'll want to start a new paragraph after the quote either way. You basically change topics in this instance. The first topic is about what Xander says; the second is about who Xander is. A dialogue paragraph (paragraph in which someone says something) should pretty much only contain the quote and whatever describes how it's being said. Anything else goes in a new paragraph.


Xander was an expert on shiny pokemon, and if this fossil turned out to be one, then his theory would become fact.

What theory?

That's actually one of the things that I feel is a bit unsettling about all of your stories concerning Xander (and I've read them all so far). You mention that he's an expert, but you never mention what he's actually studying or why. You don't tell us what he's trying to find out about shiny Pokémon. It would be incredibly interesting to read about a scientist who's trying to uncover what causes Pokémon to be shiny, what effects a shiny Pokémon's alternate coloring has on its ability to survive (especially since camouflage is a big deal in the animal world and sort of touched upon in the Pokémon world with certain species), and so forth, but you don't really go there. In short and bluntly put, it just comes off as an excuse to give Xander a bunch of different shinies and a reason to collect them, but that just doesn't hold up that well as a character motivation.

Also, consider the fact that if we knew more about his passions, he'd be a deeper character. After all, knowing what he's trying to prove would help us see what kind of scientist he is first off (biochemist, ethologist, physiologist, and so forth) and second off what got him into such a specific focus in the first place, if that makes sense. Or if it doesn't, it'd mean we'd have a better grasp of how his mind works.


The P2 labs were discovered by two friends of his, Jo and David, during the Omega crisis.

Both "P2 labs" and "Omega crisis" are names of specific things (a place and an event), so you need to capitalize them like names. That is to say, the name of the place isn't just "P2." It's "P2 Labs," right? Likewise for the event. It's not just "Omega"; it's "Omega Crisis."


After all of that had been settled he came and checked out the abandoned lab, and found that it fit his needs perfectly.

Here's a tip that will help you differentiate between a compound and non-compound sentence. Look at the comma. Take it and the word "and" (the conjunction in this case) out, and replace them with a period. Notice how you get one full sentence and one fragment as a result? That's you cue to drop the comma in the sentence because you're not connecting two complete thoughts. Try this trick any time you feel like adding a conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) and comma between two clauses. If you get two complete sentences as a result, you have a compound that needs a comma; if you don't, don't use the comma.

Also, what needs? This is another question that a reader can figure out on their own if they knew more about Xander's reasons for being a professor.


and even put a battle field in.

Battlefield is one word.

Also, at this point, I'd like to expand on something Stage On mentioned. He said that it felt like you were introducing too many characters at once, and that's true. In this case, however, I'd also like to say it feels like you're introducing too much information. We're given a lengthy paragraph about all of Xander's achievements (which seems a bit outlandish as it is, what with the fact that he's apparently a genius and exceptionally strong trainer who's either partially or single-handedly responsible for the downfall of multiple criminal organizations), and not all of them seem like they're going to be relevant in the long-run. They don't really build up any specific expectation of the character except, "Just remember that this character is extremely awesome." It would be one thing to go over a character's achievements and backstory to build up something we should know about them (e.g., this character is smart, this character faced a lot of hardship, this character is usually seen as the butt of everyone's jokes), but here, literally all it says is, "This character is awesome." If you were trying to summarize events from previous fics in your clan's fan-universe, all I can say is maybe it's best to recommend that readers go back and read the earlier works instead, rather than infodump to give them a crash-course in your character's history. That goes especially if this is meant to be more of a standalone fic.

At the same time, you introduce Jo and David in literally less than a sentence, and because of that, a reader isn't sure whether or not we should care about them. That also ends up feeling like irrelevant information, especially if Jo and David aren't actually going to make an appearance in this fic.


“Yes Professor X,”

Move the comma before "Professor." The reason why is because "Professor X" is a direct address, a moment in which one character speaks to another by mentioning their name.

Also, this is another instance in which what follows the quote isn't a dialogue tag, so you need a period after "X."

Lastly, I'd make an X-Men joke here, but all of the ones I can think of are pretty terrible puns.


right hand man.

Hyphenate "right-hand." It's one word.

I'm also going to go a bit lax on the grammatical issues. All I can say is that there's a lot of repeats throughout this chapter (and the next one), so you may benefit from either stauncher proofreading methods or a beta-reader.


A tall and lanky man with glasses, he fit the stereotypical scientist perfectly.

This is a rather awkwardly worded sentence, especially because the previous one mentions both Xander and Jacobs. As a result, it's not entirely clear who's the tall and lanky man – or if you're referring to someone else entirely – until later. That and it's just awkward to put a description before the subject it's applying to.

Besides that, you generally don't want to stop the narration to describe a character. If you must drop description, try to weave it into the action. For example, instead of isolating this line, try saying something along the lines of, "Xander eyed the lanky man carefully. Jacobs looked all-too at-home in the laboratory. He leaned his pale face towards the monitor as he adjusted his glasses with one spindly hand. His other found a dial and twisted it two clicks to the left." With that kind of description, take note of the fact that the writing isn't dropping everything to describe a character. Instead, it's continuing the action, so it feels like the paragraph is moving somewhere, rather than stalling in one place for too long. It also allows the reader to picture the character while at the same time keeping in mind what's going on.

With that last sentence, let me elaborate a bit more. What I mean is that the very first two sentences tell us what's going on, but then you give us a massive paragraph about something else. Then, you have Jacobs answering something in the present, followed by more details that have nothing to do with what's going on at this moment in time. As a result, a reader is forced to remind themselves exactly what's happening because the narration is trying to distract them from the actual story. That's why infodumps are so risky. The more information about something that doesn't have any direct relation to what's happening in a story right now, the more work a reader has to do to get the gist of what's going on.


This was in stark contrast with Xander, who was a man of six foot two, and was solidly built. Xander worked out regularly and on several occasions has tried to get Jacobs to join him, but to no avail. Professor X was a nickname that Xander had received amongst people in the scientific community, due to his name starting with X and the comic book character that goes by the same name. Xander’s friend Raj was the first one to coin the name.

So… Xander is a shiny collector and a young renowned researcher. He's incredibly smart, and he's powerful enough to (help) bring down two criminal organizations while finding time to be inducted into the Elite Four. On top of everything else, he's built like an athlete (implying attractiveness), and you just derailed a paragraph that was meant to be about Jacobs to tell us about his nickname.

While I don't believe that traits alone are signs of Mary Sueism, attempting to give a character a crapload of awesome traits for the sake of proclaiming that the character is awesome… is not usually a good sign of a well-developed character. It means that you're trying to set up a character who doesn't have to work hard at changing themselves. Already, as a reader, I'm starting to predict that there won't be much character growth in store for him because where else can Xander go? He's already intelligent, a powerful trainer, and well-built. He probably has confidence in spades, and all of his problems can probably be solved with the skills he already possesses and knows he has. There just won't be much in the way of discovery here.

Now, I'm not saying that every main character has to go on an epic journey of self-discovery. I'm saying that not every main character has it all. Xander's issue is that he has the brains, so he can solve problems with his brains. He has physical strength, so he can solve problems that require physical prowess. He has powerful Pokémon, so he can solve problems that require a powerful team. Those are the three basic issues in this world, so what else can an antagonistic force throw at him that will make life difficult for him?

But besides that, what fires off the Sue alarm already is the fact that you just derailed a paragraph that was meant to be about a completely different character in order to talk about Xander. That's the problem with Sues. The world revolves around them. It bends and changes for the Sue, and the narration goes to great lengths to make sure we're well-aware of the Sue's presence. So you've just spent two lengthy paragraphs telling us all about how awesome Xander is when we should have been focusing on what's going on in the scene and on the other people in it. Everything so far has essentially been about Xander, and although he's probably the titular professor, there's times when you just have to take a step back and talk about the story and everyone in it, rather than focus too much on one person.


It was like one big family,

Period at the end of this. This is actually its own sentence. (Notice how you get two sentences as a result as well?)


you had the brother

No, we don't.

On a serious note, don't use the word "you" if you can just write in third person. It's slang, and more than that, it brings the reader into the story in a way that's really just unnecessary.


that you were close to, the weird cousin that you wondered if he was adopted, the crazy uncle, and everything in between.

We have no idea who these characters are. Besides the fact that we just know Xander and Jacobs (without considering Jo, David, Raj, or anyone who might've been in previous fics), we don't know enough about their personalities (in this particular fic) to assign these roles to anyone. We don't know if Xander's meant to be the brother, the weird cousin, the crazy uncle, or one of the folks who falls in the "everything in-between." (And yes, "in-between" is hyphenated.) Likewise for Jacobs.


“Yes! This proves my theory!”

Seriously. What theory?


“You’re right Jacobs, let’s get to it.” Xander stroked the Anorith as he and Jacobs walked down to the examination room.

What's weird about this part is the fact that you actually punctuate dialogue correctly. (I'm ignoring the fact that the quote itself is a comma splice/run-on sentence.) It's also one of the rare times when you do. So, I don't know if you actually do know the rules and are typoing like crazy or if dialogue is actually something no one's clarified to you.

If it helps, take note of the examples here (http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/writingexercises/qt/punctuation.htm).


Every pokemon that he studies is more often than not, one of his own.

At this point, you switch from past tense to present. You'll want to change "studies" and "is" to "studied" and "was" to maintain consistency.


This Anorith he would train and it would become a part of his family of pokemon.

You actually do need a comma in this case. Try the test I'd mentioned earlier here by replacing the conjunction (and) with a period. Notice how you get two full sentences as a result? There's your cue.


“Hello Prof. Birch,

Don't abbreviate "professor." Especially if you're not going to do it throughout your work.

Also, direct address here, and this is a comma splice.


You’re the foremost scientist on pokemon genetics,

So… Elite Four member responsible for the downfall of multiple evil organizations. Pokémon professor at the age of eighteen. Friend to all Pokémon. Collector of the rarest kinds of Pokémon in existence. And also the foremost geneticist in the world at the age of twenty-two.

I'd hate to be biting, but it feels like this entire chapter is just one long advertisement to how awesome Xander is. That's… pretty much what happens in a Sue fic, sorry to say. As a reader, I sort of find that uncomfortable because it feels like every moment is dedicated to amping up how awesome Xander is, rather than on building a plot that Xander just happens to be a part of. If the entire first chapter is like that, that's not a good sign for the rest of the plot. It says to a readers that a lot of other characters are going to be upstaged by Xander, and it means that whoever's important will most likely fill a stock or stereotypical role. (You've already mentioned that Jacobs is the sidekick and stereotypical scientist.) The problem lies in the fact that that doesn't really make for an interesting cast, and if you don't have an interesting cast, your story doesn't turn out to be as strong as it can be.


***Two Hours Later***

Like the establishing line, this isn't necessary. You should be conveying this point in the actual first paragraph of the scene. For example, you can easily say, "Two hours later, Xander bent over a screen. He scanned the data that he had gone through three times already in an attempt to find anything that he might have missed." That strengthens your narration by highlighting how much effort he's putting into his research, and it doesn't hit the reader over the head with a title card.


“Perhaps now that you’ve solved the mystery of shiny pokemon,

…What mystery? :/


How fortuitous that he would call today.”

Indeed.

Seriously, that seems… rather convenient. A little too convenient, I'd say.


“Yes, that is, after I finalize my paper, so I told him to expect me in three days, which means that I have about two days to finish it because of the plane ride.”

Despite what anything below grad school tells you, research papers cannot be finished in two days. That is a good way to make a mistake. That and, well, scientific research tends to be extremely detailed. Seriously. Pick one up and scan through it. You'd be lucky to find an abstract that isn't at least a half a page long, and the abstract's meant to be a summary.


***Later that Night, in Xander’s Private Dining Room***

As opposed to…? I mean, we sort of get that he has a house, especially given the fact that he's sort of got a family and private life of his own. I don't think it's really that necessary to clarify that it's a private dining room.


Xander had set up a beautiful dinner for him and his wife, Christy.

So… Elite Four member responsible for the downfall of multiple evil organizations. Pokémon professor at the age of eighteen. The foremost Pokémon geneticist in the world at the age of twenty-two. Friend to all Pokémon. Collector of the rarest kinds of Pokémon in existence.

And an awesome cook.

Seriously, Xman, it's okay if Xander sucks at something.


till about

Until. Till is slang; don't use it in narration for the same reason you don't use "lol."

Also, that may just be the fastest relationship outside of the Kardashian family. Usually, weddings take time to plan, and if your character(s) had a jet-set lifestyle (as you establish later in the paragraph by mentioning that Xander's work takes him away from home), they'd probably need a lot of time to do even just the booking for the venue. In short, I don't think eighteen months is a viable timeframe to go from the first date to marriage. Unless they did something like eloped in Las Vegas, but I doubt that's what you wanted for your characters.

And yes, I had to bring that up. It's nitpicky, sure, but this is also another infodump. So the devil's in the details, to abuse an idiom (by completely ignoring what it actually means). I'm just saying that if you're going to give us a full backstory on these characters, you might as well make sure everything checks out.

But really, I think it'd be better if you didn't because, like I said earlier, infodumps distract the reader from the story, which is something you shouldn't be doing unless you're conveying information that's going to be important for us to remember later.


She was a beautiful woman, she was thin, 5’5, and had long black hair.

Another comma splice (note that the part about how she's a beautiful woman and the part about her physical traits are two separate, independent thoughts). Also, it's not really necessary to tell us exactly how tall a character is because to most people, that doesn't mean anything. And I don't mean that most people in the world use the metric system (although that's part of it). I mean that specific heights are vague. They don't paint concrete images the way words like "tall" or "short" ironically do. If you said five-feet-five, to me, I can't tell if that's super-tall, tall, or average height. (Especially because I know people who say they're five-three are the exact same height as me, and I know I'm five even.) So to me, that means nothing because I can't picture it. But if you said she was tall and slight, I immediately think of exactly what you mean.


“This looks lovely dear,” She said with a smile. “What’s the occasion?” She joked.

Both of the bits outside of quotation marks are dialogue tags. Notice how you specify not only who's saying those lines but also how she's saying them? That's your cue. Because of that, remember how that guide I gave you earlier told you not to capitalize dialogue tags that occur after their quotes?

For a clearer example, look at the point after "dear." Do you notice that it's a comma? Now, do you capitalize words after commas, or do you leave them lowercase? There's your other cue.

While we're at it, it's not necessary to give us two dialogue tags in a paragraph. We already know it's Christy who's speaking, and we get the idea that she's joking around. It's just not necessary to tell us she's speaking again, and it's not necessary to tell us she's joking.


“Here comes the test,” Xander joked back,

Period after "back," not a comma. The reason why is because "Here comes the test" and "Luckily…" are two different sentences. If you surround the tag with commas, you're actually saying that there's a comma between those sentences, not a period.

Confusing, I know. If it doesn't make sense, definitely check out that guide I linked earlier.


“You forgot the rings at our wedding.”

Xander had forgotten the rings in his car on the day of his and Christy’s wedding, and while she was never mad about that, she did give him a hard time about it.

Why is this important to know? I mean, okay, I know I was harping on you about how Xander is awesome at everything, but there's a difference between bringing up a flaw that has everything to do with the story and a flaw that has nothing to do with the story. If a character's flaws get in their way and become problems in themselves on top of the problems the plot (read: outside circumstances) already give them, then that's how you get a developed character. If a character's flaws are only side points and have no relevance to his or her ability to solve the plot's problems or to get through those issues relatively unscathed, then that's not a sign of a developed character; that's a sign of a Sue who has a few flaws because of the mistaken idea that the only way to circumvent a Sue is by giving it flaws.

In short, if you bring up a character's flaws, they really should be relevant to the story. Don't bring up a flaw just for the sake of saying, "Look! They're not always awesome!" Because if you do that, then it'll be more obvious that you're trying to make the character look awesome (by tacking on flaws in a hasty attempt to make them seem human).


as Xander had never tried to make this before, and screwed up twice before he finally got it.

Note of reference: rack of lamb generally takes an hour to prepare properly if you know what you're doing. (All recipes take much longer if you don't or if it's your first time making it.) That doesn't even factor in the time it takes to marinade the lamb itself, which generally takes hours. Crown of lamb is an advanced recipe that's easy to screw up (because you have to be exact when it comes to cooking lamb), and lamb itself is expensive (anywhere from $6 to $20 for a rack, depending on the quality), never mind the other ingredients that go into preparing it. So you're already looking at a minimum of three hours and anywhere from $18 to $60 (for just the lamb) down the drain. That's also not taking into consideration whether or not Xander is using a recipe that calls for the lamb to be marinated, which could mean he'd be wasting entire days on this one dish.

Point is, research. Google everything you've never done yourself and everything you've never been taught already. Even if you think it's simple, it might not be. This is just an example of that kind of issue.


with Prof. Birch…he hoped.

I have to ask. Why do you abbreviate "professor" when you use it to refer to Professor Birch but don't when you use it to refer to Professor X?


He and Christy were flying in the one of the Researcher’s Foundation’s private jets.

The researcher fangirl in me is currently tilting her head.

Foundations that fund research do… pretty much just that. They fund research. They're not a corporation in the same sense of big businesses; they're actually a lot more akin to government institutions (even if they're independent from the government). As in, I'd think it'd be rather unusual to have a funding body with private jets that can be loaned out to scientists because that'd be a lot like the bank having a car you can borrow every so often just because you have an account with them.

Now, you might have a scientific institution that's also a laboratory (see CERN), but even then, I'd imagine that most of the funding would go into, y'know, the research and not the perks.

Not going to lie. I skipped over most of the infodumping in the paragraph that followed this point. Like a lot of other paragraphs in pretty much every other scene, it felt rather unnecessary to know, like it was just there to give us background info that we would either already come across in previous fics or that aren't going to be relevant to the story.

That's another thing I should probably say about the last scene. If you took out the paragraph talking about how Xander and Christy met, there's… not much there. He just proposes the trip, she agrees, and then it moves on to the next scene. It almost feels like filler, like that scene doesn't even have to be in the fic at all because of how brief it actually was. Sure, it was important (to establish why Christy is coming along and to lay the foundations of a potential conflict later), but it just feels like there's nothing there because when you remove the meatiest paragraphs, there's not much to the scene at all. It would be one thing if brief dialogue revealed something noteworthy about the story or if it set the atmosphere for the rest of the chapter, but that scene didn't do either, really. It just told us that Christy agreed to tag along, and that's about it.

Also, while we're talking about infodumping – and I apologize because I'm reviewing as I read – but I also skimmed most of the information about the other characters. Why do we need to know all of that? Will these characters be brought up later? If so, why would you introduce them now, in massive bits of information that stall the story, rather than when they actually appear? It's just more information that the reader doesn't need to know right now, that they might forget later, and that prevents them from getting to the meat of the story.

You haven't talked at all about the Pokémon with unusual abilities for almost two scenes, after all, and given that this is the journey to Hoenn specifically for checking them out, it's rather unusual that we're not getting any of Xander's thoughts on the matter. I mean, he's a scientist. Doesn't he have any opinion – any theories – as to what's going on already? Isn't he thinking about how curious this must be? How exciting?

Instead, he's talking about characters who may or may not even be relevant to the story, just because he's part of a bigger fan-universe. This is a lot like having Red go on and on about the Kanto League and his past with Blue (or Green) when the actual story is about how he's going to Cinnabar Island to investigate reports of an eldritch abomination that rips people apart at the mere sight of it. Or it's a lot like having a conversation at your grandmother's funeral about you and your girlfriend's most exciting bedroom escapades. There's just appropriate times and places for different types of information. Don't share information if it's not going to be relevant to the story you're trying to tell right now.


“I mean, did you book this trip first and then he called, or did he call first, and then you booked the trip.”

Both of these are questions, so you'll need a question mark.


“It’s going pretty well.”

“What do you research anyways?”

“I’m researching the behaviors of pokemon when they are put into an alternative habitat.”

“Sounds interesting, but my wife wants me to hurry, so I don’t mean to be rude, but let’s get onto the reason for why I’m here.”

If he was in such a hurry, why did he ask Professor Birch about what he studies instead of about the Pokémon? I mean, generally speaking, the researchers in the Pokémon world are well aware of what the most famous ones study. Professor Birch is the foremost Pokémon researcher in Hoenn, so Xander should probably already know that he's a Pokémon ethologist.

That and although "Pokémon researcher" is a very broad term that everyone uses, fields of study are not. Generally speaking, scientists would know what other scientists study, just because you don't consult a geologist if you're actually trying to find a geneticist.


“But can I see their abilities.”

Wait… what? How?

Damp I can sort of understand because the name implies that the Pokémon who possess that ability would be wet. However, Unburden and Speed Boost are all motion-reliant abilities (because you can't tell how fast something is unless it moves), so if a Pokémon's just sitting there, there shouldn't be a way to tell what their abilities are.

Unless this is a means of saying that Xander is on a level psychic or otherwise more advanced than a normal human being. (I mean, you specified earlier that even Birch, who's the traditional Hoenn starter dispenser to begin with, couldn't tell what abilities these Pokémon had until he scanned them with a Pokédex.) I can't entirely remember what abilities you gave him in your previous fic, but for the sake of the Mary Sue tally I started earlier, I sincerely hope that's not what you're implying.


“Kiiiiip,” (Yawwwwnnn. Who are you?)

I think it's rather amusing that the subtitle is longer than what's actually being said. I mean, okay, it's a different language, but still. That's what people usually do to mimic a bad dubbing job (by making the lips flap longer or shorter than the translated line).

Besides that, I've never been fond of the "write Pokémon speech, translate it afterwards" mode of Pokémon dialogue for two reasons:

1. It tends to read awkwardly to a reader because you're basically having a character speak twice. The Pokémon speech, then, becomes redundant because why have it if you're just going to show us what they're saying anyway?

2. The speech is always littered with very human patterns. Slang. Human-like personalities. Just in general, it makes the Pokémon feel like it's not much more than a person in an animal costume.

But this is personal preference too. I'm just saying.


It simply focused on the ground beneath Geodude, and he became soaked to the core in water.

He who? Mudkip? Geodude?

The description of Damp, in general, could use a bit of work thanks to how vague it was. For example, the above's a legitimate question. If you meant Mudkip got soaked, then that leaves the question of how the explosion was reduced to a puff of smoke. If you meant Geodude, then that begs the question of how he got soaked when all Mudkip's ability did apparently was get the ground wet a little. Not to mention that also makes one wonder why Geodude didn't feel a thing, despite being a Rock-type getting soaked straight to the core. This is ignoring, of course, the fact that rock typically doesn't get soaked to the core because, well, it's rock. It's not a porous, soft surface capable of absorbing water (generally).

Point is, the description just feels incredibly vague, so it's best to expand upon it and make each detail as clear as possible. Don't just say "he did this." Tell us who it is that you're talking about and how it happened to the point where everything that you're imagining in that battle ends up on paper.


Xander pulled a perfectly white gem out of his pocket,

That's… rather random. Legit question. Do you usually carry around gems in your pocket? If the answer is no, then maybe it'd be better to come up with something rather mundane. The reason why is because mentioning this gem and going into detail about how it's perfectly white implies that it's important in some way. If it's not going to pop up again or if it's just going to be thrown away, then it seems rather unusual for a guy to be carrying around a gem while traveling for no apparent reason.

Especially since…


Xander touched the stone to the pokemon’s head, and the stone turned a dull and opaque white. “Alright, now the Normal Gem’s power is imbued in Treecko. All he has to do is use his Pound attack and it’ll activate.”

…This seems to imply that Unburden's not going to trigger. The reason why I say this is because Unburden is an ability which requires the Pokémon to use its own held item in battle. In this case, it's out-of-battle, and it's not an item Treecko is using on itself. It's an item being used on it in the same way an evolution stone or a potion would. It also implies that, yes, the held item has already been used, rather than that Treecko absorbed the item's effects into its body. Sure, you have Xander explain the process, but that comes off as confusing because the way you describe things in this paragraph heavily imply that the item is being used right then and there.

Not to mention wouldn't Birch already know how the process works anyway? Why would Xander feel the need to explain it? (As in, don't have a character explain something that others in a scene would already know just because the audience wouldn't. That comes off as awkward because you don't explain basics to someone who already knows in real life. It's just unnatural.)


and took off an incredible pace for a pokemon so young.

Comparisons (like "incredible pace for a Pokémon so young" or even "she was a beautiful woman") are actually rather vague and should be avoided in narration. The reason why is because it's very subjective and doesn't paint any particular image in a reader's mind. What's fast to one person isn't fast enough to another, and what's beautiful to one person isn't beautiful to another. In this case, I don't really have a basis of comparison for fast, young Pokémon. The anime doesn't really compare speeds of younger and older Pokémon, and you can't get that concept from the games or the manga. So this phrase actually doesn't mean anything to me. Meanwhile, if you said something like, "he darted" or "he leapt across several feet of the battlefield in seconds," I'd get the idea that he's quick.


Usually this attack didn’t even faze Geodude, but he felt it this time.

Show; don't tell. Instead of telling us that Geodude felt that attack (which also means nothing to us because it's vague), show us Geodude being hammered into the ground, cringing at the attack, crying out with shock and pain, maybe even rubbing where Treecko hit. Just be specific with it. Don't just summarize.


Immediately afterwards Treecko began to run around the field at almost twice the speed that he did before,

Again, show; don't tell. This doesn't mean anything to us, but telling us that Treecko became a green blur as he ran around the field does.


Sceptile’s

Sceptile's what?

Seriously, though, for everything, a noun-apostrophe-S combination indicates a possessive, not a plural. As in, you're saying that something belongs to that noun, not that there are multiple of that noun. If you want to pluralize something like Sceptile, just add an -s (or -es or whatever rule you happen to follow that doesn't involve apostrophes).


“Yeah, it is. He has the potential to be on par with legendary pokemon, but without someone to show him the ropes, he won’t ever reach that potential…”

I don't know about this. You emphasize the fact that Torchic can take on legendaries quite frequently, which heavily implies that that's exactly what's going to happen. Which sort of makes me feel uncomfortable, considering how often we've been reminded about how Xander is awesome already in this chapter, and besides that, if that's what's going to happen, then I already called it when we're barely twenty pages into the story.

On the other hand, it is rather interesting to have a shy Torchic grow into something extraordinary, and I sort of wish that the chapter focused more on him than Xander because of how much potential the little guy has in terms of character growth.


“You want me to take these pokemon with me and travel with them?”

So… Elite Four member responsible for the downfall of multiple evil organizations. Pokémon professor at the age of eighteen. The foremost Pokémon geneticist in the world at the age of twenty-two. Friend to all Pokémon. Collector of the rarest kinds of Pokémon in existence. An awesome cook.

And he gets three traditional starters with sparkly-special abilities.

Um… huh.

Actually, why is Birch asking him to do this? Wouldn't it be better to keep the Pokémon in a laboratory if they're trying to study them? While, sure, Elm's "do Pokémon grow better if kept outside of a Poké Ball" experiment in HGSS didn't exactly follow this kind of logic, but on the other hand, at least Elm had the excuse that there's no way he could have studied the relationship between a trainer and a Pokémon when he isn't a trainer himself and can't grow a close bond with his own subjects (much less the close bond that a trainer and a Pokémon can only forge while on the road). But this experiment…

Actually, come to think of it, what are they trying to find out? As in, yes, they may be trying to figure out the reason why these Pokémon were born with unusual abilities, but what is having Xander travel around with them going to prove? What are they actually testing?

And beyond that, getting back to the point I was making earlier, if they're trying to figure out why these Pokémon have strange abilities, why aren't they running tests on them within a laboratory? In fact, why bother calling Xander to Hoenn while specifying that they're consulting him for his knowledge in genetics if they're not going to bother running any genetic testing on them? Wouldn't Xander, as a geneticist, need a laboratory in order to work?

All of these are legit questions. It just seems contrived that Birch would call Xander to Hoenn to study rare Pokémon, only to have him travel around the region as a trainer. It feels like you're just giving Xander an excuse to have super-awesome Pokémon and adventures when you set the story up to be about Pokémon research and science. I just can't connect the dots to grasp why he has to go on this journey instead of work as the researcher he is. This is a lot like someone going up to Professor Birch and asking him to go on a badge quest with a Zigzagoon just because he studies Pokémon behavior.

Not to mention I'm going to have to voice something that I very nearly said in a different thread, had bobandbill not closed it: not every Pokémon fanfiction has to be a trainer fic. Seriously. I would be extremely interested in reading a story about Pokémon researchers doing awesome sciencey things in the name of science in a laboratory. That would be cool, especially if the story starts off by implying that that's what it's going to be. I'm less interested in reading a fic that turns into another trainer's journey fic for pretty much no apparent reason after it set itself up to be about Pokémon researchers being awesome. There is so much more to the Pokémon world than just trainers, but it feels like, sometimes, that people forget that not every fic has to be about people going around regions training Pokémon, collecting badges, and what-not. Of course, if that's not what you meant by having Xander travel around with them, then ignore this point, but the question concerning why he can't just stay at Birch's laboratory and study these Pokémon alongside him (considering it is originally Birch's project and responsibility) still stands.



And on that note, I'm going to pause for now. I know there's two chapters, but I do need a breather because this review is already sixteen pages long as of this writing.

Admittedly, I made it seem like it was worse than it actually was. Don't get me wrong. It's readable, and there are some elements that I liked. (Torchic, for example.) And I'm sure that I'd enjoy it more if I read all of the Journeymen fics instead of just yours.

As a fic by itself, though, it had a lot of issues. First and foremost, there's the fact that Xander himself is difficult to like, and that's ironically because you spend a lot of the chapter hyping up how awesome he is. His interactions with Christy (in which she locks him out of the hotel room and fights with him) are probably the most interesting, but even these are cut a bit too short for me to enjoy them. (She puts up a fight but forgives him literally a minute later.) The fact of the matter is, as I've said earlier, Xander just doesn't come off as an interesting character because he's great at everything he does. He can cook a lamb in a few tries despite not having done it before. He's an Elite Four member. He's a world-renowned geneticist. He befriends everyone he meets (except for a few, but we're not shown them yet). I'd hate to say it, but he even comes off as a Gary Stu, not so much because you spend so much time describing how awesome he is but instead because even the narration drops what it's doing to talk about him. The other characters are relegated to background support for Xander. Birch is the starter dispenser. Christy is the love interest. Jacobs is the stereotypical scientist. In short, because you spend so much time building up Xander, he effectively outshines everyone else, making everyone else seem less interesting right along with him.

I do also agree with what others have said about the description, but I think most of your issue is in the fact that you do a lot of telling instead of showing. When it comes to battling, you usually have an image in your head of what's going on, right? Try to describe everything exactly as you imagine it, and then cut out details if the battle ends up feeling too slow.

Speaking of unnecessary details… there were quite a few, but I've gone over a lot of that already. Try not to distract yourself from the main point of the story to talk about background information. If it's a basic concept or something you brought up earlier, we can just read the other Journeymen fics in order to get those bits of information. Only bring up background info if it's going to be relevant to the atmosphere or what's going on in the story.

Then, there were a lot of proofreading errors, so all I can say is try to check out that link concerning dialogue. It should help you with some of the issues you're having. For comma rules, try this guide (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02).

Lastly, questions. I had a lot of them. What theory was Xander testing at the beginning of the fic? What is he trying to find out now? Why is it necessary for Xander to travel with the Hoenn starters instead of remain at a lab? It feels like there's a lot of plot holes here, like this fic is trying to force itself to be something it's not and ends up leaving a lot of questions unanswered because of it. As a result, we can't get into Xander's mind that well (because we don't know what his motivations are), and we have to make a leap to buy it as trainer's journey.

So in short, while there were some bits that I thought were okay (Torchic and Christy, mostly), I just can't really get into this fic. Sorry to say.

Xman96
16th May 2012, 5:51 AM
Sorry for taking so long to review you. As soon as I saw that you reposted your fic, I figured this was a great opportunity to finally catch up with you. I just hope you don't mind if I'm as blunt as usual throughout this, but I'll do my best to explain my thoughts along the way.



I'm going to have to agree with Phoopes. See, the thing is that you should be establishing the scene within its first paragraph. That is, if your narration is good and solid, your reader should be able to understand what time it is and where the action is taking place just by what you tell them. To go outside of the scene by throwing in a cue card is basically like hitting them over the head with the obvious.

So instead, you could say something like, "Professor Xander's laboratory was a complete mess. He hadn't had the chance to clean thanks to his constant experiments." Of course, you don't have to say something that specifies that it's a messy laboratory. That's just an example to show you one of many ways to handle that part of the narration. Note that a reader can not only picture the lab but also get the idea of where this scene is taking place just by reading the narration itself. That helps strengthen your writing by allowing it to rely on itself in order to get the job done, if that makes sense.



First and foremost, dialogue tends to be tricky, but do you notice how everything outside of the quotation marks doesn't tell you how the quote itself is being said? That's your cue that you're not working with a dialogue tag, which means you don't need a comma.

Also, I notice that you don't capitalize "pokémon" in the first two instances, but you capitalize "Anorith Fossil" (which isn't a proper noun, considering you say "an Anorith Fossil," not "the Anorith Fossil"), "Pokémon Professor" (also not a proper noun), and various Pokémon species that are being used as common nouns (Ninetales and Politoed, for example). When it comes to Pokémon terms, you've got to remain consistent with a sensible set of rules. If you capitalize Pokémon species and professions in instances in which they're being used as common nouns (e.g., it's not a specific thing named Ninetales but instead a bunch of objects called Ninetales… or if you can substitute the word "fox" and have the same basic sentence), then you need to capitalize "Pokémon" as well because it falls under the same category. Meanwhile, if you don't capitalize "Pokémon," then don't capitalize species names. It'd be a lot like capitalizing "mouse" but not "animal."

Lastly, you'll want to start a new paragraph after the quote either way. You basically change topics in this instance. The first topic is about what Xander says; the second is about who Xander is. A dialogue paragraph (paragraph in which someone says something) should pretty much only contain the quote and whatever describes how it's being said. Anything else goes in a new paragraph.



What theory?

That's actually one of the things that I feel is a bit unsettling about all of your stories concerning Xander (and I've read them all so far). You mention that he's an expert, but you never mention what he's actually studying or why. You don't tell us what he's trying to find out about shiny Pokémon. It would be incredibly interesting to read about a scientist who's trying to uncover what causes Pokémon to be shiny, what effects a shiny Pokémon's alternate coloring has on its ability to survive (especially since camouflage is a big deal in the animal world and sort of touched upon in the Pokémon world with certain species), and so forth, but you don't really go there. In short and bluntly put, it just comes off as an excuse to give Xander a bunch of different shinies and a reason to collect them, but that just doesn't hold up that well as a character motivation.

Also, consider the fact that if we knew more about his passions, he'd be a deeper character. After all, knowing what he's trying to prove would help us see what kind of scientist he is first off (biochemist, ethologist, physiologist, and so forth) and second off what got him into such a specific focus in the first place, if that makes sense. Or if it doesn't, it'd mean we'd have a better grasp of how his mind works.



Both "P2 labs" and "Omega crisis" are names of specific things (a place and an event), so you need to capitalize them like names. That is to say, the name of the place isn't just "P2." It's "P2 Labs," right? Likewise for the event. It's not just "Omega"; it's "Omega Crisis."



Here's a tip that will help you differentiate between a compound and non-compound sentence. Look at the comma. Take it and the word "and" (the conjunction in this case) out, and replace them with a period. Notice how you get one full sentence and one fragment as a result? That's you cue to drop the comma in the sentence because you're not connecting two complete thoughts. Try this trick any time you feel like adding a conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) and comma between two clauses. If you get two complete sentences as a result, you have a compound that needs a comma; if you don't, don't use the comma.

Also, what needs? This is another question that a reader can figure out on their own if they knew more about Xander's reasons for being a professor.



Battlefield is one word.

Also, at this point, I'd like to expand on something Stage On mentioned. He said that it felt like you were introducing too many characters at once, and that's true. In this case, however, I'd also like to say it feels like you're introducing too much information. We're given a lengthy paragraph about all of Xander's achievements (which seems a bit outlandish as it is, what with the fact that he's apparently a genius and exceptionally strong trainer who's either partially or single-handedly responsible for the downfall of multiple criminal organizations), and not all of them seem like they're going to be relevant in the long-run. They don't really build up any specific expectation of the character except, "Just remember that this character is extremely awesome." It would be one thing to go over a character's achievements and backstory to build up something we should know about them (e.g., this character is smart, this character faced a lot of hardship, this character is usually seen as the butt of everyone's jokes), but here, literally all it says is, "This character is awesome." If you were trying to summarize events from previous fics in your clan's fan-universe, all I can say is maybe it's best to recommend that readers go back and read the earlier works instead, rather than infodump to give them a crash-course in your character's history. That goes especially if this is meant to be more of a standalone fic.

At the same time, you introduce Jo and David in literally less than a sentence, and because of that, a reader isn't sure whether or not we should care about them. That also ends up feeling like irrelevant information, especially if Jo and David aren't actually going to make an appearance in this fic.



Move the comma before "Professor." The reason why is because "Professor X" is a direct address, a moment in which one character speaks to another by mentioning their name.

Also, this is another instance in which what follows the quote isn't a dialogue tag, so you need a period after "X."

Lastly, I'd make an X-Men joke here, but all of the ones I can think of are pretty terrible puns.



Hyphenate "right-hand." It's one word.

I'm also going to go a bit lax on the grammatical issues. All I can say is that there's a lot of repeats throughout this chapter (and the next one), so you may benefit from either stauncher proofreading methods or a beta-reader.



This is a rather awkwardly worded sentence, especially because the previous one mentions both Xander and Jacobs. As a result, it's not entirely clear who's the tall and lanky man – or if you're referring to someone else entirely – until later. That and it's just awkward to put a description before the subject it's applying to.

Besides that, you generally don't want to stop the narration to describe a character. If you must drop description, try to weave it into the action. For example, instead of isolating this line, try saying something along the lines of, "Xander eyed the lanky man carefully. Jacobs looked all-too at-home in the laboratory. He leaned his pale face towards the monitor as he adjusted his glasses with one spindly hand. His other found a dial and twisted it two clicks to the left." With that kind of description, take note of the fact that the writing isn't dropping everything to describe a character. Instead, it's continuing the action, so it feels like the paragraph is moving somewhere, rather than stalling in one place for too long. It also allows the reader to picture the character while at the same time keeping in mind what's going on.

With that last sentence, let me elaborate a bit more. What I mean is that the very first two sentences tell us what's going on, but then you give us a massive paragraph about something else. Then, you have Jacobs answering something in the present, followed by more details that have nothing to do with what's going on at this moment in time. As a result, a reader is forced to remind themselves exactly what's happening because the narration is trying to distract them from the actual story. That's why infodumps are so risky. The more information about something that doesn't have any direct relation to what's happening in a story right now, the more work a reader has to do to get the gist of what's going on.



So… Xander is a shiny collector and a young renowned researcher. He's incredibly smart, and he's powerful enough to (help) bring down two criminal organizations while finding time to be inducted into the Elite Four. On top of everything else, he's built like an athlete (implying attractiveness), and you just derailed a paragraph that was meant to be about Jacobs to tell us about his nickname.

While I don't believe that traits alone are signs of Mary Sueism, attempting to give a character a crapload of awesome traits for the sake of proclaiming that the character is awesome… is not usually a good sign of a well-developed character. It means that you're trying to set up a character who doesn't have to work hard at changing themselves. Already, as a reader, I'm starting to predict that there won't be much character growth in store for him because where else can Xander go? He's already intelligent, a powerful trainer, and well-built. He probably has confidence in spades, and all of his problems can probably be solved with the skills he already possesses and knows he has. There just won't be much in the way of discovery here.

Now, I'm not saying that every main character has to go on an epic journey of self-discovery. I'm saying that not every main character has it all. Xander's issue is that he has the brains, so he can solve problems with his brains. He has physical strength, so he can solve problems that require physical prowess. He has powerful Pokémon, so he can solve problems that require a powerful team. Those are the three basic issues in this world, so what else can an antagonistic force throw at him that will make life difficult for him?

But besides that, what fires off the Sue alarm already is the fact that you just derailed a paragraph that was meant to be about a completely different character in order to talk about Xander. That's the problem with Sues. The world revolves around them. It bends and changes for the Sue, and the narration goes to great lengths to make sure we're well-aware of the Sue's presence. So you've just spent two lengthy paragraphs telling us all about how awesome Xander is when we should have been focusing on what's going on in the scene and on the other people in it. Everything so far has essentially been about Xander, and although he's probably the titular professor, there's times when you just have to take a step back and talk about the story and everyone in it, rather than focus too much on one person.



Period at the end of this. This is actually its own sentence. (Notice how you get two sentences as a result as well?)



No, we don't.

On a serious note, don't use the word "you" if you can just write in third person. It's slang, and more than that, it brings the reader into the story in a way that's really just unnecessary.



We have no idea who these characters are. Besides the fact that we just know Xander and Jacobs (without considering Jo, David, Raj, or anyone who might've been in previous fics), we don't know enough about their personalities (in this particular fic) to assign these roles to anyone. We don't know if Xander's meant to be the brother, the weird cousin, the crazy uncle, or one of the folks who falls in the "everything in-between." (And yes, "in-between" is hyphenated.) Likewise for Jacobs.



Seriously. What theory?



What's weird about this part is the fact that you actually punctuate dialogue correctly. (I'm ignoring the fact that the quote itself is a comma splice/run-on sentence.) It's also one of the rare times when you do. So, I don't know if you actually do know the rules and are typoing like crazy or if dialogue is actually something no one's clarified to you.

If it helps, take note of the examples here (http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/writingexercises/qt/punctuation.htm).



At this point, you switch from past tense to present. You'll want to change "studies" and "is" to "studied" and "was" to maintain consistency.



You actually do need a comma in this case. Try the test I'd mentioned earlier here by replacing the conjunction (and) with a period. Notice how you get two full sentences as a result? There's your cue.



Don't abbreviate "professor." Especially if you're not going to do it throughout your work.

Also, direct address here, and this is a comma splice.



So… Elite Four member responsible for the downfall of multiple evil organizations. Pokémon professor at the age of eighteen. Friend to all Pokémon. Collector of the rarest kinds of Pokémon in existence. And also the foremost geneticist in the world at the age of twenty-two.

I'd hate to be biting, but it feels like this entire chapter is just one long advertisement to how awesome Xander is. That's… pretty much what happens in a Sue fic, sorry to say. As a reader, I sort of find that uncomfortable because it feels like every moment is dedicated to amping up how awesome Xander is, rather than on building a plot that Xander just happens to be a part of. If the entire first chapter is like that, that's not a good sign for the rest of the plot. It says to a readers that a lot of other characters are going to be upstaged by Xander, and it means that whoever's important will most likely fill a stock or stereotypical role. (You've already mentioned that Jacobs is the sidekick and stereotypical scientist.) The problem lies in the fact that that doesn't really make for an interesting cast, and if you don't have an interesting cast, your story doesn't turn out to be as strong as it can be.



Like the establishing line, this isn't necessary. You should be conveying this point in the actual first paragraph of the scene. For example, you can easily say, "Two hours later, Xander bent over a screen. He scanned the data that he had gone through three times already in an attempt to find anything that he might have missed." That strengthens your narration by highlighting how much effort he's putting into his research, and it doesn't hit the reader over the head with a title card.



…What mystery? :/



Indeed.

Seriously, that seems… rather convenient. A little too convenient, I'd say.



Despite what anything below grad school tells you, research papers cannot be finished in two days. That is a good way to make a mistake. That and, well, scientific research tends to be extremely detailed. Seriously. Pick one up and scan through it. You'd be lucky to find an abstract that isn't at least a half a page long, and the abstract's meant to be a summary.



As opposed to…? I mean, we sort of get that he has a house, especially given the fact that he's sort of got a family and private life of his own. I don't think it's really that necessary to clarify that it's a private dining room.



So… Elite Four member responsible for the downfall of multiple evil organizations. Pokémon professor at the age of eighteen. The foremost Pokémon geneticist in the world at the age of twenty-two. Friend to all Pokémon. Collector of the rarest kinds of Pokémon in existence.

And an awesome cook.

Seriously, Xman, it's okay if Xander sucks at something.



Until. Till is slang; don't use it in narration for the same reason you don't use "lol."

Also, that may just be the fastest relationship outside of the Kardashian family. Usually, weddings take time to plan, and if your character(s) had a jet-set lifestyle (as you establish later in the paragraph by mentioning that Xander's work takes him away from home), they'd probably need a lot of time to do even just the booking for the venue. In short, I don't think eighteen months is a viable timeframe to go from the first date to marriage. Unless they did something like eloped in Las Vegas, but I doubt that's what you wanted for your characters.

And yes, I had to bring that up. It's nitpicky, sure, but this is also another infodump. So the devil's in the details, to abuse an idiom (by completely ignoring what it actually means). I'm just saying that if you're going to give us a full backstory on these characters, you might as well make sure everything checks out.

But really, I think it'd be better if you didn't because, like I said earlier, infodumps distract the reader from the story, which is something you shouldn't be doing unless you're conveying information that's going to be important for us to remember later.



Another comma splice (note that the part about how she's a beautiful woman and the part about her physical traits are two separate, independent thoughts). Also, it's not really necessary to tell us exactly how tall a character is because to most people, that doesn't mean anything. And I don't mean that most people in the world use the metric system (although that's part of it). I mean that specific heights are vague. They don't paint concrete images the way words like "tall" or "short" ironically do. If you said five-feet-five, to me, I can't tell if that's super-tall, tall, or average height. (Especially because I know people who say they're five-three are the exact same height as me, and I know I'm five even.) So to me, that means nothing because I can't picture it. But if you said she was tall and slight, I immediately think of exactly what you mean.



Both of the bits outside of quotation marks are dialogue tags. Notice how you specify not only who's saying those lines but also how she's saying them? That's your cue. Because of that, remember how that guide I gave you earlier told you not to capitalize dialogue tags that occur after their quotes?

For a clearer example, look at the point after "dear." Do you notice that it's a comma? Now, do you capitalize words after commas, or do you leave them lowercase? There's your other cue.

While we're at it, it's not necessary to give us two dialogue tags in a paragraph. We already know it's Christy who's speaking, and we get the idea that she's joking around. It's just not necessary to tell us she's speaking again, and it's not necessary to tell us she's joking.



Period after "back," not a comma. The reason why is because "Here comes the test" and "Luckily…" are two different sentences. If you surround the tag with commas, you're actually saying that there's a comma between those sentences, not a period.

Confusing, I know. If it doesn't make sense, definitely check out that guide I linked earlier.



Why is this important to know? I mean, okay, I know I was harping on you about how Xander is awesome at everything, but there's a difference between bringing up a flaw that has everything to do with the story and a flaw that has nothing to do with the story. If a character's flaws get in their way and become problems in themselves on top of the problems the plot (read: outside circumstances) already give them, then that's how you get a developed character. If a character's flaws are only side points and have no relevance to his or her ability to solve the plot's problems or to get through those issues relatively unscathed, then that's not a sign of a developed character; that's a sign of a Sue who has a few flaws because of the mistaken idea that the only way to circumvent a Sue is by giving it flaws.

In short, if you bring up a character's flaws, they really should be relevant to the story. Don't bring up a flaw just for the sake of saying, "Look! They're not always awesome!" Because if you do that, then it'll be more obvious that you're trying to make the character look awesome (by tacking on flaws in a hasty attempt to make them seem human).



Note of reference: rack of lamb generally takes an hour to prepare properly if you know what you're doing. (All recipes take much longer if you don't or if it's your first time making it.) That doesn't even factor in the time it takes to marinade the lamb itself, which generally takes hours. Crown of lamb is an advanced recipe that's easy to screw up (because you have to be exact when it comes to cooking lamb), and lamb itself is expensive (anywhere from $6 to $20 for a rack, depending on the quality), never mind the other ingredients that go into preparing it. So you're already looking at a minimum of three hours and anywhere from $18 to $60 (for just the lamb) down the drain. That's also not taking into consideration whether or not Xander is using a recipe that calls for the lamb to be marinated, which could mean he'd be wasting entire days on this one dish.

Point is, research. Google everything you've never done yourself and everything you've never been taught already. Even if you think it's simple, it might not be. This is just an example of that kind of issue.



I have to ask. Why do you abbreviate "professor" when you use it to refer to Professor Birch but don't when you use it to refer to Professor X?



The researcher fangirl in me is currently tilting her head.

Foundations that fund research do… pretty much just that. They fund research. They're not a corporation in the same sense of big businesses; they're actually a lot more akin to government institutions (even if they're independent from the government). As in, I'd think it'd be rather unusual to have a funding body with private jets that can be loaned out to scientists because that'd be a lot like the bank having a car you can borrow every so often just because you have an account with them.

Now, you might have a scientific institution that's also a laboratory (see CERN), but even then, I'd imagine that most of the funding would go into, y'know, the research and not the perks.

Not going to lie. I skipped over most of the infodumping in the paragraph that followed this point. Like a lot of other paragraphs in pretty much every other scene, it felt rather unnecessary to know, like it was just there to give us background info that we would either already come across in previous fics or that aren't going to be relevant to the story.

That's another thing I should probably say about the last scene. If you took out the paragraph talking about how Xander and Christy met, there's… not much there. He just proposes the trip, she agrees, and then it moves on to the next scene. It almost feels like filler, like that scene doesn't even have to be in the fic at all because of how brief it actually was. Sure, it was important (to establish why Christy is coming along and to lay the foundations of a potential conflict later), but it just feels like there's nothing there because when you remove the meatiest paragraphs, there's not much to the scene at all. It would be one thing if brief dialogue revealed something noteworthy about the story or if it set the atmosphere for the rest of the chapter, but that scene didn't do either, really. It just told us that Christy agreed to tag along, and that's about it.

Also, while we're talking about infodumping – and I apologize because I'm reviewing as I read – but I also skimmed most of the information about the other characters. Why do we need to know all of that? Will these characters be brought up later? If so, why would you introduce them now, in massive bits of information that stall the story, rather than when they actually appear? It's just more information that the reader doesn't need to know right now, that they might forget later, and that prevents them from getting to the meat of the story.

You haven't talked at all about the Pokémon with unusual abilities for almost two scenes, after all, and given that this is the journey to Hoenn specifically for checking them out, it's rather unusual that we're not getting any of Xander's thoughts on the matter. I mean, he's a scientist. Doesn't he have any opinion – any theories – as to what's going on already? Isn't he thinking about how curious this must be? How exciting?

Instead, he's talking about characters who may or may not even be relevant to the story, just because he's part of a bigger fan-universe. This is a lot like having Red go on and on about the Kanto League and his past with Blue (or Green) when the actual story is about how he's going to Cinnabar Island to investigate reports of an eldritch abomination that rips people apart at the mere sight of it. Or it's a lot like having a conversation at your grandmother's funeral about you and your girlfriend's most exciting bedroom escapades. There's just appropriate times and places for different types of information. Don't share information if it's not going to be relevant to the story you're trying to tell right now.



Both of these are questions, so you'll need a question mark.



If he was in such a hurry, why did he ask Professor Birch about what he studies instead of about the Pokémon? I mean, generally speaking, the researchers in the Pokémon world are well aware of what the most famous ones study. Professor Birch is the foremost Pokémon researcher in Hoenn, so Xander should probably already know that he's a Pokémon ethologist.

That and although "Pokémon researcher" is a very broad term that everyone uses, fields of study are not. Generally speaking, scientists would know what other scientists study, just because you don't consult a geologist if you're actually trying to find a geneticist.



Wait… what? How?

Damp I can sort of understand because the name implies that the Pokémon who possess that ability would be wet. However, Unburden and Speed Boost are all motion-reliant abilities (because you can't tell how fast something is unless it moves), so if a Pokémon's just sitting there, there shouldn't be a way to tell what their abilities are.

Unless this is a means of saying that Xander is on a level psychic or otherwise more advanced than a normal human being. (I mean, you specified earlier that even Birch, who's the traditional Hoenn starter dispenser to begin with, couldn't tell what abilities these Pokémon had until he scanned them with a Pokédex.) I can't entirely remember what abilities you gave him in your previous fic, but for the sake of the Mary Sue tally I started earlier, I sincerely hope that's not what you're implying.



I think it's rather amusing that the subtitle is longer than what's actually being said. I mean, okay, it's a different language, but still. That's what people usually do to mimic a bad dubbing job (by making the lips flap longer or shorter than the translated line).

Besides that, I've never been fond of the "write Pokémon speech, translate it afterwards" mode of Pokémon dialogue for two reasons:

1. It tends to read awkwardly to a reader because you're basically having a character speak twice. The Pokémon speech, then, becomes redundant because why have it if you're just going to show us what they're saying anyway?

2. The speech is always littered with very human patterns. Slang. Human-like personalities. Just in general, it makes the Pokémon feel like it's not much more than a person in an animal costume.

But this is personal preference too. I'm just saying.



He who? Mudkip? Geodude?

The description of Damp, in general, could use a bit of work thanks to how vague it was. For example, the above's a legitimate question. If you meant Mudkip got soaked, then that leaves the question of how the explosion was reduced to a puff of smoke. If you meant Geodude, then that begs the question of how he got soaked when all Mudkip's ability did apparently was get the ground wet a little. Not to mention that also makes one wonder why Geodude didn't feel a thing, despite being a Rock-type getting soaked straight to the core. This is ignoring, of course, the fact that rock typically doesn't get soaked to the core because, well, it's rock. It's not a porous, soft surface capable of absorbing water (generally).

Point is, the description just feels incredibly vague, so it's best to expand upon it and make each detail as clear as possible. Don't just say "he did this." Tell us who it is that you're talking about and how it happened to the point where everything that you're imagining in that battle ends up on paper.



That's… rather random. Legit question. Do you usually carry around gems in your pocket? If the answer is no, then maybe it'd be better to come up with something rather mundane. The reason why is because mentioning this gem and going into detail about how it's perfectly white implies that it's important in some way. If it's not going to pop up again or if it's just going to be thrown away, then it seems rather unusual for a guy to be carrying around a gem while traveling for no apparent reason.

Especially since…



…This seems to imply that Unburden's not going to trigger. The reason why I say this is because Unburden is an ability which requires the Pokémon to use its own held item in battle. In this case, it's out-of-battle, and it's not an item Treecko is using on itself. It's an item being used on it in the same way an evolution stone or a potion would. It also implies that, yes, the held item has already been used, rather than that Treecko absorbed the item's effects into its body. Sure, you have Xander explain the process, but that comes off as confusing because the way you describe things in this paragraph heavily imply that the item is being used right then and there.

Not to mention wouldn't Birch already know how the process works anyway? Why would Xander feel the need to explain it? (As in, don't have a character explain something that others in a scene would already know just because the audience wouldn't. That comes off as awkward because you don't explain basics to someone who already knows in real life. It's just unnatural.)



Comparisons (like "incredible pace for a Pokémon so young" or even "she was a beautiful woman") are actually rather vague and should be avoided in narration. The reason why is because it's very subjective and doesn't paint any particular image in a reader's mind. What's fast to one person isn't fast enough to another, and what's beautiful to one person isn't beautiful to another. In this case, I don't really have a basis of comparison for fast, young Pokémon. The anime doesn't really compare speeds of younger and older Pokémon, and you can't get that concept from the games or the manga. So this phrase actually doesn't mean anything to me. Meanwhile, if you said something like, "he darted" or "he leapt across several feet of the battlefield in seconds," I'd get the idea that he's quick.



Show; don't tell. Instead of telling us that Geodude felt that attack (which also means nothing to us because it's vague), show us Geodude being hammered into the ground, cringing at the attack, crying out with shock and pain, maybe even rubbing where Treecko hit. Just be specific with it. Don't just summarize.



Again, show; don't tell. This doesn't mean anything to us, but telling us that Treecko became a green blur as he ran around the field does.



Sceptile's what?

Seriously, though, for everything, a noun-apostrophe-S combination indicates a possessive, not a plural. As in, you're saying that something belongs to that noun, not that there are multiple of that noun. If you want to pluralize something like Sceptile, just add an -s (or -es or whatever rule you happen to follow that doesn't involve apostrophes).



I don't know about this. You emphasize the fact that Torchic can take on legendaries quite frequently, which heavily implies that that's exactly what's going to happen. Which sort of makes me feel uncomfortable, considering how often we've been reminded about how Xander is awesome already in this chapter, and besides that, if that's what's going to happen, then I already called it when we're barely twenty pages into the story.

On the other hand, it is rather interesting to have a shy Torchic grow into something extraordinary, and I sort of wish that the chapter focused more on him than Xander because of how much potential the little guy has in terms of character growth.



So… Elite Four member responsible for the downfall of multiple evil organizations. Pokémon professor at the age of eighteen. The foremost Pokémon geneticist in the world at the age of twenty-two. Friend to all Pokémon. Collector of the rarest kinds of Pokémon in existence. An awesome cook.

And he gets three traditional starters with sparkly-special abilities.

Um… huh.

Actually, why is Birch asking him to do this? Wouldn't it be better to keep the Pokémon in a laboratory if they're trying to study them? While, sure, Elm's "do Pokémon grow better if kept outside of a Poké Ball" experiment in HGSS didn't exactly follow this kind of logic, but on the other hand, at least Elm had the excuse that there's no way he could have studied the relationship between a trainer and a Pokémon when he isn't a trainer himself and can't grow a close bond with his own subjects (much less the close bond that a trainer and a Pokémon can only forge while on the road). But this experiment…

Actually, come to think of it, what are they trying to find out? As in, yes, they may be trying to figure out the reason why these Pokémon were born with unusual abilities, but what is having Xander travel around with them going to prove? What are they actually testing?

And beyond that, getting back to the point I was making earlier, if they're trying to figure out why these Pokémon have strange abilities, why aren't they running tests on them within a laboratory? In fact, why bother calling Xander to Hoenn while specifying that they're consulting him for his knowledge in genetics if they're not going to bother running any genetic testing on them? Wouldn't Xander, as a geneticist, need a laboratory in order to work?

All of these are legit questions. It just seems contrived that Birch would call Xander to Hoenn to study rare Pokémon, only to have him travel around the region as a trainer. It feels like you're just giving Xander an excuse to have super-awesome Pokémon and adventures when you set the story up to be about Pokémon research and science. I just can't connect the dots to grasp why he has to go on this journey instead of work as the researcher he is. This is a lot like someone going up to Professor Birch and asking him to go on a badge quest with a Zigzagoon just because he studies Pokémon behavior.

Not to mention I'm going to have to voice something that I very nearly said in a different thread, had bobandbill not closed it: not every Pokémon fanfiction has to be a trainer fic. Seriously. I would be extremely interested in reading a story about Pokémon researchers doing awesome sciencey things in the name of science in a laboratory. That would be cool, especially if the story starts off by implying that that's what it's going to be. I'm less interested in reading a fic that turns into another trainer's journey fic for pretty much no apparent reason after it set itself up to be about Pokémon researchers being awesome. There is so much more to the Pokémon world than just trainers, but it feels like, sometimes, that people forget that not every fic has to be about people going around regions training Pokémon, collecting badges, and what-not. Of course, if that's not what you meant by having Xander travel around with them, then ignore this point, but the question concerning why he can't just stay at Birch's laboratory and study these Pokémon alongside him (considering it is originally Birch's project and responsibility) still stands.



And on that note, I'm going to pause for now. I know there's two chapters, but I do need a breather because this review is already sixteen pages long as of this writing.

Admittedly, I made it seem like it was worse than it actually was. Don't get me wrong. It's readable, and there are some elements that I liked. (Torchic, for example.) And I'm sure that I'd enjoy it more if I read all of the Journeymen fics instead of just yours.

As a fic by itself, though, it had a lot of issues. First and foremost, there's the fact that Xander himself is difficult to like, and that's ironically because you spend a lot of the chapter hyping up how awesome he is. His interactions with Christy (in which she locks him out of the hotel room and fights with him) are probably the most interesting, but even these are cut a bit too short for me to enjoy them. (She puts up a fight but forgives him literally a minute later.) The fact of the matter is, as I've said earlier, Xander just doesn't come off as an interesting character because he's great at everything he does. He can cook a lamb in a few tries despite not having done it before. He's an Elite Four member. He's a world-renowned geneticist. He befriends everyone he meets (except for a few, but we're not shown them yet). I'd hate to say it, but he even comes off as a Gary Stu, not so much because you spend so much time describing how awesome he is but instead because even the narration drops what it's doing to talk about him. The other characters are relegated to background support for Xander. Birch is the starter dispenser. Christy is the love interest. Jacobs is the stereotypical scientist. In short, because you spend so much time building up Xander, he effectively outshines everyone else, making everyone else seem less interesting right along with him.

I do also agree with what others have said about the description, but I think most of your issue is in the fact that you do a lot of telling instead of showing. When it comes to battling, you usually have an image in your head of what's going on, right? Try to describe everything exactly as you imagine it, and then cut out details if the battle ends up feeling too slow.

Speaking of unnecessary details… there were quite a few, but I've gone over a lot of that already. Try not to distract yourself from the main point of the story to talk about background information. If it's a basic concept or something you brought up earlier, we can just read the other Journeymen fics in order to get those bits of information. Only bring up background info if it's going to be relevant to the atmosphere or what's going on in the story.

Then, there were a lot of proofreading errors, so all I can say is try to check out that link concerning dialogue. It should help you with some of the issues you're having. For comma rules, try this guide (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02).

Lastly, questions. I had a lot of them. What theory was Xander testing at the beginning of the fic? What is he trying to find out now? Why is it necessary for Xander to travel with the Hoenn starters instead of remain at a lab? It feels like there's a lot of plot holes here, like this fic is trying to force itself to be something it's not and ends up leaving a lot of questions unanswered because of it. As a result, we can't get into Xander's mind that well (because we don't know what his motivations are), and we have to make a leap to buy it as trainer's journey.

So in short, while there were some bits that I thought were okay (Torchic and Christy, mostly), I just can't really get into this fic. Sorry to say.

Wow! First off let me thank you for writing such a long and in depth review! After rereading this I have to agree with pretty much everything you said, though, I do have a few answers to your questions.

First though I have to make a comment about the commas. When I first started writing I was told to use commas everytime I would pause when I say a sentence. Maybe I'm not doing that correctly when I think about the dialouge in my head. It's something I'll work on, and quite a few of those are probably typos.

Also, this may sound like an excuse but the two chapters that I posted were written nearly a year ago. I wanted to keep them in, but because I'm taking the fic in a different direction I think I'm going to go back and rewrite major portions of these first two chapters. Mostly with what has to do with Xander. He was beginning to feel a bit Stuish to me as well, so I'm trying to write in some more character flaws in the current chapter, but I think I'll go back and remove some of those descriptions. Oh, and about the whole rack of lamb thing. I know what it is how much it costs and the like, I actually love to cook in real life. That was supposed to show I guess a bit of the work that he went through and how determined he was to make it.

Even when I was writing this a year ago I had trouble trying to justify him being so young, yet still having all of these accomplishments. I was planning on moving this fic into the far future anyway, but I'm starting to think it would be better for it to start there.

Now I'll answer the questions that you had at the end of the review. I thought that I had put something in there about his theory on how a Pokemon's genetics affected thier rate of shininess, but I may have forgotten it. This next one is where I really screwed up, even in the original writing of the fic. Originally the goal was going to be to find out how or where these new abilities came from, but in the first draft of the fic it got completely dropped. The Hidden Abilities will be more central to this reboot though.

The reasoning behind the Hoenn starters going with Xander was that, well looking back I honestly don't have a good reason for that.

Thank you again for the review and I really appreciate it. I really think that because of the direction that I want the fic to go in I should probably scrap these first chapters considering that they don't really add to the plot at all.

TheEliteEmpoleon
16th May 2012, 11:39 PM
I like this fic. I read your first one and didn't comment, but this story should be great too. Is there a PM list?

Xman96
23rd May 2012, 12:12 AM
Alright, so here's chapter 3. A little heads up, I won't be able to be on a schedule for this because of work and other things that I'm doing for the summer, so chapters will be posted as I complete them.


Chapter 3: Painful Memories

He wasn’t looking forward to this. Xander had saved the Hoenn region over three years ago, and the final battle took place on Mount Chimney. A man named Javier had decided to resurrect Team Magma, but decided to use a non native legendary pokemon to achieve his goals for a larger land mass. He had acquired a Magma Stone to control the powerful pokemon Heatran, and almost set off Mount Chimney, but Xander had arrived in time to stop Javier. The price for victory was high.

This wasn’t helped by Xander’s psychic powers. Unfortunately, they were a curse, and were developed when Latias had helped him learn the pokemon language. Whenever he experienced extreme joy it was forever imprinted into his memory. At first he didn’t mind it because the flashes, as he called them, were only triggered by external stimulus that related to the memory, photos, sounds, people, locations, and other things. Later on though, he realized that it was a double edged sword. It turned out that his mind imprinted both ends of the spectrum, and his entire experience at Mount Chimney was stuck forever in his mind. He had lived it once, and had been forced to relive it one more time. How he was going to handle it a third time, he didn’t know.

The flight was long, and gave him too much time to dwell on his flashes. After what seemed like an eternity, he could see Mount Chimney. It was just as he remembered it, tall, brown, rocky, and the last thing Xander wanted to look at. There was no avoiding what was to come, and all he said to Salamence was, “Take us in.” Salamence wasn’t looking forward to this anymore than Xander was.

When they landed, Xander recognized everything, and all at once, he was viewing a memory from almost four years ago. The summit of Mount Chimney wasn’t complicated; there were two distinct sides to it. The sides were connected by a thin rock bridge, and below that was a one hundred foot fall into molten rock. He saw himself dressed in a military style outfit, and being followed by a young man his own age. The two of them rounded the corner to begin crossing the bridge. Xander looked over to his left, and saw the second most hated man in his life; Javier. He was just standing there in his red and black uniform, watching as his young opposition began to run across the expanse. All he did was snap his fingers, and at that command a pillar of lava shot straight through a section of the bridge. Javier laughed, “You two should be commended that you’ve made it this far, but it stops now.”

Xander looked over his shoulder at his old friend Jax who nodded. They knew what the other was thinking. They each took a few steps back, and Xander ran towards the lava created gap first. Javier simply smirked at his bravery. Xander saw the expression, which just made the jump that much more important; he would wipe that smirk off of Javier’s face with his own two hands.

Xander almost couldn’t watch himself jump the ten foot gap; he almost didn’t make it, and was barely able to grab the edge. He pulled himself up with a little trouble, and turned to look at Jax, “Jump!”

Jax took a deep breath, and charged forward even faster than Xander did, and made a leap of faith. Xander lost his footing though as the bridge beneath him began to crumble, and he was just barely able to catch himself. Jax was already in the air, and acted on instinct by grabbing Xander’s leg as he fell.

From the angle he was watching this unfold, he could see Jax’s face, and how he was struggling to hang on. A tear rolled down Xander’s cheek as he remembered what happened next.

Xander yelled over his shoulder, “Hang on!” Xander was beginning to lose his grip on the rock face, and he wasn’t sure if he could pull the both of them up, but he had to try.

Jax was hanging on to his leg, but it wasn’t easy. He knew that Xander was in good shape, but there was no way that he could pull both of them up. He sighed before speaking, “Xander…there’s no way you can pull us both up…”

Xander knew where he was going, “Jax, you aren’t going to let go! Do you hear me!?”

Jax shook his head, “Sorry buddy, but I can’t let you die too.”

“Don’t let go!”

“I’m sorry old friend. You have to promise me something though; make sure that my family knows that I loved them. Will you do that for me?”
“Tell them yourself after all of this is over!”

“Please Xander, this is my last wish.”

“You aren’t going to die!”

“Xander, you’ve been a great friend to me and my family. I’ll always cherish our journey in Johto together. Goodbye.”

“Jax, no!” He called out as Jax released his grip on Xander’s leg. Xander saw a look of peace on his face as he fell, and hit the lava below. Xander stared at the rock face, heartbroken that his friend had to sacrifice himself because of Javier.

By now, Xander’s face was soaked with tears. As he looked away, he saw that Javier had a wide smile on his face. Xander’s sorrow turned to hate. He had never noticed that Javier was watching, and listening, to them as Jax died. He wanted to lash out at the sadist, but he knew it would do no good; all of this was in his head, no matter how real it seemed.

Xander pulled himself up over the lip of the, now broken, bridge. “Javier! I’ll see that you burn for this!”

Javier laughed, “I admire your spirit Xander. Your heart and battling skills cannot be called into question, but you’re in over your head.” He snapped his fingers again, and Heatran came up over the cliff face behind Xander.

Xander was trapped between a psycho, and a legendary pokemon, but he didn’t care, “You didn’t think I was gonna run did ya?”

“According to the psychological profile I did of you, it was doubtful, but I prefer to be sure.”

“A psychological profile huh? Well, that’s interesting,” He said mockingly, “and I’d do one of you, but it won’t matter soon.”

“Why’s that?” He spoke as if he were having a casual debate at home.

“Cause soon, you’ll be dead!” Xander pulled out his switch-blade knife, and charged at Javier. Javier was of the same height, and build of Xander, so it was even. He and Javier began to grapple, and Javier immediately received some superficial wounds. What frustrated him the most is that he couldn’t call on Heatran to help because any attack that would hit Xander, would also get him. He didn’t have much trouble maneuvering Javier over to the edge of the cliff. He shoved his knee into Javier’s groin and made him get down on his knees.

Javier put his hands up, “I surrender,” He spoke so calmly it made Xander sick.

“Well then, I hope you enjoy prison.” Xander stooped down to apply some handcuffs that the cops had given him. After that, he took out his last Master Ball that the cops had given him for defending Floraroma, and threw it at Heatran.

Javier was pulled up onto his feet, and was led a few steps away from the cliff by Xander when he taunted, “You never know, I might just get off like Gonzap did.”

That was the last straw. Xander grabbed Javier’s cuffed hands, and swung him over the cliff. He watched as the man screamed and burned.

Just as that happened, everything returned to normal. Xander’s face was red, and soaked. Salamence nudged him and growled softly, ”Saaal.”
(I’m sorry.)

Xander turned to one of the few constants in his life, “It’s not your fault.”

He rummaged through his bag that he always had with him, and grabbed out a water bottle. He opened it up, and squirted his face with the cool liquid. He wasn’t about to confront David with his face looking like it did, and a tear stained shirt. Despite the heat, he took out his jacket and zipped it up fully. He took a few minutes to calm himself, and began to set off, “Well, I guess we’d better look for this ‘Dave’ guy.”

Salamence grunted an approval as they walked volcanic path. It didn’t take long to find the young man. He was battling Mandy, and from the looks of things, he was winning. His Blaziken was running circles around Ursaring, and delivered a finishing blow to the back. Ursaring fell, and was returned to her poke ball.

Mandy sighed, “Dave, I know that our agreement was that if I won you’d come back, but you really need to stop fighting!”

Dave, a young man of medium height and brown hair, simply smirked and said snidely, “Why in the world would Birch be interested in Speedy and I.”

“Speedy is special and you know it.”

“Of course he’s special,” He pet his Blaziken on the head, “But I don’t see why Birch would want to see him. Don’t be a sore loser.”

Mandy looked furious, “Loser?! You’re gonna regret-“

Xander ran up into the, ever decreasing, gap between the two. Dave was taken aback, and Mandy had a surprised look on her face, “Xander! It’s great to see you, but, and don’t take this the wrong way, what are you doing here?”

“Birch sent me to give you a hand in bringing him back to the lab, to um, talk, to him.”

Dave butted in, “Look, I have no reason to go anywhere with either of you. I’m staying here until I’m beaten.”

Xander raised his eyebrow at Mandy, “Yeah, I noticed that he whooped you pretty soundly.”

“Oh shut up.”

“I’ll give you a hard time about that later, but Dave and I need to talk.”

“There’s nothing to talk about. I’ll offer you the same deal I offered Mandy over there. If you beat me, I’ll leave with you.”

“I can only assume that I have to give you something if I lose?”

“Eh, not really, I’m only here until I lose. I’m doing this as part of a challenge that my friend gave me.”

“Alright, sounds good to me. One on one sound good to you?”

“Fine by me. Speedy, are you still up for a fight?”

The Blaziken nodded silently.

“Good, are you ready?”

“Yeah, Salamence, you up for a fight?”

Salamence also nodded. The two trainers stepped back and made a standard thirty foot gap between them, and the battle began. Mandy got
over to the side to begin referring, “Begin the match!”

“I’ll go first!” Dave sure was enthusiastic, “Speedy, use Acrobatics!”

“Salamence, dodge with Dragon Dance!”

Blaziken leapt forwards at Salamence, but missed as Salamence took off. Salamence began to spin, and twirl in the air, and Xander loved to
see the beautiful and terrifying dance that Salamence performed, but his admiration was interrupted as he saw Blaziken glow, and then make a blindingly fast leap at Salamence. Salamence was fast, but Blaziken was faster. Salamence was nailed in the head by one of Blaziken’s fist, and was knocked unconscious, but he woke up again, just before he hit the ground.

Salamence got up shakily, but got up nonetheless. Xander was taken aback; if this was how powerful a Speed Boost Blaziken was in this guy’s hands, how much more powerful could one be in Xander’s? Now wasn’t the time to think such thoughts however, and Xander pushed those thoughts aside to focus fully on the battle. “Okay Salamence, hit hard with Earthquake!”

“Blaziken, Protect!”

“Oh, crud.”

Salamence flew up into the air, and made a sharp u-turn back into the ground at high speed. He hit the ground and sent a large shockwave through the ground. For a split second Xander thought that he shouldn’t have done that on a cliff, but everything seemed stable, so he wasn’t worried…too much. Blaziken threw up a wall of red energy, and simply stood there as the destruction went on all around him. After the quake passed, Blaziken began to glow red again and he quickly shot off towards Salamence before Dave could even give an order. Blaziken leapt up high, and, in the blink of an eye, delivered a kick directly to Salamence’s head. Salamence was unconscious immediately, and Xander couldn’t believe that he had lost.

Dave smiled, “Looks like I won again. Look, don’t feel bad, my Blaziken is something special. If you feel up to it, come back tomorrow, and I’ll give you a rematch.”

“Dave, sorry, but you’re coming with me whether or not I lost.” Xander held out a poke ball and returned Salamence.

Mandy looked at Xander worriedly, “Xander, you aren’t gonna do anything illegal, are you?”

Xander looked appalled, “Um, no. I was just going to say that I just came from Birch’s lab and that Birch wants to talk to him about,” A light bulb just went off in his head, “He wants to talk to him about his incredible Blaziken that he’s raised so well.” Dave looked over his shoulder when he heard that and stopped fumbling around in his bag looking for a potion.

Mandy looked confused, but Xander nodded at her and she understood, “Yeeaaah, that’s a good idea. Dave, sorry I thought I mentioned that to you.”

He walked over to the other two, “Um, uh, no, no you didn’t. If that’s true, then I’d be more than happy to come with you guys.”

“Great, then it’s settled. Mandy, you and Dave follow me back to the lab. Let’s leave as soon as possible.”

Mandy sent out her Pidgeot, and Dave let out an impressive looking Togekiss. Xander smiled, and let out Latias. Dave and Mandy both looked
at the shiny golden pokemon with awe. Xander knew it was childish, but he couldn’t help but relish the feeling of pride whenever people saw
Latias for the first time. “Everyone ready to go?”

It took Mandy a second to respond as she had to peel her eyes off of Latias, “Huh, oh yeah, right.” Dave followed Mandy’s lead and they both got on their flying pokemon. Xander took off, and they headed towards Birch’s lab.

JX Valentine
24th May 2012, 12:52 AM
Finally getting around to catching up with replies!


Wow! First off let me thank you for writing such a long and in depth review!

No problem. Thanks for taking it so well, despite the fact that it was pretty overly blunt for my standards. (Sorry about that.)


First though I have to make a comment about the commas. When I first started writing I was told to use commas everytime I would pause when I say a sentence. Maybe I'm not doing that correctly when I think about the dialouge in my head. It's something I'll work on, and quite a few of those are probably typos.

Yeah, whoever told you that was being silly. Commas are like any other kind of punctuation: there's specific times and places where they need to be used.

To make it a bit simpler (and to clarify something that might not come off as all that clear in the guide I'd given you earlier), let's start off with the basic anatomy of a quote. There's two parts to each one: the quote itself and the dialogue tag (or tag line). The quote itself is straightforward: it's everything within the quotation marks. The tag line's a bit trickier, but to put it simply, it's any phrase that describes who's saying the quote and how. It's the he said/she said part, basically. If it doesn't say the equivalent of "he said" or "she said," then it's not a dialogue tag.

Now, when it comes to commas, you use them depending on where the tag happens. Here's a basic run-down of all the possible formats:

Tag Before Quote
Mary said, "I'm going to the store. Do you need anything?"
In this case, you put a comma after "said" to indicate that the train of thought doesn't end there. Tags don't stand on their own, after all; they need a quote to make sense. Otherwise, if you just say "Mary said" or something along those lines, it really has no meaning because the phrase doesn't tell us what she actually said. So, the comma indicates to a reader that the tag attaches itself to the quote.

Tag After Quote
"I'm going to the store," Mary said.
It's a similar idea with this format. The tag can't stand on its own, so it's attached to the quote. To show a reader that the quote is attached, the quote itself ends with a comma in order to lead into the tag as one long train of thought.

Tag Interrupting Quote
"I'm going," Mary said slowly, "to the store."
In this case, the tag is interrupting Mary's line. To show that you're not interrupting it with a full sentence, however, you surround the tag with commas to attach it to the quote while indicating the break.

Tag Between Sentences In Quote
"I'm going to the store," Mary said. "We need milk."
"I'm going to the store." Mary added, "We need milk."
Both of these follow the same ideas as the first two formats (tag before a quote and tag after); the difference is that you have to decide which part of the quote to attach the tag. You can't surround the tag with commas in this case because it's not breaking up a sentence. Rather, it falls neatly between two full trains of thought. Or to make it clearer, take out the quotation marks and the tag. Surrounding the tag with commas means that the trains of thought it was separating also ends up separated with commas. In other words, let's take one of the sentences above. If we used commas around the tag, you'd actually end up saying this:

I'm going to the store, We need milk.

The reason why is because the punctuation surrounding the tag takes the place of the ending punctuation of the sentences in the quotes. If a period occurs somewhere before or after the tag, then you're saying that the quote has a full stop. If it's all commas, then it's all commas. I'm not even sure if that made any sense, though, but hopefully, the example clarifies things a bit. When in doubt, consult the guide because I openly admit I can never tell if the way I'm explaining things is actually more confusing than the rule itself.

Not a Tag/Doesn't Need a Comma
"Hey!" Mary shouted.
"What are you waiting for?" Mary asked.
"I'm going—" Mary stood. "—to the store."
Mary tapped her foot impatiently. "What are you waiting for?"
"I don't get it." Mary shrugged and walked away.
In all of these examples, you don't need a comma. For the first two, you still have a dialogue tag involved, but the thing is that the exclamation point or question mark serves in place of a comma. Commas can only replace periods in a quote. The others, meanwhile, are not tags. They don't tell you how Mary is speaking the quote; they only tell you what she's doing at the same time. For that reason, you don't need a comma at all.

Hopefully, this clears something up for you. If I made this even more confusing, sorry about that.


Also, this may sound like an excuse but the two chapters that I posted were written nearly a year ago. I wanted to keep them in, but because I'm taking the fic in a different direction I think I'm going to go back and rewrite major portions of these first two chapters.

That would definitely be a good idea, especially if you're thinking of going in a different direction. Besides, since it's a new thread, you might as well show the readers that the story is new, starting from the ground up, right? That way, they know they're getting something newer and better than the old version.


Oh, and about the whole rack of lamb thing. I know what it is how much it costs and the like, I actually love to cook in real life. That was supposed to show I guess a bit of the work that he went through and how determined he was to make it.

High five. And it's definitely something to push yourself to cook such a hard dish; it would show that Xander is dedicated and loving. What I'm worried about is how much time he would've spent trying to make it, particularly because you also say he's usually tied up with work. (The cost is mostly a side point.)


Even when I was writing this a year ago I had trouble trying to justify him being so young, yet still having all of these accomplishments.

Writing somebody who's young and accomplished is definitely a challenge, I'll admit. If you overdo it, then the character risks becoming more and more absurd, and it goes without saying that you'll want to avoid being that absurd if you're writing a serious fic. What I would suggest is making a list of all of Xander's achievements and asking yourself if it's necessary for him to _____. For example, there's probably no way around mentioning that he's an Elite Four member or a researcher, but how vital is it that he's the foremost geneticist (especially if you're not planning on touching that part)? How vital is it that he can make friends easily with Pokémon, rather than struggle to gain their trust and maintain their loyalty? Does he need massive amounts of shinies to be a researcher focused on discovering how shininess works? The more you ask yourself, "is it necessary for my character to ____," the less likely you'll include details that just exist to make your character seem awesome. It also helps you justify what you do give him, so you avoid things like the question that I had mentioned a few times in my review. ("Why is he running these experiments?")


I thought that I had put something in there about his theory on how a Pokemon's genetics affected thier rate of shininess, but I may have forgotten it.

Seems like it. It would've been pretty cool to see someone's theories about it, in part because I love it when people use science to explain away parts of the Pokémon world. Seriously, that by itself would've probably made your chapter awesome in my eyes.


Originally the goal was going to be to find out how or where these new abilities came from, but in the first draft of the fic it got completely dropped. The Hidden Abilities will be more central to this reboot though.

The reasoning behind the Hoenn starters going with Xander was that, well looking back I honestly don't have a good reason for that.

It's definitely good that you're thinking about these, especially now that you're working on a reboot. That way, you know what to work on when it comes to the storyline, and it'll be interesting to see where you take the fic now that you're considering these points. I know that, sometimes, fixing plot holes can take a story in a completely new direction, and having skimmed the original and the prequel, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where you go from here.


I really think that because of the direction that I want the fic to go in I should probably scrap these first chapters considering that they don't really add to the plot at all.

*nods* Wouldn't hurt. And you're welcome, definitely. I'll have to check back later to see where you're taking the fic – and, well, to look at chapter three if it's a deviation from where you were going with the first two.

Good luck!

TheEliteEmpoleon
26th May 2012, 6:33 AM
Nice chapter! I was actually surprised Dave won, especially against Salamence. The flashback was also interesting, to say the least.