A Sine of Things to Come: A Journey of Rediscovery
(to be given links after I pass the 10 post threshold)
Table of Contents:
Ch. 1: Given a Sine
Ch. 2: Shocked and Awed
Ch. 3: Overload Bearing
A Sine of Things to Come: A Journey of Rediscovery
(to be given links after I pass the 10 post threshold)
Table of Contents:
Ch. 1: Given a Sine
Ch. 2: Shocked and Awed
Ch. 3: Overload Bearing
Given a Sine
It was dark, mostly.
The light from the computer screen revealed only the lightly bearded face of Peter Sine, staring intently back at the screen. None of his facial features were especially notable, aside from perhaps a slightly lower brow and deeper set eyes, which only accentuated the intensity of his gaze. In fact, more than any other single aspect that could be seen of him, what stood out the most about this man was the sheer intensity with which he observed and scanned the images on that computer screen.
It was a DAW program: Digital Audio Workspace. It showed a series of audio tracks, all spread out and lined up alongside one another. Occasionally Peter would open another display window, allowing parameters and details for each track to be altered. What was of far more interest though was not what Peter saw, but what he heard: what all those audio tracks represented.
Through the professional studio-quality headphones clasped over his ears, there was music. It wasn't finished music though, barely started in-fact. He'd transcribed a few melodic and rhythmic ideas he'd come up with so far, but nothing more than a few lines in a few tracks. Apart from expanding those musical ideas, he still needed to experiment find the right voice to carry them: synthesizer or instrumental, heavily or lightly modulated.
To conduct these experiments, Peter had one hand on the computer's mouse, and another on an electronic piano keyboard. The hand on the keyboard played the notes, produced the tones, repeated the melodies and rhythms in Peter's mind, while the hand on the mouse altered and tweaked the voice of the tone itself. He experimented with either sharpening or softening the tone, modifying the waveform, applying filters and reverb, and several other minutia.
For Peter Sine, half of challenge and joy of composing music in an electronic medium was the genesis of a completely new voice itself. Composers who worked with primarily instrumental material have the limitations of the instrument itself, as well as what a human can and cannot do with it. Those same limitations though did provide a familiar structure for the composer to work with. In an electronic synthesized medium however, it truly is an audio blank canvas, with no limit to what can be produced aside from the imagination and ingenuity of the composers themselves. There's a reason it's called a "synthesizer" after all. In creating this unique and original voice, the artist quite literally synthesizes a new tone from raw waveforms. However, creating the tone is only part of the challenge: the newly created voice must then be integrated into a chorus of other voices, as pat of a kind of audio team, to contribute to the music–
* Ring! Ring! *
Peter's work and train of thought respectively were interrupted, by an incoming video call. A new window for the video call overlaid itself on top of the DAW program, imploring him to answer, which he had to. The incoming call window said it was from his boss, which was odd at this hour, at 4:30 am. Still, it must've been important.
After quickly saving his work and closing the DAW program, Peter accepted the call. The window then showed a video feed of a portly, somewhat haggard middle-aged man with curly black hair. He was Donovan Joule, manager of the Kanto Radio and Communications Service, the Viridian City branch, and also Peter's supervisor there. It was a decent enough job, working maintenance on the regional radio and telecom gear. It was the kind of technical-mechanical work Peter enjoyed and was reasonably skilled at. It also often had him working outdoors, for better or worse. The hours though could sometimes come at strange times, like it did just now...
"Good morning Donny." Peter greeted, "What's up?"
"Pete! I'm so glad you're awake!" the older man exclaimed with a kind of energized relief, "Something urgent has come up, and I need your help to fix it."
"You make it sound so ominous, boss." Peter replied in a sort of half-joking tone. It could get somewhat frantic for the clients, when their radio and communication gear fail on them, but it was hardly life-or-death situations. If it was for certain vital relay stations though, well...
"It's the radio transceiver at the Professor's lab in Pallet Town, it's gone out." the supervisor explained, "We're off to get that fixed."
"At this hour? What about Ethan? Isn't he on call for the off-hour emergencies right now?" It was supposed to be his day off today, which was why Peter was even up at 4:30 in the morning, knowing he could sleep in later. It must've been bad if he was being called.
"I haven't been able to get a hold of Ethan." Donny answered, "It's why I called you: I know can count on you, even in these awkward inconvenient situations."
"Ah, well, thanks for the vote of confidence." Peter responded as he absentmindedly scratched the back of his neck.
That was another aspect of Peter: that he'd always be willing to take the tasks nobody else wanted. He knew they had to be done, and when nobody else would step up to do it, Peter would be there to see that it was completed. Don had caught on to that, and over time Peter Sine became the go-to worker of the Viridian City service crew for such unpleasant jobs, like this pre-dawn adventure to nearby Pallet Town he was being called on.
"Look, don't even worry about coming into the shop, Pete." Donny assured with an easy wave of his hand, "I'll be over at your place to pick you up in about fifteen minutes. Can you be ready to go by then?"
"Yeah." he answered, "I'll be ready."
"I'll see you there." and Donny's image winked out in the window as he ended the call.
A deep sigh escaped Peter once the call finished. It'd be another tough day, doing work when he least suspected he might. He'd put up with it though, not just because it's his job, but because it had to be done, and it's fallen on him to do it yet again. Such was the life of a commercial radio maintenance worker.
The young man hoisted himself out of the swiveling computer chair, and felt for the familiar light switch nearby. In an instant the darkness was obliterated by the sudden wash of light, and Peter took a moment to let his eyes adjust to it.
Peter's apartment was meager, but cozy enough for a bachelor like himself. It had the usual necessary amenities: a place to sleep, a place to prepare meals and eat, and a place to relax, just like so many other units in his building, like so many other buildings in his neighborhood. Even so, Peter had done one thing to his modest living space that he felt stood out: he made a small studio for himself. In addition to the electronic piano keyboard at his desk, there was also a higher-end microphone, which was in-turn connected to a small audio mixing board and amplifier setup. Where other people may have hung pictures or meaningful posters on their walls, Peter had instead installed a series of foam acoustic panels, so he'd get a cleaner sound going into the microphone and coming out of his speakers. It was nowhere near as complex or complete as a professional studio, but Peter was reasonably satisfied with his setup. It got the job done, and that was enough for him.
However, there was one notable non-functional item in Peter's studio: a thunder stone, set on a small display stand. A plaque in the stand read, 'Employee of the Month: March 2013'. Donovan Joule presented the stone after a particularly nasty storm had torn up half the radio gear this side of Kanto, and put the service crew through the wringer for weeks on end. Peter remembered being surprised to receive it, since at the time he figured he was simply doing his job. Nonetheless, it was a small token of appreciation for his work, and Peter had to admit, he kind of liked having it in his little home studio.
In a few moments, Peter had briskly tidied himself up, and changed into a set of sturdy clothes suitable for work, including a hardhat, a pair of heavy boots, and bright safety vest. Much like his face, Peter's physique was likewise rather mundane: neither tall nor short, neither skinny nor chubby. One could make the case though that he was somewhat strongly built. Peter himself would often claim that his body was built to be much thicker and stockier than he actually was, attributed to his lifestyle of physical labor and meager eating habits.
About fifteen minutes had passed through Peter's preparations, and the young man unceremoniously stepped out of his apartment and went to the street. It was still dark out at this hour, with barely a glimmer of grayish light peeking over the eastern horizon; not enough light to see much of Viridian City itself. The air outside was cool and damp, as would be expected on a morning this early during the springtime, with just a hint of a breeze wafting though.
Waiting at the street, just like Donny said he would, was a small utility truck idling in one of the nearby parallel parking spaces. It was one of the company vehicles, with the words 'Kanto Radio and Communications Service' painted on the side, along with the logo: a stylized radio tower and concentric circles that were supposed to represent the radio waves.
After crossing to the passenger side, Peter opened up the door and climbed inside the truck where the smaller, portly figure of Donny Joule was waiting for him. A distinct bitter scent of coffee hit Peter's nose as he settled into the seat, and he saw a pair of paper coffee cups in the truck's cup holders in the dashboard.
"Here, this is for you, as well as the coffee." Donny Joule said, handing Peter a paper bag. It was breakfast, probably from one of the convenience stores in the area.
"Thanks." Pete bluntly replied as he received the bag, and fished out a simple biscuit sandwich and unwrapped it.
"It's the least I could do for calling you in at this hour." the older man said as he put the truck into gear and drove off.
"So what's the big deal about this Pallet Town job anyway, boss?" Pete asked just before biting into the sandwich. It wasn't much as far as food went, but it was welcome nourishment all the same.
"The Professor's laboratory is kind of a high-priority job in the first place." Donny explained, keeping his eyes on the road ahead of him as he spoke and drove, "Still, we'd s normally wait until regular hours to go to work on something like it. Today is a bit of a special case though, and we gotta have the radio up and running ASAP."
"Special case?" Pete questioned, taking a sip of the steaming coffee, being careful not to spill the hot bittersweet liquid while the truck moved.
"Today, Pete, is the day that the new batch of kids arrives at the lab for orientation, and then head out on that junior-trainer journey every kid tries so hard to be part of." Donovan Joule answered, offering a quick aside glance, "When I was that young, like most kids that age, I used to absolutely obsess over getting to be one of those lucky few picked by the Professor. I must've written hundreds of letters trying to get on that short list." his words carried a strong, sense of nostalgia
"But you didn't make the cut, right?" Pete asked between bites of the breakfast sandwich, "That's why you're with the maintenance crew, and not a professional Pokémon trainer."
"True, maybe, but that doesn't mean I've stopped training the Pokémon altogether." the older man said with a small shrug, "Heck, I'll be entering the company tournament next month, and I bet I've got a shot at placing high this year with Amp backing me up."
"Amp?! That rusty junk-pile of a Magneton?" Peter asked, almost in disbelief, "We use it for radio and telecom maintenance. It's trained to be a power supply, and to help us with signal testing, not for battling."
"Oh ho! You'd be surprised just how much fight that 'rusty junk-pile' has in it." Donny exclaimed with a hearty chortle, "I think the potential was always there, it's just been left untapped all this time, being in this humdrum life of service." he offered a small aside glance to Peter, and asked, "So what about you? You gonna enter the tournament?"
"I don't train Pokémon." Peter confessed, shaking his head, "I haven't been interested in it for years, not since I was, well, that age."
"That age?" Donny questioned.
"You know, around ten to eleven, when every kid thinks they can take on the world with Pokémon." Peter explained sheepishly.
"Yeah I gotcha." the other nodded, "So why'd you stop?"
"I just... grew up, I guess." the younger man answered, then paused for a few moments, looking out into the dense Viridian forest pass by outside the truck window, "I mean, I figured a long time ago I wouldn't be good enough at training and battling to make it worth it for my living. Besides, I'm better at this anyway, and my music."
"Oh yeah? Then maybe you should get the radio station play some of your tunes sometime." Donny suggested, "I'm sure they'd be happy to oblige."
"I'll send it their way when it's ready." Peter responded, "It's not good enough to put out there yet, it still needs work."
"Good gracious, there you go again with the whole 'not good enough' routine." Donny scoffed with a sigh, "I've heard your stuff Pete: it's great, better than most of the new garbage from the so-called 'musicians' these days. Heck, if you put even half as much effort into training Pokémon as you do your music... Well, lets just say I didn't just give you that thunder stone to sit idle on its display stand somewhere."
A somewhat embarrassed tinge struck through Peter at that moment, knowing that's exactly what he'd done with the thunder stone, "I... just want to get this job done."
"Alright, I didn't mean to pressure you like that." Donovan relented, "It's just something to think about is all."
"Yeah, something to think about..."
The rest of the short drive to Pallet Town was quiet and uneventful. Donny Joule didn't say anything more, and neither did Pete.
It was true, what Peter had said, about how his interest in Pokémon dropped off early, despite how ingrained the creatures were into modern living. You practically couldn't go anywhere or do anything in the world without using or running into Pokémon doing something; even the radio maintenance work Peter did often included Pokémon, like the Magneton named Amp he mentioned earlier. Yet even with the world teeming with so many Pokémon, with such close cooperation with humans, Peter Sine had managed to pursue other means that didn't involve them, namely in his music. There wasn't a real need or viable use that he could think of for them, and he felt content with it. Shouldn't that be enough? What good was it pursuing those idyllic childish dreams, when there were radio antennas to be repaired, cables to be re-hung, connections to be made? Life, and the world, simply cannot wait for such wants.
Peter and Donovan soon arrived in Pallet Town itself, just as the light of the sunrise began to bathe the area in a warm, golden light. It was a quaint little town, nestled in the rolling foothills of the imposing mountain range that formed the border between the Kanto and Johto regions. Peter had only been here once before, passing through for work. It was an instance when the major radio relay station between Kanto and Johto needed some of its gear replaced. They didn't even stop in Pallet town then, and simply drove right through. That meant this would be the very first time that Peter would be up close to the resident Professor's laboratory.
A few minutes later, after a short drive up a gentle hill, the utility truck pulled up to the laboratory building itself. From what Peter could see on the approach, the radio transceiver array for the lab was installed on the top of a tower structure attached to the building, sharing that structure with a distinctive wind turbine. He already anticipated some major exterior work, with sensitive tools and equipment, and a safety harness. Good thing he had a breakfast and coffee in his system.
As Donny Joule turned the truck off, a lone figure could be seen stepping out of the laboratory building, and making his way toward the truck.
"Looks like the Professor is here to receive us." the older man observed, and climbed out of the truck, along with Peter.
The man who approached them could only be the resident Professor. He was a very tall, round faced gentleman who sported a beaming smile and wire-rim glasses, wearing a bright floral print shirt with the ubiquitous labcoat over it. He clearly wasn't the famous Professor Oak, who'd normally taken care of the Pallet Town laboratory in the past. He was somewhat younger, with seemingly boundless energy and goodwill...
"Ah! There you are Donovan!" the tall rosy-faced man greeted happily as he shook Donny's hand, "Thanks again for coming on such short notice."
"It's no trouble at all Professor, just doing my duty." Donny Joule replied politely.
"Nevertheless, your work is so appreciated–" the professor stopped himself mid-sentence when he spotted Peter, and immediately approached him, offering his hand, "You're new here? Welcome! I'm Professor Jeremy Rose."
He positively towered over Peter, who strained his neck making eye-contact.
"Peter Sine, just a worker with Donovan." the young man replied, returning the hearty handshake that Professor Rose had offered, then asked, "Isn't this supposed to be Professor Oak's place?"
"It is, or was." the professor answered, gesticulating widely as he spoke, nearly creating a hazard at his size, "Oak's celebrity status keeps him away from the lab so much; with radio shows, interviews, TV appearances, guest lectures. He's been needing someone to run the day-to-day functions of the lab for a while, which is where I come in, doing exactly that."
"Ah, okay." Peter said with a nod. It made sense; even someone as tuned out of the news as he was knew at least a little about the famous Professor Oak of Pallet Town.
"Anyways, I don't mean to be brief, but I would like to get the radio back up and running again as soon as possible. We can chat later if you like, but for now, let me show you fellows out to the back..."
At a brisk pace, Professor Rose led Peter and Donovan around the laboratory building, to a large field behind it. The structure Donovan and Peter were interested in of course was the tower: a tapering conical structure attached to the rear of the laboratory building. The wind turbine had been disabled for the moment, for safety of course. Large spinning turbine blades would be an obvious hazard to any worker scaling the tower to the radio transceiver antennas at the top.
In the meantime, Donny Joule had briefly questioned the professor about the radio issues, "... and you're sure it's not interior connections?"
"Tested all the points I safely could myself." Professor Rose confirmed, "I figure it's something exterior, at or near the top of the tower."
"Makes sense. The weather or other factors frequently damages exterior components..." Donovan responded, while he peered up at the tower through a pair of binoculars, "Yup, I think I see the break already: transmitting and receiving coaxial cables look like they've been torn loose at the antenna base. We'll have to go up and reattach that." he turned to Peter, "Pete, suit up and get ready to climb."
"I see." the rosy-faced man said with an understanding nod, "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Once we're ready, you can show my assistant to the maintenance access point, and he'll go to work." Donovan answered, giving the young man a hearty pat on the back as he sent him on his way.
Peter gave little response to the activity, and simply opened up the back of the utility truck to make the necessary preparations. The young man fished out a safety harness, an attachable tool pouch and two-way radio, as well as a coil of nylon rope he could use to hoist equipment up and down the exterior of the tower as he needed. Hopefully he'd be able to check over a copy of the building's schematics so he'd know what to expect up there, but it seemed straightforward enough.
Once he had the harness fitted, Peter checked the tool pouch to make sure it had everything he'd need: multimeter, hand-tools, soldering kit. He might need a few pieces of specialized gear or replacement parts, but until he could get a good look at the actual damage, there'd be no way to know for sure. He'd just radio Donovan with any details then.
Satisfied, Peter stepped away from the truck and joined Professor Rose, who was waiting for him near the front door of the laboratory.
"Right this way." he led the young worker inside, explaining as he spoke "We'll ascend the tower from the inside mostly, and..." Professor Rose stopped for a moment, noticing that Peter had fallen behind him.
The young worker was simply taking in the sight around him, and had slowed considerably in the process. The space itself was quite expansive, two floors high with an inner-balcony occupying the second floor. There were a number of tables lined up around the area with samples, cases of Poké Balls, research materials, notes, not to mention lots and lots of Pokémon equipment that Peter didn't recognize. The most sensitive Pokémon-related equipment Peter had worked with so far was some of the components of the transfer and storage system, when he did some work for Bill's firm. Even in that case, most of the equipment itself was proprietary, and the employees of Bill's firm performed the sensitive maintenance. The regional service crew were simply extra labor for the more mundane tasks, such as cable running and installation...
"It's an impressive setup, isn't it?" Professor Rose said, standing conspicuously over Peter.
"Yeah, sorry." the young worker responded
"There's no need to apologize." the professor said, shaking his head with a small chuckle, "I had the exact same reaction myself the first time I walked in here, when I was just starting off as a lab assistant for Professor Oak. The tower access is right this way..." and Professor Rose climbed a staircase up to the inner balcony.
Peter followed closely, and asked, "You know Professor Oak?"
"Of course, I spent nearly ten years under his tutelage after all." the Professor answered, as they continued across the laboratory's inner balcony, "He can be a little absentminded at times, but you'll find few people as devoted to Pokémon research and expanding our knowledge of them as Oak. Nowadays though he's more and more involved in the public promotion of research, in being a celebrity scientist, as opposed to actual research..."
They soon arrived at a small door with a number of warning labels, which Professor Rose showed to Peter, "But anyways, here's the tower access. Be safe out there!"
The worker gave him a short nod and stepped through the door, into a tight spiral staircase that he began to climb. Soon it became too narrow for stairs, and gave way to an interior ladder that squeezed past the wind turbine's generator, right until the ladder came to a stop at an outer access hatch. Carefully, Peter unlatched the hatch, and swung it open, revealing the same rolling foothills of the area he'd seen earlier, but from a much higher vantage point. There was a little more wind out here, not enough to be a safety concern, but it was more of a gust than a mere breeze up here. The weather was just about perfect otherwise, without a single cloud in the sky.
Before doing anything else, Peter found the outer safety rail, and attached the carabiner of his safety harness to it. Then he set about climbing the exterior ladder of the tower to the radio mast, which was just a few feet further up. It was a good thing Peter wasn't too afraid of heights, else he'd never have gotten this job in the first place. Others would be justifiably terrified to be it Peter Sine's place, with at least a good hundred feet drop or more to the ground, and the buffeting wind wouldn't have helped matters. For him though, it was just another day at work, another tower to climb, another radio antenna to fix.
The two-way radio attached to Peter crackled to life, and Donovan's voice came through, "How does it look up there, Pete?"
At the top of the tower, Peter finally got a good close look at the damage Donny had spied earlier, and gave the details back through the two-way radio, "It's the coax cables alright: ripped right out of their connections in the junction box. Looks like it might've been some bird Pokémon by the damage to the cables themselves..."
Indeed, the two send/receive cables connecting to the antenna mast were completely frayed on one end, and there were clear claw marks where something tore them out.
"We could rewire them," Peter continued, "but if the cables are taking this kind of beating, I think we'd be better off just replacing them with heavy-duty reinforced cables, make this less of an issue in the future."
"Good thinking." Donovan replied from the radio, "I'll send Amp up with the stuff."
Way below, Peter could see the distant flash of a Pokémon being released from its ball, and a small glint that was Amp. That old Magneton was kept in Donovan's tool kit most of the time from what Peter could tell, right next to his wrenches and wiring gear. He still couldn't believe Donny was actually going to use it for battle, even if it was just a small-time company tournament.
A cry was heard somewhere overhead. When Pete looked up, it looked like there was a bird Pokémon lazily gliding above, possibly a Fearow by its outline. He was almost willing to bet it was the very Pokémon that had ripped these cables out in the first place...
In a few moments, a whirring hum steadily rose from below, and the triple-sphere and magnet body of a Magneton floated right up next to Peter, carrying a pair of short, sturdy coaxial cables. This was Amp, and its age showed, with it's rough, dented, and partly corroded surfaces in places.
Peter reached out to retrieve the cables, commenting, "Donny's really got you battling, does he?"
Amp just swayed a little bit in the air, and offered a kind of tinny metallic squawnk as it's response.
"As long as you're here, I suppose you could keep an eye out, make sure that bird overhead doesn't interfere." Peter said, pointing up to the circling Pokémon above them, "Maybe you'll even get a little practice in if you're lucky."
The Magneton tilted itself up, to look at the Pokémon Peter supposed, and gave another squawnk.
"... right." was all Peter could think of to say, and he began work.
It was fairly straightforward: a simple mater of removing the damaged coaxial cables and jacking in the fresh ones. Honestly this was about as routine and humdrum a job as ever. Anyone in-theory could do a job like this, even that happy-go-lucky Professor Rose if he put his mind to it. The only real limiting factor here was that it was an exterior repair at the top of a tower, and that it just might have been more complicated than it was. Nevertheless, this was the kind of work the techs at the Kanto Radio and Communications Service, like Peter Sine, did on a daily basis.
A few minutes later, and the cables were all swapped out.
"I'm all finished up here Donny." Peter announced into the two-way radio, "I'll have Amp test the reception and–"
* Squawnk! *
"What is it?" he asked to the Magneton.
Amp was positively going haywire: spinning its magnet and bolt appendages wildly, jittering and shaking in the air, all while emitting a rising whining hum. Peter had never seen this beat up old Pokémon acting so strange before.
"Amp, I don't underst–"
* Crack! *
A lightning strike? But there's not even a cloud in the sky...
Last edited by chaos_Leader; 2nd January 2016 at 4:52 PM.
Shocked and Awed
A sudden crack of thunder jarred Peter awake as he bolted straight upright. He found he was breathing heavily, and his heart was racing. He was on a sofa, in some kind of sitting or living room, and someone had draped a blanket over him. There was a din of heavy rain pouring outside, as well as the occasional rumble and crack of thunder and flash of lightning outside the windows. There wasn't supposed to be any rain in the forecast for at least a few day, and yet there was one heck of a storm raging outside right now...
Peter wasn't alone in the room, far from it. Sitting across from him on another sofa were two children: one was a sandy haired blue-eyed boy, and the other was a redheaded girl, both about ten years old or so. Donny Joule was there in the lounge too, along with the Magneton Amp, along with a dark haired boy near both of them.
"See? I told you he wasn't dead." the girl said, her words dripping with smugness.
"Whatever." the boy next to her replied sarcastically, and folded his arms, trying not to look at the girl.
"Whoa, that's weired." the third boy uttered as he touched the Magneton, and his dark hair stood up on end from the static. Amp didn't seem to mind, not that Peter could really tell what the Magneton liked or didn't.
"Pete!" Donny exclaimed, and scampered to Peter's side.
"What happened?" Peter asked his boss, with more questions coming rapidly, "Who are all these kids? Since when did a storm blow in? What's Amp doing out and about?"
"Easy there, slow down, one thing at a time." the portly little man said, full of concern, "Firstly: are you okay?"
"Look, I'm fine." Peter insisted, tossing the blanket aside, "Maybe I'm a little confused, but I feel fine otherwise."
"You really don't remember what happened, do you?" Donny stated, astonished.
Another crack of thunder ripped through the background din of the rain, along with a flash of lightning. The first two kids barely reacted to the noise, and were far more interested in Peter now. The third boy flinched a little, and Amp just floated nearby, seemingly oblivious to everything.
"There was a lightning strike on that tower, even though the sky was completely clear. The strap on your harness snapped from the sudden shock, and the heat." the portly little man handed Peter the safety harness he was wearing earlier, which did have the torn strap Donny mentioned.
"But.. I blacked out, and if my safety line broke..." Peter looked at the harness, at the ripped and frayed strap, then looked up to the Magneton hovering around the other boy.
"Pete, Amp saved your life." Donovan confirmed in a grave tone, "You fell after the strike, but Amp grabbed you and brought you down to safety. After that it just wouldn't stay in its Pokéball, so it's been out, hovering around you a lot."
Peter couldn't quite believe it, or a lot of things really; his life, saved by a Pokémon he barely knew. Amp just hovered, apparently oblivious, or at least nonchalant to the boy who was closely examining him.
"I'm... not sure how I'd thank Amp." the young worker confessed.
"That's okay. It seems happy enough just to be out for now." Donny assured, looking at the Magneton and the boy, "I think Amp kind of likes the kids too though."
"So these must be the junior trainers." Pete figured, looking over the children again.
"We do have names, you know." the sandy haired boy piped up, leering back at Peter with his adamant eyes.
"Come on, don't be so immature." the girl chided, then turned to Peter herself, "Sorry about him, I'm Scarlet. Mr. Joule told us about what happened out there, and I hope you're feeling better."
"And I'm Azure!" the boy announced proudly, "Remember the name, because you'll be hearing a lot more about me!"
Peter paid little heed to the showiness of the boy, but couldn't really hold it against him. Azure seemed like a typical confident youngster, eager to take on the world, so proud, so innocent. The girl struck him as a clever one though, thinking and calculating behind her politeness, even at her young age. That third child was something of a mystery though, and Peter couldn't quite figure him out from what little he'd seen of him.
"What about him, by the Magnaton?" Peter asked the two children in front of him, pointing out the other boy.
"Oh." Azure gave the other boy a quick glance, and shrugged as he answered, "That's just Pine."
"I haven't talked with him much since we got here." Scarlet added, looking thoughtfully at Pine, "He's kind of quiet."
"There you are!" the professor's voice boomed as he strode into the lounge, and headed straight for Peter, "I'm so glad you're awake, and looking well too!"
"I could be lucky, but from what I've been told, it's all thanks to Amp here." gestured toward the Magneton.
"It certainly is a fine specimen, and it's done you a great service." the professor agreed with a nod, and turned to Donny, "You make sure to take good care of this Magneton Donovan, it's more than earned it."
"You bet I will." the portly little man assured. Then he held out a Poké ball and returned Amp inside with the familiar flash and whine as it was dematerialized.
"Azure, Scarlet, Pine, I just contacted your parents and let them know you're all safe." Professor Rose informed, "You will have to remain here at the lab while this storm blows over though. So I'm afraid the start of your journey will have to wait until then."
"That's okay, Professor." Scarlet replied, "We understand."
"Do we still get our Pokémon?" Azure asked with a worried pang to his voice.
"Of course you do!" the rosy-faced Professor reassured with a beaming smile, and then turned to one of his other guests, "Peter, if you'll join us, I believe you may be able to help."
"I'm not sure–"
"–with the storm." Professor Rose cut him off, "I think you can help us understand where it came from, why it's happening. Right this way everybody."
The Professor led his guests out of the lounge and into the research floor that Peter had seen earlier. Not much had changed, aside from the storm outside, and a trio of Poké balls laid out on one of the nearby tables.
"There was not one single cloud in the entire sky, and there was no foul weather forecast for at least a few days." Peter explained as they moved, "We wouldn't have done the repair if there was so much as a whisper of thunder."
"I understand, but I think there may be something else at work." the professor said, and settled himself into one of the research stations, all his guests watching intently, "Did you see anything while you were up there? Anything in the sky? Anything at all?"
"All I remember is a bird Pokémon." Peter answered, "I think it might've been a Fearow, but it was pretty far off."
"Bird... Fearow..." Professor Rose mulled, and did a quick browse through a Pokémon database. In a few moments he stopped on a page, and showed it to Peter, "Did the Pokémon happen to look anything like this?"
The image on the page was a fearsome, yellow jagged-winged bird, with a long pointed beak.
"I think..." Peter began, still thinking about it. This bird could have been mistaken for a Fearow at a great distance, like the distances he saw it from, "Yes, actually."
"Then what you saw was Zapdos," the professor confirmed, stepping up from the chair at the station, "and it would certainly explain the sudden onset of this storm."
"Zapdos?" Pine asked quietly, his curious eyes glued onto the database page.
"Yes. Zapdos is one of the great legendary birds." Professor Rose explained "Zapdos contains so much electrical power, that simply by moving to a new area, it could sometimes trigger a spontaneous lightning storm, much like the one now raging outside."
"Wow!" Scarlet exclaimed, "A Legendary Pokémon right here!"
"Can we catch it?" Azure asked eagerly.
"Given time and good training, I'm sure you'll be able to." the professor assured with a delighted chuckle, "To do that however, you'll need strong Pokémon partners to help you, the first of which you'll all be getting right now. Right this way..." Professor Rose led the group to the table where the three Poké balls were resting, "For you, we have something a little different this time."
In quick succession, Professor Rose picked up the Poké balls, and with the distinctive pop and flash of materialization, released the Pokémon on the laboratory floor in front of him.
"Sent all the way from Professor Sycamore in Kalos: Fennekin, Froakie, and Chespin." the professor revealed, and pointed out each one as he named them.
Fennekin was a small fox with red tufts bursting from its ears. It vaguely reminded Peter of a Vulpix, but still seemed quite different. Froakie was a little pale blue frog, who's eyes seemed to constantly be on the lookout. The last one, Chespin, was a sort of rodent with a kind of green hood or helmet over its head.
"These are so awesome!" Azure burst out in wide-eyed amazement, then asked, "Which one are you getting, Scarlet?"
"I'm not sure." Scarlet said, while she knelt down near the three foreign Pokémon, "They all look quite interesting."
"What about Peter?" Pine asked the professor, "Does he get one?"
"What do you mean?" Professor Rose asked.
What was the boy talking about? Peter wasn't here to get a Pokémon at all.
"Well, Mr. Joule has his Magneton, and we get to pick one of these Pokémon here, but Peter doesn't have any at all." the quiet boy turned to Peter, his small voice filled with a curious concern, "Shouldn't he get a Pokémon too?"
"I don't need any, I don't train Pokémon." Peter insisted, "I'm alright."
"Nonsense! Besides, I know just the thing!" Professor Rose said with a giddy excitement, then turned to Scarlet and Azure, "Pine and I will be away for only a moment. Feel free to discuss your decision between Fennekin, Froakie and Chespin in that time."
Pine and Professor Rose stepped out of the lab into another nearby room. Scarlet and Azure remained focused on the Pokémon in front of them, playing with them while they figured out who should get which of the three starters. In the meantime, Donny and Peter stepped away from the discussion.
"I'm sorry Pete." Donny apologized, scratching the back of his neck, "The kid asked me about you while you were out cold, he was worried about you. I kind of told him what you told me earlier, about how you don't use Pokémon."
"It's fine, don't worry about it." Peter assured, but only half-heartedly. In truth he was a little worried what Professor Rose was planning, what he might come up with.
It was only a few moments before Professor Rose returned with Pine. The boy had a Poké ball in hand, and held it with great care as he approached Peter.
"Here." Pine said, holding out the Poké ball, "I picked it out just for you."
Peter looked down at the little red and white sphere, unsure of what to do. It'd been years since he'd so much as held a Poké ball, or used a Pokémon in any kind of battle. He wasn't any good at training at the time, and moved on to other pursuits. All Peter could do was shake his head as he said, "I can't take this."
"Why not?" the boy asked, somewhat taken aback.
"Look, I appreciate the thought, I really do." Peter said, trying to reassure Pine, "I just don't have the time to train Pokémon for battle."
"This isn't about a means of battling, Peter." Professor Rose explained, placing a hand on Pine's shoulder, "Just because you don't battle with Pokémon doesn't mean there isn't a place for them in your life. They can still enrich our lives, provide companionship, and even –on occasion– save lives."
The thinly veiled reference to what Amp had done for him earlier sent a pang of guilt through Peter. There was something about the way the professor said those words, with the clear tone of insistence, and a look that wouldn't take no for an answer. Reluctantly, Peter let out a small relenting sigh, and accepted the Poké ball from Pine.
"Will you let it out?" the boy asked, with an air of anticipation about him.
Still unsure exactly what he was doing, Peter tossed Poké ball to the ground at his feet, triggering the pop, hiss and flash of materialization. When the light faded, it revealed an Eevee, a little brown furred creature with large pointed ears. It looked lost, confused, and nearly jumped when it saw the much larger form of Peter towering above it.
"This Eevee is very young, and lonely, and could really use someone to look after her." the professor said, "She doesn't need to see a single scratch of battle if you don't want her to. She just needs a friend."
Peter knelt down to the tiny Eevee's level, where she was pawing at the Poké ball it emerged from. She cringed a little when Peter came down, but wasn't frightened; more uncertain than anything else. The young man held out his hand, and the curious Eevee approached with caution, sniffing his hand and arm as it explored. When the little one seemed satisfied that she wasn't in danger from Peter, he gently stroked the Eevee by its ears. She seemed to enjoy the attention, and the Eevee rubbed itself against the young man's leg.
"She likes you!" Pine observed cheerfully, crouching down next to Peter.
Only then did Peter notice how quiet it had become. The constant pounding of the rain was no more, the thunder had gone silent, and brilliant beams of sunlight had broken through the thinned clouds outside. The most prominent sounds now were simply the content purr from the Eevee, and the amused chuckle Peter only just realized he made.
"Ah, it looks like that nasty storm has started to clear up." Professor Rose deduced, and he went to Azure and Scarlet next to the other Pokémon, "Have you decided who your partners will be?"
"I'm taking Froakie since he's the strongest!" Azure announced with pride as he held up the little frog. The Froakie didn't seem particularly pleased about it though as it squirmed in the boy's grip.
"I think I'll take Fennekin." Scarlet concluded, while she stroked under the fox's chin. The Fennekin seemed to like this very much, and emitted a delighted little squeal at the girl's touch.
"Don't worry Professor, I'll take good care of Chespin." Pine promised, and calmly approached the nervous Chespin.
"I'm sure you and your Pokémon will do just fine out there, but before you all go, there is one last thing..." Professor Roset said with his beaming smile, and held out three small red handheld devices for the children, "These are your Pokédexes. They contain a comprehensive database of known Pokémon, and will store data on the ones you capture. This helps with research, since we're finding more and more new Pokémon every day. And even among those we've already discovered, we learn new things about them just as often."
"Thanks Professor." Scarlet said while she accepted the Pokédex.
"We'll make good use of them, you can count on us." Pine assured with a nod.
"What are we waiting for? Let's go!" Azure piped as he scampered out of the laboratory, with the other children following close behind.
All Peter could do a that point was watch, as a new generation of youngsters took their first steps down a path he had abandoned long ago. The Eevee he'd been trusted with seemed interested in the children, watching them leave with those curious big eyes it had.
"Come on Pete." Donny said as he came up alongside his assistant, "We'd best be best be heading back to the city."
"Yeah..." Peter quietly agreed, and picked up the Eevee in his arms as he and his boss exited the laboratory. He didn't have the heart to return the Eevee to her ball so soon, and the little Pokémon didn't seem to mind.
"I know what you said Peter, that you aren't any good." Professor Rose said as his final guests were stepping out into the world, "But if you are even the slightest bit interested, it is never to late to start again."
The drive back to Viridian City was about as uneventful as it could be. Donovan Joule said barely anything, just dropping Peter off at his apartment complex when they arrived. The Eevee spent most of her time tucked in Peter's arms, watching the world fly past through the truck's window. For the most part, Peter himself wasn't quite sure what to think about how the day went. He'd survived a near-death experience, met a few young strangers, gotten an Eevee for his troubles, and still all he felt was a kind of tired, worn out confusion. Maybe it was shock, maybe it wasn't, but in truth Peter just wanted to settle down, and let things mellow out.
The young man opened the door to his apartment and stepped inside the familiar space. The Eevee scampered in past Peter's legs, and began exploring the brand new area for her. Peter made a mental note to check with the landlord about pet policies, and went to the bathroom in the back. He closed the door and washed his hands of the grease he'd accumulated from the repairs–
But then the lights flickered, and flickered again.
When Peter turned off the water faucet, he could hear a muffled crackling and sizzling sound, and caught a horrifying scent of scorched circuits when he reflexively gasped. He didn't quite know what to think, other than he had to see what it was, how bad it was.
Peter Sine burst out of his bathroom, and into something beyond the worst he could imagine, where he truly and completely panicked.
Gigantic electrical discharge arcs were leaping all over the apartment, hitting the computer, the mixing board, and all the gear in his studio. His most prized pieces of equipment were all being bombarded by what Peter could only assume was absolutely destructive amounts of discharged electricity. He felt his heart rate accelerate like a rocket booster, and his breath freeze in place while he tried to find the cause of it all. At the center of all this mayhem was the Eevee he brought home with him, but she wasn't an Eevee anymore.
The Pokémon was bright yellow now instead of brown, with several pointed tufts of fur, and a more angled face. She was cowering on the floor, trembling like a leaf and holding her forepaws over her face, whimpering beneath the cracking hissing screams of the sparks. When she finally saw Peter, with huge terrified eyes, the bright yellow Pokémon cried out and scrambled clumsily to her feet, and came toward him.
Peter froze for a moment, watching in horror as the not-Eevee brought her wake of electrical destruction closer and closer with each stumbling step. He remembered the Poké ball, and scrambled into his pocket to find it, only now realizing how clumsy his hands became in the moment–
"Agh!" one of the discharge bolts landed on Peter's arm, causing it to spasm violently for a moment. The bright yellow Pokémon was only a few feet away now, gazing up at Peter through the sparks with a look pure fear on her face, and Peter felt he was staring back with the exact same expression.
Peter finally wrenched the red-and-white sphere from his pocket, held it out in his trembling hand and shouted, "Return!"
Thankfully the Poké ball worked exactly as it was supposed to, and the not-Eevee dematerialized in a bright flash, and was removed from the apartment, leaving an eerie silence.
All Peter could do for a time was stand agape in wide-eyed shock, heart racing and chest heaving. Every last piece of audio equipment in his studio was bleeding a stream of black smoke, and the stench of vaporized metal from overloaded circuits stung in his nose. His music, is gear, everything he was working on, was reduced to a collection of smoking husks.
Amidst the destruction, Peter saw the thunder stone and its display stand, knocked to the floor next to his desk...
A good few hours had passed since Professor Jeremy Rose sent the fresh batch of junior trainers on their way. With luck they'd soon be arriving in nearby Viridian City, having whetted their eager appetites for the journey they'd only just begun. This would be the first batch of young trainers Professor Rose sent out since he took over day-to-day operations at the Pallet Town lab. Even when Oak spent more and more time away from the lab, when Jeremy Rose took care of more and more of the lab's legwork, old Samuel Oak would still make his way back to give another generation their send-off into the world as trainers. Admittedly it was a bit of a rougher start than what Professor Rose would've liked, with technical difficulties and the sudden onset of a storm, but it was the overcoming of such obstacles that made the journey all the more worth it, that made the experiences one earned hold that much more significance.
The Professor mulled over this as he poured himself a hot cup of tea that had been brewing in the laboratory's kitchen, when a lab assistant approached him, full of concern, “Professor, there's a video call for you.” the assistant informed, “He says it's urgent.”
“A rather distraught young man. He says his name is Peter Sine.”
A flash of worry swept through Professor Rose. The tall man's rosy face suddenly went very pale, and his beaming smile vanished entirely. Without another word to his assistant, he abandoned his tea and started straight toward his computer. Why would Peter need to call him? What could've happened? It couldn't have been something to do with his Eevee, could it?
It was only a few moments before Professor Rose returned to his desk, where his computer was displaying a video chat feed, where a grim faced visage of Peter Sine waited.
“Professor.” the young man greeted dryly.
“What's wrong?” the Professor asked as he settled into his chair, “You look shaken.”
“It's the Pokémon you gave me.” Peter answered in a dull monotone, “I need you to take her back.”
“I don't understand. You and Eevee seemed to get along so–”
“She trashed my apartment!” Peter snapped all of a sudden, “All of the gear in my studio; the mixing board, the keyboard, the microphone, the computer; it's gone! It's all gone!”
In a slow motion, Peter Sine held up a Thunder stone for the camera to see. It was grayed out, indicating that it was used up.
“That little, innocent, Eevee found this in my apartment, and triggered an evolution.” the frustrated young man explained in a bitter tone, “She's not an Eevee anymore.”
“So she's become a Jolteon already.” Professor Rose realized, only growing even more worried about what that meant, “That Eevee was barely away from her mother.”
“That miniature apocalypse was firing off highly destructive electrical discharges all over my apartment from the moment it changed. I'm lucky she didn't start a fire that could've burned the building down, or even kill me!” Peter elaborated, while Professor Rose ran through options in his head, “That is why I am coming back to the lab, and you are going to take her back.”
Peter was about to switch off the line of communication, until the Professor cut him short, “No no no hold on, wait!” he implored, “You're in Viridian City, correct?”
“Yes,” Peter stepped aside, showing a quiet street that Professor Rose recognized as apart of Viridian City, “and I'm calling from a pay-phone outside, Professor, because my cel phone has been reduced to a paperweight.”
“Take Jolteon to the gym there.” the professor suggested suddenly.
“A gym challenge?” Peter asked as he leered back through the camera with skepticism.
“Listen, just hear me out. The gym leader in Viridian City is an expert on Eevee and its evolved forms. He'll be able to help you, and Jolteon.” Professor Rose paused a moment, still seeing the bitter frustration eating at Peter, and he made a judgment call, “If it comforts you I will pay for the damages to your apartment, but please, take Jolteon to the gym and have the leader there look at her.”
Peter took a few long moments to consider, and asked one more question, “And if he can't help?”
“If he can't help, then there's no helping that poor Jolteon anyway.”
“Fine, I'll go there.” Peter grunted, and the video call winked out in front of the Professor.
The tall rosy-faced man let out a deep sigh of relief. Speaking of rough starts, this incident with the Jolteon was yet another snafu to add to his list. It was a bit of a risk to pay for Peter's damages, especially since it sounded like he had several pricey pieces of equipment ruined, but he had to take some responsibility for the hardships thrown in front of Peter Sine. Professor Rose could only hope the young man could find opportunity in the situation, instead of tossing this chance away all over again.
Whatever may come though, there was one last call the professor had to make, and he rang the appropriate line on the video chat system.
A few moments later, a young woman in a professional outfit greeted the Professor, “Viridian City league gym. How can I help you?”
“I need to speak with Blue Oak, immediately.”
Peter Sine walked up to the Viridian gym, up the staircase around the fountain out front. Both were made of fine marble, intricately carved in an impressive ornate style. He'd passed the gym a few times before when he went around the city, and even serviced some of the communication gear there, but Peter never had any direct contact with the gym leader himself. All he knew was that the leader was fairly young, closely related to Professor Oak, and could be hard to get a hold of sometimes.
As Peter continued along the stone walkway toward the gym, between rows of marble columns, he noticed a figure casually leaning against the wall near the gym's front door. When he got closer, he saw the figure was a young brown haired man wearing a leather jacket, barely paying any attention to the area around him. He couldn't have been any older than Peter, possibly even a few years younger.
“You Peter?” he asked Peter when they were close.
“Yes,” Peter confirmed with a small nod.
“Blue Oak, leader of the Viridian gym.” the leather clad young man said abruptly, and stepped inside the gym entrance, motioning for peter to follow, adding over his shoulder, “You'd better consider yourself damn lucky I'm even bothering with this.”
“I was told you could help.” Peter said as he followed close behind.
Blue waved passed the receptionist and continued straight through his gym's lobby without so much as a glance. The inside of the Viridian Gym was similarly ornate in its design as its exterior, if somewhat darker in its color scheme. The floors were a polished black granite, and the walls held several alcoves with statues; some of people, some of Pokémon.
“Yeah, I can help, with a job far better suited for the Pokémon Center.” the young gym leader scoffed as he walked.
“But the Professor–”
“Is a snobbish, entitled jerk, trying to fill a pair of shoes that are just way too big for him.” Blue interrupted bitterly, “He hangs onto my gramps' coattails all these years, finally gets his tenure as an official Professor, and all of a sudden he thinks his word carries the same clout as the Samuel Oak. Already big Mr. smiley-face has me cleaning up his blunders, when he really ought to take care of this himself.”
A door slid open in front of the pair, and they walked onto the main battle floor of the Viridian gym. The standard wide-open battling field was surrounded by a series of grand stone archways and columns, alluding to the long and proud history of the gym.
None of it mattered to Peter at the moment, who was trying, seemingly in vain, to get the gym leader's attention, “I don't don't know what your problem is, but–”
“Then let me tell you what my problem is.” Blue turned to Peter, motioning widely around him, his voice echoing through the battle floor, “I have a league gym to run: official challenges that I have to answer. I am here, in this building, to put trainers and their teams through their paces. I make them shed blood, sweat, and tears to make sure they're ready to earn the badge. Yet here I am, putting all that on hold, so I can do a checkup on some pet Jolteon.”
“Who in their right minds keeps one of these as a pet?” Peter asked, fishing the Poké ball out of his pocket. He could've sworn he felt a small jolt of electricity shoot through his hand as he held the little sphere.
“Most of Eevee's evolved forms are...” Blue trailed off, then sighed and rolled eyes as he said, “Whatever, let's just get this over with: send it out.”
Peter obliged, and tossed the Poké ball to the floor in front of them. With the ubiquitous pop and flash, Jolteon materialized on the battle floor. The little yellow Pokémon was already engulfed in a torrent of electricity, and continuously fired off the same discharge arcs that wreaked havoc in Peter's apartment less than an hour ago. The hapless Jolteon simply cringed in fear, buckling herself down as close to the floor as she could.
“Whoa...” Blue uttered. His tone had changed completely, and now he looked on Peter's Jolteon with an intrigued sense of concern, “Well, Professor Rose wasn't wrong about how bad it was.”
“Do you know what's happening?”
Instead of answering Peter, the gym leader produced a Poké ball from his jacket pocket and tossed it out next to Peter's Jolteon. With another pop and flash, a Jolteon of his own emerged, to which Blue ordered, “Blitz, give us a hand with this one!”
Blitz gave a small acknowledging nod to its trainer, and approached Peter's terrified Jolteon. It didn't seen affected in the slightest by the barrage of electricity that struck it, and stood close, doing its best to reassure the young one. Peter's Jolteon looked back at the other, but made no motion toward it, still quite frightened. At the same time, the wild discharge arcs all were redirected into Blue's Jolteon, effectively containing the danger.
“To answer your question, a number of things are happening here.” Blue began explaining, “When a Jolteon gets upset, or angry, or scared, it starts building up an electrical charge: basic fight-or-flight reaction reflexes. What's happening here though is a spontaneous, uncontrollable static discharge. Your Jolteon is building up the charge alright, but it isn't dispersing built-up the energy in any controlled way, and just fires it off wildly instead. This can sometimes happen with Jolteon if the Eevee wasn't entirely ready to evolve, especially if it's a very strong one.”
“Why is that?” Peter asked, “Isn't Jolteon is an electric type? Shouldn't it know what to do?”
“Yes, but Eevees aren't electric type.” Blue said with a small shake of his head, “They aren't born with the innate knowledge and instincts of natural electric type Pokémon, like Pikachu are. They don't have prior experience or genetically ingrained instincts to guide them; they only become electric type from exposure to the thunder stone. When Eevee become Jolteon in their evolution, the capacity for channeling electrical energies is thrust suddenly upon them.”
Blitz's attention, while it seemed effective to contain the dangerous discharges, didn't seem to make Peter's Jolteon any less anxious. She still kept hunkered down, even flinching away from the other Jolteon when it came close.
“Normally this isn't too much of a problem:” Blue Oak continued, “a short adjustment period following the evolution, and the Jolteon can figure out the necessary skills on its own, most of the time. Considering just how young your Eevee was when the evolution was triggered though, and the sheer amount of power she seems to have the potential for... she just can't control it.” he motioned out to the pair of Jolteon, “Look at her: she's terrified, confused, and she's only making it worse for herself in this vicious cycle.”
The young Jolteon spotted Peter nearby, and cried out in a desperate tone as she started to approach him. Blitz blocked her path though, much to the dismay of Peter's Jolteon, who cried out again as she gazed in worry at her owner.
“What should be done?” Peter asked quietly as he watched the scene unfold before him.
“One way or another, your Jolteon has to learn to control her new power, or she'll only cause more unwanted destruction...”
Peter's Jolteon tried to jump out and rush toward him, but Blitz bit down on the scruff of her neck and dragged her back. The younger Pokémon protested with another cry as she squirmed in Blitz's grip, firing off another burst of electricity.
“But like you said, she's terrified and confused, which means she's in no shape to learn anything.” Peter figured. He didn't show it, but it was difficult for him to see the the Pokémon struggle like this. There had to be something he could do to fix this...
“You got that right.” Blue agreed, “Blitz can keep her company for a while. He'll keep your Jolteon safe, and it might help soothe her.”
In response to another desperate fit, Blitz pinned the young unruly young Jolteon down on her side, holding her down under its forepaws while the other squealed in desperate protest. With her head against the floor, Peter's Jolteon stared back at him with wide, pleading eyes, and uttered a long mournful howl that reverberated throughout the battle floor, filling Peter's ears with the ringing of its cry. Seeing the scene before him, Peter Sine didn't believe that for a second that Blue's prescribed treatment would soothe the terrified young Jolteon. Something else had to be done...
At that moment, something else is exactly what came to Peter's mind.
“She needs me,” he said as he turned to Blue, a firm certainty to his words, “I need to go to her, that'll calm him down.”
“Are you sure you want to do that?” the gym leader asked, “You're not going to be able to get close without getting hurt, and that's not going to help anybody.”
“I'm aware...” Peter looked ahead again, where all he could do for the moment was watch the young Jolteon gaze back, and listen to her helpless pleas, “I'll need a long extension chord and some tape, electrical tape if you have it.”
“What for?” Blue inquired.
All Peter said as his answer was, “I've got an idea.”
It seemed for a moment that Blue Oak might press him for more information, as he quizzically glanced between Peter and the two Jolteon. In the end though, he gave Peter the benefit of the doubt, and quickly made a call on his cel phone, to one of the gym staff it sounded like.
“Get an extension cord and some electrical tape, and bring them to the battle floor...” Blue ordered, “Crack into the custodian's storage closet, it should all be there.”
In the meantime, Blitz stepped off the young Jolteon, which simply laid helpless on the battle floor now, quivering as the discharge arcs fired off her body. Peter wasn't even sure if his idea would work at all, but it was the only idea that made sense at the time, and he had to at least try...
Thankfully, not even a minute later, the receptionist the two had passed by earlier came onto the battle floor, carrying the extension cord and a roll of electrical tape as was requested.
The instant Peter received the items, he pulled a multitool off his belt, flipped out the knife blade and cut off one end of the extension cord, revealing the three wires inside: the hot, neutral, and ground wires. He taped the hot and neutral wires away from each other and wrapped taped over the ends, taking great care to make sure a circuit wouldn't be completed between them. Then Peter striped the protective plastic coating off the ground wire, and taped the end of the cord to the back of his hand, with the bare copper of the ground wire extending just beyond his fingertips.
“Plug the cord in.” he instructed to Blue, who did so with a small nod. Then Peter turned his attention to the two Pokémon on the battle floor in front of him, “Blitz, I need you to step away from my Jolteon, I'll handle her.”
Blitz cocked its head toward Peter, and looked to Blue for further orders, who responded, “Let the man work Blitz, step back.”
Blue's Jolteon gave an obedient nod and backed away from the other as ordered, while Peter stepped forward. As Blitz distanced itself from the other Jolteon, the sparks and discharge arcs picked up in intensity like they were before, no longer being safely contained by Blitz. The young Jolteon whined in a weak voice with her head hung low as she lay there, barely paying attention to her surroundings. She seemed to have given up hope, and Peter could hardly blame her, when all the Pokémon had ever done since her evolution was destroy everything that got close to it.
Nevertheless, Peter Sine pressed forward anyway, keeping his wired hand ahead as he approached Jolteon and entered the danger zone, where the uncontrolled discharge arcs flew out at random.
With a loud snap, one of the bolts of electricity shot straight toward Peter, causing him to flinch at the noise and the half-expected electrical shock. Much to the young man's relief though, the bolt was caught by the exposed wire instead, completely missing his hand and leaving him unharmed. A few more steps closer, with the wire on his hand catching every spark and discharge arc, and Peter came within arms reach of Jolteon...
The hapless Pokémon didn't even acknowledge Peter's presence, whimpering with her eyes closed and face buried in her forepaws, oblivious to everything around her. Even so, Peter knelt down next to the Jolteon, and laid his hand on the bright yellow fur of her back, just under the mane. Jolteon nearly jumped at the touch, releasing another blast of electricity that was again caught by the wire. Then the Jolteon saw that it was Peter, and stared back up at him with wide, tear-filled eyes.
“You're gonna be okay little guy, I've got you.” Peter uttered quietly. He didn't know Jolteon understood, but it felt right to say it anyway...
The Pokémon squealed as she jumped up and buried her face in Peter's chest. For a second, Peter was worried the Jolteon might accidentally shock him again, but it wasn't the case. The dangerous discharge arcs and sparks were gone. The only electricity Peter could feel now was a minuscule tingling sensation under his hands...
It worked: he fixed it.
That accomplished satisfaction alone was enough to spark a small sense of pride in Peter: the kind of pride one feels at the overcoming of a challenge, or solving a complex puzzle, but there was more here. In overcoming this particular puzzle, Peter was able to help an otherwise helpless creature in this Jolteon, who was now gratefully licking the man's face. He felt his face form a smile at the affection, and heard himself laugh as he scratched the Pokémon just behind her prominent ears.
“I'll admit, I wouldn't have thought of that.” Blue Oak complimented as he approached the scene, “Nice work.”
“It's just a crude grounding tether, like a miniature lightning rod.” Peter explained with a shrug as he removed the wire from his hand, “It catches the discharges in the wire, redirects them into the building's grounding system through the power outlet, and ultimately into the ground through a series of grounding rods.”
“Heh, funny enough, that's more or less exactly how Jolteon normally control excess charge.”
“That so?” Peter asked, standing up.
“Thing is, Jolteon have four such grounding rods:” Blue informed, holding up a hand with all fingers but his thumb extended, “they walk on them.”
“The paws, huh?”
“When Jolteon, and many other other electric types, build up an excess charge, and they can't simply discharge directly into their environment, they'll send the extra energy into the ground they're standing on to disperse it safely.” Blue crouched down in front of Peter's Jolteon, scrutinizing the young Pokémon through a tightly focus gaze, “This poor little pup here doesn't know how to do that yet, so she can only shoot out the energy every which way.”
The young Jolteon shrunk away from the harsh gaze of the gym leader, slinking to the safety behind Peter's legs.
“Then let's get started to change that.” Peter said as a sense of determination built up inside him.
Blue nodded, and directed his attention to the other Jolteon waiting nearby, “Blitz, come here and give the little one a demonstration.” the gym leader ordered, motioning for his Pokémon to join the group.
Once Blitz came close, Blue's Jolteon began to build up a charge. It's bright yellow fur stood up on end, and a few small sparks began arcing between the tufts. There was enough of a charge that Peter could even smell the electricity in the air. The younger Jolteon cringed at the sight though, uttering a quiet whine as the other neared. Peter crouched down, and stroked the worried Pokémon's back. The Jolteon was still a little anxious, but Peter's attention comforted her somewhat.
Blitz held up a paw for a moment, and set it down on the ground. In an instant, the sparks all over its body disappeared, and its fur settled again as the charge was released. Then it cocked its head and gave a small yip at Peter's Jolteon, who cautiously stepped forward, pausing as she glanced back at the young man who'd helped her.
“Go on, you got this.” Peter assured the Pokémon, and the Jolteon nodded before continuing on.
With the young Jolteon at its side, Blitz repeated the cycle of building up a charge and dissipating it. Peter's Jolteon did her best to duplicate the process, building a charge, and attempting to disperse it in the same way. She had more than few mistakes though, firing off several errant bolts of electricity a fair number times as she tried. Blitz was able to safely catch the stray discharges though, and the tutoring continued. Peter mused that Blitz might be acting like a lightning rod, similar to his own trick with the extension cord...
“Don't forget that Jolteon doesn't just build up a charge for nothing.” Blue Oak informed while the Jolteon practiced, “Electricity is the resource it draws upon to defend itself, allowing it to release the stored energy in concentrated bursts. It's the basic principle behind any Pokémon's electric type attacks, like a thunder shock.”
“I see...” Peter replied, while he thoughtfully stroked the beard on his chin, “So the Pokémon acts just like a capacitor.”
“A what?” Blue asked, eyebrow raised.
“Never mind,” Peter dismissed, waiving it off as he said, “it's a technical term.”
“Hmm...” the young gym leader murmured as he furrowed his eyebrows.
As knowledgeable as Blue Oak was on the subject of Pokémon, Peter still sometimes forgot that his own area of technical expertise wasn't one most people weren't familiar with. As the minutes passed, the intermittent cracks of electricity became more and more sparse, until it nearly became silent on the battle floor. In reflection of the calming state of his training, Peter's Jolteon was gaining more control, more confidence in her movements.
“I'd say your Jolteon looks like she's getting a grasp on the necessary basics. She should be safe now, but keep her practicing regularly just to be sure.” Blue turned to Peter, changing his tone to a more inquisitive one, “You are planning on keeping Jolteon, aren't you? Professor Rose mentioned that might be up in the air.”
“I'm... not really sure.” Peter admitted, watching the young Pokémon entrusted to him. Jolteon was no longer the walking hazard she was mere hours before, but she also wasn't the innocent carefree Eevee just a few hours before that.
“I'll tell you what: how about you take your Jolteon to the gym in Vermilion City, and let Surge take a look at her?” Blue suggested, “If you decide you don't want Jolteon when you get there, the Vermilion gym will make a great home for her. She'll be looked after by those who have experience and and in-depth understanding of what she'll need. If you decide you want to keep Jolteon though, Surge and the other gym trainers will be more than able to teach you about the finer points of electric types.”
It seemed a sound option to Peter, a reasonable compromise, or an excuse to kick the can down the road if he were feeling cynical. Regardless, Peter Sine didn't have a clear answer whether to return Jolteon to Professor Rose as was his intention earlier, or if he would change his mind, and nurture the Pokémon that needed guidance. Even if Peter wouldn't be that guide, the Vermilion gym sounded like as good a place as any for Jolteon.
“I'll keep it in mind.” Peter said with a nod.
Blue Oak uttered a harsh whistle that got the attention of Blitz, and his Pokémon walked toward the gym leader obediently. At the same time, Peter's smaller Jolteon turned around to look back, ears perked up at attention. After a few moments, the young Pokémon followed Blitz, noticeably sluggish in her stride.
“Blitz, return!” Blue called out as he raised the red and white Poké ball, catching the Jolteon in flash of light as it dematerialized, and ultimately disappeared.
The other Jolteon's expression was a weary, worn out one in need of rest. When she was close, the bright yellow Pokémon let out a tired yawn as she slumped at Peter's feet. The young man crouched next to the Jolteon, and gently patted her on the head, feeling not even the slightest tingle of electricity at the touch anymore.
“You did good little guy.” Peter said quietly, and removed the Poké ball from his pocket, “Return.”
While he pocketed the little sphere, the gym leader turned to Peter, adding, “Be sure to take your Jolteon to the Pokémon Center to recover his strength. Being as young and inexperienced as she is, even this simple training has taken a lot out of her.”
“Of course.” Peter agreed, pocketing Jolteon's Poké ball as he stood up and looked to Blue, “Thanks for your help.”
He offered the gym leader a handshake, which Blue returned, clasping Peter's hand in a firm grip.
“Don't mention it.” Blue said, and clapped the other on the shoulder after he released the handshake, “I'll smell ya later.”
“Yeah, you too.” Peter replied with an awkward smile, and he turned to leave the battle floor.
“Oh, and tell that smug Professor Rosy-cheeks that he wins the bet:” Blue added after Peter had taken a few steps, “I owe him dinner.”