I know, I'm late for Earth Day. Still, I completed the theme story. I like this Pokemon character!
In Process: Seedot/Wailmer
On Deck: Missingno, Togekiss, Doduo/Arceus
The normal quiet of the lab was abruptly shattered one afternoon when the front door banged open. “Professor Arboreal!” called the young boy who had entered. He wore a yellow school bag, dark green school uniform, and dirty shoes. “I’m here!”
“Yes, yes, that’s quite obvious,” a woman’s voice replied, followed by a chuckle at his enthusiasm. The middle-aged woman with long black hair came out of her office and into the front lobby. “Good afternoon, Stan. How was school today?”
“Alright, I guess. We had a spelling test. So do I get to have a starter Pokemon and Pokedex now?”
She shook her head. “Sorry, but I can’t give you those until the end of the semester. You must finish the school term before you can become one of my field assistants.”
His excitement died down some as he stilled. “Oh. Well then why’d you ask me to come in today? Did I not qualify or something?”
“No, you’re doing fine so far. The truth is, I’ve had a friend of mine send out some prototypes that need testing. I’ve used one myself, but we need a variety of people to try them out. Would you like to test out a device that translates the language Pokemon speak?”
Stan’s eyes widened. “What, really? Of course I’d love to try it out! Thank you so much professor!”
She smiled. “You’re welcome. But remember, I’m only lending this to you for now. There aren’t many of these prototypes out, so you need to be extra careful about not breaking it.”
“I promise, I’ll be careful. Where is it?”
“Come over here.” She brought him to a work table where the prototype was sitting. It looked like a white headband with three wires coming off it. On two, there were curved speakers that hung behind the ear, with the audio coming from a small pad. Attached to the third longer wire was a white box that had a slip for attaching to a pocket or belt loop. “We should be able to adjust this to fit over your head. This box here holds the batteries, so keep track of the charge level.”
Holding still, Stan let her adjust the band to his head. “It’s kind of heavy.”
“Yes, but it’s a prototype. The working device should be lighter, but we’re not sure. It can’t rely solely on vocals, you see. Pokemon have a variety of signals to communicate, which is why only highly attentive and trained psychics have been able to understand them so far. There, that should do it. The power switch is on the box. It should work on any Pokemon, but you probably ought to speak to those you know well.”
“Right, but I think I know who I want to talk to first. Thanks again.” Stan ran out of the lab.
“Be sure to give me a good report on it!” the professor called as he did so.
Right, he should do that. But reports on such things were soon out of his mind as he thought of all he could do with a device like this. He could get Pokemon friendly to him fast if he knew what their complaints were, and get them to be more obedient and loyal. He could be a detective, interviewing Pokemon witnesses when no one else could. Or he could find and talk with one of the legendary Pokemon and become someone really special. This could be awesome.
But first, he had wished that very morning that he had something he could understand Pokemon with. He headed back for school, but stopped at the town library. Sitting on the steps there was an Oddish, a Grass Pokemon with a blue body, small feet, and dark green leaves. This wasn’t so strange, as he saw them hanging around some days. What was strange about this one was that it was playing the harmonica.
It had a little tin harmonica that was painted bright green. Using one large leaf to hold the harmonica and two smaller ones to affect the notes, it was still there, playing its instrument. Pokemon talented like this were very rare, but it had resisted being captured by any other kid in town. With this listening device, he might be able to convince it to be his Pokemon.
“Hey Oddish, look at this!” Stan said, pointing to the headband. “The professor says that I can understand Pokemon like you with it.”
It pulled away its harmonica and looked up at him. “Cool, man,” it said. “That could make you real hip with folks.”
Although the words came to his ears clearly, Stan was startled. For some reason, the translator had set this little Pokemon’s voice as a deep gravely man’s voice. He wasn’t sure why. He’d have to tell the professor about that problem. “Yeah. But there’s been this thing bugging me all day and that’s, why are you playing the harmonica? When’d you learn to do that, and how? It’s weird.”
“Music is my passion. Always been, always will be.” He flicked his leaves back. “Some squares think they’ll catch me and make me battle, but that ain’t my groove. I don’t care if I stay as little ol’ Oddish forever, I will be a cool cat musician, see? And I’ll always be a free bird, never taking no money for myself or any punk that would try controlling me. You can’t control passion, or music.”
Either the translation device was put at a really odd setting or this was just an odd Pokemon. “I guess not,” Stan replied. He gave up on the idea of catching the Oddish for now and just sat on the stairs with him. “So how did you learn to play?”
“It was destiny, man. On the day I was hatched, I found this little honey discarded on the side of the route. So I picked it up and played with it, as any new ‘mon would, and eventually blew my first note with it. It was a bad one, but that was my first kiss with music and I never looked back. I listened to human music and I practiced my green heart out until I got to be as good as I am. I take my little honey everywhere I go; she’s like my soulmate.” He curled his leaf around the harmonica, smiling.
“Oh, I see. But it sounded like you were playing sad music earlier.”
The Oddish nodded. “That’s right. I’m playing the blues.”
“Cause I’m feeling blue right now.” His leaves drooped at the thought.
“What’s the matter?”
“Normally I’d say it was none of your business, cause you ain’t like me. But I got a good feeling about you. You’re not quite as cool of a cat as me, but you’re good. Anyhow, I should be holed up in the dirt right now, snoozing the day away. But I can’t. The dirt around here seems real nice too, rich and hearty. But there’s this wicked poison scent everywhere that I don’t trust.”
Stan crossed his arms over his knees. “Aren’t you a Poison type?”
The Oddish swung his little feet off the step. “I am, but there’s my poison and then there’s that poison. It’s everywhere lately. My poison is stuff I make myself, to keep the birds from taking a chomp outta my leaves. This poison came from humans like you. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not good. Me and some buddies were bushed from our nightly walks a while back and we slept in the soil despite the rotten scent. For me, I got woke up midday by some idjit Ratatta that tried to steal my baby.” He clenched his harmonica again, but defensively. “I felt off-color and sick. My buddies didn’t wake up and got all yellow leafed.”
“So they died?” Stan shuddered. “That’s terrible.”
“It is. So I play the blues now, saying goodbye to my buddies and trying to warn any others I run across to not sleep in soil that stinks. But I’m suffering for it now, see? Look at ‘em.” He spread his leaves.
“They’re dark and dull,” he said, gently rubbing one. It was like a tree leaf. However, he couldn’t tell what was wrong with that.
“Exactly,” the Oddish said. “I should have a nice glossy set of leaves to show off to the ladies, but I’ve been sleeping above ground and not getting my proper eats from the soil. But this dirt still has that awful stink, so I can’t sleep there. It’s bad. I’ll be trying to walk further away tonight, to get out of this stuff. Maybe I’ll keep away from the towns and farms.”
“The farms? But wouldn’t they have good soil?”
“They do, but they also reek the worst! Like last night, I tried cutting across a bean field out there, but I was gagging just walking there. But look, you understand me now. Can you find out what they’re doing over there and tell those squares to cut it out? I’m gonna have to leave this area permanently if it sticks, which I won’t like. All my favorite spots are on my usual traveling path.”
Stan got up. “I’ll see if I can do that. Oh, and we can talk to the professor if you want. I think she said she has another of these. She’s really smart and might know what’s going on.”
In response, the Oddish got up and hopped down the steps. “Sure thing. Just remember, I’m a lone wolf and I won’t be captured.”
“I’m sure she’ll understand that. Come on.”
As it turned out, the farmers were using a new pesticide on their fields. It took a long while to convince them that it was working too well and affecting the wild Pokemon. But the professor managed it and government officials made an effort to clean up the pesticides that had been sprayed. And when Stan next encountered the Oddish with the harmonica, he was no longer playing the blues.
Ruby entry: During the daytime, Oddish buries itself in the soil to absorb nutrients from the ground using its entire body. The more fertile the soil, the glossier its leaves become.