OOC: Okay, a showdown not between Trainers, but between Gyms.
1. Follow all SPPF rules.
2. This RPG will be, at most, PG-13. Limit swearing.
3. Limited bunnying is allowed, just keep other PC’s in-character. You will be required to take control of the Leaders from me, at least once, but don’t try to start any favoritism.
4. Use good clear writing. I’m tolerant of minor mistakes, but I will call you out on bad writing.
5. Everyone wins AND loses, even the Leaders. If your character gets too win-heavy, I’ll warn you to play more fairly.
And I'll say once again... have pride in your Gym.
GYM WARS: KANTO
-Indigo Plateau, September 20, 2008, 21:17
Most meetings of the League officials were friendly, warm, and open. Not this one. The special closed door session had a nervous tension, an uncertain air. People weren’t chatting as much. What seemed to be simple mistakes and events had accumulated into this decisive moment. Careers could end or begin with a few words.
Two more Gyms would find themselves closing their doors.
There was a clear divide between the Gym Leaders at the table, the five who would certainly stay, and the Leaders standing by the wall, the five being considered for the cut. But even the ones whose positions were guaranteed were grave. If a friend or ally failed to make it, they might feel guilty for having been kept.
A soft creak filled the room as the Leader for the whole Kanto League, Lance, got up from his chair. He wore the traditional gear of the Dragon Tamers, the long blue cape, the dragonhide gloves, the insulated boots. Once he stood in front of the five standing Leaders, he turned to them.
“It seems that none of you lack the qualifications or abilities to be a Gym Leader,” he stated, his voice firm despite some reluctance to do this deed. “But as things stand, we must drop two of you. I’m sure that you’ll find success wherever you happen to end up.”
This statement was met with varying expressions. There was Reynold Oak, better known as the Ace Trainer Red, who was holding in some impatience. Despite being only fourteen, he had cleared the Gym Leader tests with flying colors. There was Koga Feldspar, the oldest of the five, who had been uncharacteristically quiet the whole time. The distracted look to his eyes was met with sympathy from the others, for they knew what he was going through.
In contrast, Keith Ang was outwardly calm. He had been through all this before, as the Dojo he ran had flip-flopped repeatedly from unofficial to official. Next to him, Surge White Junior was trying not to fidget nervously. The young man had a history as a rock star with no stage fright, but one couldn’t have guessed that now. Lastly, there was Camilla Chavich, whose eyes flitted around the room as if watching for something. Being a foreigner, no one was quite sure what to think of her, or what she might be thinking.
Lance took a deep breath, then said. “Keith, I’m sorry, but we got a petition from Lavender Town to evict your Dojo. Because they won’t even consider backing you, we cannot approve of your Gym as official. And I have to request that you either move back to Saffron or find somewhere else to be.”
“I understand,” the fighter replied with dignity. He gave Lance a respectful bow, which was returned. Then he turned and left the room.
The door thumped shut with a tone of finality. The Elite member then looked to the youngest one. “Red, your Gym is rather out of the way, being in the Power Plant workers village. However, they seem to appreciate you and we have no other problems with you. We have decided to grant you the Official Seal of the Kanto League.”
He grinned for a moment, but then got a chiding look from the current League Champion. Benny Pallet, better known as Blue, was thirteen, but recognized as one of the most talented Pokemon Trainers to appear in Kanto. Blue wasn’t as boastful as Red could be, yet had turned out the better Trainer. Despite clashes between the two, Blue still considered him a friend.
Taking that hint into consideration, he slipped down to a small smile and shook Lance’s hand. “Thank you, sir.”
“We’re glad to have you with us.”
Red then sat with the other Gym Leaders. Surge glanced between the older two beside him, but getting no response, turned his attention back to Lance. This leader, though, was looking to his three colleagues in the Elite group. Old Agatha, who seemed to let the Dragon Tamer be the leader more often than not, nodded to him.
“Right,” he said softly. “Well, Koga, Surge, Camilla... as I said earlier, there seems to be no glaring flaws within your abilities. None of you have any Trainers registered to your Gyms, though. You are working to remedy that, right?”
“Yes sir,” they all replied, Koga a bit later than the other two.
“We’ve had no strong protests to your positions. However, there’s nothing that makes any one of you a better choice than the others and the unsettled states of your Gyms makes a fair decision difficult. Therefore, it has been decided to grant all of you a temporary official status for one year. When that year is coming to a close, we will question your community, the League Trainers, and others about your progress. The one that is rated the lowest will be cut, while the other two will gain a permanent Seal. That decision will be made on October 1st of next year. Do you agree to these terms?”
“Then that’s it for today. Good luck to you.”
October 1, 2008
-Safari Zone Warden’s Office, Fuchsia, 07:20
“Goood morning, this is Joe Dee on KYSS, the radio voice of Kanto. Quite a wet morning too, with light rain showers remaining over Saffron, Celadon, Lavender, and Fuchsia. We also have heavy fog warnings out for Vermillion and Cinnabar, while various other cities may be experiencing moderate to light fog. But it should all clear out by noon, giving us a crisp and cool autumn afternoon.”
Koga leaned back in the chair with his right hand over his eyes. Although the radio was playing, he hardly heard it. There was a lot on his mind. His Gym was currently nothing more than a rough foundation. The police investigators had cleared out all the rubble, but it would take more time to confirm the cause of the massive explosion. Since he lived in the dorms on the back of the Gym, he lost nearly all of his material possessions. That hardly mattered to him, though. Worse was the loss of a promising Gym Trainer and of a dozen loyal Pokemon, including one of his own. Even a Ghost like Haunter could die.
Then there was that girl, who had accused him of sexual harassment over a period of two years. Even if it was false, the legal issues connected to that were going to latch onto him for a long time. It didn’t help that simply being accused of harassment stained his reputation. For someone who valued honor as much as he did, that hurt deeply. Still, he would prove his innocence.
He had a gut feeling that all of this had something to do with Linda Montblanc. She had come to Fuchsia at the beginning of the year to establish a Contest Hall. At the time, he had welcomed the Coordinators warmly. It brought new glory to his beloved city. He helped them move in and get used to the area. And then it turned out that Linda did not like Poison Pokemon. Therefore, she didn’t like him. At the beginning of the year, he had the full respect and support of the citizens of Fuchsia. Now, about half of them no longer trusted him and others were undecided.
Koga felt quite certain that he had hit the lowest point of his life.
A gust of wind caused raindrops to spatter against the window, making itself heard over the quiet radio. Leathery claws gripped the hand covering his face. He let the wing bring his hand down to face his Crobat. Chirping worriedly, she brushed her other wing against his cheek.
He smiled a bit. “Thanks, Millie. We’ve got to get back on our feet. I’m grateful for this respite, but we must make the most of it.”
“Krrri, klik, klik,” she replied, making an agreeable turn of her ears. She fluttered off the edge of the chair as he got up.
He took a couple of moments in the small bathroom to clean up his face and shake off his darker feelings. He had to interview several young people to pick out his new Gym Trainers. Glancing at the file of applications, it cheered him some to know that at least these people believed in him. They were interested in the old traditions, which most people considered as out of style as his usual clothing. But that’s who he was. He came from a traditional family that was immersed in the ways of the ninja. These ways might be out of style, but they certainly weren’t useless.
Koga felt ready. He opened the door and looked over the Safari Zone Lodge. “Okay, girl, let’s see who’s up to being first.”
-Vermillion Gym, 07:20
“Aw, come on,” Bolt grumbled, turning back to the key remote. His father had given it to him so that he could turn off the pair of electric force fields blocking access to the Vermillion Gym Leader’s office. But Lt. Surge had not given him the precise password to get the remote to work. He tried another button.
The Gym’s speaker system clicked on. “...it should all clear out by noon, giving us a crisp and cool autumn afternoon.
“Well that was ‘Luster’ by the group Majesty Seaking, a group from Johto that’s quickly climbing the pop charts in several regions. Speaking of Johto, there has recently been a relaxing of the passport laws to that region from the gate near Viridian. Merchants are especially relieved, as the longest part of the shipping process is getting permission to cross regional lines. Without the presence of Team Rocket, it was quickly agreed to by both Kanto and Johto authorities.
“In other news...”
“Joe Dee is still running the morning show?” He scratched his head, ignoring the radio to figure out the latest problem.
His light brown hair was styled as usual, slicked back into long spikes. Back in the band, the guys would tease him that he took the hairstyle from his Jolteon. He wore a dark green vest, but no shirt underneath it. The October fog didn’t bother him, as he’d just come back from Sinnoh. There had been a light frost when he left Canalave Port, which wouldn’t happen here for another month or two. He also wore old black jeans and dark boots bought at an army surplus store. Yes, he was supposed to be working today, but he was reluctant to give up his usual style just yet.
There was a whir as his Magnezone approached him. It was illegal to have a powerful Magneton or this new evolution loose in city limits. But the Gyms had thick insulating walls as defense against the awe-inspiring powers of Pokemon. Axel and the other Pokemon were free to move around the building as they pleased.
“Zzzurr?” he asked, twisted his magnets around.
“He said it would be obvious to me.” Bolt entered a new number into the remote. “What about my birthday?”
He looked back over the Gym he was now Leader of. It was an odd set-up for this kind of building. A large number of trash cans were lined up in neat rows on the main floor. “I don’t really want to resort to his randomized trash switch puzzle. It took me ten minutes to solve it last time. Let’s try Mom’s birthday.”
A blessed silence came over the building as the radio and the force fields went offline.
Bolt sighed in relief. “Man, first official day on the job and already I’m screwing up. I hope this isn’t a bad sign.”
“Zrt, zrt,” Axel replied, but then stopped short as the force fields came back to life when his Trainer crossed the threshold.
“It’s okay, I can access the control panel now.” He walked over to the Leader’s side of the battle area. There was a hidden panel in the wall that slid aside to reveal a switchboard. Fortunately, this was a lot less complicated than the remote. Bolt cut the power to the force fields fully. “It’d be irritating if the applicants got blocked by that. Let’s check out the office.”
After grabbing his suitcase, he and his Pokemon went into the office. It looked pretty much the same as he had last seen it, when he’d quit being Assistant Leader to tour the world with his band. A military-grade flag of the Kanto region, something rarely seen these days, stood in the northeast corner. In front of that was a large desk made of solid oak. Along with neatly organized paper bins and file folders, there was a nameplate for ‘Lt. Surge’.
Filling the walls of this office were dozens of photos and special documents. Many were quite old, from when his father had been on active-duty in the army. There was a special shadowbox that held a spotless gold star on a blue ribbon. That was one of the highest awards for a veteran to earn; Bolt made a mental note to get that to his father soon. He would appreciate having it back.
“Fzzzz,” Axel noted, a contented kind of sound.
Bolt turned to see what had caught his eye. “What is it?”
The Pokemon pointed out something on the wall that was different than before. It was a glossy poster, two feet wide by three feet high. Sticking out like a punk in the military, the poster was for Bolt’s band, The Wailing Electrodes. There were a few of the band Pokemon in the picture, including Axel when he had only been a Magneton.
There was a note in red pen on the bottom. ‘Love from your son, Bolt Guitar.’ Pinned to the wall below the poster was a nameplate insert that said ‘Surge Jr’.
Bolt smiled fondly at the poster and nameplate. “Oh Dad...”
Axel clicked and poked him.
“Yeah, we’d better get ready for the interviews. This is going to be so much harder than that time that we were looking for a bass player.” He took the nameplate off the wall. “But it’s for Dad. I have to get this right.”
He switched the inserts, then started shifting through the papers he had and what his dad had left on the desk.
-Brewin’ Coffee Shop, Viridian City, 07:20
The local coffee and bakery shop was especially busy in the morning. Old friends greeted each other and exchanged news. A radio station morning show played over the speakers. Because of the owner’s open policy, Pokemon hung near their Trainers, or spoke to each other.
There was one, though, that seemed suspicious of everyone around him. Although he’d been seen around town before, the nearly six foot tall Scizor was still an unusual sight. His metallic exoskeleton was orangish-red, atypical for this region. He particularly watched a young boy, who watched back curiously. The boy stepped closer.
“Watch yourself,” a black-haired woman said, tapping the Scizor on the shoulder. She wore black pants with a white blouse under a yellow jacket. No matter how cheery that jacket might have been on someone else, she was giving him a strict look.
He huffed and put down his bladed hands reluctantly.
“He’s neat,” the boy said. “What do you call him?”
“Miguel. You should probably be careful too around Pokemon you don’t know.”
The boy’s mother finally paid attention and gave her a nervous smile. “Oh, Camilla, sorry. He didn’t mean anything.” She clasped her son’s shoulder.
“It is fine,” she replied. She took her coffee and waved for her Pokemon to follow her outside. But an announcement over the radio caused her to pause.
“...it was quickly agreed to by both Kanto and Johto authorities.
“In other news, we have word that all three of the temporary Gyms are well into their recruitment efforts to gain or regain their Trainers. This is something of a rare opportunity, as openings for Gym Trainers are generally limited to one or two as opposed to the numbers being called now. And they had best do well, as exactly one year from today, the final decision will be made by the Indigo Plateau Elite.
“So which Gym has the best chance? Expert opinion is varied, but most agree that it is too early in the game to call the match.”
Camilla didn’t say anything right off, just left the shop and walked back to her new Gym. There was a pearlescent mist hanging in the air, lightly dampening everything. She stopped a moment outside the Pokecenter to buy a newspaper. Obviously, she could just make her own coffee and get a paper delivered. But, it was important that she make connections in Viridian City soon. The community would be one of the biggest voices in the judgement phase.
As they came around to the elevated land the Gym sat on, Camilla finally spoke. “This is a more peaceful land, as I’ve told you. We can’t be as hostile as before. But it will be better.”
The Scizor made a series of buzzes, while indicating the Gym and the city around them. He didn’t seem too happy about something. Unusual from him; Miguel wouldn’t protest unless he thought she was in danger.
“You don’t like me being out in the open?” she guessed.
“It is a risk. They could figure out where we are. But if we succeed in making this Gym work, they wouldn’t want to risk the Kanto justice system to get back at me. Besides, I know you were getting as bored as the rest keeping to ourselves. It is a different battle style, but we’ll get the hang of it.”
Miguel didn’t respond this time and simply buzzed his wings to shake the mist off them before they went inside.
Only a few months ago, Viridian City’s Gym was filled with a maze of gray walls and strange panels. Sound was absorbed quickly, muffling conversations fifteen feet away. Now, it was a large empty space. Camilla’s heels echoed off the concrete floor. Although part Steel, Miguel’s footsteps made no sound. He didn’t feel this place was secure enough to let down his guard.
“It’s progress,” Camilla commented on the room. “I couldn’t stand all those twisting halls. Still, I haven’t decided what we should do now. We never trapped people with puzzles before. But we can figure that out later. I have business to take care of today.” She went into her office in the back.
The decor was simple but elegant, as she liked things to be. The concrete was replaced with hardwood floors and pale yellow walls. To the side, there was a metal bookcase filled with books on several subjects. Mostly Bug Pokemon, though. The pine and metal desk in the center of the room appeared simple, but had several hidden compartments; it was one of the things that she had brought along out of Amarillo. She had placed a new item on it, a flat magnet image of the badge she had designed: an upside-down green triangle with a yellow compound eye, like that which most Bugs had. Trainers could be proud if they earned that Compound Badge, she thought.
Two other items from Amarillo hung on the walls. There was a pretty silver and blue long sword, which was more decorative than useful. Beside it hung a shorter curved blade of steel. It resembled a Scyther’s blade attached to a simple handle for humans. That one was sheathed and securely latched to the wall.
“I do hope that gets to stay on the wall,” Camilla commented about the curved sword. She sat at her desk and opened the newspaper to read before the applicants came in.