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Thread: Foresight

  1. #1
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    Default Foresight

    I've been writing this alongside TotH and decided to just post it. Toth will still be updated, I've already finished the next chapter. Couldn't really wait to start this one, though.

    PREVIEW

    MAUVILLE: STINT OR STAY?

    The sky was a late-afternoon gold.

    "It's not funny, stop laughing."

    "I'm not laughing."

    "Well stop smiling, then. This match was very important to me. It's the second time I've failed to earn this badge. After two months of extra training, I don't really see how I could've missed the mark so completely. What am I missing?"

    "Ah, I don't know. I wouldn't worry about it, though."

    "Well thanks, I feel better," I said in a mildly sarcastic tone. There was no point in biting or blatant sarcasm with him. He'd just look at me with a confused or amused contortion of his otherwise careless face and then I'd feel like I'd wasted the energy.

    "You should feel better. Let's just have a good time tonight and not worry about it. You'll train smarter and harder for the next match and you'll do a good job."

    "Yeah, I guess so."

    "I believe you can do it." With this, Will put his arm around my shoulder and we both headed to the apartment I rented in Mauville.

    Short-term leases weren't hard to come by in gym towns: there was a large flow of travelers in and out of the city during any given season, most of them trainers there for a short stint then gone. We had rented a minimally furnished two bedroom apartment near the center of the town; close to the gym and close to the club. Originally, we had planned to rent this room for two months: One month for intensive training, half a month for battling local trainers for money and items, and then half a month for the gym battle and the post-victory celebration/relaxation period. This was the fifth month that Will and I had lived in our apartment on Illumise Drive. I didn't have many things, but even then, much of what I had was still unpacked. After five months, I had been getting dressed out of a suitcase and pulling my toothbrush out of a plastic bag.

    I dropped my keys on the table by our door and sat down on our make-shift couch. It squalled and then settled. Will went straight back to the room.

    "Where are we going tonight?"

    "Probably Club Volume. There should be a new group of trainers passing through, most likely with a high volume of sultry young ladies looking for a good time." Will was in the other room, looking for something to wear. I could hear the drawers sliding back and forth along their tracks. I was sitting on a small crate in our living room, still sulking a bit, not totally sold on the idea of going out.

    "I don't know if I'm going. I feel like just going to sleep, really."

    "That's fine, I guess. If that's how you want to spend your moment. I'm leaving in about an hour, so you've got time to change your mind and those clothes and shoes. They smell like defeat. Or your feet. Hey, you know even later, you can catch up with me. You know where it is."

    "Right," I said, pointing my head in the direction of the bedroom. I lifted myself off of the crate and took a look through our living room window.
    It was the orange color of sunset outside.

    "All right. I'm gonna take a walk. I'll see you later...or tomorrow morning."

    "Haha, yeah, depending on if it's a good or bad night, right!?"

    I stepped out of the apartment and headed down the hall towards the exit. Walking through the front lawn, out to the sidewalk, I got hit by a comforting breeze.

    "I know who'd love this." I reached for the pokeball on my right side. "Amigo, come out."

    Ever since he was a pooch..yena, Amigo has been a big fan of a good breeze. Before I figured this out, he used to run as fast as he could through my other apartments, usually causing damage that I had to pay for. He got out of his pokeball if he wasn't being supervised and then proceeded to run amuck.




    "We're not going to be able to return your deposit. This dog has caused at least that amount in damage to the walls."

    The second time it happened, I invested in a more expensive pokeball, a Great one, one that I didn't think he could escape from. This worked fine until he evolved...


    Will and I were headed back from lunch at the bread shop in Dewford about a year ago. We both had left our pokebelts at home to avoid any annoying random challenges. Some trainers were so wired, though, it didn't seem to matter.

    "You sir! I challenge you to a two-on-two battle! Release your pokemon!" Yelled a kid in short shorts holding a net over his shoulder.

    "I think you need a new prescription. With glasses as large as those, I'm surprised you didn't see that our belts are absolutely devoid of pokeballs. So, sorry." I said this and then took a bite out of the cresaunt in my left hand.

    "The pedestrian trail is that-a-way, then, busters! This path is only for trainers! Why are you walking through here!?"

    "It's shorter," Will answered as we continued to walk.

    We walked past the infuriated young trainer and through the woods towards our apartment.

    "What do you think about those bug trainers?" In my head, I was prepared to call them lame or respectable.

    "Whatever, you know. It's what they feel strongly about, they should train bugs. That kid, though; not as a bug trainer, but as a trainer is way too high strung!"

    "Ha, I know!" I pushed imaginary glasses up the bridge of my nose and talked in a nasal voice. "What are you doing here?! You know this road is for trainers only! Nerrrr, RULES!". We both had a laugh.

    Will was never quick to criticize, so I rarely made fun of anyone even though I often felt like it.

    "That Dewford bread was so good. We have to go back there and stock up before we leave, man. Maybe get a little extra for the pokemon, give them some long-lasting energy for the upcoming battles."

    "Yeah, I'm sure my Mightyena's got a much bigger appetite now..."

    In my head, Poochyena's evolution replayed. The dog got bigger in a flash, growing more than twice his size instantly, right before my eyes.

    Finally. I think this Great Ball will be able to hold this pup and keep him from doing any more damage.

    "****!" I started running.

    "What's up, man?"

    "Do you think the Great Ball could hold Amigo as a Mightyena?"

    "****!"

    Butterfree!!! A purple Butterfree dropped down right in front of us, stopping us dead in our tracks.

    "Not so fast! I know you guys have pokemon, you were just intimidated by me, so you hid your balls!" The bug catcher from earlier appeared behind us, stepping out from behind some foliage along the path.

    "Kid, our balls are too big to hide, please leave us alone."

    "I'll ignore that remark. My bugs and I will go easy on you if you just agree to a battle! Go, Caterpie!"

    Will would always laugh as a first response to any undesirable situation. Always. It was like he didn't know what else to do, or maybe he just wouldn't let anything push any of his other buttons.

    "Haha, come on! Leave us alone, please. We just realized that we have an emergency to tend to." Will and I turned to walk away.

    "Silk Shot!" A violin played rapidly, signifying the beginning of the match.

    "No! No! No!" Will was hit by the silk shot and it stuck onto his back. "You're not gonna win a tug-of-war with me, bug!" Will took off in a sudden sprint and yanked the Caterpie from his master's side. The bug pokemon must have been in shock. He flew off the ground and bounced up and down behind us, tethered to my friend's back.

    "Stop! Caterpie, disengage! Disengage!"

    Maybe it had been a poorly-executed silk shot that got partially stuck on the caterpie itself because, no matter how loud the kid yelled, the Caterpie continued to be dragged through the woods behind us.

    Butterfree!!

    Now silk shots were raining down from the tree tops as the kid's Butterfree chased us from above. I covered my head with my hands and continued to run. Will was still sprinting with no regards for the Caterpie being dragged behind him.

    Butterfree shot another silk shot. In its haste and fury, it made the same mistake as the Caterpie and part of its stringy attack had been stuck to its face. A silk string dangled from the sky above me as I continued to run. And then this sadistic thought came to mind. I tried to dismiss it, but it was too perfect. I grabbed the silk string and started to run faster, Butterfree being yanked behind me at the other end.

    I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the joy of flying a kite.

    "Are you actually gonna give this kid a battle?" I asked Will.

    "No, I'm not planning on it."

    "Then I guess it's not right for us to string him along like this, then, you know?"

    "HAHAHA, you're sick, man!"

    "Hahaha!"


    - - - - - -----


    Amigo strolled beside me as I walked towards the Mauville gym. That wasn't where I was headed, that's just a directional notation. I guess I was also just headed West. The wind was headed East and Amigo was enjoying the hell out of it just like I thought he would.

    "Haha, you love it, don't you?" I ran my hand through his thick black fur and Amigo let his tongue hang out and catch the breeze. In the apartment we had large box fans just for Amigo. The electric bill was probably a few pennies more, but it more than paid for itself. We'd come home and find him sitting or sleeping calmly in front of the fan on full blast. He only ran to feel the wind on his face and through his fur.

    The sky had become purple, one of the final colors of day.

    It's time to head back, Amigo. I stopped in my tracks and turned around, rolling the gravel beneath my feet against the road. I swept my gaze past the gym quickly. Without really noticing it, I had walked just as far as the gym and then decided to turn around. Maybe I was headed in that direction after all. Amigo looked up at my face which was focused on the Mauville gym, and he let out a sympathetic whimper and nudged his head against my leg.

    I don't know if he thinks that I blame him. I don't. Things happen to me, I'm responsible for them. If I couldn't do it, it's because I didn't do my job right. Any inadequacies of the pokemon are to be taken into account by a good trainer. I should tell him this. I would tell him this if I was sure he could understand me. I'll just pat his head and smile at him. I honestly feel like I could lose a thousand battles with Amigo and still be one of the happiest trainers alive.

    We strolled into the residential area of Mauville just as the street lights came on. "Return." Mightyena disappeared inside his Ultra Ball.
    Will and some other trainers were leaving the building when we came to the door.

    "Hey, you're back just in time! Come on, man. Don't go upstairs and go to sleep, come with us. You'll be glad you did. Don't sulk, man, be fun. Haha, that rhymed, didn't it?"

    "What part? Wait, no." Will was obviously already a little drunk.

    "You won't come out with your best friend? I've known you since we were...well, practically since we were babies."

    "No, I meant nothing you said rhymed just now."

    "Oh, that's cool. Didn't know I was getting ticketed by the poet police tonight, hahahaha!" Will, still laughing, grabbed my arm and started walking away from the apartment. "It's for your own good, man. Save some sorrow for the lonely. Tonight, eat, drink, ****, and be merry!" I didn't want to go, but I gave in to Will Power. He dragged me off into a small crowd of other young trainers headed the same way.


    -----------


    The Pokemon rap played in the background, full blast, with bass that shook the club and everyone on the dance floor. Volume was full to the brim with talented young trainers, relieving the stress of their journeys to hypnotizing beats and light patterns swept across a dark room. Alakazam was the DJ, spinning the right tunes for the crowd with a psychic's accuracy.

    Alakazam ran the bar, too.

    "I'll have a beer, you know which kind." A mug floated down the bar towards me, passed up by a martini headed elsewhere. A floating vodka flew over my head and to the person sitting next to me.

    The girl sitting next to me grabbed my shoulder. "Hey, don't I recognize you from somewhere?"

    "Oh, hey! What are you doing here?"

    "Having a good time, trying to get drunk, obviously, hahaha" she laughed as some alcohol sloshed out of her glass. "I think I should be asking you what you're doing here. You were two quarters ahead of me in school, how are we at the same gym battle, hmmm?"

    No man wants to seem like a failure in front of a cute girl. Instead of telling - her name was...Janine - Janine that I'd failed to get the badge from Mauville twice, I stammered and stuttered into a lie about enjoying the town too much, taking a hiatus, living and relaxing a while, etcetera.

    Her drunken green eyes gave me a hard look and then transitioned into a smile with the rest of her face.

    "That's ********, isn't it!? You didn't get the badge yet, did you? Hahaha."

    The laughter didn't come off as judgmental or mocking. I even smiled along with her.

    "Nah."

    "That's fine. Are you at least good at dancing?"

    Janine and I had attended the same elementary school and the same Pokemon trainer school. We had been acquaintances for many years, friends for a few. She came from quite a conservative family just like mine. She had been quite a conservative girl. It was a surprise to see her here like this. I joined her on the dance floor.

    Yelling, I said, "Janine, it's good to see you."

    She didn't respond, but continued to dance. I did too. Poorly. She didn't seem to mind. The night went on, but my clearest memories stop there. I think we left the club shortly after. Where did we go; My apartment, the pokemon center? I don't remember. I just know where I woke up.

    My head was pounding rhythmically, like a second heartbeat. My vision was blurry, my throat dry. I lay sprawled out on some rough carpeting still fully clothed. I slowly became aware of my limbs. They felt heavy and lifeless, I was drained. I moved my arm up to message my temples and squinted with one eye to survey my surroundings.

    "Gah, do I have a hangover." I sat up slowly.

    "You don't really hold your alcohol well, do you?" Janine brought me a cup of coffee. I almost took a sip, but then my faculties started coming back.
    "Does this really help? I hear the caffeine restricts the blood vessels. Will this make it worse? Do you have water?"

    I didn't know a whole lot about a lot of things, but I was always cautious to try and apply what I did know to the current problem. It's kind of like a paranoia. If there is any random shard of knowledge floating around in my head that would make a decision possibly dangerous, I ran with it. I lived my life with a factor of safety of 18.

    Janine left the room. When she reappeared, she had a glass of water in her hand. Even then, part of me wondered if she used at least an on-tap filter, but I ignored it.

    "Thanks." As I took a drink, I realized where I was. At least, I realized where I might be. "Is this...your bedroom, Janine? Did we...?"

    "Yes...and No. But you can tell your friends whatever you like, haha." She knew I wasn't that kind of person, so we both laughed. I sipped from my glass a bit more.

    "So, uh, do your parents know that you've become a party animal?"

    "Not really, but I think it's best that way. Otherwise they'd worry."

    Her room was a cross section of a girl living dichotomously. On the one hand you had her Ember necklace made to resemble the pokemon attack and pay homage to Ho-oh. The symbol, purifying fire. On the other hand, you had shot glasses and beaded necklaces. A picture of her family sat on her nightstand; her brother, mother, and father.

    "How is little Bruce these days?" I asked, mostly to avoid an unpleasant and stagnant air of silence.

    "Well, he's taller than I am now. Started his first year of high school last fall."

    "That must mean we're adults...damn." We both laughed.


    -----------------------


    That afternoon was all about battles and the money to be made from those battles. Will and I stood at the door to our apartment building with hands on belt and minds on battle. Will's pokebelt was strung through the tattered edges of his khaki shorts' belt loops, some of which were no longer attached to his waistband at both ends. As a result, the pokebelt slouched sloppily on his left side. Next to him stood his Castform, who simultaneously donned a pair of shades and a raincoat.

    "We need about three hundred more dollars to cover this month's bills. That should be about six or so battles. Let's split up. Don't come back until you've got your half!" I turned to walk towards the bike trail and Will grabbed me by the shirt collar.

    "Oh yeah, and remember; pokemon battles are not about friendship, they're not about the strength of your heart, it's a science and the only thing that will ensure victory is the strength of the wallop you can let down on your opponent. Stay sharp, buddy."

    I went my way, he went his. Towards the bike trail, small groups of trainers would congregate and battle for money and so this is where I was headed. As I got closer, I could hear the intimidating growls and the clashing attacks. Amigo's pokeball began to shake; he was obviously very excited. We walked up on a battle in progress and decided to stop and watch. Two exotic pokemon, an Espeon and a Scyther were on the field, both looking exhausted and injured.

    "This should be an interesting one." I knew I was on the clock, and I could feel Will's eyes leering at me from behind. I actually turned around, half expecting him to be standing there with his arms folded, disapprovingly staring. There were plenty of hours in the day, we'd be fine. I looked on.

    "Your Hitmonlee is really tough, and really fast. I'm surprised he's survived against my Espeon for this long...Hmm. You've even managed to do some damage. But your hopes, if they are so lofty as to be of victory and not simply of a dignified defeat, end with this..."

    "Shut up! Hitmonlee, hit that Espeon with an Alpha two!" It must have been some code that he and the pokemon had worked out to disguise their strategy. What followed was the lead-in to a Double Kick, followed by the execution of a High Jump Kick.

    "Psychic!" Espeon reared back as Hitmonlee approached for his Double Kick. She let loose a wave of psychic energy in his direction catching his leg in the middle of his High Jump Kick. The rest of the energy flew back past the other trainer and I felt the force of it. Thrown off-balance and badly injured, the Hitmonlee fell from the sky and hit the ground with a thud and a puff of dust. I staggered a bit before regaining my balance.

    Then I felt dizzy again. My vision became blurry and the sights around me twisted and flowed together. Then I heard a short whisper.
    "You'll die before the end of your journey."

    And my world stopped spinning. My vision cleared and everything was normal. What had just happened? Did that psychic attack hit me and predict my death?

    "****, what does that mean?!" The battle over, I walked up to the Espeon's trainer. "I think your pokemon just put a spell on me or something. Can't you be more careful about where you aim your psychic attacks? I was standing pretty far back and I still got hit a little."

    "A spell?" He asked. On his face he had the look of someone who understood your misunderstanding but still tarried around the answer. "From a psychic attack?"

    "****, I don't know."

    "Did you hear something?"

    "Yes. I heard 'You'll die before the end of your journey'." This evoked serious concern. And seeing his expression, I became worried too.
    "I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say, really. My psychic must have predicted the time of your death. It came out in that attack. He should have been predicting the Hitmonlee's defeat, but sometimes he loses focus."

    "What? I don't understand." I understood, but as a last defense, I hoped that I didn't.

    "You see, a Psychic attack can be modeled as a distribution of psychic energy whose intensity varies inversely with the square of the distance from the center of the attack. The most intense part of that psychic attack is at the center, liken it to the blue portion of a Charizard's tail flame. Radially outward, the predictive energy dissipates rapidly. This energy is spread out over a far enough radius that the probability of hitting the target is very close to 1. As the psychic pokemon becomes stronger, that radius tightens as his predictive powers become more precise. The level of precision and the distribution of the psychic energy pattern is what is measured in a 'Special Attack' rating for a psychic pokemon. The limit of this value describes a psychic attack with zero radius and 100% accuracy, a feat that only Mewtwo can achieve...but I'm sorry, what was it that you were asking?"
    I actually barely heard anything he said. My mind was alert for keywords and phrases like "yes, it's true" or "you will die", but he didn't say any of these things. His brow wrinkled and his mouth twisted.

    "OH! Damn. Yeah, so you're going to die. That's what we were talking about! Forgive me for my rambl...oh ****. I'm sorry."

    My insides twisted, I breathed heavily. I thought, "maybe I'm dreaming", but that wasn't the case. "Maybe he doesn't know what he's talking about", but he probably did.

    "What the hell! This can't possibly be right! First of all, there'd be some kind of law against public psychic battles if you could just catch some unwarranted MIS-fortune cookie over the airwaves on a leisurely stroll! And Psychic pokemon's powers are all stochastic anyway, it's not written in stone. Pssh, ugh. Shhhh," I was reduced to making random noises and grunts. I was flustered, frantic, and bewildered at the same time. Every thought I had come up with to discredit this prediction fell under the weight of the possibility that it could be true, though. As with everything else, that possibility of danger outweighed any other line of thought in my mind. He just watched me flounder.

    "I'm really sorry about this. Hey, maybe you're right, maybe it was a mis-reading. But most likely, you're going to die - when was it? - right, before the end of your journey. This is really terrible. Usually Espeon's good about focusing his predictions on the other pokemon, but...ah, really, damn. Terrible, terrible." He shook his head.

    "Yeah, says you. They should put your ****in' ADD Espeon to sleep! Damnit!" I didn't do any battling that afternoon. The sun rolled down the westward sky slowly and I counted the seconds, each moment slipped by like sand through the center of an hourglass. Will found me that night laying on my back in the middle of the living room floor.

    "Did you make your one fifty? And quicker than me, too! Good work, buddy." He took his pokebelt off and laid it on the crate. "Well, you look appropriately exhausted. Couldn't even make it to your bed, I see." His voice trailed as he walked back to his.

    "No, I didn't make it." Will returned to the kitchen in his bare feet. He kicked at my side.

    "Then get up, man! ****'s due tomorrow!"

    "Will, I might be dead tomorrow."
    Last edited by Maze; 2nd September 2009 at 5:49 AM. Reason: title was confusing
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2004
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    The sky was a late-afternoon gold.
    I actually find this to be a random introduction. Here's the sky -- god no, I meant dialogue. I know some 'fic writers here like to do the "one sentence intro" as a sort of hook, myself included, but since it's a description about the environment, it's not really a grasping hook. Just ... well, what is the importance of me knowing that it's afternoon? Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with it, but I think you could have had a stronger introduction/hook, especially with the dialogue after it and the character your protagonist is friends with. "Watch out! Loser coming through!" or something. Lol.

    Instead of telling - her name was...Janine - Janine that I'd failed to get the badge from Mauville twice, I stammered and stuttered into a lie about enjoying the town too much, taking a hiatus, living and relaxing a while, etcetera.
    The dash part here is confusing as you already state that her name is Janine outside the dashes, and the information inside the dashes is pretty important. I understand what you're going for (stall/wondering what her name is), but there's a better way to go about it.

    Instead of telling ... god, what the **** is her name? Janine? Yeah. Instead of telling Janine that I failed ...
    Instead of telling her--Janine or something--that I failed ...

    She came from quite a conservative family just like mine. She had been quite a conservative girl. It was a surprise to see her here like this. I joined her on the dance floor.
    Are you sure she came from a conservative family? ;P This bit is very fact-based and not very personal (we'll get into first person narrative later). This happened, then that. Don't be afraid to get a little ... ahem, raunchy in first person narrative considering your character is pretty loose and laid back anyway.

    "Oh yeah, and remember; pokemon battles are not about friendship, they're not about the strength of your heart, it's a science and the only thing that will ensure victory is the strength of the wallop you can let down on your opponent. Stay sharp, buddy."
    I found this too blunt and forced out. Would your friends really blurt out a long rambly line before skipping off lol? There's a way to affirm that your characters aren't the usual cookie cutter "pokemon are my besties!" form but it's probably best fitted during your character's thoughts while watching a battle. Like he found it naive that other trainers would babble on about heart and courage. Though I do like the irony between your character's personality (in battle ... or what appears to be his battle style) and the fact that his mightyena is named Amigo. =P

    Two exotic pokemon, an Espeon and a Scyther were on the field, both looking exhausted and injured.

    [...]

    "Your Hitmonlee is really tough, and really fast. I'm surprised he's survived against my Espeon for this long...Hmm.
    You need to be a tad more careful with proofreading. You write it's a scyther one minute then a hitmonlee another.

    The battle sequence with the hitmonlee was confusing, too:
    What followed was the lead-in to a Double Kick, followed by the execution of a High Jump Kick.

    "Psychic!" Espeon reared back as Hitmonlee approached for his Double Kick. She let loose a wave of psychic energy in his direction catching his leg in the middle of his High Jump Kick
    I'm not sure what's happening here, though I do appreciate your attempt to be creative in battle. Did the double kick already happen? o.O And if it didn't, how did what's-his-face know that a high jump kick would be next? Or is it a mixture of the two? Or ...?

    So I'm a little bit on the fence on this one. I do think the plot is/will be interesting, and I do like the sudden transition from an ordinary day to wtf is happening:
    Then I felt dizzy again. My vision became blurry and the sights around me twisted and flowed together. Then I heard a short whisper.
    "You'll die before the end of your journey."
    and it totally threw me off about what this story was going to be about (well, not that I really had an idea what this story WAS about until this little tidbit). It's also nice to see a teenager (end of high school or something, right?) and traits that show that he's a teenager other than just a random love interest (yay hangovers ... well, not really lol). I would poke at you about why you made them teenagers though and why they didn't travel at the age of ten as so reflected in most, if not all, pokemon canon, but ... eh. Hopefully you address that (or at least state somewhere that it's AU in terms of age). I found the section with the espeon and the "line o doom" to be your strongest scene in terms of creativity and actual mechanics. I thought the explanation of psychic was awesome, and I thought your character's true personality shone the most when he heard this little bit of news.

    The actual lead up to this scene just seemed forced, though. Like you were trying to jam all of this information down your reader's throat for seemingly no purpose. I really don't get the point of introducing Janine now, for example, nor did I get why you had to go into this awkward flashback about your character and Will walking through the woods. Let's talk about that for a minute, actually.

    Ever since he was a pooch..yena, Amigo has been a big fan of a good breeze. Before I figured this out, he used to run as fast as he could through my other apartments, usually causing damage that I had to pay for. He got out of his pokeball if he wasn't being supervised and then proceeded to run amuck.




    "We're not going to be able to return your deposit. This dog has caused at least that amount in damage to the walls."

    The second time it happened, I invested in a more expensive pokeball, a Great one, one that I didn't think he could escape from. This worked fine until he evolved...


    Will and I were headed back from lunch at the bread shop in Dewford about a year ago. We both had left our pokebelts at home to avoid any annoying random challenges. Some trainers were so wired, though, it didn't seem to matter.
    For starters, the first paragraph explaining Amigo's love for the breeze had no correlation between his love for the breeze and running around like a chicken with his head cut off (though you do explain why he likes it a little later on in the chapter). Then weird space. Then italicized quote. Then more about Amigo. Then weird space. Then a flashback, and an easily missed one at that. At first, I thought this was taking time during the present, but I realized that this was an explanation about why a great ball wouldn't be enough to hold back Amigo's newly evolved form. So you might need some sort of transitional sentence (besides a gap between paragraphs because that's not very telling of what's happening) besides ellipses to allude that your character is remembering a scene or that we went toward a flashback.

    So as I read this flashback (or whateva), we get into an interesting tale about your character (does he have a name that I missed reading btw? Lol) and Will being encountered by a bug catcher who then gets all hissy and attacks them, and the two eventually end up dragging the bug catcher's pokemon away. Somewhere in between walking/not battling and psuedo-battling, character randomly throws in "ocrap blah blah can't hold great ball blah!1!" but it's soooo random and really has nothing to do with Amigo's evolution or his inability to be held back in a great ball. Just a random musing that was ... well, stated earlier outside flashback. Was that the point of the flashback? We're remembering when character remembered that Amigo might not be able to be held in a great ball? It's like ... what the heck is the point of this flashback? Lol. Amusing, sure. Necessary? Me thinks not. And it doesn't really answer the statement before it: "This worked fine until he evolved..."

    Damn, I said flashback a million times in that paragraph. =(

    Er, anyway ...

    Then there's what appears to be a random scene with Janine. I do get how it lead up to this (Will's invitation and spotting her), but I feel like it extended longer than it needed to be, or that it seemed out of place, considering how it didn't contribute to your chapter other than to lengthen it. If Janine is a secondary character, I'm not sure why you couldn't add it later, or even pulled this entire section into another chapter with a few tweaks (your character drinking his problems away in the next chapter and seeing her there, for example). I could be wrong, of course, but I don't see any importance of introducing Janine now.

    Rush isn't the right word because you did thoroughly explain the events and detail what exactly is going on. Like I said earlier, it kind of feels like you just wanted to get all these minor details out of the way so you don't have to deal with them later which really isn't the way you should go about getting smaller detail out, like Amigo's inability to be held in a pokeball, or your side character Janine. One bit I do think was rushed, though, was the transition from the bar to Janine's room was a bit too quick for my tastes.

    You're really not taking advantage of first person narrative, at least not to the extent I think you can go. It is obvious that your character is a bit of a ... hmm, rowdy (I can't think of the right word lol) when he talks to Will or talks in dialogue period, but when you get to his actual thought, it's very formal and objective, even when remembering a personal story. First person is awesome for a lot of reasons, mostly because you can put your character's personality inside the actual narrative, narrative that would usually be objective and impersonal if written in third person. You don't really take advantage of this, and it's like, why even write in first person at all? So loosen up a bit; narrative in first person doesn't have to be formal all the time. ;P

    An example of what I'm talking about is one of the quotes I made up somewhere up there (I included a cuss word since your character seems cuss happy lol).

    Another example from this quote:
    Amigo strolled beside me as I walked towards the Mauville gym. That wasn't where I was headed, that's just a directional notation. I guess I was also just headed West. The wind was headed East and Amigo was enjoying the hell out of it just like I thought he would.
    For the record, you only capitalize directions (north, east, west, south) when they're referring to a section of the world or a location (i.e: "I live in Southern California.") but not when they're being used in actual direction (i.e: "Head west if you want to see the pie cart accident!")

    Er, where was I? Right, an example.

    I have no idea where the hell I'm going other than west, mostly because Amigo likes it when the breeze blows against his face. There was the gym. **** that noise. Like I'm ready for that again. Oh well. As long as Amigo was happy, with his tongue all hanging out and prancing about like a fairy, then I was happy ... I guess. Yes? No? Maybe?

    Or, you know ... something better. Small little tweaks in objective narrative makes your story more of a flair and a personality (well, your character's personality).

    While your grammar and structure were overall decent, you need to be a bit more careful of proofreading. Since this review is getting long enough as it is, I'll throw a few tips of what I noticed you were doing wrong.

    Remember that a comma isn't sufficient enough to hold together two complete sentences. So when you have something like this:
    I know you guys have pokemon[,] you were just intimidated by me, so you hid your balls!
    you need to figure out another way to properly punctuate your sentence so it's grammatically correct. Either add a coordinating conjunction (and, but, so, etc.), use a period, or use a semicolon. In this case, I would use an exclamation mark where the bracketed comma is and start a new sentence.

    You also need to brush up on semicolon and colon usage. Semicolons are mostly used to connect short, similar, but COMPLETE sentences together (or long lists, but eh). Colons can be used to introduce a description, list, explanation, and so on. Most of your semicolons should have been colons:
    A picture of her family sat on her nightstand; her brother, mother, and father.
    like here. The rest of your semicolon usage was fine, though you did slip up (one section of your semicolon sentence wasn't a complete sentence, thus you shouldn't have used a semicolon).

    Tone it down a bit on the "haha's" in dialogue, too, btw. No one really does that in real life not unless they're being sarcastic. You're better off writing "he snorted" "he chuckled" "they laughed" instead of rows and rows of annoying "hahahahaha".

    So, yeah. You just need to ... tune the story up a bit so the real gem of your story (the plot imo) can shine.

    tl;dr version:
    - think about scenes and if they're necessary to your current chapter
    - work on first person narrative. Give it more of a flair by adding your character's personality into what is usually objective narrative
    - proofread and work a bit on punctuation (commas and semicolons specifically)
    - interesting plot twist
    Last edited by Breezy; 24th August 2009 at 9:55 AM. Reason: because I always do.

  3. #3
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    Whoa, sweet review! Thanks a lot, Breezy. You pointed out a lot of things I was already kinda unsure about. I really do suck with punctuation, especially with commas. I'm not even sure I just used that one correctly...

    Or that ellipses, for that matter. Or that comma? But your examples should prove helpful when I edit this in a few hours.

    I'll also see what I can do to loosen up the first-person narrative. I guess you're saying that my character seems OOC when he's thinking? I guess I was just afraid of the whole thing sounding like a foul twenty-year old. So this is a solution I just came up with. Let me know what you think. Okay, so, this is being told by my character after some events in the story took place. Hindsight is more objective, he speaks of the past with more formality, and so on....? Please tell me if that doesn't fly!

    And with the Janine scene, I just wanted to introduce some more of my character's character (i.e. how he interacts with girls, who he knew when he was younger, how his family might have been, etc). And Janine will be around frequently, so I just threw her in. I can probably re-work the scene to make it more meaningful, but I wrote this kind of on the philosophy that every event is meaningful. I wanted it to just be a life story kind of thing. Not Forest-Gumpy, but just a story in which every part isn't impactful right away, but as a whole it feels organic(?). But maybe I'm not approaching this correctly. I'm gonna have to work on it!

    Thanks again for your comments about the plot twist! Hopefully, I'll see ya around when I update.
    Last edited by Maze; 24th August 2009 at 4:03 PM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maze View Post
    Whoa, sweet review! Thanks a lot, Breezy. You pointed out a lot of things I was already kinda unsure about. I really do suck with punctuation, especially with commas. I'm not even sure I just used that one correctly...
    You did use commas correctly. Lol. =P You did tend to use them incorrectly when trying to string together two complete sentences. Most of them are short like:

    I stopped for minute, I wanted to look at the scenery.

    which are ... tricky because it'd be odd to place a period there. You would either reword it so the flow remains:

    I stopped for a minute to look at the scenery.
    I stopped for a minute, for I wanted to look at the scenery.

    Or use another form of punctuation:

    I stopped for a minute; I wanted to look at the scenery.

    Like I said in my other review, semicolons hook together two complete sentences that are similar to each other. The above is similar in the sense that one thing lead up to another thing.

    So if you're a little confused on whether or not you should use a comma, read both halves of the sentence (before and after the comma). If both halves are complete sentences, you need another way to properly punctuate (as seen above).

    I rambleeee.

    Or that ellipses, for that matter. Or that comma? But your examples should prove helpful when I edit this in a few hours.
    Ellipses usually indicate a trail in thought in prose. So I think you used it correctly in the section you did use them.

    I'll also see what I can do to loosen up the first-person narrative. I guess you're saying that my character seems OOC when he's thinking? I guess I was just afraid of the whole thing sounding like a foul twenty-year old.
    Why are you afraid of that? Lol. Isn't your character a foul twenty-year old? You don't need to necessarily change up the language, per se, but you should be more interpretive and more subjective when your character is thinking. When he's observing or remembering things, he does it very list like. This happened. And then we went here. Suddenly there she was. One of the advantages of first person is that, well, you don't HAVE to write it with no personality. Your character is thinking it, thus your character would think it a certain way compared to an objective third person narrator or even his best friend or ... anyone really.

    There really isn't an easy way to explain what I'm saying (with me being bad at words and whatnot), but let's say you and your friend were looking at some scenery- let's say a highway. Both of you would have different interpretations and opinions on it. Your friend might see the highway and suddenly got off topic in his head, thinking about the mundane toll of going back and forth on a day to day basis for no reason other than "to get the job done" which is a ... mm more of a pessimistic/bitter realistic approach. You, on the other hand, could interpret the sight of the highway as something freeing and relaxing (assuming you don't live in California like me and everyone isn't a maniac on the road) where you can sit back and relax and admire the setting sun in the background whilst on the road. Ideally, the fact remains: you and your friend, for some odd reason or another, are staring at a highway. The highway has four lanes, is relatively busy, and so on, but you might interpret it in different ways.

    I digress though. I kinda hope you understand what I mean other than changing up the language.

    So this is a solution I just came up with. Let me know what you think. Okay, so, this is being told by my character after some events in the story took place. Hindsight is more objective, he speaks of the past with more formality, and so on....? Please tell me if that doesn't fly!
    Well, you could, but I'm not sure why you would other than maybe to differentiate a past scene with one that's currently happening. I mean, you don't really stop being yourself when you think of your own memories, not unless you were trying to be analytic and objective about it. Formality is fine, of course, but it should at least attempt to it somewhat personal, too.

    And with the Janine scene, I just wanted to introduce some more of my character's character (i.e. how he interacts with girls, who he knew when he was younger, how his family might have been, etc). And Janine will be around frequently, so I just threw her in. I can probably re-work the scene to make it more meaningful, but I wrote this kind of on the philosophy that every event is meaningful. I wanted it to just be a life story kind of thing. Not Forest-Gumpy, but just a story in which every part isn't impactful right away, but as a whole it feels organic(?). But maybe I'm not approaching this correctly. I'm gonna have to work on it!
    I get what you're saying, and I'm all up for your philosophy, but it does kind of seem like you're inserting all this detail into a somewhat short scene (your character's interaction with females, family life, etc) when maybe you should have spread it out through the chapter. The interaction with girls was seen, obviously, but it can be hard to miss how his family is like (the conservative bit), so hopefully you address his family life and other aspects in that scene a little later. Not in huge chunks, of course, but diluted (lol, not even sure if I'm using that word right) with the rest of the text to affirm what his family is like and so on. So yeah. Just bear in mind to keep adding on to your character's character, even the parts the reader do know, throughout the story.
    Last edited by Breezy; 25th August 2009 at 3:56 AM.

  5. #5
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    Hey, I'm back. Thanks for all the helpful advice. I'm taking it even if it seems like I haven't improved that much with this next chapter. It'll be an iterative process, I'm sure. This is kind of a short chapter, but it's necessary in the story. I hope it's not boring. Thanks.

    SUBLIMATION


    Will, I might be dead tomorrow.

    Will leaned against the door post that separated the kitchen from the living room. The sun had completely set and there was only a thin layer of natural light lingering over the tiles where I lay.

    "I'm really sorry to hear that, but how is that not the case every other day? Your excuse is weak, man. I made a little extra, so we'll be fine. But now you have to buy me a new shirt when you make up your half."

    I jumped up off of the tiled floor. "I'm serious, man. I'm going to die before the end of our journey," I said with all the intensity of a quiet storm.

    "All right, what makes you say that?" Will's face was still in disbelief. He stood there with both his hands on his hips, annoyed.

    "I got hit by a psychic attack today. Well, I got hit by part of it and it predicted my death."

    His face twisted and his eyes squinted. "Really? No kidding?" He turned his head to the side to hide a small smile in the shadows cast by the door post. Right, a smile. But what did I expect from Will? He wasn't the one who'd talk you out of a funk. He wouldn't even be the one to stick with you as you fell into despair. He'd just yell down into the pit, "So, are you gonna come up any time soon or just sit and die down there?" Now more than ever, I wonder why I'm rooming with this soul-less *******. How were we friends?

    My left cheek twitched with anger. I won't get angry, I won't get angry. My left eyebrow raised up and my eyes narrowed. I'm not getting angry, I'm not getting angry.

    "You're a ****in' *******, you know that?" I pushed past Will, bumping his shoulder on purpose as I walked back towards my room.

    "Hey, calm down. You're getting too worked up. I wish someone would tell me when I was going to die."

    I could hear his last remark from inside my room. I punched a hole into the wall.

    "Isn't that the problem we were having with Amigo? Maybe we should get you an Ultra Ball to sleep in, right?"

    That's when I burst out of the door and ran to tackle my roommate to the ground. We both fell to the floor in the living room. I'm sure they heard Will's back slam onto the hardwood floor in the room below.

    "Ow! ****! You really came out of nowhere." I could see the pained look on his face, and I felt a little regretful.

    Then he wrapped his arm around my neck and stood up.

    "Hey, don't think you can get angry enough to win a fight with me. There isn't enough anger in a Magmar's Rage to give you the upper hand. Ha!" He kneed me in the stomach before unlocking my head from his arm and then pushing me to the ground with his foot. I fell with a mild thud and then slid until my side hit our apartment door. Before I could regain my bearings, Will had grabbed me by the collar.

    "Hey," he smacked my face as if to get my attention. "Maybe you should stick to fighting walls." I swung my fist around and punched him in the ribs.
    He laughed in between groans.

    "Ha-ha. Oh, you ****er!" He grinned and squinted as he limped backward. Before he fell down, he leaned forward and grabbed at me. I tried to move out of his way, but he caught my right leg and we both came crashing down.
    We both gasped for breath, panting like two pokemon about to faint. I sat down on the living room crate and Will leaned up against the door post to the kitchen.

    "Well, that was good sport," Will said, holding his side. This caused me to snort.

    "Ha!"

    "Oh wow, you don't sound angry. That's weird."

    Will got up off of the floor and walked over to where I was sitting. He put one hand on my shoulder and looked down at me.

    "Listen bud, I do care if you die. You're my best friend. What just happened needed to happen, though. I don't want to see you laying on any tile floors in the future, though; mulling over how you're going to die. You've got time, you've got energy and a million ways to use them. You need to learn to transform anger to something else. Use that energy to be happy."

    Damn, I was played like a fiddle. I did feel it, though: all of the energy I had in anger was now in the form of amusement. I even felt silly for having been serious about fighting. A bit embarrassed, I grabbed Will's shoulder and stood up.

    "Sorry."

    "No problem." I limped down the hall to my bedroom, my hip still sore. Will limped off to his bedroom.

    -----

    Like the moment, the feelings were fleeting and once again my mood was dragged down by the weight of depression.

    Now I'm miles below sea level, still falling.

    I try to think, "Can people really change?" What's the truth behind these oft-witnessed stories of the good girl gone bad, the studious turned dubious, the prude turned rude. Were they always just a step away from their true nature? Just a few syllables' width to the right side of their true being? I don't know, but it makes me wonder why I behave the way I do, if my character is just an act, if I'm a combination of rules trapping an inner beast. I have to think about this now that I know I'll be dying shortly. I have to think "have I lived yet?"

    I think of Janine.

    Starlight lit the hole in the wall I had created just...I look at my clock...****, four hours ago? I had these butterflies in my stomach. I was late in doing something. I was anxious. When would I die? Tomorrow? This morning? Would the roof cave in? What if I allowed myself to sleep and I never woke up? I could cry right now, but I'm not one to do that sort of thing.
    My lips start to quiver a bit.

    I haven't cried about anything in a long while, my own death is no exception. My face is wet and my cheeks are tense.

    "Ah, damn." I wiped my face with my bare arm and then reached to turn my lamp on. The bulb made a loud pop and then flashed blue and died. A moment of confusion passed before I realized what had just happened. Then I sunk back down beneath the comforter on my bed and eventually succeeded in falling asleep.

    ----

    Sleep equalizes the mood. I wake up and I'm metaphorically sitting atop a buoyant surface of calm water. I always remember what's going on when I wake up. I don't know if the gatekeepers of long-term memory are still asleep a couple minutes after I'm conscious or what, but I have hundreds of useless files filled with sensory information about 5:58 A.M. Monday morning. 6:01 A.M. Tuesday morning. 7:41 Friday morning.

    Eyes open. There's the bare wooden floor of my room, the worn and scratched wood floor dusted with a bit of daybreak. A small breeze saunters in where the window's not quite sealed and touches the dried and salty tear tracks on my face. It's 7:41 AM on a Friday in late summer. It's late by my old standards, even later by my new ones. I'm wasting time doing nothing or I'm trying to delay my journey's progress to make more time. Now I'm fully awake and begin to move my still-sore joints. I try to sit straight up but my back is still a bit sore from being slammed onto the floor. So I do a sort of roll out of the bed and get on my feet, still holding my back.

    I think I might use this day to just collect my thoughts and come to grips with things. Maybe no battles today.

    "Hey, if you're awake and you can hear me, I'm gonna go fight some battles today and make some money. So, that's where I am. Call my cell if you get depressed and feel like ending your 'journey' a bit early. You know, get the urge to self-fulfill that prophesy. I'll try to talk you out of it...I guess unless you convince me it's the right way to go, but either way it'd be good to have a second opinion, right?"

    He knew I could hear him. I laughed a bit and then he left out.
    Then that moment was over. It's 7:56 on a Friday morning in late summer. I don't know when the doomsday will come, so for now I'm counting up to it and not down from it. 15 minutes closer.

    I have daylight, nothing else. Plans and energy for the time being, and nothing else. Maybe I'll go see Janine and tell her what's going on? Maybe I'll use this day to create my bucket list. I feel shitty this morning for all the wrong reasons.

    What do you do when your days are numbered? Am I supposed to start a ****in' journal or give all my money to charity? Am I supposed to go around doing good deeds or lay around all day ruminating about my own mortality? My phone starts to ring.

    "Hey, this is Will. Guess who I'm battling right now? "

    "Who?"
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  6. #6
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    I like it. I like how he thinks, and how he sees the world around him. When I try to think about it, there isn't a single thing I dislike about this fic. Although, Will's character seems a bit flat compared to Janine and the main character (I just now noticed that I don't remember/know his name); Will seems to either have a good facade of humour, or just doesn't know how to react without it.

    The only part I felt to be awkward was in the first chapter, when the main character thought of Janine's name. The ellipses and the dash together looked odd.

  7. #7
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    ODD CHANCES

    "Hey, this is Will. Guess who I'm battling right now? "

    "Who?"


    I don't really consider the question or the probabilities involved, but I just kind of blurt out.

    "Janine?"

    "Yes," he said over the phone.

    "I don't really feel like hearing about it right now, to be honest. I don't feel like talking about battles. I'm just, I'm just feeling like nothing right now. I have no motivation for this." The other end was silent for a moment. And then Will apparently came back to the phone.

    "All right, we were just discussing it and we think you should come meet us at the Groeter's Ice Cream near the gym."

    "Did you not hear anything I said? I don't ****in' feel like doing anything right now."

    "Come on, why not? Are you afraid you might die of a brain freeze? Is that how you think you'll go? It's just ice cream, dude. Take a shower, don't slip and crack your head open, and come to the Groeter's. We'll meet you over there in a little less than an hour."

    I didn't respond.

    "All right? Hey, if you don't show up, I will urinate on something you own. I promise."

    It was a legitimate threat. I imagine slipping into my shoes the next morning to find that they're soggy inside. I see myself putting on my light jacket the next day and it smelling funny. Or going to brush my teeth...

    "I hate you. I'm coming."

    I'm in the shower trying to be responsible with the suds produced by my soap. I'm being careful not to slip by making no unnecessary movements of my feet. The way you slip and fall in a shower is to place too much force in a direction parallel to the shower floor. The floor can't produce enough friction to oppose your motion and you simply fall. While I'm out, I'll buy a shower mat.

    I put my pants on sitting down. I imagine struggling to get into one leg of them and falling over and hitting my head on a corner of the wall or doorpost of my room. While I'm out, I'll buy rubber guards for the wall corners. I wonder if you need power tools to install those? That may be a risk investment I won't make.

    I strap my belt around my waist and populate all six slots with pokeballs. On a regular day, I'm more likely to just take my best four or fave five.

    Not much later than that, I'm pulling the door closed behind me and turning the key to our apartment. It clicks and I take a step away. Another step and then I'm turning back around. Did I lock it? I know that I just turned the key and heard a click, I've done it more times than I can count, but was it secure?

    I imagine coming back home later that day to a room not empty and interrupting an armed burglar. I imagine that Will somehow gets home before I do and decides to teach me a lesson about locking the door by setting some kind of unintentionally fatal booby trap.

    I walk back to the door and push it in while turning the knob. Just to be sure that today isn't my last. At least not because of something like this. Please, let me die by something that I couldn't have reasonably avoided.

    I imagine being struck by lightning in the middle of an unexpected storm. I imagine being struck in the head by a searing-hot meteor.

    I could smile in the face of these deaths. I don't know if it's universal human nature to be at ease in a catastrophe as long as it's not your fault, but that's how I feel. As long as there's a scapegoat whose name isn't Michael D. Scott, it's fine. I like to refer to them as Scott-free catastrophe. I'm thinking about the time I was an hour late to work because the bus driver was late and slow. Yes, I missed the 9 o'clock meeting and yes, I had to make the time up, but I was just as carefree as ever on that long ride in, on the back of the scapegoat Ronald Weiss, driver on the 7W route.

    I'm thinking about the group meeting where we all sat and commiserated over the laziness of the member who wasn't present.

    Outside of the building there's fresher air, not stagnant and stale. A nice breeze cools my head from the beating afternoon sun.

    "Come out, Amigo." I let his pokeball loose from my hand and it opens quickly, and the eager Mighteyena forms in front of me just off to the side of the dusty road we'll take towards the Groeter's. His tongue catches the breeze like a pink fleshy sail and pushes against the left edge of his mouth.

    "Do you like ice cream?" An enthused bark erupts from his throat. Soon, I'm running after him.

    I imagine this dog's heaven is a turbo fan and an ice cream cone.

    Now I'm wondering what jokes I'll tell when I get to the shop. Let's see, what will Janine think is funny? I wonder if Will's already told her about my situation. I mumble:

    "I'm going to meet Will when I should be writing one..."

    "I'm here to interrupt this binomial, and that's by-no-means-all...hmm, but what after that? Don't know about that one."

    Getting closer to the center of town, new sounds emerge and derail my train of thought. I slow my pace as I hear battlecries of fighting pokemon and trainers shouting orders. Am I walking into a trap? Has fate got a stray Shadow Ball headed my way?

    "Hey, slow down Amigo." I'm competing with so many sounds. I hear a megahorn or loudspeaker announcing gym battles and schedules, loud LEDs flash outside the town's Game Corner, chatter fills the air.

    "Hey, stop! Come back, Amigo!"

    Amigo stops not when I call him the second time, not because I called him the second time. In Dewford and a few other towns, Will and I had carved out routes to avoid random battles and annoying trainers who take even a passing glance as a challenge. In Mauville, we'd had no such luck. There really wasn't a feasible way to avoid battle as much as we'd like.

    So Amigo is stopped just ahead of me, his tongue hanging out as a Pidgeoto waves powerful wings against the air and slowly touches down in front of him. He stands his ground as dust and small bits of gravel whip up around him. They think he's challenging them, they think he's displaying courage in the face of one of the most powerful flight-type pokemon. Really, he's not embracing a challenge, just enjoying the powerful gust.

    Not visible at first due to the harsh angle, a short trainer rides atop the Pidgeoto wearing larger green goggles and a flight-suit. He jumps off of the brown bird's back and raises his goggles.

    "Hello. You lookin' for a battle? I heard your Mightyena's growl from about 100 feet up and thought I'd answer his battlecry." Standing there with excellent posture and about the height of his bird, his tone is lighter than he is. I'm wondering if he's still high off of some previous victories? Has he been circling around like a vulture looking for trainers he thinks he can beat?

    I imagine getting clawed to death by a Pidgeoto.

    "He was actually excited about ice cream, not battling."

    "Ah, well now that I'm down here, I don't suppose you'd be up for a battle anyway? Maybe? Come on."

    "I don't really feel like doing that right now. I'm late for a meeting with some friends too, so..."

    "$300"

    "That's a substantial bet, fly guy. You've got some real confidence, don't you?"

    "I've got confidence higher than I can fly."

    I survey his belt. Two Ultra Balls, a Great Ball, two standards and one I can't make out from where I'm standing. Hm, does the Pidgeot account for one of those Ultra Balls? I hope so, but I see the feathers over the eye are light red and not deep red. It's a female Pidgeot, so the likelihood it could've been captured with a Great Ball is a bit higher. The female of that species isn't as resistive to submission or capture. That leaves two potentially very powerful Pokemon in those two Ultra Balls. Hmm, he's obviously got access to exotic pokemon, so either he's transferred or he's in Hoenn for some kind of graduate degree. He looks young, though. He's definitely not older than I am. Kid genius? Wait. Break. I barely have $300 to my name.

    "I don't have that kind of money right now. I'm afraid I couldn't accept even if I wanted to."

    My shoulders loosen up a bit and that bubbling feeling in my stomach subsides. I'm relieved. I have no choice but to walk away from this.

    "Wait, wait. Okay, how about we make it $70 for me if you lose, but $350 for you if you win? How do you like that?"

    What's his deal? Is he so eager for sport and so gratuitously wealthy that he can make an outrageous wager like this without much thought? What's he got? I need to pay Will back.

    "****." With a long sigh, I take out a receipt from one of my jeans' pockets and scribble some things down on the back of it:

    in case of my death, my bank account is to be divided as follows:

    -$250 for Will for unpaid bills and a new shirt

    -$75 to my uncle in Mossdeep for fishing rods

    -the $350 in my pocket/cold dead hands goes to my parents. Assuming that I've won but still managed to die.

    -send my electronics to my cousin in Sootopolis. Be sure to include dust filters.


    "Okay, I'll battle you on those terms. Come here, Amigo."

    I grasp Wigglytuff's pokeball and prepare myself.
    Last edited by Maze; 18th January 2010 at 8:59 PM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  8. #8
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    A nice, short chapter :).

    Quote Originally Posted by Maze View Post
    -strap my belt around my waste and populate all six slots with pokeballs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maze View Post
    "Come out, Amigo".
    I liked most of the inner thought, but his worrying was slightly hard to believe. It made sense, but either I missed the earth-shattering point where he began to suspect everything, or I didn't see it for what it was. His logic was sound, though, and that's all that really needs to be said.

    Will and Janine aren't the Will of Johto's Elite Four and Janine of Olivine City, are they? It would be an interesting coincidence for the two to meet in Mauville City.

    I can't wait for the battle scene that'll (hopefully) be in the next chapter!

  9. #9
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    I'll fix those errors. Thanks.

    Sorry about the abruptness with which his thought pattern changed. I used to be a bit OCD, so I kinda just started writing the things that I would be thinking if I was leaving the house or approaching a crowd, etc. I was hoping it would just kinda fit.

    No, not the same Will and Janine. And yeah, the battle scene is coming up next chapter. I've been working on it some even right after I posted this. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks so much for reading!
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  10. #10
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    Late response is late. x_X Sorry. I am glad to see you update, though. I also see you improving with first person right near the beginning of your second chapter, which is awesome.

    Right, a smile. But what did I expect from Will? He wasn't the one who'd talk you out of a funk. He wouldn't even be the one to stick with you as you fell into despair. He'd just yell down into the pit, "So, are you gonna come up any time soon or just sit and die down there?" Now more than ever, I wonder why I'm rooming with this soul-less *******. How were we friends?
    Like here. I like how you're being more introspective with Will's character and allowing the reader to really get inside his head.

    At the same time, though, sometimes your first person, in terms of description, is weak, or is weak compared to what is actually being said:

    I could hear his last remark from inside my room. I punched a hole into the wall.
    It's ... very simple considering he just punched a hole in the wall. Either the walls were made out of the paper or he has a steel fist. o.O That being said, I figured there would be some sort of reaction (cursing in pain or something?) to punching a hole in a wall.

    Actually, the fighting scene seems a tad list-like (he punched my ribs, I punched my face ... er ... pretend that makes sense):
    That's when I burst out of the door and ran to tackle my roommate to the ground. We both fell to the floor in the living room. I'm sure they heard Will's back slam onto the hardwood floor in the room below.
    Kind of flat out description with very little (emotional) reasoning why from your main character. Even throwing a "That's it. He's dead" in front of this paragraph connotates that your main character is fed up with Will.

    "Hey," he smacked my face as if to get my attention.
    Period after "hey" instead.

    "Ha!"

    "Oh wow, you don't sound angry. That's weird."
    It is a bit weird. =X Your character's emotions kind of jump all over the place without much transition or way of telling your reader why, so it kind of sounds more random than it needs to be. I'm not sure if you're trying to illustrate that your main character is so confused and flustered that his emotions/action are jumbled as well, but I think you can find a better way to portray this.

    I try to think, "Can people really change?" What's the truth behind these oft-witnessed stories of the good girl gone bad, the studious turned dubious, the prude turned rude. Were they always just a step away from their true nature? Just a few syllables' width to the right side of their true being? I don't know, but it makes me wonder why I behave the way I do, if my character is just an act, if I'm a combination of rules trapping an inner beast. I have to think about this now that I know I'll be dying shortly. I have to think "have I lived yet?"

    I think of Janine.
    I like this bit. I can tell you really got into your character's head (and maybe your own in order to format how this is written) and emphasized how jumbled human thought can be (with the "I think of Janine" part especially). The thought itself is intriguing and ... deep, man. =P

    There's the bare wooden floor of my room, the worn and scratched wood floor dusted with a bit of daybreak.
    This kind of comes off as more repetitious rather than you putting emphasis on the wood floor. Maybe omit the first "wood."

    A small breeze saunters in where the window's not quite sealed and touches the dried and salty tear tracks on my face
    No apostrophe on "windows."

    I'm in the shower trying to be responsible with the suds produced by my soap. I'm being careful not to slip by making no unnecessary movements of my feet. The way you slip and fall in a shower is to place too much force in a direction parallel to the shower floor. The floor can't produce enough friction to oppose your motion and you simply fall. While I'm out, I'll buy a shower mat.

    I put my pants on sitting down. I imagine struggling to get into one leg of them and falling over and hitting my head on a corner of the wall or doorpost of my room. While I'm out, I'll buy rubber guards for the wall corners. I wonder if you need power tools to install those? That may be a risk investment I won't make.
    I also enjoyed all the death scenarios that your character created in his head. Amusing, yet also kind of morbid. =P

    Anyway, two interesting chapters. Again, it's good to see you improving on your first technique. Some of it still does read as mechanic, especially with description, though that's a technique that takes time and practice. While it's okay to say things like "I feel regretful" or "I felt mad" every now and then, sometimes small phrases, like "That's it. He's dead" (to connotate frustration) or "Holy crap!" (surprise) or even "Oh my god!" say more than actually stating what your character is feeling. It also gives you more variety, so you're not just saying "I felt ___" alllll the time. So try and think (or listen to others) of the phrases that people say when they're mad/happy/etc.

    As for description, you kind of have this "description paragraph, thought paragraph, description paragraph, thought paragraph" pattern. The two never seem to merge. This is especially apparent during the "fight scene" in the second chapter, mostly because, like I said, the description reads awfully list-like. Surely something has to be going on inside his head during this moment, even if it's not necessarily on the fight. Maybe your character is annoyed that he initiated the fight and now he's getting his *** kicked. Maybe your character is annoyed that Will doesn't seem to be taking the fight, and his predicament, all that seriously.

    The story is heading for an interesting turn. It's also a lot more quirkier (in a good way) with your character thinking of all the ways he can die. XP

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    Thanks so much for checking up on me! I was reviewing this thread and your advice when I wrote the last two chapters and I'm glad that my effort has resulted in some noticeable improvement. That's good to hear. I can see that I still need to work on my description, though. That fight scene felt a bit haphazard when I was writing it, but I just wanted to get a new chapter out and I wasn't really certain what to do to make it work correctly. I think I should've just let it incubate because as it is, you're right, the description is a bit mechanical and I didn't really capture that "sublimation" of emotion which was supposed to be the whole point of the chapter. So, this confirms my disappointment with that. BUT, the whole sublimation thing is going to be a theme and not just a chapter, so I'll have other chances to get it right.

    I also enjoyed all the death scenarios that your character created in his head. Amusing, yet also kind of morbid. =P
    I'm glad. That's what I was going for.

    Thanks!
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  12. #12
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    I need to preface this by first saying that I've been avoiding battles in all my fics up until now because I really don't know how to write them. This chapter has caused me a bit of anxiety, but I've decided to stop worrying over it and just release it so you guys can say yay or nay. It's my first battle, so be gentle...

    I really like to focus more on the characters and their development of their worldview or their moral struggles and whatnot. So, I don't really feel comfortable with this.

    It's not actually the full chapter, but if this sucks, then I'll fix the remainder of the battle.

    DISCRETE

    The curriculum works like this; you have gym battles you must complete and also, you have a mandatory amount of non-gym battles that are required for you to get a certificate in Pokemon Battling. So we each carry a logging device called a Pokedex, which records our battling statistics and sends them to the University's servers where they are counted towards your degree's requirements. Often times, money is wagered as an extra incentive when one of the battlers isn't really stressed for credits. It's not encouraged by the University, but it happens and no one does anything about it.

    I don't need any more credits. I've been in ****ing Mauville for about twice the normal time and I've been training and battling so much that I've actually got more credits than someone at this stage should have. The money is what entices me to battle now. Is it an unnecessary risk? Yes, possibly. I imagine my last battle statistics being sent to the server:

    Student's Name: The late Michael Scott

    Pokemon used: Wigglytuff, Pikachu, Mightyena

    Result: 3 credits with 100% quality


    The "quality" of a victory is determined by a computer's calculation of the odds of victory. For example, if I gamble with moves that have low accuracy when it's not necessary, it drives the quality of my victory down. If you win or lose by a lucky "critical hit", the quality of your victory goes down. It sucks a bit, because even the very best battlers have taken risks that led to victory. This system, I think, ensures that there can't be a student with a 100% grade at the end of his collegiate career. I'll write a letter of complaint to the dean once I'm finished...maybe I'll make it an addendum to my will.

    please make 100% overall quality attainable, *******. Thanks.

    What's his quality? I wonder.

    With an index finger and thumb touching my first pokeball tentatively, I can feel my mind shift.

    When you enter a pokemon battle, the path to victory can only be found if you leave everything else outside the arena. You can't do your best if you're dividing thought between your home's condition, your grocery lists, your friends and their issues, and definitely not your impending doom. No, that's gonna get you beat. Or in my case, killed?

    I'm crumbling up my makeshift will and stuffing it in my pocket.

    "Pikachu." No exclamation, a complete lack of enthusiasm. It's somewhat contrived, but it's my way of undermining the sense of importance that battling seems to give some of us. The soft whirr of the Pokedex's hard disk and radio being activated is drowned out by the sounds of Pokemon cries.

    "Pikachu!"

    Generally, Pikachus are faster than Pidgeottos. We also have the type advantage. But relaxation is the enemy of attention, and pride is a liability. I don't rejoice inside and it shows on my face. But what is he thinking? I don't see any surprise or worry reflected in my opponent's eyes. Not an ounce. Is this a practiced facade or do I really need to be worried right now...

    "Pidgeotto, kick up a sand storm with Whirlwind and Sand-attack!"

    ****, pay attention. The air is now thick with dust and sand from the ground. It still amazes me the control these creatures have over such amorphous quantities like air and thunder and water. To be so precise about the range of a whirling sandstorm, it's like magic to me. Like magic, but I know it's not. So what's changed? Electric attacks don't conduct as well or as predictably through air that's this thickly populated with these large, quickly shifting particles. It's likely that even a lightning bolt won't be 100% accurate. Damn.

    I can see Pikachu nervously twitching in the rough sandstorm, his skin being scratched and abraded. For a moment, I say nothing. I'm thinking.
    And then Pidgeotto disperses the sandstorm for an instant, clearing a path directly to Pikachu.

    "Wing Attack!" And it's landed with precision and devastating accuracy. Those soft wings swathed in downy auburn feathers epitomize elegance in aerodynamics, but with the right manipulation of muscles and in the right context those muscles and bones can strike like a staff.
    Pikachu is still upright.

    "Pidgeotto, kick up the sandstorm again!"

    I start to guess at his percentage. It's characteristic of the more talented battlers to use a combination of naturally-learned moves to give their Pokemon new capabilities. It's not totally their doing, though; it takes a talented Pokemon too. It takes a Pokemon who's young and hasn't built up a rigidity in their muscle memory, who has propensities but no habits yet. Damnit, he's got me wondering about so many things, I need to concentrate. Why can't I just concnetra..

    "Wing Attack!"

    ****. ****, I need to do something.

    "Pikachu, Double Team! Get moving, don't stay in one spot!" Now I feel my heart pounding, I'm feeling the pressure of the whirlwind against my skin, I'm keenly aware of how poor Pikachu's visibility is. ****, I can barely see him and I can't be more than four feet outside this sandstorm.

    Pikachu has begun to move like lightning, back and forth 'til it's not clear which direction he's going or where he is or where he just was. Shadows of his presence are cast at different points on the sand like timestamps.

    "So you finally decided to start battling? That's wonderful, I hate just taking money. It makes me feel like I'm snatching a purse from an old lady or something similar to that. Haha, I'm glad you decided to make it interesting." I can feel his confidence.

    When I can feel the opponent's confidence, it puts me at ease. It lets me know that he knows he'll win. I exploit this feeling of certainty as much as I can. Maybe I widen my eyes a bit or furrow my brow to seem unsure or intimidated. Reinforce his position of superiority until I tear that mother****er down.

    Here he comes. The sandstorm disperses for an instant and Pidgeotto swoops down for another Wing Attack.

    If he had been less certain of my incompetence, had taken less stock in my ineptitude as a trainer, maybe he would have varied his strategy at this point.

    "Shockwave barrier, Pikachu!"

    I do it too. I train Pokemon from the earliest age possible to ensure their optimum ability to mix and match their natural skills to form new ones. Shockwave barrier is just a name I gave a technique Pikachu learned when he was two and a half. He uses his natural gift for voltage control to heat sand particles until their electrons are delocalized. They then become easy for him to manipulate.

    Bfft

    Sand from the surrounding storm pours into a thick octagonal shield separating the two Pokemon and dampening the effect of Pidgeotto's Wing Attack. The bird Pokemon smacks into the sand wall with force, shattering it and taking damage.

    I can see him sweating.

    "Pidgeotto, fly up and create another sandstorm!"

    Does he only know one tune? This might be an easy $300. Wait, don't let the anesthesia of confidence seep in just yet. Fight like you're losing until you win.

    "Pikachu, disperse that sandstorm!" Pikachu pushes the sand from the battlefield with finesse, a quietly strong and confident burst of electric potential shoves the cloud of sand away in all directions.

    Then I choose to end the round with a final move. I talk about superior voltage control, but do you know what I mean? This is not the first Pikachu I've caught; I have a hard drive full of them. It's the one with the best natural ability to regulate its own voltage and the one with the most precise control over how much voltage it delivers. You can actually tell in part by how rosy his cheeks are. It's evident in the sharpness of the angles in his tail and the straightness of the brown stripes on his back. Pokemon Biology 301:
    "In Pikachu, there is a positive correlation (.82) between the sharpness of the tail's bend and the degree to which that Pikachu can control the intensity of its voltage output. Accuracy and Precision are also positively correlated (.78)."

    "Thunder Bolt." Four small pillars of lightning surround the Pidgeotto, and then a fight larger pillar strikes it in the center. This move is 100% accurate only if your Pikachu has the control to place those four pillars in precisely the right spots and at precisely the right intensities. The first four trigger the bird's instinctive response to lurch in the opposite direction as a nearby lightning attack, thereby confining its position. And the fifth delivers the damaging voltage. It's a play on a natural psychological mechanism of all electricity-averse Pokemon.

    Pidgeotto is no longer fit for battle. Quality of victory is calculated at 100%. Logged. I didn't realize how tense my muscles had become or how wide my eyes were open until I finally let myself loosen up for a relieving sigh.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  13. #13
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    I liked this a lot. The overcalculation fit in with the battle, especially where he didn't react at the start, but towards the end he thought too fast. He had a big inner monologue about Pikachu in the time it took for it to discharge the electricity, which is way too fast.

    There were a couple errors; He actually won $350, not 300. When Michael talks about how he can't concentrate, you spelled it odd when it trailed off. And it should've been a dash too, I think, because he was interrupted. Then, near the end, you typed fight instead of fifth, refering to the columns of lightning. And there was an odd Bfft thing too, which I assume to be the noise Pikachu's barrier made. Maybe turn it into a sentence.

    I liked the battle, and the calculations added to it for me, rather than taking away. It made the battle seem more like a faceoff of intelligence than one of shouting commands.

    Michael seemed different in this chapter than in the last few, though. If he cares so much about quality (like with Pikachu), then why does he accept Mightyena's attitude so much? Unless it's that their different cases; Pikachu is more for battles, and Mightyena is closer to the pet side of the spectrum. I'm just guessing, though. Feel free to prove me wrong.
    "That poison's only strong enough to kill a dead dog"

    A boy and his frog, venturing across the lands in search of sister and glory.

  14. #14
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    The introduction of this chapter was nice. =) It's certainly an intriguing way to explain the entire curriculum works in your characters' world.

    I also enjoyed the way you wrote your battles. It's very different from how most people write battles, and it's nice to see a writer actually enter the head of the trainer and see how they process moves and calculations instead of mindless back and forth attacking. You totally took advantage of first-person narrative with this, along with Michael's explanation of the "victory" system. I do enjoy his snark. ;P The over calculations followed by some snappy thought/remark just seemed to fit the personality you weaved for him. The victory system, and the fact that he's still at 100%, is also telling of his character. He was STILL a pretttyyyy careful character even before he knew he was going to die soon.

    At the same time, however, yes I can tell that you tried your very best to "scrape by" with battle details. While the premise of your battle tactics seems to be creative in itself, the delivery was confusing and or lacking in areas. For example, I enjoyed the calculation and the "scientific" way you described Pikachu's thunderbolt attack, but if you look at it from just a descriptive point of view, one minute pidgeotto is flying, and the next is "no longer fit for battle". It's a bit of a vague statement.

    There were some small continuity issues. Last chapter you had Michael grasping Wigglytuff's ball, and this chapter you have him holding Pikachu's instead without indicating he switched. I think. ijuggler pointed out the other one where you said he would win $350 last chapter but wrote that he would win $300 this chapter.

    Bfft
    I can't tell if this is a error or not, but I assume it's a sound effect noise. Either way, it's kind of hard to connect the action with the sound effect considering it's not a common noise. Is it the sandstorm? Or Pikachu's shockwave barrier?

    Why can't I just concnetra..
    "Concentra-" would be more fitting. Or "concen-" for it to end on the second syllable as "tra" is in the middle of the third.

    To be so precise about the range of a whirling sandstorm, it's like magic to me. Like magic, but I know it's not.
    This seems repetitive. Not sure if you're going for the emphasis thang here.

    Anyway, I really did enjoy this chapter. It did seem like a filler chapter, but nevertheless, Michael's personality was incredibly strong in this one which was extremely nice to see. Well done.

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    DISCRETE CONT''D

    I see myself in Pidgeotto's spot, frozen in place by my instincts constrained by threats I could probably overcome easily.

    The first four bolts of Thunderbolt, even together, don't hurt half as much as the last one. They just scare the bird stiff.

    And now I'm standing smack-dab in the center of all of these invisible constraints, mental obstacles, waiting to be struck.

    I imagine an angry Pidgeotto trainer is pulling a gun on me, but really he's just reaching for his next pokeball. Focus.

    Pikachu doesn't know how tired he is. He's mistaking enthusiasm for vigor, I can see it. His eyes are bright and his brow is furrowed, but his tail is slumping and his stance is lazy. I wonder how much life he's got left in him. I want to measure your charge, I tell him. Not so much do I tell him with words as I pull a small volt meter out of my pocket and slap my hand on my knee to get his attention. Small puffs of dust I beat out of my pants' leg like smoke signals and he comes running, slowly, panting quickly. I know when you need a rest. It's when you run to convince me you're not tired.

    Pokemon Biology 101: The measure of a Pikachu's stamina is a measure of its voltage. No Pikachu with cheek potential difference (CPD) less than 3.7 volts should be placed into battle, no matter how vivacious the brave-natured ones pretend to be.

    I touch Pikachu's cheeks with either side of the meter and the screen brightens up and an LED indicator on the top left flashes red. 3.1 volt CPD, Pikachu is unfit for battle. I show him the score and his little black eyes widen and his mouth hangs in shock and disappointment. It almost breaks my heart to force him back into his Pokeball. I pat his head and recall him. But it doesn't matter how he feels, the data suggests he's too drained to participate in another round. If I hadn't known that, I'd have let him keep fighting. Maybe if I had a softer heart about the whole thing, I'd let him stay out and on the field because I appreciate how much he wanted to, but that doesn't get you anywhere. It doesn't get you an assured victory, it doesn't grow your bond with your pokemon, it doesn't gain you an overall quality of 96.78% (Thank you, I'm proud of it.).

    "Are you done rubbing salve on your injured babies? Should we continue with the match or would you rather I wait a little longer while you read your Pikachu a bedtime story?" he says in a jeering tone.

    It's called Reaction Formation. 'I'm losing so I'll shout like I'm winning.'

    "Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, sure. Let's continue." I let him know with my tone that what I just did was not out of the ordinary. I'm not excited, I'm not on a hot streak. I am a hot streak.

    I'm already thinking of what I'll buy with the money I earn from this battle. Devon Corp's black bulletproof vest.

    I imagine being hit by a bus wearing a bulletproof vest.

    Falling off of a balcony wearing a bulletproof vest.

    ****, focus. You haven't won yet. Fight like you're losing until you win.

    And then he does something truly shocking.

    "Salamence!" The loudest roar you can imagine. Louder.

    That was my heart pounding.

    That was my pulse racing.

    That was my jaw dropping.

    ****! Now he can see it, my fear. It's the moment in your nightmare when you're at school and you realize you have no pants on.

    It's the moment you sit down to take a test and you realize it's not over chapter 5.

    No, **** that ********. This isn't like that at all, it's worse. It's like you forgot to...****, it's like you're staring down the face of a raging dragon with hard blue scales and blood -red wings. It's like you're skin just got uncomfortably warm because it just exhaled in your direction. It's like you're sweating bullets and you'd rather take one.

    It breathes out again, then it breathes in. Its breathing is raspy and snarling. Imagine your fat uncle's snoring. Louder.

    It's the air being forced past all of the hundreds of igniter pores running down his esophagus.

    I'm frozen, I'm sweating. I've "lost my cool". If Will were here, baking beside me, he'd say "quite literally", but that's an obvious joke and I won't make it.

    It breathes out again, then it breathes in.

    Wait, I haven't been. I breathe in, I breathe out again. First quickly, then I try to take control. Has it been this bright outside the whole time? Jesus. Re-focus. If there is a path to victory, I can't find it if I'm panicked. Think.

    Thinking is the shock absorber. Shock absorber...shock absorber. Salamence is intimidating because of its physical attack strength. You think of a battering ram knocking down a door or of a wrecking ball tearing chunks out of a building. You think physical strength and you think of an impact on a rigid body. You think instantaneous. Slamming into a brick wall or imagine some young trainer falling from a high place and being splattered against the strength of the ground.

    You don't think baseball against the fence or trapeze artist saved by the net. You don't think strength is relative. I use a pokemon that I know can "roll with the punches", who can absorb the shock of what could be an overwhelming strength to a more rigid pokemon.

    I've regained my cool.

    "Wigglytuff." And he comes out of his pokeball.

    Disable. Sing. Defense Curl. Doubleslap.

    At one point, I had varied Wigglytuff's moveset to include Attract, which is a move that causes the enemy of the opposite sex to become less likely to attack. But we ran into so many homosexual pokemon right after Wigglytuff perfected that move that it's accuracy was adversely affected. It just wasn't reliable, so I taught him something else. This was not sheer coincidence. The instance of homosexuality in Pokemon is artificially higher than in humans because some trainers take the time to ensure this trait before their Pokemon hatches from its egg. I remember how meticulously Will cared for his Torchic egg because he needed a male pokemon that wasn't susceptible to Attract (at least not the way the other trainer would have guessed).

    If you inject the hormones into the egg too late, they won't really have the desired effect. You might get some mildly feminine physical characteristics like different feather patterns on your bird pokemon or scale roughness on your Treecko, but that's not what I'm going for here. I'm looking for functional homosexual traits. I'm not doing this for a Beauty Contest or some ******** like that. It's all about the timing.

    Will had been carrying that egg right up against his body to keep it warm. He slept with it for two weeks to make sure it didn't get cold during the night. He said the procedure was very time sensitive and that he needed to feel exactly when the time was right. About six days in, we were sitting there on the living room floor with some syringes and bottles of hormones he'd ordered online. Plastic wrapping and shipping boxes strewn about the carpet and a Pokemon egg in the middle of the floor. There was the Geniphrine in the blue bottle to be injected once a day beginning with the sixth day of egg carrying and ending on the ninth day. There was the Excophrine in the green bottle to be injected into the egg on the ninth day through the eleventh. This last drug only ensured the removal of excess of the first. This way, no physical change occurred due to this hormone. This was for trainers who wanted a Pokemon that looked like a male but didn't lust like one.

    But I was telling you about my battle.

    "Salamence, use your Headbutt!" The dragon pushed his large red wings back and flew straight towards Wigglytuff with his hard skull extended and eyes pointed downwards. His trainer stumbled and fell over with the force of the wind.

    "Wigglytuff, brace yourself. Lighten up." To brace oneself: To fix firmly, make steady or secure. And this is not what I meant, but Wigglytuff knows what to do. He pulls in a little bit of air to make himself lighter and just prior to impact, he lifts himself off of the ground. The first second and a half are Wigglytuff being deformed by the strike, stretching to absorb the shock. The next second, he's flying off into the distance because of his lightness.

    The warmer atmosphere created from Salamence's breathing allows Wigglytuff's body to become more malleable. He pulls in this warmer air and becomes less dense, larger and even more flexible.

    Think of hitting a beach ball with a golf club. Think of a wrecking ball hitting a Moon Bounce.

    Wigglytuff, concentrate that air and spit it out at Salamence! I say this with exclamation as if it's a serious move. It's not, the damage done is negligible. The Salamence literally bats an eye at it.

    Now he has the feeling that Headbutt won't be that effective. He now has the feeling that this victory might not come so easily.

    "Try and bite him, Salamence!" Salamence pushes his wings back and flies forward opening his mouth wide. A deep purple-colored projection of his fangs comes out in front of him and bites down hard on Wigglytuff.

    He's pushed down and pressured like a piece of gum between your teeth. When the attack ends, the tooth marks remain for a moment before his skin puffs back out to its original shape. Not noticeably worn, he's still panting from fatigue.

    "Disable that move, Wigglytuff."

    I'm thinking I should've disabled Headbutt. This victory is going to be quite sloppy.

    "Ha ha, I hope you don't plan to win with these little bubble gum tactics. It's a match between the prince of the sky and a balloon! I don't need Bite, watch this. Salamence, fly up and scorch him with your flamethrower!" Salamence's wings beat up and down, spreading dust from the ground out from underneath him and lifting his large body far up into the air.

    And this is when I think, "you're right where I want you", but don't say it out loud because you don't give your enemy a heads up.

    "Wigglytuff, try and move away from the center of that attack as best you can and disable his Fly ability! His stubby legs weren't made for running and he's hit with most of the intensity of the attack, but with his second-to-last breath, Wigglytuff launches a psychic wave that disables Salamence's ability to fly. Like turning a switch off in the dragon's brain, all of a sudden the natural and rhythmic beating of his wings stops and becomes erratic and panicked.

    Remember strength and impact? Imagine a dragon that weighs about the same as a small bus falling straight to the ground from more than sixty feet in the air.

    And this is when I think, "have a nice flight, see you next fall", but don't say it out loud because it's corny.

    Salamence comes crashing to the ground with an impact that could be mistaken for a weak Earthquake attack.

    "Wigglytuff, hit him with a Double Slap attack while he's down." Wigglytuff manages to slap the dragon four times on the cheek before Salamence shakes his head and starts to stand up.

    My opponent's looking at the field and he sees two exhausted pokemon. He sees something that doesn't really weigh in favor of either competitor. What he doesn't see is the Pikachu on my belt whose been steadily charging back up to 3.7 volts.

    "Salamence, use another Head Butt!" Whereas the first Head Butt was executed with finesse and precision, this one was a Salamence who forgot how to use his wings stumbling over himself in a half-flight half-charge. The speed of the attack suffered, the impact of the attack suffered. Wigglytuff tries his best to inflate and then twirl on one foot to dodge the attack, but it glances his side.

    "Hit him with another Double Slap to the side, Wigglytuff." This time, Wigglytuff's slapping is interrupted by a swift and powerful kick from the Salamence's left leg. And he is unfit for battle.

    "Return, Wigglytuff. Pikachu."

    "****. Hit him with a flamethrower, Salamence!"

    "Pikachu, use your Shockwave Barrier again." Salamence's flamethrower attacks had heated the sand to a temperature high enough for Pikachu to manipulate.

    The intense heat sprays up against Pikachu's barrier before it shatters as shards of glass. That dragon's raspy breathing is becoming heavier.

    "Pikachu, use Thunder!" This time, I really was excited. I don't fully understand this attack, I don't fully understand how lightning is formed and that makes it like magic. That makes it like magic, but I know it's not.

    It's the most satisfying attack. It's like watching the fist of god slam down from a cloud onto the back of the other pokemon. A sharp blue streak comes screaming down so fast that you could say it started at the same time it ended. It arrived at the same time it left. Salamence's legs reflexively shoot out from under him and he slams his underbelly on the ground and twitches.

    Un-****ing-fit for battle.

    I wonder what other Pokemon he's going to call out.

    "You win, dude. My other Pokemon are actually exhausted from previous battles. I just thought I'd have a shot with this Salamence, so I challenged you. It's so weird how much faith I put in this one Pokemon. $350 worth."

    I shake my head understandingly. I've been there. I've been so excited about one new technique or one new Pokemon that I've imagined myself as unstoppable. Just the novelty of a new Pokemon makes you feel like you can conquer the world with it. I imagine especially so in the case of a Salamence, the Prince of the Sky.

    "Yeah, I know what you mean. It's a really beautiful Pokemon, I understand your confidence in it." My Pokedex is spinning and whistling loudly as the drive records the battle details and calculates a quality for this victory.

    99.21% I read on the LCD.

    "I feel like a real jackass right now, heh. You know, coming down from the sky and being all cocky with this challenge." He's walking closer to me now, digging his hands in his pockets.

    I think, Oh god does he have a knife?

    But he pulls out a handful of cash and hands it to me. The crumbling sound of the wrinkled money as I grasp it is almost as satisfying as the crackling thunder that won me the match.

    The dirt caked up on both our clothes and in our hair, the salty sweat trails left down the sides of our faces, and the darkened spots on our shirts underneath our arms, we shook hands and headed our separate ways.

    I need to be at the Groeter's in less than four minutes. I send a text, "will be a second late, but ice cream's on me."
    Last edited by Maze; 15th March 2010 at 8:31 AM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  16. #16
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    ALREADY GONE

    Everyone's trying to change themselves, start over, get better. All the time. The kid I just destroyed will go back and train for hours or days to increase his skill. ****, I've been in Mauville for a month doing the same thing. I have a goal, he has a goal. But where are we getting? I'm going to get better and better until I'm good enough, then I'll die. Or I'll get better and better and then I'll die. And people will say, "he had such a promising future, he was becoming such a good battler." They'll say, "He died in his prime." And I'm thinking, maybe that's the best time to go. I don't know how I feel about the ones I loved saying "well, it was about time" or "he had a good run, this was a good time to die." Would I trade some more remorse for a few years of life? I don't know.

    I'm walking with my head down so as to avoid eye contact with trainers. Amigo is by my side, trudging slowly and looking down too.

    Slowly walking, shuffling, pushing the ground back beneath my feet. My arms are being carried along like dead weight, swaying back and forth with no will of their own. No resistance, just being pulled along. How hot is it out here? How much was I sweating?

    Dark spots under my arms running down my sides.

    Dried sweat left crusted salt on my face.

    Dry summer air past my dry tongue.

    Dank socks squishing in my shoes.

    Drenched hair laying flat.

    My cell phone beeps and I struggle to pull it in front of my face and open the text.

    "We're at the place. Without free ice cream. Please fix, thanks."

    A few more steps and I'm there, just a few more steps and I'm near a fountain, some refreshment, friends. My head's throbbing.

    Ten minutes later, when they see me, I'm being carried through the door laying over my Mightyena's back like a yoke on a Mule.

    "Whoa, are you okay? Did I miss it?" Will wonders as he walks over to me and grabs my arm. He's feeling my wrist for a pulse when I muster the strength to get up and slide into a booth.

    I barely have my eyes open, I'm feeling the rubbery seat beneath, feeling the cold composite table.

    "Hi, Mike."

    Eyes open. It's Janine sitting right next to me. I had just dragged my sweaty, smelly, half-dead self onto the same seat as her. Her soft pink dress, my stained dark t-shirt. Her soft moist skin, my dry dusty arms. Her bright smiling face, my fatigued crusted mug. Her deep green eyes, mine half shut. Her straight long hair, my dusty matted mess.

    "That battle must have been tough, roomie," Will says as he slides into the seat on the other side of the booth.

    "Ugh," is all I can say. There's a little bit of silence and Janine laughs a little bit and says, "Well, that's the price of victory, right?"

    "Yeah, I guess so." I'm reaching into my pocket to pull out the money. I lay $20 on the table and say, Get whatever you'd like. And then I'm asleep. But only for a second. I wake up, I sit up.

    "Dude, you look really out of it. I know battles are rough and all, but are you okay?"

    "Yeah, do you need medical attention?" They're all so concerned. I hate pity. I'm fine.

    "No, I'm okay. I just didn't get a lot of sleep last night, I guess. And then there was the unexpected battle. And then there was the sun and its rays. And so on and so on." I'm actually saying "and so on and so on". I don't even know what I'm talking about.

    A considerate waitress brings me a glass of water with a straw. It's just not fast enough. I remove the straw and place it on the table beside the glass. I lean back my head and pour the glass of water down my throat. Some of it falls out the sides of my mouth as I can't gulp it down fast enough.

    I imagine drowning in refreshing water.

    I'm still embarrassed about the condition I'm in. I had planned to show up with a fresh smell and a few jokes, but some ******* on a Pidgeotto's used me all up. Janine doesn't seem to mind that much, so I loosen up just a little and slide up in my seat.

    "So, Will tells me that you two battled earlier. Aaaaand, how did that turn out?" I'm looking back and forth at each of their faces with a slight smirk on my face.

    "You know I lost, that's not even funny!" Janine slaps my arm, laughs at my sarcasm.

    "I don't know, Janine, stranger things have happened." I'm thinking about making a joke about a flying Spoink, but I don't.

    "She put up a good fight. We weren't playing for credits or anything, just for fun. No big deal."

    "Yeah, thank goodness. Would've been rude of you to beat up on my measly 82% quality average," she's saying with a faux shame. 82 is not bad. It's not 96.78 (me) or 98.89 (Will), but it's nothing to sneeze at.

    Will knows Janine the same way I know Janine. We grew up in the same town, went to the same school, went to the same church, and now we're pursuing the same career. We're like her two brothers in some way. So I'm not surprised when she says this.

    "Will told me about your predicament. It's really surreal, is it true or is he just messin' with me?"

    "It's true. I'm going to die before I finish my journey." That's the first time I've said it outloud since I told Will and he laughed at me. It feels weird to say after it's sunk in. Somehow it doesn't have the same impact. I'm still scared shitless, but not petrified. Ha, I'm still mortified, but not horrified.

    "I really hope that doesn't come true. You know, I read that Psychics are wrong sometimes about stuff like this. Do you remem..."

    I cut her off.

    "Yeah, sometimes. Like point zero zero zero zero zero one out of a hundred times. Probably not this time, though." Why am I becoming angry with Janine? "Why are you trying to tell me about how my trouble is probably nothing? You think that's the kind of **** I want to hear about it? That I'm worried about nothing, that I'm being stupid?!" I'm not shouting, I'm not using my inside voice, either. "**** that, I'm going to die. Most likely."

    That's called Projection. I'm not mad at Janine, I'm frustrated with the fact that I'm still hopeful but that's not gaining me any ground at all.

    Like being hopeful the sun won't rise.

    Like being hopeful that the seasons won't change.

    The mood is a bit more tense. Will laughs. It's all he knows how to do.

    "Calm down, Mike."

    I'm feigning remorse.

    "I'm really sorry, Janine. I just, I've had not a lot of sleep and it's hot outside and I had that battle just a second ago." My voice is whining a list of things she's already heard.

    "Oh." Her face turns towards the window.

    I run my fingers down my glass, still wet with condensation from the cold water I just chugged.

    The waitress is hanging back. Maybe to her I sound like someone who might snap. After a few more seconds of silence, she walks over slowly.

    "Are you three ready to order?"

    Janine pipes up.

    "Yes, actually. I ordered an old friend an hour ago, but instead I got a burnt inconsolable *******? Can you take this back? Seriously, I'll just have a burger. No cheese. Everything else."

    The waitress didn't pay attention to her first remark, she just dutifully jotted down the order. In her mind, our problems and our conflicts are insignificant. What we just experienced is absolutely of no weight to her. She leaves after our orders are placed. No matter how real you think your moment is, no one else can feel it. It's hard to imagine, really. I'm dying, I'm shouting at my friend, I'm frustrated. But she can't feel it, she can't see it. It's not even real to her. Is it real at all? Does it matter? I mean, if it's exclusive to us, did it happen? If a tree falls in a forest...

    I'm asking Will, "should I tell my parents?"

    "Well, it depends on how soon you want to die. I mean, you could tell them now, let them begin the mourning process...and then the healing. You can practically watch the complete end of your life, the coping of your friends and family with their loss, before it happens. It'll put you in an odd place in time, some time after your own death. I say go for it. But I don't know. Is that how you want to go?"

    I'm looking at him with no expression. Janine is smiling against the window, the sun's highlighting her face.

    "Fine, tell 'em. You think I'm full of it, but honestly, you're halfway dead to me already," he said with a few snappy gesticulations and flicking of his dark brown left eyebrow. And then he added, "even since you've told me, I have had enough time to come to some odd sort of peace with your passing."
    "Will, that was like a day ago. What do you mean? We've been friends for twenty years."

    "I understand that. I just don't waste time fighting the truth like a lot of people. 'Oh no, I can't believe it's happening to you!', or 'This can't be!' or 'There must be a way!'. I don't know, I'm just being an *******. I'm just talking. You know you're important to me."

    But sometimes I doubt it. The kinds of things that roll out of his mouth are all the words that came before "I'm just talking". The kinds of words that seem put together and forced are the ones "You know you're important to me". I just don't know.

    Minutes later we're sipping milkshakes, eating burgers. We're talking about old teachers and classmates we used to make fun of. Anesthetizing moments of nostalgia. I'm pushing my fate to the back of my mind for a brief moment.

    Then he walks through the door.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  17. #17
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    Rawr, sorry for not reviewing the last chapter.

    There isn't much I can critique other than what I mentioned before, and hell, you improved on it times ... twenty, so I'ma just post quotes that I liked. Lulz.

    "DISCRETE CONT'D" review

    "Are you done rubbing salve on your injured babies? Should we continue with the match or would you rather I wait a little longer while you read your Pikachu a bedtime story?" he says in a jeering tone.

    It's called Reaction Formation. 'I'm losing so I'll shout like I'm winning.'
    Tee hee. ^^ Loved this part.

    I'm already thinking of what I'll buy with the money I earn from this battle. Devon Corp's black bulletproof vest.

    I imagine being hit by a bus wearing a bulletproof vest.

    Falling off of a balcony wearing a bulletproof vest.
    Bwahaha. I do love his "death scenarios."

    At one point, I had varied Wigglytuff's moveset to include Attract, which is a move that causes the enemy of the opposite sex to become less likely to attack. But we ran into so many homosexual pokemon right after Wigglytuff perfected that move that it's accuracy was adversely affected. It just wasn't reliable, so I taught him something else. This was not sheer coincidence. The instance of homosexuality in Pokemon is artificially higher than in humans because some trainers take the time to ensure this trait before their Pokemon hatches from its egg. I remember how meticulously Will cared for his Torchic egg because he needed a male pokemon that wasn't susceptible to Attract (at least not the way the other trainer would have guessed).
    That's actually quite interesting. That in itself is a pretty good fic idea (a breeding center that tries to breed homosexual pokemon).

    Your character talks in analogies a lot. Not that that's a problem (in fact, it's quite epic, especially when he does a common analogy followed by an extreme one) but have you always planned for your character do to that? Either way, awesome.

    "I feel like a real jackass right now, heh. You know, coming down from the sky and being all cocky with this challenge." He's walking closer to me now, digging his hands in his pockets.

    I think, Oh god does he have a knife?
    Loved this part too.

    The battle was done extremely well again. I enjoyed the "scientific" explanation behind each move (especially Wigglytuff's). I am a little confused about the "disable" section of the battle though. Did Wigglytuff disable both bite and fly, or just fly?

    "Disable that move, Wigglytuff."

    I'm thinking I should've disabled Headbutt. This victory is going to be quite sloppy.

    [...]

    And this is when I think, "you're right where I want you", but don't say it out loud because you don't give your enemy a heads up.

    "Wigglytuff, try and move away from the center of that attack as best you can and disable his Fly ability!
    (Btw, also loved those consecutive "and this is when I think ..." lines. They were executed well). Anyway, I was a little confused about what exactly happened in detail, though I do get the basic gist of it (are you allowed to do two consecutive disable moves? I know in game canon you can't, but eh). Fly was disabled and well, that's all that matters, right?

    Next chapter!

    "No, I'm okay. I just didn't get a lot of sleep last night, I guess. And then there was the unexpected battle. And then there was the sun and its rays. And so on and so on." I'm actually saying "and so on and so on". I don't even know what I'm talking about.
    While the last chapter was amusing in one way, this chapter is amusing in another. It's very stream-of-consciousness like, which emphasizes Mike's, er, "kind of out of it, but still sane enough to realize it" state. I particularly loved that you're able to crack a joke/snark in the middle of a paragraph then re-enter the gloomy, serious discussion of Mike's predetermined death. That's really not easy to do -- at least doing so where it doesn't sound forced.

    Anyway, loved both chapters to pieces. The rambling/incoherence of Mike's thoughts is more apparent (though I'm not sure if you meant to do that or it's because you're getting super awesome at this first person thing. God, I am abusing parentheses today) and shows how stressed/worried he is. What worried me in the first two chapters was your narrator's/Mike's lack of personality, but you quickly alleviated that as the story progressed. Will and Janine seem to actually have a foot in the story and aren't just random side characters now, too. I knew I felt that way about Janine when you introduced her, but now I have quite a like for her. I always liked Will. So yeah.

    Anyway, can't wait for your next chapter! =P
    Last edited by Breezy; 7th April 2010 at 6:42 PM.

  18. #18
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    There isn't much I can critique other than what I mentioned before, and hell, you improved on it times ... twenty, so I'ma just post quotes that I liked. Lulz.
    SCORE!

    Thanks for the help. I mean, you've helped me a lot. I'm really glad to hear that my first person is pretty good now

    Your character talks in analogies a lot. Not that that's a problem (in fact, it's quite epic, especially when he does a common analogy followed by an extreme one) but have you always planned for your character do to that?
    I didn't plan it, it just happened as a result of me following your advice to give the narrative more personality since it's in first person. So I started trying to just write it like this guy would actually think it. And so I tried to make it more clear how OCD (like you said in your last review) or just really meticulous he was. And the analogies just felt right.

    Did Wigglytuff disable both bite and fly, or just fly?
    He got headbutted, did not disable that one. He got bitten, did disable that. Then he disabled fly. Had I known you couldn't use Disable twice in a row, I would've written around that, but I didn't know. Whoops.

    What worried me in the first two chapters was your narrator's/Mike's lack of personality, but you quickly alleviated that as the story progressed. Will and Janine seem to actually have a foot in the story and aren't just random side characters now, too. I knew I felt that way about Janine when you introduced her, but now I have quite a like for her. I always liked Will. So yeah.
    That's awesome. I'm glad I'm making good progress with these things. Also, I'm really glad that you like my characters. That just feels good to hear.

    Thanks for the review!
    Last edited by Maze; 7th April 2010 at 11:32 PM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  19. #19
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    ROGER

    Right now things are happening that I know nothing about. Things that will ultimately contribute to my demise.

    Somewhere, a mechanic is forgetting to tighten a nut in the vehicle that will eventually run me over.

    Somewhere, in one of Devon Corps.'s labs, a quality management employee is missing the pokeball with the defective locking mechanism. The pokeball that will end up exploding in my face and killing me.

    There's an undercooked burger with my name on it.

    There's an infected toilet seat waiting for my ***.

    Immediately in front of me is the white composite table. Just on the other side of that is a young man with an older man's presence. A man my age wearing a short sleeved collared shirt and khaki pants with neat creases, and a watch that probably was older than both of us around his wrist.

    One second it's 6:55:59, next second it's 6:56. A full day and three hours closer to my death.

    "How have you been? I can't say I'm surprised to run into you again. Although, I hoped I wouldn't."

    "Nice to see you. Thanks. I've been fine."

    The man with the Espeon is sitting at our table waiting for the waitress to bring him his water.

    "I see." He's at a loss for words, so am I.

    "Hmm, you two don't seem to be sure of what to say. I'll help out here: the obvious topic, and it's a rich one, is my friend Mike's impending doom. As I understand it, you're the man with the Espeon who predicted his death, right? Discuss." And with this, Will folds his hands and rests his elbows on the table.

    "True. I guess I'm hesitant to speak, because I can't figure out how to say what I'm going to say. If my delivery is wrong, you might be less accepting."

    "I'm intrigued," Will says curtly.

    "Spill it."

    He clears his throat. "Well, as you can imagine, this prediction represents a unique opportunity for me. Um, what I mean is that...well, usually, Espeon's predictions are related to battle. And in a battle, there are only so many degrees of freedom. There are only so many moves the opponent can make at any one time, only so many levels of force, only so many ways he can stumble or kick, or jump or parry. I'm not saying that to belittle the impressiveness of a Psychic attack's predictive capability, but..."

    And that's when I see where this is headed.

    "I think I know where this is going. You want to see if a prediction of an event involving many more possibilities will actually come true."

    "Yes. Basically."

    My life is a case study, an academic exercise, this *******'s senior project.

    "I'd want to write a paper on it, of course. I think it'll be very interesting, the results."

    "Oh geez, dude. You think the results will be interesting?" This is what you call a faux fight. I see no harm in letting someone record my final days or letting science benefit from my misfortune. It's like the guy who got a pipe jabbed through his head in a mine and his personality was altered. What a meaningless even that would've been had we not learned more about the frontal lobe's function. I'll be his Phineas Gage.

    How selfish would I be not to participate? No sir, you cannot study my misfortune for the enhancement of knowledge because of what? Does that somehow imply that my life is worthy of more respect? What's the underlying virtue behind my hypothetical protest? Maybe I'm not thinking clearly because I'm tired. Maybe I'm not thinking clearly because I'm dying. Or maybe it's a combination of the two. Maybe I'm having a point of lucidity. Maybe I'm realizing that respect, dignity, pride are all irrelevant at this point.

    "Yes, I don't mean to be disrespectful. I just couldn't think of a better way to say it."

    Will is holding his chin up with his folded hands, elbows still rested on the table. He's frowning.

    "What all does this entail? How much of you will we be seeing during this observation period?"

    "Well, I don't want to get too involved. I'd never do this, but someone might say I caused something to happen for the sake of proving some kind of preconceived conclusion. I do want to stay in the same town and I do want you all to record some video for me. Just record as much as you can, like battles, illness...you know."

    "Hmm, okay." Will unlocks his hands and reaches one out to shake.

    "Will, this is my life we're talking about. You can't agree to this for me."

    "Well?"

    "Yeah, it's fine." I reach my hand out to shake his, too. "By the way, what's your name?"

    "My name is Roger Blackstein." That makes sense. He's in Mauville already doing graduate-level research on Psychic Stochastics. I see that his waste is lined with three black and gold Ultra balls. It only makes sense that it's him.

    "You're number one, aren't you? The first in our class. What's your quality average?"

    Roger says "99.97%" as nonchalantly as if he'd had a paltry 82 (sorry Janine).

    Will doesn't say anything. He does this thing where he ignores opportunities to brag about his quality average because he's trying to convince himself that he knows it doesn't matter. But I wonder if he gets some kind of satisfaction out of this. I mean, I wonder if having the control to avoid bragging on himself makes him feel that he's transcended some level of humanity and if so, if he realizes the irony of his self-satisfaction with the ability to appear humble.

    Once again, everyone's at a loss for words.

    "Hmm, again you two don't seem to know what to say. You're afraid to ask about our quality averages because you want to avoid the possibility of us being embarrassed," Will says pointing at Roger. Janine is leaning on her arms against the window, silent, content-looking. "Well, who wants to go first? I'll go first and second. I'm at 98.89 and Mike is at 96.78." Will stops at this and leans his head over to gaze at Janine.

    "Oh, me? Haha, I'm surprised you didn't just blurt it out? Are you embarrassed for me? Will, you can be so...so...contradictory some time, you know that?

    "You were looking for 'enigmatic'"

    "Ha, sure. I'm a lowly 82%. A mortal in the presence of gods. An unworthy housemaid at the foot of the masters."

    I'm imagining Janine in a black and white maid's outfit. Short skirt ending high above her knees, undone auburn hair at her shoulders, low-cut blouse exposing her....****, Roger's been talking for a few seconds.

    "....and furthermore, I think it'll be a solid project for all of us."

    "Yeah, you guys can get started as soon as Mike stops ogling me." I hadn't noticed, but I did a quick mental check on the position of my eyes and found them sloped down towards Janine's chest. Damn it. It really is surprising to me how much higher-order mental function it takes just to be a gentleman. I shouldn't be around women when I'm this tired.

    The next moment we're leaving tips on the table and walking out of the front of the ice cream shop. It's a late afternoon breeze that wisps past my cheek and makes me think of Amigo. It's the orange sky and the setting sun that makes me think of death.

    But I don't release Amigo. I don't want Roger studying my Dark pokemon any further. Does he remember I have him? He must. If we ever battle, I want to have as many surprises as possible.

    We're walking two-by-two to Roger's apartment to pick up cameras and voice recorders. How long has he been planning this? The day I got doomed, was his first thought, "Research opportunity!"?

    I'm walking alongside Janine, looking down mostly, glancing sideways at her occasionally.

    "So, I have to say, I'm really glad that you two are agreeing to do this. I sat and thought, 'will this work out? How insensitive will it seem to ask if I can study your misfortune?' But I'm glad you understand how important this is."

    "Yeah, no problem," Will says.

    "Will, again, it's not your life. Stop answering him when he says stuff like that," I'm droning.

    "Mike, we're roommates, we've been friends for about the same amount of time we've been alive. We're interchangeable."

    "Yeah, okay. Let's switch averages, then."

    Will smiles but doesn't quite laugh.

    "Roger, are you mostly a psychic trainer?"

    "Not really. I have a large variety of pokemon to my name. I use all sorts. Psychics I just find much more intriguing than the rest. They're not as fully understood. Their abilities straddle that fine line between science and magic. They are one of the few great puzzles left in this world: a world where research and discovery has stripped everything of its mysticism."

    "So you can't stand that niggling unsolved puzzle, can you?" Janine asks.

    "No, I can't. I need the truth. I need to know why they can do the things they do. It makes me uncomfortable to use a tool I don't fully understand....I mean, not that I view pokemon as mere tools."

    "Oh, of course not. They are loving companions as well," Will said. It sounded so sincere that you'd believe he believed that if you didn't know him.

    "Of course not."

    "Oh, of course not," I chimed in for good measure. My face was tightened up with an involuntary smile.

    Roger seems like an interesting character. I'm glad he's among the last friends I'll ever make.
    Last edited by Maze; 14th May 2010 at 3:57 AM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  20. #20
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    Hmm...

    Again, I love the little death scenarios that Mike creates in his head, but the transition from those ideas to real life (where he meets/sees Roger or whatever) was kind of abrupt. Like you weren't really sure how to start this chapter, so you relied back on your death ideas. Not that it's necessarily bad, but ... eh.

    This was an interesting chapter, albeit a little stagnant. It's nice to see that Roger will play a bigger role in the story with his research project. It's also a nice little side twist/plot point besides Mike being uber paranoid. =P

    My fav part:
    I'm imagining Janine in a black and white maid's outfit. Short skirt ending high above her knees, undone auburn hair at her shoulders, low-cut blouse exposing her....****, Roger's been talking for a few seconds.

    "....and furthermore, I think it'll be a solid project for all of us."

    "Yeah, you guys can get started as soon as Mike stops ogling me." I hadn't noticed, but I did a quick mental check on the position of my eyes and found them sloped down towards Janine's chest. Damn it. It really is surprising to me how much higher-order mental function it takes just to be a gentleman. I shouldn't be around women when I'm this tired.
    Tee hee. ^^

    Anyway, a few typos.

    What a meaningless even that would've been had we not learned more about the frontal lobe's function. I'll be his Phineas Gage.
    "Even" should be "event." I like this line too, btw. =P

    I see that his waste is lined with three black and gold Ultra balls.
    Waste should be waist.

    I'm also concerned about the dialogue. It's easy to omit speech tags if you only have two people conversing (the reader can assume that after one person talks, it's going to be the other person that talks). But when you have three or more people conversing with each other, it can get somewhat confusing because you're not exactly sure if that third person is chiming in or not. For exampleeee

    "True. I guess I'm hesitant to speak, because I can't figure out how to say what I'm going to say. If my delivery is wrong, you might be less accepting."

    "I'm intrigued," Will says curtly.

    "Spill it."
    It's easy to misinterpret who's talking at first glance. First we have Roger talking, followed by Will, and (since you omitted the speech tag for the third line), the reader might assume that Roger said the "Spill it" line, when it was really Mike who said it ... I think. The reader has to stop for a bit and process it to figure out who's speaking.

    Sometimes it's obvious who is talking without the use of a speech tag:

    "Well, I don't want to get too involved. I'd never do this, but someone might say I caused something to happen for the sake of proving some kind of preconceived conclusion. I do want to stay in the same town and I do want you all to record some video for me. Just record as much as you can, like battles, illness...you know."

    "Hmm, okay." Will unlocks his hands and reaches one out to shake.

    "Will, this is my life we're talking about. You can't agree to this for me."
    The third line here is obviously Mike talking (as he used "me/my" to refer to the situation). Sometimes the context of the dialogue speaks for itself, and you don't need to insert the speech tag (be wary about it, though). But when you have vague lines that don't indicate some sort of personality (like "Spill it"), you're better off adding some sort of speech tag to avoid confusion.

    Anyway, good chapter. =P

  21. #21
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    Loved the update. A question or two, though.

    If, by the end of it, Mike feels Roger is his friend, then why is he so abrasive for most of the chapter? Obviously the proposal makes him uncomfortable, but he should be busy being paranoid about falling pianos and thinking about Janine.

    Why didn't Mike want to let out his Mightyena, again? He said he fears that Roger will study it, but what could Roger actually do, anyway? Did he think Amigo would be uneasy with the attention being payed to it? I think it would be nice to have had a Pokemon in the chapter, but oh well. We got a big nice battle before this, so I'm not really able to complain.
    "That poison's only strong enough to kill a dead dog"

    A boy and his frog, venturing across the lands in search of sister and glory.

  22. #22
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    Very short chapter. Almost could've written "bump" and added the same amount to the thread (j/k, it's not that devoid of substance), BUT the next chapter will be his fight with the Mauville gym leader Wattson. The title of that chapter will be Cinderella Man.

    Okay, here's Dreaming

    A Dream Disturbed


    Roger wants to know. He's with us because he's interested in the advanced statistics behind his psychic pokemon's predictive powers, not because he first valued us as companions. Even now as we're sitting in his living room sharing his beer, he's thinking "this is a necessary event" not "this is a good time".

    Knowing is a drug. It gets you high, your mind craves it, your body craves it like a vitamin.

    I'm thinking of vitamin Knowitol.

    "I don't think we should be drinking while you explain this to us, Roger," Will points out before throwing his head back to finish another one.

    "It's pretty simple. I could tell you in your sleep and you'd remember. I'm giving you this camera and these voice recorders and I want you to take as much footage as possible."

    I'm picking up the DX720 handheld camera and clumsily fiddling around with it to find the "on" button.

    "Are you trying to test the equipment or molest the equipment, Mike?" Will asks.

    I crack a wide smile. I'm not that interesting of a drunk. I just become more easily amused.

    "We shall record what you say, Roger. Then when we are completely sober, we'll have a record of it." Will and Janine are smiling and looking at me as I lay sideways on Roger's reclining chair with the camera sideways in my hand and a focused eye peering through the lens.

    Shortly after saying this, I fall asleep. It's a combination of the five beers and exhaustion from the rest of the day.




    I'm in an office, wearing pajamas.

    "Do you have extra pants here? I need them for an interview."

    The lady at the front desk asks me if she looks like she's wearing pants.

    I say that I can't see because she's behind the desk, and then I try to walk around.

    It's somehow so difficult to get around the desk and I lose sight of her for a moment, then I'm not looking for her any more. Do I still need pants? The man in front of me doesn't seem to mind.

    "Come this way, sir."

    And he leads me around the corner where a desk sits in an empty room. Empty besides the desk and the man sitting at the desk. He's ignoring my pajamas. Maybe I'm exuding a confidence and professionalism that has somehow allowed me to transcend all physical assessment. This man walking in front of me sees a knight in pajamas. Do I have some aura about me that removes all doubt about my level of diligence, poise, and ability?

    "This is not a place for pajamas, son."

    No, I don't. Aura theory squashed. I'm an ******* in pajamas.

    "Where do you see yourself in six months, son?"

    I went to a class for this. It was called "Interviewing". I passed, but somehow it didn't stick.

    "Six feet under" comes out without any conscious thought.

    "As in dead? You see yourself dead in six months?"

    "Yeah."

    A waitress brings a water to our table. It's the same waitress from the restaurant yesterday. She's still not interested in what's going on with me. Automatically, she places the glass down and then turns around, pulls a pen and pad out, circles about, making her rounds, jotting other orders now. But we're the only table. The only desk in the room.

    "Where do you see yourself six years from now?"

    "What's the next stop for a derailed train?" I retort. "Didn't you hear my first answer?"

    always be supremely respectful of the interviewer. A personal component exists in the professional world that is just as important as your credentials. It's why they called you in for the interview.
    -pg. 123, Interview Etiquette


    "What can you offer this company if you're only going to be around for a few months, then? Why are you here?"

    "I make good fertilizer. Before and after death."

    "That's crude."

    "Yes it is." I realize that I'm dreaming now. Does that mean it's almost over?

    Or am I already fertilizer?

    You're a tall drink of water, but then you're piss.

    You're a talented trainer, then you're fertilizer.

    Something from the outside usually creeps in and interrupts the dream. The windows in this one room are letting a lot of sun in. I don't remember the windows being this large when I walked in.

    The light is getting brighter and for a half second I'm wondering where the man at the desk went as I open my eyes and realize I never left Roger's living room. Will is standing by the blinds, leaned against the wall with one hand twisting them open.

    "We should get going. It's almost one."

    "Oh ****, really?" The adrenaline rush overcomes my inertia and I get up off Roger's recliner. How the **** was I sleeping? My back feels terrible.

    Will and I are walking home down a dusty road. The sun is right above our heads. I'm carrying the camera, Will's got a bag with other recorders in strapped over his shoulders.

    [REC]

    "Will, do you think the after life is like a dream? I mean, is it just..." Before I can finish

    "I think the afterlife is a dream we have now."

    "I hope not. In my dream last night I joked about my own death, but I just don't know how I really feel about it. Do I really believe I'm dying? I feel it's really sinking in now. I'm just feeling really heavy about it right now, you know?"

    "Don't get down. Don't worry about it right now."

    When am I supposed to worry about it?

    I raise the camera up from my side and try to take in something worthwhile.

    "When are you going to try again?" Will asks. "Let's ****in' get out of Mauville, man."

    Is he trying to distract my attention away from death?

    "I will challenge Wattson the very next chance I get."

    "Ha! I'm glad to hear it! That's tomorrow, Mike."

    One shot of panic. Quick, chase it with some reassurance!

    "Well, I've had a lot of practice just by making money for rent since my last battle. I should be fine."

    [/REC]
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  23. #23
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    Jun 2006
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    Preview to what's in the works. I've been working on the gym battle for the past couple days, but I wanted to put something out just because it's been so long and I'm excited.


    After this attempt, a failure would negatively affect my overall quality average. So I'm taking it seriously, I'm pulling out all of the stops and leaning on the experiences I've gained since my last defeat. I'm pulling numbers out from hypothetical situations and adding them up, calculating odds of success, odds of critical hits, "what if this", and "what if this".

    But I was supposed to be walking to take my mind off of things. I'm supposed to be enjoying the warmth of the sun on my skin. I'm supposed to be tantalized by the sunbathing female trainers strewn about the grassy hills that line my path. I'm supposed to have finished eating the ice cream in my hand, not having let it melt and drip all down the sides of my fist and become sticky.

    This isn't working. There's a hierarchy to things. How can I enjoy anything when something that threatens my quality average looms so close. How can anyone do this? How is this effective for people? I'm never able to sidestep stress, I'm always in its way until it's gone.

    I must look like a zombie, walking and staring in one direction. Arm outstretched with empty cone grasped tightly in my hand. This is an out-of-body experience. I'm not here in space or time. My mind is training, my mind is battling at the gym 7PM tonight. Nothing before, nothing after. What will I eat between now and then? There is no consideration for this. My stomach bows in respect of the mind's priority and is quiet.

    Will texts me saying he's at The Party Shop preparing for my victory celebration.

    Janine sends me a text saying "good luck ".

    Roger texts me saying "You'll do wonderfully. Be sure to record."

    "I'll record something for you right now, Roger." He says "You'll do wonderfully" as a setup for "Be sure to record.". Of course this calls into question the sincerity of the "do wonderfully" because of the very nature of what he's hoping to catch on these video cameras. It's "do wonderfully" and "Be sure to record because you may get killed". Text in italics mine.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

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