A Study in OrreIn the beginning… There was land. It was somewhat lush. Always, a desert has existed to the Orre’s eastern edge, where the landmass joined the continent. Geologists believe the region was one a subcontinent, that the collision reduced much of the land to the fine silicate that is now the Desert. To the West though, is the forest. Now called Agate Forest, and stretching out from the coastline that feeds it, it was once home to many bug type and flying type Pokémon. Clean rivers made home to strong water types. The forest gave way to desert and mountain, and so nearly any Pokémon imaginable could be found here. Even some rarer Pokémon, normally reserved for the distant Unova region would appear, but usually only flying types. There is documentation of Heatmor in and near the volcano, and Orre is much closer to Unova than many others, leading science to speculate they migrated through now dried up lava tubes. If that’s true though, then that means Durant, though unseen, must also now be present in the vast sands.
I closed my notes. Thos would be my fourth rewrite of this documentation, and I was quite sick of the reports, and of strong scientific opening lines. Not that I’m sick of the Pokémon, I always love making new discoveries of my homeland; it’s just the same old boring science stuff. One can’t just yell “Cowabunga” and dive into new habits and habitats, the boring setup must be maintained.
The door chime sounded. My chance for a break, maybe. Michael said there would be a new trainer. That’s either him, or Mike’s back early from the supply run.
New kid, looks nervous, but I see a gleam of adventure in his eye. Sadly, Orre isn’t much for new trainers. Wes tried, Mike and I try, Sherles, I don’t know how he keeps Pyrite as good as it is with Gomer Pyle for a deputy, but between the history of attracting the thugs, earnign us a reputation of being the "New West" by the elders of the Jenny family, and our reputation as “The Land of Double Battles”, It’s a traditional ‘hello, welcome to Gateon Lab. What can I do for you?’, followed by shipping them off on some poor unsuspecting Professor, while we hold his Pokemon for him. Or more typically, we don't see nore hear a thing from them for five years.
“Hello, welcome to Gateon Lab. What can I do for you?”
The nervous voiced eked back “I, I, I’m here to see about my first Pokémon. Sir.”
“Wonderful. Glad to hear it. Is there a name?"
"Huh? Oh, uh, yeah. Sorry. I'm Johnny."
"Glover. Glad to meet you." I shook his hand firmly, but succinctly. "Please, follow me to the back.” He did so, with a cautious excitement that is always fun to watch evolve in trainers. "The back" is a forest area, that backs up to a mountianous area; a foreshadow of the desert and volcano to the northern and eastern part of Orre. It was originally my land for my caught but-unused Pokemon, willed to the Lab after they decided to make the research facility out of it.
“So, do you have any experience with Pokémon?”
“Yes!, well, no, not really.”
“I sense a 'but…' in there.” We stepped out the main lobby, and turned to the right.
“There is one." He said rather sheepishly. "A Raticate lived under our porch when I was little; very territorial.”
“So we can take Raticate off the list of potential Pokémon. Anything positive?” Around the corner we went, taking a path between the original lab on Shadow Pokemon, now a Genetics Center and HQ, and the newer built "Climate and Ecology Facility". Across from the center courtyard was a third building under construction. There was still some debate as to what was going in there, maybe classrooms or some-such thing.
“No, nothing else.” That’s not an unsurprising answer for the Orre region.
“What about your parents, no Pokémon there?”
“Nope, not as far as I know.” Also not as shocking as you might think. In Orre, you would expect people to have lots of Pokémon, but Pokémon were like the old phrase “You wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man, would you?” and thus, you were a smaller target for most people if you didn’t have any. Or, you made sure you hada bigger gun than the other guy.
“Okay then Johnny, here’s how Orre region starts trainers. As you know, we don’t have an official gym challenge here." "Yet,
" I added to myself. "We also don’t have necessarily a common set of Pokémon to pick from, though the Eevee starter is quite popular around here. Orre was once a melting potof Pokemon from everywhere, but today it's barren. Instead, we’ll let you go out and bond with the younger Pokémon on the ranch, and the one that picks you is your starter.”
There was a look of sheer terror. “No, the parents will not be attacking you for being near their babies, don’t you worry about that.” We reached the stables, no sign of Jovi anywhere. Her mother Lily and Professor Crane all hoped she’d slow down when she hit her teenage years, but she just up shifted, and was never where you last saw her.
Come to think of it, Johnny wasn’t behind my right shoulder anymore. Then I saw why, and reached over to pick up the problem.
“Ratatta too, I’m afraid. I tried to pet one once…”
“That’s too bad. This one’s been anxious to get on the road for a while now. Now, where did that girl get to?”
“Jovi. Ranch-hand extraordinaire. 'Bout 5'10", blue hair, was wearing the rancher's bibs lastI saw her. Probably got more energy in her than those two Pokémon of hers.”
“Ah, under the Rhyperior. Yes, that’s her.” Under the Rhyperior. I blinked, computing the image. Only girl I’ve seen brave enough, ah scratch that, only person, period brave enough to try tickling a Rhyperior. For that matter, I wasn’t all that aware of Rhyperior having a penitent for being ticklish.
“She’s kinda cute.”
“Yep, and she’s left every guy who’s said that choking in the dust. Good, hard worker, CONSTANTLY flitting about like a Butterfree from one thing to another. Except the Pokémon, she’s always come back to them.”
I rapped on the Rhyperior’s pen. A head popped out from under its wide belly, blinked, and panicked.
“Whenever you’re done, we have guest.” I replied nonchalantly.
“Geez! GLOVER!, why didn’t you tell me!” Rhyperior looked a bit dejected he wasn’t going to any more belly rubs, because of course, when you’re a large ground type; you kinda live for that treatment.
Or maybe he’s just spoiled.
Jovi dashed over to the water faucet to wipe some of the mud off and try to look presentable, Mimi the Plusle tossing a towel as she went. Johnny laughed, and turned to notice some Hoppip bounding about in a large semi-open topped greenhouse.
“Are these available?”
“Yes, I believe they are. Most of the Pokémon you see out are available; we keep most of the trainer Pokémon inside when new trainers show up, or are in another stable area.” A Hoppip stopped at a window, studied Johnny, and then turned to rejoin its friends. In fact, he spent the better part of the day playing with Pokémon, Jovi’d drag him around making introductions, each time a Pokémon would be interested, but just not quite enough so in him.
Except that Ratatta.
It would probably be feeling dejected and heartbroken over Johnny’s fear and ever so not subtle attempts to not be near it, if this critter wasn’t so darned stubborn. Finally, it was on towards dinner when he landed on a log to ponder. Absent-mindedly, after playing with so many Pokémon, he began petting the small, worm body that nuzzled up next to his leg. Jovi and I saw what happened almost immediately, and tried not to grin like maniacs. This lasted a good minute, before he noticed who it was, and ingrained panic set in. That Ratatta was smart though, and jumped into his lap and buried itself in his shirt, stopping him from getting up. I finally smiled, Jovi smiled, and finally, he realized, there was no Raticate out to get him this time. He scooped the Mouse Pokémon up; and announced proudly he had made his choice.
More importantly, Ratatta made his. I rounded up Ratatta’s poke ball, the Orre region starter kit special of potions and heling medicines, and installed a Pokedex to Johnny’s P*DA.
“So, now where do I go?” He asked, finally allowing himself to be ecstatic about being a trainer.
“Tonight? I’d go home. Get a good dinner. Then I encourage zipping over to Phenac tomorrow. Train under Justy in the Pre-Gym for a while, maybe catching a Pokémon contest in the old Phenac colosseum, and then since Ratatta is a Kanto native, probably start there. There’s not a whole lot in Orre for new trainers beyond Phenac I’m afraid.”
“Alright, sounds good. Thank you Glover, Jovi. Come on Chip, let’s introduce you to mom!” An eager mouse chirped happily and clambered up his pant leg, up his shirt, and onto his shoulder. That, was going to be a beautiful friendship.
He passed a mid twenties young man with a burnt-umber hair color coming up the drive, talking to a middle-aged Professor. Seeing Michael and Crane back, it was time for me to get myslef home and to my family.