Here y'all go. Chapter 7 brings with it Nurse Joy, Daniel Roberts and Aidan Kent! (You'll figure out those last two if you keep reading.)
(the remakes that R/S/E deserved)
/ Chapter Seven /
“I Said It ‘Cause I Can”
Oldale Town, Hoenn ~ 2:15 PM
Hazel flopped onto the leathery surface of the sofa with a sigh of relief. It had been a long day already, and it was just past noon. If Pokemon training is so exhaustive all the time, she thought, I’m gonna be having second thoughts.
It had taken her all of an hour and a half to hike through the woods, seeing as the path often disappeared into the undergrowth, emerging on the other side of a particularly thorny shrub. It definitely hadn’t helped that wild Poochyena often appeared, snarling as they emerged from bushes and grass. Finn had helped scare them off - most of the time, a simple Tackle attack would knock them out quickly, but there had been one incident a few metres away from Oldale Town when, instead of Tackling, he lowered his head-fin to the ground and jerked it back up suddenly, sending a spray of damp earth at the Poochyena. That was when she’d learned something about Pokemon.
“Alert,” the PokeDex beeped from her backpack. “Alert. Alert.” It wouldn’t shut up until she pulled it out and tapped the screen. A rather lifelike 3D figure of Finn appeared, alongside his bio-data - height, weight, area caught, moves known and a few other specifications. An exclamation mark popped up beside the ‘moves known’ heading. The list blinked for a second when she tapped on it, refreshing. When it was loaded fully, it displayed the list of Finn’s attacks.
“Tackle, Growl and ... Mud-Slap? Hmm, I wonder what that does.” Hazel tapped the attack name, and Mud-Slap’s page opened up.
“Mud-Slap, category special, Ground-type,” the PokeDex said mechanically. “Simple attacking move. Obscures target’s vision, causing loss of accuracy.”
Now, sitting on a sofa in the Pokemon Centre, Hazel was scrolling through the list of moves Mudkip could learn. A few of them were learnt naturally, but some were labelled ‘Egg Moves’ - techniques that were genetically inherited from the Pokemon’s father - and some were labelled ‘TM’ - not in a circle, like the trademark symbol, but just the abbreviation ‘TM’. Intrigued, Hazel had searched the Internet, for the PokeDex lacked any more information, and found a news article dated eight years ago:
Unova: Nobel Laureate Professor Daniel Roberts was murdered today as he left his home in Nacrene City. Professor Roberts, currently 52, won the Nobel Prize for his invention of Technical Machines - abbr. TM - in 2004, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize again earlier this year after his team of scientists in Nacrene University announced that they had perfected the ‘second generation’ of TMs.
Professor Roberts was well-known and well-liked in his neighbourhood. Eyewitnesses report that, as he left his home for work at eight A.M. on Friday, two men in a red SUV drove up to him under the pretence of asking directions. The man in the driver’s seat then produced a revolver and shot Professor Roberts twice, once in the throat and once in the shoulder. The two men then drove away. Professor Roberts was hospitalised, but succumbed to blood loss mere hours later.
Police have arrested suspects Yuri Marlowe and Carl Taylor, both Hoennian immigrants who work for a Pokemon rights group*. It is widely known that Pokemon rights activists in Hoenn are strongly against the use of Technical Machines, claiming the procedures involved in testing and use of TMs are ‘abusive towards Pokemon’. This is the main reason that the use of TMs is illegal in Hoenn and has been a subject of controversy since 2005.
* name omitted on request.
Well, that’s all well and good, Hazel said inwardly, but it still doesn’t tell me anything about what TMs actually are. Maybe I should ask the nurse ...?
At that moment, she heard the now-all-too-familiar ping! as the number on the ceiling mounted display changed, indicating that the person holding the token of that number should go to the desk to have their Pokemon healed.
“Number 204,” called the nurse at the desk, brushing her pink bangs away. “Token number 204.”
Hazel, starting, checked her token. It read 207; she’d be up in a few minutes. When it was her turn, she took Finn’s PokeBall and set it on the desk.
“Standard healing?” asked the nurse. “Or do you have any special requests or concerns?” Hazel shook her head, noticing that the nurse’s name tag read ‘Nurse Ellen Joy’.
“Actually, I do have two things to ask,” Hazel said. “I just sent in my Trainer’s License application an hours ago. When can I get confirmation?”
“I’ll just check and - oh, here you are.” The nurse tapped at the computer, and in a few seconds a small sheet of glossy paper popped out of the printer. Hazel watched, fascinated, as Nurse Joy placed the paper over a different kind of paper - a thick, stiff variety - and, in seconds, glued the glossy print-out over the hard paper. She presented it to Hazel. “That’s it. It’s done.”
“That was quick,” Hazel commented. “Oh, and I just wanted to ask, what are TMs?”
The nurse’s face changed subtly. “Keep it down,” she said quietly, taking Finn’s PokeBall and placing it in a machine that looked vaguely like a bulky oven. She turned to flick a switch on the machine, and, at the same time, whispered, so low Hazel could barely hear, “TMs are Technical Machines. They’re discs composed of some form of biotechnology which acts like an organic implant, used to teach Pokemon moves they don’t learn naturally, but are biologically capable of using. Right now, they’re incredibly controversial and banned in Hoenn -”
Nurse Joy broke off, turning with a smile on her face once more. She handed Hazel Finn’s PokeBall. “Here you are. Your Pokemon is healed up and ready to go.”
Hazel took Finn’s PokeBall and walked away, confused. Technical Machines ... Never mind, she thought to herself, determined. If thousands of trainers in Hoenn can do without them, so can I.
Her train of thought came to a halt as she felt a growing sense of tension in the Pokemon Centre. Two men, both dressed in black hoodies and wearing opaque sunglasses, had walked in. One leaned against the counter, talking softly to Nurse Joy, while the other stood beside him, examining a brochure with an air of disinterest.
Hazel walked out of the Pokemon Centre, a little uneasy. It had been a long day and she was ready to crash already - even though it was barely three in the afternoon - but not just yet. She had another place to visit.
“So, this is the Pokemon Mart, huh?” Hazel stood in front of the building. It was a small shop that stood two blocks down from the Pokemon Centre, with a bright blue roof and a rotating sign outside that read ‘MART’. She stepped inside, and a blast of cool air hit her from the air conditioner on the ceiling, reminding her how warm Hoenn was compared to Johto. Then again, Hoenn’s all the way south, in the tropics ...
“Hello and welcome,” said the clerk at the desk, his tone bored. “Can I help you?”
“No, not yet, I’m just looking around.” Hazel moved to the display cases opposite the counter. They held everything a trainer needed - PokeBalls and other capture balls, healing items, items to cure poison, paralysis and sleep, and countless other essentials. Unfortunately, when Hazel checked her new wallet, she realised that she hadn’t got enough to buy much. Thus, when she finally walked away from the Mart, it was with a sigh and a single Potion.
“Well, that’s it for now, I guess,” she said to herself, sipping on a soda in a small roadside cafe by the Pokemon Centre. “Can’t head onto Route 102 now, it’s way bigger than 101 and by the time I get to Petalburg, the Centre there will be closed. Guess I have no choice but to stay here overnight and leave tomorrow morning.”
That still left the question of what to do. Oldale was a sleepy town, and Hazel’s phone didn’t get any reception - the nearest tower was in Petalburg City to the west - so texting was out of the question. She found an old computer at a cyber cafe, practically a fossil - it ran on Windows XP, for God’s sake! - and looked up ‘what to do for fun in oldale’. However, the Internet connection - it was a freakin’ dial-up connection - was so laggy that she gave up out of pure frustration. In the end, she asked the nurse at the Pokemon Centre if they had any suggestions to kill time. Nurse Joy gave her an odd look, before leading her into a back room and giving her a CD.
“This,” she whispered conspiratorially, “is a CD of my all-time favourite Hoenn League Championship tournament, the one in 1999. There’s a computer with a paid Internet connection in your room, but you won’t need the net. Just put it in and -”
“I know how to play a CD,” Hazel interrupted. “Thanks a lot.”
Hazel expected the tournament to be pure violence; she’d seen the Johto League a couple of times, and found it to be far too brutal for her tastes. She did like the World Cup - the trainers who participated were normally extremely skilled, and battled like chess players, carefully and gracefully. Nevertheless, she had nothing to do, so she put the CD in the drive and hit ‘Play’.
The Hoenn League was nothing like either of them.
By the time the first hour-long video had ended, Hazel was spellbound, her eyes glued to the computer screen. This tournament was frantic and active, but the trainers were no less skilled than the World Cup trainers. Pokemon she’d never seen before carried out intricate strategies, moving quickly and striking in the blink of an eye, or winning by sheer endurance alone. She spotted a familiar face in the very first round; Aiden Kent, half British, half Hoennian, winner of the 2008 World Cup. Hazel knew he was a citizen of Hoenn, but she didn’t realise he’d been battling in tournaments since ‘99.
It was 7:45 PM. Hazel had burned through nearly four hours worth of battles. She’d skipped the preliminary rounds entirely and watched most of the Top 128 one-on-one battles. The next round was the qualifying rounds, where sixty-four of Hoenn’s best trainers participated in ‘mixed doubles’. Basically, two trainers with two Pokemon each were randomly sorted into teams and double-battled another team, with the first team to lose two out of four Pokemon eliminated. This resulted in thirty-two teams, and sixteen battles - and sixteen winners. The Top 16 went to the finals, and the battle was watching was the one that would decide if Aiden Kent reached the Top 16 or not.
“This is the final battle of the mixed doubles!” The announcer was literally roaring into his mic; the bad sound quality combined with his harsh voice caused Hazel to wince and turn down the volume. “As you all know, this determines who the last two trainers into the finals are! Ref, over to you.”
The referee on the field spoke quietly, but the mic on his collar amplified what he spoke. “On this side, we have Rai Anderson from Lilycove and Lina Nozomi from Fortree City,” he said, “and in the other corner, we have Aiden Kent from Lavaridge and Uri Kassen from Fallarbor. Challengers, you may begin in three ... two ... one ...”
Anderson was the first to move. He hit the switch on his PokeBall, yelling an indecipherable command at his Pokemon even as it appeared. A large grey pachyderm burst onto the field, snorting as it charged forwards at Kent’s choice of Pokemon, a hulking eight-foot-tall humanoid with four muscular arms. Meanwhile, Nozomi had sent out a much smaller Pokemon: a small, yellow-skinned rodent with two red pouches on its cheeks and a zigzag-shaped tail. Hazel recognised Anderson’s choice as a Donphan; they were quite common in Johto, especially around Mahogany. She could also hazard a guess that Nozomi’s Pokemon was a Pikachu; they were well-known as the URR’s national Pokemon. She knew Kent’s Pokemon was a Machamp; he’d called on it twice earlier, and it had won both battles. Kassen’s Pokemon, however, she knew nothing about. It was a small, tan-coloured thing, looking vaguely like a teddy bear with sleepy, half-closed eyes and dirty red markings, and it wobbled around like a drunk ballet dancer.
The battle was in full flow just two minutes later. Machamp had begun by using what Hazel figured was its favourite move, Seismic Toss. It simply picked up Pikachu in one of its hands and hurled the rodent into the air, from where its squeaking (and rapidly falling) victim aimed a burst of crackling energy (the announcer observed it was a Thunderbolt attack) at the four-armed giant in protest. Donphan skidded to a halt after receiving a powerful punch to the face from Machamp, allowing Pikachu to bounce on its back and land safely. The ‘teddy bear’, meanwhile, was facing Donphan (not looking, because its eyes were shut) and murmuring something unintelligible. To Hazel’s surprise, Donphan - which had been pawing the ground, about to use Rollout - suddenly grunted in exhaustion and flopped on its side, asleep.
“Well, that was an interesting start, folks!” the announcer said excitedly. “Uri’s Spinda - nickname, ‘Thumper’ - appears to know Hypnosis, and has just put Donphan to sleep! Donphan is now easy picking for Machamp, and let’s be honest, Pikachu aren’t exactly known for their incredible defences. This looks like a walkover for Kent and Kas-”
Before he could even finish, Machamp had pulled a glowing fist back, eyes shut intensely, and proceeded to punch Donphan in the side with the force of a speeding Humvee.
“Ooh, that looks like a fairly painful Focus Punch right there,” the announcer said, cringing. “Did that put Donphan out of the fight, ref?” But the referee shook his head. “No? Alright, looks like Donphan is still sleeping, but it’s taken massive damage already with that. But in other news, it looks like Spinda just got knocked out!”
The referee counted to ten. When Thumper still didn’t rise, he said, “Spinda is unable to battle.”
With a curse, Kassen’s hand flew to his belt. He withdrew Thumper, sending out another Pokemon. This one was a small, black-skinned quadruped, encased in a massive cage of solid bone. Only its eyes, unnerving and yellow, were visible from the depths of its armour.
“And Uri just got really serious! He’s sent out the powerhouse of his team, Shelgon, nicknamed ‘Scarface’! Ooh, this looks like a strong ‘un, folks,” the announcer said apprehensively, his eyes fixed on Shelgon. At this point, Machamp proceeded to draw back its fist, preparing another Focus Punch on Donphan, but Pikachu leapt up, firing a Thunderbolt in the way. Machamp, its concentration broken, rounded furiously on the trembling Electric-type. With a roar that said You’re mincemeat, the colossal humanoid performed another Seismic Toss, hurling Pikachu straight into Uri’s Shelgon’s way. Scarface, eyes glowing, rammed the front of its body into the lightning rat. The referee counted to ten, and then stated, “Pikachu is unable to battle.”
“Looks like that combination of Seismic Toss and Zen Headbutt just fainted Pikachu!” exclaimed the announcer. “It’s one loss on both sides; the first side to lose another Pokemon will be eliminated!”
Even as he spoke, Machamp and Shelgon turned to Donphan. Even as Nozomi fumbled for a PokeBall, the two combined their strengths. Machamp pulled back its arm and gave Donphan a resounding whack that roused the sleeping Ground-type. Before it could even clamber to its feet, Donphan was hit in the face by a stream of steaming magenta flames. With a final groan, it collapsed to the ground. The referee, stoic as ever, waited for ten seconds before saying, with the barest hint of emotion, “Donphan is unable to battle.”
“And that,” roared the announcer, “ends our match, two-one!”
Hazel nearly cheered along with the crowd, but was brought back with a jerk to the real world by a pang of hunger from her stomach. Reluctantly, she switched the computer off and went to get something to eat.
And there you have it, Chapter 7, on time! Serebii readers, if you looked back at my reply to bobandbill, you’ll see that I edited in a note that this chapter would be delayed as I didn’t want some content to be criticised as insensitive in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. (My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.) Finally, I decided to just remove the content and leave it for a later chapter. This actually would make more sense, plot-wise. Anyway, this chapter was a blast to write; it came along quite easily, especially the battle in the end. Unfortunately, not much happens, but I did include a cameo from some characters that will become very important in the future. Kudos if you found that cameo and understood the title reference.
In other news, my update time has been increased from just a week (which, honestly, isn’t enough for writing a quality chapter) to two weeks, which allows for me to include more content. This chapter, for example, is around 2750 words, making it the second-longest chapter I’ve ever written!
Beta reading credits:
So that’s about it. Oh, and if you’re a newbie or a novice writer, and you want to improve your skills, contact Knightfall, Azurus, Shadow Lucario 50, Brutaka or Meeker, and ask them about the Writers of Justice. (Don’t forget to mention that I sent you!) Alright, that’s enough for now. See ya.
Last edited by Deadly.Braviary; 6th May 2013 at 11:36 AM.