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Thread: Will Somebody Stop These Kids?

  1. #76
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    Then it occurred to him how he could best seize the initiative.

    “Hyper Beam.”
    Seize the initiative, indeed. Looks like I was right on the mark about him getting Dangerous, even though it didn't connect with its (assumed) intended target. What it did to the snorlax was pretty gnarly in its own right. I wonder what it would have done to Russo. Less a case of "would there be a mess" and more of "how big would the mess be", I'd imagine.

    Derek was about to order an attack, but Tyranitar already had its own idea. It rushed the Scizor with lumbering steps and opened its jaws to use Crunch. The Scizor failed to jump out of the way. Wisps of shadow came from Tyranitar’s fangs as it seized its opponent’s head. Once again the Scizor’s steel skin offered only so much resistance. When the difference in size and strength was this great, conventional battling wisdom always took a backseat to physics.
    Good ol' physics.

    “Use Dark Pulse!”

    Tyranitar lowered its head and allowed some shadow to seep out of the thin gaps in its armor. Immediately the Gengar flew as far away from its trainer as it could, and that happened to place it much closer to Derek than before. Tyranitar tracked it all the while, and before Derek could say anything it let loose a massive wave of all-encompassing blackness. The bulk of it hit the Gengar, but the tail end of it flew at Derek and overwhelmed him.

    He tried to stay calm. He knew what a Dark Pulse did to a human. He knew that when one hit you it was vitally important to try to stay focused on the world around you and avoid thinking about anything else. He was especially not supposed to think about bullies from his childhood, especially not the ones standing right in front of him. The best part was that they were still kids while he had grown bigger. That made it easier to grab one of their necks. Derek pushed his thumbs into the little bastard’s windpipe. He squeezed and squeezed so he could be sure that this brainless sadist would never say a word again.

    Derek slapped himself in the face. That was one hand off the bully. He slapped himself two more times, and finally the faceless children vanished and he was back in the Rocket gym.
    Dang. Yeah that's certainly one hell of an effect there. Definitely wouldn't wanna get hit by the likes of that.

    Makes me wonder what kind of horrible stuff is going through the gengar's mind as a result of that...

    Russo began to speak. It might as well have been a whisper, and Derek only caught the tail end of it. “…but you’ve lost.”
    The fact that that's the only part he (and therefore we) get to hear actually makes it more ominous. I like it.

    As the shaking died down, Derek dared to look up at Tyranitar. The crack around its middle had been forced open even wider. He could see trickles of blood, sand, and shadow coming out of it.
    The fact that it contains such things really drives home the fact that tyranitar = monster.

    The cracks in the ground were halfway to Jason. The punctures on the Rhydon’s left leg moved slightly, Jason’s eyes followed them, and the ball left his hand.

    The long thing ripped nearly in two.

    Jason’s elbow was on fire, and not in the same way it usually was when he threw. This was different, and it hurt five, ten, a hundred times as bad. His eyes lost track of the ball as it spun towards its target. He was falling. The cracks passed all around him as his throwing arm landed on the dirt. The shockwaves entered his elbow, and the soft thing that was inside there snapped. It was in two pieces. His forearm hung loose, and everything below his bicep was dying from pain.

    He screamed.
    Oh geez skdfsdf. I could say I practically felt that one myself, but honestly? That kind of injury has GOT to feel worse than I could ever imagine.

    Travis was sitting in the back seat of Bill’s car. They were on their way to the hospital to see Jason and the others. Hanna and Bill were talking about something, but he wasn’t listening. His attention was on the white ball that he cradled in his hands. There was a red cross on the front, and next to that Bill had written in sharpie, ‘Jun 15 5:00pm.’ That was when it was safe to open. Seven days away. The ball’s release switch was elevated, and underneath it there was a ring of foam to prevent it from activating by mistake.

    There was no weight pressing down on Travis, but there was no great force lifting him up, either. It was disorienting. Wyvern was here, he was free, but he was sick. They’d told him the Rockets had put chemicals in the black Pokéball—something to put Pokémon in a constant rage and keep them from ever falling asleep. So Hanna and Bill wanted to give Wyvern the medicine the same way to be safe: confined to a Pokéball and slowly. They had let Travis watch when they transferred him from the Rocket ball to this one.

    It was going to be a long week. But at the end of it he was going to let Wyvern in the water, rub his back, and tell him it was all just a bad dream.
    That's gotta be rough. The wait's over... only to be replaced by another one. A week isn't much time at all, but yeah, it's sure gonna feel like it is.

    “They said he needs surgery. I haven’t seen him, but Jen said he’s awake with local anesthesia.”

    Travis didn’t see what it mattered where the anesthesia came from
    Travis, that's adorable.

    The room was too cold, but his lap at least was warm because Rabies had his head and front paws drooped over it. He was a good boy, so Jason scratched behind his ears with his left hand.
    This also made me smile.

    “Hi, Rabies!” Jen was using a sing-song voice. Rabies stood on his hind legs and put his paws in Jen’s hands to balance. “Oh, are you glad to see Grandma?”

    Jason’s face scrunched up. “…‘Grandma?’”

    “Yeah. He’s Summer’s baby, and Summer’s my baby. So I’m Grandma.”

    By those rules, did that make Jen his aunt-in-law? Jason decided not to do the math any further because it was too weird.
    HEH.

    “You know,” said Hanna, “If you ask Bill, he could name you some Pokémon that’d break some new ground for us. We’re always on the lookout for more data on ones that nobody seems to have caught in the wild.”

    Jason jumped to his feet. “Like Lugia!”

    Krissy was in mid-sip, and some of it went up her nose.
    At least she didn't experience what I experienced yesterday. Nose-soda sucks, but nose-horseradish sauce is at least twice as awful. :B


    I'm a morbid sack of **** when it all comes down to it. Yet still, I'm honestly glad to see a happy ending to all this--I'd been sure that at the very least Marie was frelled six ways to Sunday, so seeing things turn out all right in the end was a nice surprise. Congrats on completing this story, and thanks for posting.

  2. #77
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    Wyvern:

    This extra provides some much-needed perspective on just what Wyvern means to Travis, especially as we head into the final confrontation to rescue him. It’s also quite different to see a trainer so preoccupied with his Pokémon’s condition that he can’t even battle straight. I really liked the detail that Wyvern was confused when Travis forfeited the battle, since he still had quite a bit of fight left in him. Actually in general, Wyvern was just plain adorable in this short. Considerably more optimistic than Travis, too!

    And hnng, I gotta admit, that description of Travis jumping into the ocean water was intense. Scald or not, I felt that cold.

    One last note: I bet you were real pleased you were able to have a full moon in this chapter. ;D

    Chapter 9:

    THE KIDS HAVE BEEN STOPPED, I REPEAT, THE KIDS HAVE BEEN STOPPED, BUT NOT BY WHO WE WANTED TO STOP THEM.

    Man, where do I even start. The sheer air of tension that hung over this chapter like an oppressive cloud and never lifted was incredible. I have a major love-hate relationship with infiltration scenes where the heroes could be discovered at any moment (I blame watching Matilda so much as a kid.) Love them cause they have such a delightfully visceral feeling of suspense. Hate them because dammit they get to me. xD

    I frickin loved that Krissy wasn’t able to get into her father’s computer. I knew she wouldn’t, of course—that’s just too big a cliche, especially considering you’re into network security. But the bit with the password getting locked was still amusing just the same. No, it was always going to end in a confrontation with Mariano himself, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    And man. Was that a confrontation or what. Krissy is so sharp. She knows what to expect, she can sense when the conversation takes those subtle turns that would ruin them. But even with all that going for her, her father is just too conniving. But at the same time, I really liked how it wasn’t all just flat evil-for-the-sake-of-evil from him. A random Seadra is of little consequence to him, so I actually believe he would’ve been perfectly willing to give it up so long as he was properly compensated. That moment when he gave Krissy that ultimatum was the perfect checkmate. An offer perfectly engineered to be impossible to resist.

    And this line:
    “A smart liar can take any disgusting thing and make it sound like logic. That’s why you have a conscience, so you know not to believe them.”
    Hot damn, I love that line.

    And then the Gengar. I gotta say, that was brilliant. We kept getting all these lines about not looking him in the eye. And while that could have just been for his commanding aura, it was so insistent that one couldn’t help but wonder if there was something… more to it. And there was. Holy crap. That is… hardcore and terrifying at the same time.

    Chapter 10:

    Alright. Time for live reactions.

    “You don’t know the half of it! That little sh*t already made me lose two Ursaring and a Golbat! She even summoned some mystery *sshole with a Tyranitar, and everyone thinks I made that part up!”
    Yessssss, you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for Krissy’s identity to get revealed to Derek. And this is such a brilliant way to do it too!

    The vision dove underneath the earth and only stopped moving when she saw the outline of a hallway. That wasn’t it, but there was always some degree of error with phone GPS. ‘Check the walls on either side.’ Beyond one wall was dirt, and beyond the other was a broom closet. ‘Down again.’ This brought them to another hallway. In front of them was a door with two human shapes in front of it. They passed through the door and into a room with three smaller silhouettes in it. ‘There.’
    Man, I never properly appreciated just how cool it is that Hanna and Marie learned how to teleport via GPS. Cause it’s insanely cool.

    Marie opened her eyes a crack. Then she sent Hanna a psychic pulse. It was so weak that it didn’t even make it to Hanna’s eyes. ‘How many more can you do, girl? You’ve got to say how many. I can’t tell.’
    Oh god…

    ‘…One.’
    Oh god no, that is so evil, I hate you, and I love it, and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

    Then everything in Derek’s head shifted. What had seemed so heavy now felt terribly, dangerously, wonderfully light. They couldn’t fire him if he was dead. How had he forgotten over the years how much sense that made? It made everything so easy. There was nothing stopping him from going after the grand prize.

    He was going to fight his way to Russo and give him a choice: hand over all of his encryption keys and other electronic credentials, or get dismembered by a Tyranitar. That meant Derek would either succeed and come out as a hero, possibly with enough results to save his employment, or he would fail and just die. Dead people didn’t have to apply for jobs. Nobody ever stabbed a corpse with millions of impossible questions about its experiences so far and watched it squirm in its own inadequacy.
    Oh no… no, Derek, nooo… stop…

    Ugh, I love how effectively you portray Derek’s mindset through this. The crushing, paralyzing fear, that somehow becomes a feeling of invincibility once he realizes that it’s (seemingly) a win-win, and how the only thing keeping him alive was not wanting to crush Jen’s spirit, and how dying a hero would let him get around that. But… damn.

    Chapter 11:

    I’m just going to take this moment to say that I have absolutely no idea how any of this is going to go down, or even if all of them are going to make it out. And that’s wonderful.

    Krissy broke into tears. “They threw the cops in front of the Magnet Train. They forged suicide notes. He taught me how to fake their fingerprints… and…” She lost it.
    Oh geez. This… this is somehow even darker than just the obvious truth than any turncoats get killed. Holy ****.

    “If we’ve ever tried to tell you that you’re too small and weak to make a difference, that was garbage. You’re strong as hell and so are your Pokémon. That’s a stupid, dangerous thing for any kid to hear, but it’s true.”
    Hnng, I know she’s just telling them what they need to hear right now, but dammit if this doesn’t perfectly fit the theme of this entire story and why am I tearing up at this gah.

    “You stay behind Jen, and you stay in front of me. You fight when I say you can and no earlier. And the next time I say we’re leaving, it’s final. Got it?”
    aaaaaaa there is no way this is going to go well for them. They should have just teleported out. It’s only going to go worse now that they’ve stayed. Things actually would have gone alright if the kids hadn’t been there. But now?

    Then Russo squinted and just barely tilted his head. “Now that I think about it, you look familiar. I can’t help but shake the feeling that we’ve met, but I can’t put my finger on it either.”
    Heh, recognizing his father, perhaps? In any case, this is fascinating, because stalling was absolutely not what I’d expected of him.

    “Hyper Beam.”
    Allow me this moment to indulge in a little violence (that probably isn’t going to go as planned anyway) and say: YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS.

    Russo threw a ball at his feet, and a Snorlax taller than a man standing up and wider than a man lying down appeared. Not a millisecond later, Tyranitar’s mouth erupted. The focused orange blast struck the Snorlax directly in the stomach. The giant Pokémon collapsed and was sent sliding on its back. Russo had to dive out of the way to avoid being crushed. When Tyranitar’s attack dissipated, there was a smoldering red mark on the Snorlax where several layers of skin and fat had been melted away. It groaned one time and didn’t get up.
    Yeah, that’s a pretty damn good defense. But T-tar still managed to one shot it! Hot damn! But of course, there’s that pesky recharge time to deal with.

    I think it was only at this moment that I realized—holy crap, we’re actually getting a real Pokémon battle from these two, aren’t we? Somehow I never expected we’d actually get a Pokémon battle. I don’t know why this feels so amazing. Trainer fics have Pokémon battles. And yet, seeing one show up in this context, so private and personal, no-holds-barred, is just… chilling.

    Wisps of shadow came from Tyranitar’s fangs as it seized its opponent’s head. Once again the Scizor’s steel skin offered only so much resistance. When the difference in size and strength was this great, conventional battling wisdom always took a backseat to physics.
    No worries, steel doesn’t resist dark anymore anyway. ;P

    Two down, three to go, and Derek still wasn’t a killer yet.
    This countdown, with that addendum after each one, is concerning…

    He tried to stay calm. He knew what a Dark Pulse did to a human. He knew that when one hit you it was vitally important to try to stay focused on the world around you and avoid thinking about anything else. He was especially not supposed to think about bullies from his childhood, especially not the ones standing right in front of him. The best part was that they were still kids while he had grown bigger. That made it easier to grab one of their necks. Derek pushed his thumbs into the little bastard’s windpipe. He squeezed and squeezed so he could be sure that this brainless sadist would never say a word again.
    Oh geez, that’s a chilling way to portray dark pulse.

    “I just remembered. There’s a service elevator that goes straight from this floor to the bottom.”
    I was admittedly having a hard time believing that there was onlyone elevator servicing this entire facility, so this doesn’t feel out of left field at all.

    Now that she was done rationalizing, it hit her. It hit her in the gut and it stayed there. She put a hand to her mouth and tried not to make a sound. They could never know about this. She could never tell the kids that their being here had contributed in any way to a person’s death. She could never tell Derek that his Pokémon had been the most immediate cause, even if it was an accident. She could never tell Jen because it would tear her apart just as much, maybe more.
    I… I really like how seriously this is taken here. Like, a lot of media just totally glosses over mowing down baddies. This was an accident, and it’s still treated with the gravity it deserves. I also love how Krissy is neither fooled nor fazed by the dead Rocket. She’s that focused.

    Krissy kept staring, but said, “I think I just got an idea.”
    Yesssss, this is what I love about this fic. Always something new to keep us on our toes. Let’s do this!

    Fifteen feet in front of it, Russo’s Mr. Mime was also looking tired, but it had taken far too long to get him to that point. Worse yet, the twelve layers of alternating Reflects and Light Screens between him and Tyranitar were still up. They had gone up only two seconds after the Mr. Mime entered the field, and since then they had lost three layers and gained five. They covered the entire width and height of the room.
    Oh man a stall-fest? That’s completely the last thing I’d have expected from Russo. But at the same time, it’s far more devious than all-out offense.

    The residual fairy light was fading more quickly, and Derek caught something red, white, and round moving away from the beam. It rolled faster than anything of that shape was supposed to on its own volition, and then it jumped up at Tyranitar.
    Aaaaaargh, of course! Explosion! Dammit, of all the typical cheap Rocket tricks.

    There was a long crack extending from its side to nearly the small of its back. Derek shuddered to think of what its chest looked like. It coughed, and blood mixed with black and purple fell from its mouth. He had never seen the creature hang its head so low. But it was still standing.
    Maaann, I already know it’s not over, but I just gotta give mad props to T-tar for taking down five executive Pokémon. Hot damn.

    The Rhydon stepped forward. The horn above its nostrils began to spin faster and louder than any electric drill. ‘We’re dead.’ A small feeling in Derek’s head insisted that this was fine. This was what he wanted. This was what he had been counting on. They can’t fire you if you’re dead.
    nooooo… Derek… this isn’t what you want…

    Derek may not have known his Pokémon, but his Pokémon knew that sound. Tyranitar rolled from its side, somehow forced itself to its feet, and burst forward faster than Derek could have hoped for. It let out a horribly strained roar and caught Rhydon flat-footed. The collision was just as loud as the first.
    D: D: D: as epic as this was, there is no way T-tar is taking down anything in that state. But… damn was that epic.

    Then out of nowhere, the sprinklers in the ceiling came on. Water poured down in two jets that hit the Rhydon on the top of the head and didn’t let up. The drill came to a stop, and the Rhydon yelled upward in confusion.
    ??!!!!!!1 Did… did Krissy know that he’d be facing Rhydon at this point?!

    Oh! No, they didn’t activate the sprinklers, it’s Travis! Hell yeah, way to teach your water-types such badass control over water!

    Now, see, I was actually a bit surprised that the next sequence was from Jason’s POV. It seemed like an unusual decision. But then...

    He took another deep breath. Then he adjusted his grip on the black Pokéball in his right hand.
    No… no way.

    Jason had to hurry. His eyes darted all over the Rhydon’s back, but then they settled on a set of small holes close to where its left leg met its backside. Those weren’t supposed to be there. That was his place to aim. He wound up sidearm and fixed his eyes on the target. If he kept looking right there, then he could hit the mark even if it was moving as he threw.
    Oh my god. It’s seriously going to come down to Jason’s Critical Catch. Oh my god. I never was expecting that, that is glorious It wasn’t just a fun way to give him something unique in the earlier chapters, and to give Krissy an icebreaker with him. It’s come back in the most brilliantly plot-relevant way imaginable.

    It’s not dumb luck.

    And we finally get a mental run-down of how he does it! And all the fears and doubts and inadequacies he’s ever felt that pushed him into this conflict in the first place. And aaa, the fact that he thinks that she thinks he’s worthless, when it was so hard for her to think anyone would ever see her as a friend, and my heart. And he’s been hurting himself to do these crit catches too! And oh god, as someone who’s torn a ligament, that description was downright visceral, and completely accurate, and torn ligaments don’t heal.

    Jen found Hanna where the battle had been. She was standing in front of the man who must be Russo, and standing behind him was Summer, who growled in her best impression of a Pokémon that might actually hurt a human. Also nearby was Derek’s huge, sick Tyranitar. It was lying on its side with its eyes closed, not unlike the five other Pokémon all around that looked maimed or dead. But the Rhydon was gone. There was only a black Pokéball with a red ‘R’ on the front, and it wasn’t shaking. There was nothing stopping them from leaving.
    YES!!! OGOD YES JASON DID IT I WISH YOU COULD SEE THE LOOK ON MY FACE

    The Rocket took a moment, but he emptied his pockets as requested. It only barely registered with Jen that Hanna was taking what Derek had infiltrated the mansion to acquire in the first place. She could hardly think about anything other than Jason’s screams.
    I… legit actually forgot that’s why they were here, that’s how intense this chapter was.

    As it turned out, there was no need for a bluff. “I wouldn’t worry,” said Russo. “I doubt I’ll have a job after today’s fiasco. And if I know my likely replacement, as long as you leave him alone he’ll be satisfied to send his men after me, instead.”
    Now that is quite the chilling finisher from him. Well done.

    As the gym dissolved around her, it occurred to Jen that soon Jason would also be thinking it was over, but in a different way. Going home still meant the end of the journey. Something told her that was going to hurt worse than the arm, and her heart broke.
    Way to keep tying in the main themes of the fic back into this in all the most heartbreaking ways.

    Chapter 12:

    Maaan, way to just rip my heart out into a thousand pieces with that Hannah/Travis conversation, why don’t you.

    She sat down at her workstation again. The sensor’s display still showed static inside the ball. As the program ran on, she kept thinking about the what-ifs despite herself. The worst part of it all was that letting the kids just walk away from the gym had all been for naught. The whole idea behind not telling their parents right away was that they didn’t want to put an end to the kids’ journey, but it was over anyway. Jason and Travis might not be allowed to leave Cherrygrove City again once their parents picked them up. They could be trapped there until adulthood, stewing in scars and regret and never moving on.
    And yet again, the realistic, and seemingly unavoidable repercussions of all this rears its ugly head. I love how this fic never shies away from addressing that. It makes wverything feel more weighty and consequential, even when things work out.

    “Look,” said Jen, “the doctor said he’d already worn that ligament down to nearly nothing. The Earthquake just made things messier after it snapped. He was going to need the surgery anyway if he kept throwing that way.”
    Heh. Did your research on this, I see. Looking forward to the research overkill post ;P



    *Squints suspiciously* Wait a minute…

    *Googles ‘baseball pitcher arm injury.’*

    I should have known. Of course it would all come back to baseball! I was a fool!

    Jason didn’t buy it. The doctor had said something about taking a thing from his shoulder and moving it to his elbow. That couldn’t possibly mean he’d be able to throw again.
    Ah, an autograft? Mine was an allograft. Never heard the end of the jokes about my knee being a zombie now. :P

    “You’re going to be out of the hospital well before you’re cleared for any strenuous activity. And yes, you’re going to be miserable, but your parents are going to see that and they will want to help. They won’t be ready to let you back out in the world unsupervised, but I bet you anything they’ll like the idea of you doing what makes you happy as long as it’s in a safe environment and someone’s got their eye on you all the time.”
    Ah! He’s gonna be a gym trainer! Of course! It fits perfectly! But then… aaaa, he doesn’t want to break up the group, and I’m crying again.

    Jason rolled his eyes and drummed his fingers on the folding-table. “Yep. Now like I was saying about this f*ckin’ table…”

    “Jason, don’t swear. You’re terrible at it.”
    Lmao, it’s so forced, I love it.

    In fact, I love everything about this scene. The betting over how Krissy pulled off that sweet finisher move (and her retort!), the debating about Lugia’s type (and of course it’s not actually known, just theorized—no one’s ever Pokéball scanned one!), everyone’s reaction to Jason getting his license back, all of it.

    I gotta admit one thing though: I am really, really curious how Derek’s job situation went. Seems things are somewhat okay now! But I’d love to know what the aftermath was like.

    Krissy saw Hanna mouth the words, ‘Keep an eye on them.’ Was she honestly worried about them finding Lugia? No, of course not, she must have been talking about the whirlpools.
    Ehe. She might be! ;3

    Who was going to stop them?
    yeeeessssssssssssss <3

    Now that if that wasn't epitome of "earn your happy ending," I don't know what is.

    There aren’t enough words to describe how much I’ve enjoyed reading this fic. This has been one of the highlights of the year. A rare source of unbridled joy. This is one of the fics I’ll never forget.

    Thank you.

    ~Chibi~



    "Everyone wishes they could catch a Legendary, deep down, whether they’ll admit it or not.
    If you knew you could use one to change the world, something you’d been dreaming about for years, are you telling me you wouldn’t take that chance?"

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    September 02 Update: CHAPTER 27: “The Revolt” POSTED!!!
    Chapter 28 progress: 5/12 pages


  3. #78
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    Well, after all the plugging this got in the Fic Love channel and all of Cutlerine’s jokes in the review thread I finally got around to reading this. And I can say with satisfaction that I am glad I took the time to wait for this to finish so I could read the whole thing properly from start to finish. Now, I probably didn’t take the right attitude toward this story. There’s an immense grounding in realism that you definitely nail. You take one of the most ridiculous premises in the whole franchise (little kids fighting a yakuza organization, or just bad guys in general) and take a good, hard look at it. Heck, there are even a fair number of moments of “Why are we letting kids run around with giant destructive monsters?” To be fair, you do give some logical and emotional arguments in favor of the Pokémon world premise. And that helps to hammer in the realism. The tongue-and-cheek approach that the narration uses also helps with that.

    But like I said, with all the jokes people made about this story, I read this with the lenses of “this is black comedy,” and, as a result, didn’t take any of it seriously. Not your fault. And I don’t think it lessened my enjoyment of things at all. I just wanted to say that so you understand my play-by-play thoughts and why they might seem really odd.

    Moving on. The strength of your characters comes from how believable you make them feel. Everyone is age appropriate, with very real flaws to their characters that make sense for the ages they are and the current lifestyles they have. I do think it’s amazing that (whether intentional or not) Derek somehow ended up as both the “only sane man” and the one who pretty much lost his mind over the course of this story. I thought he would be the least believable character, but ended up feeling like the most grounded to me. I don’t think I could specifically tell you why. Maybe it’s because of how helpless he feels but how he soldiers on anyway because the alternative (uncertainty) scares him to death. That definitely resonates on a personal level.

    At the same time (and I might be misreading things here), the adult trio felt like counterparts to each of the kids, in some way. I’d say Jen and Jason kinda match up (hotheads with a penchant for getting into trouble). As does Travis and Hanna (both of them have a fair tendency to be rather smart-alecky with their statements but, in fact, are rather anxious kids) and Derek and Krissy (not good with others, feeling a bit stuck, not sure how to deal with things they aren’t prepared for, can sometimes come across as detached). I think the flashbacks show it more in Jen’s and Hanna’s cases.

    At the same time, you give a pretty realistic take on why the police are so inept against an organization like Team Rocket. It kind of mirrors the troubles some real-world gangs pose for various cities. Props in that regard. And Pokémon Training is given a much more grounded take compared to the games. It feels perfectly believable and fits in with the scenario you set up for the world.

    As far as any criticisms, I think I point them out in my individual chapter thoughts. Mainly, I think the ordering of some of the side chapters could’ve been adjusted so that some of the big moments in the numbered chapters would have the emotional impact you were going for. Because as it was, I as the reader didn’t respond like I think you wanted your readers to some of the big moments. For example, Derek’s whole suicide by cop routine had me going, “Well, how’s this Russo battle gonna go down, then,” rather than feeling bad that things had gotten so awful for him. So, maybe placing The New Recruit chapter at the end (alongside Hubris Island) would’ve worked better? Especially since Tyranitar really shines in Ch 11 but is basically nonexistent in the story before then, so I had forgotten about Derek's interactions with Larvitar by this time. But again, that’s personal taste, and I’m sure everyone disagrees with me there.

    I see why this came so highly recommended. Looks like you’ve enjoyed the ride and I know you have high hopes for this fic with some of the awards. All I’ll say is that it was a very fun read and satisfying to through in its entirety. My individual chapter thoughts are in spoilers. Sorry in advance for how scatterbrained they are.

        Spoiler:
    Just your typical newbie, I guess. Pardon me while I'm learning the ins and outs of this place.

  4. #79
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    It's been some months since I last popped in, but I just finished and wanted to say how much I enjoyed this!

    You kept a tight cast of characters who were fun and interesting to watch. I enjoyed seeing the interpersonal relationships between them, and how those manifested. I especially liked seeing how each character reacted to negative situations and negative thoughts, like all six feeling responsible for the mess, or Hanna wanting to repress thoughts of the murdered grunt. (I guess the possibly-murdered Haunter doesn’t matter as much?)

    I think you did a pretty good job with the kids trying to navigate the relationship between the three of them. People can struggle to express themselves at the best of times, and I think you had these kids do a decent job navigating these unspoken social rules pretty well, like the way boys tend to egg each other on.

    I really liked the push towards showmanship at the end! That's another thing I don't think of in the Pokemon universe - how trainers would want to make matches more entertaining! I really liked seeing Krissy's and Lucia's deliberate attempts at adding little flairs, and Travis's actually practical attempt to help get word out about how cool the gym/its trainers are.

    The subjects of abuse and suicide are pretty prevalent in this fic, and while I'm no expert, I wanted to say I think you did a pretty good job portraying them.

    Can I talk about how much I liked those side chapters again? It seems at least a couple were stand-alone one-shots, and they worked really well at fleshing out the world and characters. I agree that some could be rearranged a bit, but I really enjoyed them. I actually just went and reread The New Recruit, Hubris Island, and Wyvern - along with Dad's Old Gym, they're all just great character pieces that add some really interesting background.

    I really liked Jen's solution of Jason working at the gym - I initially figured she would get him a job working for Bill and collecting data on Pokemon, but I like that that was still implemented. Honestly, I was kind of hoping that the three would just stay at the gym forever, but it makes sense that they would want to continue on their journey. I also really enjoyed things kind of coming back around to pursuing Lugia at the end, that was a really cute touch. I was surprised we didn't find out what Krissy would do about her guardianship issue, though - I was hoping Jason or Travis's family might kind of adopt her or something.

    In terms of critiques, I have to admit the Gengar possession sideplot felt kind of unnecessary. It didn't seem to serve a particular purpose aside from making it scarier to look into Russo's eyes, and poisoning Tyranitar in the final battle. To me, the fact that Russo's intimidation doesn't come purely from him lessens the impact of what was otherwise a pretty great villain. I imagine that many children believe their abusers only hurt them because of some external factor, but the true cruelty is learning that their abuser did all of that of their own volition. I think this fic's tone is aiming for realism for the most part, and I think keeping it free of that particular supernatural element might be more in keeping with that tone. If you were to keep it, maybe including some other reference to people being possessed earlier in the fic would help establish that this is a thing that happens. (Unless this is supposed to be like a dark parallel to Hanna and Marie's relationship?)

    Derek's use of the Pavlovian trigger in chapter 11 also kind of felt like it came from nowhere. We know the Rockets apparently use it, but I wish it had been established sooner that Derek does so as well. Is this supposed to be a common training tool in Johto (such that a random kid might accidentally trigger a Rocket's Pokemon?) or is it just a coincidence that both Derek and the Rockets use it? I would have liked to see that show up at least one other time early in the fic to establish it before Russo, and later Derek, use it.

    I was also hoping to see a scene at the end where we really see Travis caring for Wyvern beyond a pat on the head. A large part of the fic is dedicated to getting his friend back, and at the end he's worried about his relationship with his Seadra. The scene in chapter 12 was cute, and I like that it's embracing their non-battling side, but I was definitely hoping for either the scene where Travis first gets Wyvern back, or something else showing how much he loves and treasures his friend. The Wyvern chapter was really special in that we got a great glimpse into how deeply Travis cares for his Pokemon, and I really wanted to see more of that.

    I unfortunately didn't pick out little nitpicks this time around, but special mention has to go out to this line:
    “They said he needs surgery. I haven’t seen him, but Jen said he’s awake with local anesthesia.”

    Travis didn’t see what it mattered where the anesthesia came from, but at least it sounded better than when they put Jason in the ambulance.
    This legitimately had me laughing out loud at 1:30am for two full minutes. Thank you for this line. Please keep doing this in your writing.


        Spoiler:- Response to your response to my first review:


    I'm glad my last review helped! Thanks again for this fic, it was a real pleasure!

    ~Psychic
    Last edited by Psychic; 8th October 2017 at 8:08 PM.

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  5. #80
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    Northern Virginia
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    Hey, so who's ready for a mountain of replies? If it's not you, no hard feelings, cause there's a lot to read here. In addition to my replies to the reviews, I've written an afterword for those who are interested in where the Kids came from years before I thought to write them into a chapter fic.

    So, let's get to it!

    Bay:

        Spoiler:


    Cutlerine:

        Spoiler:


    Sike:

        Spoiler:


    Chibi:

        Spoiler:
    A fic I wrote: Will Somebody Stop These Kids?

    And another one, this one being a one-shot: The Magician of Ilex Forest

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  6. #81
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    (Ambyssin gets his own post because between the quotes and my own words this isn't far away from the character limit.)

    Ambyssin:

        Spoiler:
    A fic I wrote: Will Somebody Stop These Kids?

    And another one, this one being a one-shot: The Magician of Ilex Forest

    FFN Profile

  7. #82
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    (See above for the other replies)

    Psychic:

        Spoiler:

    And now, as if I haven't said too much already, here are some author's notes:

    *********

    Afterword

    I briefly mentioned in the first post that these characters came from one-shots I’d written before. In that sense you could say this fic was eight years in the making. I’ve been thinking lately about how much the three eponymous Kids in particular have changed in those eight years, so if you’ll excuse me I’d like to share that story and get a little meta, too. Here we go:

    Back in 2009, I technically had a Serebii account but hadn’t posted and wasn’t lurking because I changed my mind, but I was pretty active on PokeCommunity. Every year the PC forums have this big, fun shindig called the “Get-Together,” and the most prestigious event of the Get-Together is beyond a doubt imho the Small Writing Contest, where you get one week to write a short story from a one-word prompt. Jason, Krissy, and Travis were born because I was writing my first entry and I needed Two Guys and a GirlTM for it. (I was sixteen at the time, and it took me until twenty-three to try “Two Girls and a Guy” with Jen, Hanna, and Derek but we’ll get there.)

    So I wrote the tiniest little one-shot (1,371 words, because I had no sense of how long the story needed to be). The prompt was ‘time,’ and my entry revolved around how an early-teen trainer in Kanto wanted to spend his last day alive walking the trail with his best friends (spoiler alert: after the story was over Jason f*ckin’ diiiiiieeeed (stop crying, Chibi, it’s not canon anymore)). Even though it was short, it had some decent emotion-work, one decent idea, and something that clicked between the three characters.

    It got fifth place, which wasn’t bad, and the story seemed to strike a chord with people. And it was actually a really good year for the contest with some big names in the mix; Negrek was there and tied for first place with Shrike Flamestar. But what stuck out the most to me was, “Damn, I got close. Maybe I can take the whole thing next year!” Fast forward to next year, and I’m getting really, really competitive about this. You can take all that stuff about "just having fun with participating and creating" and throw it out the window: I wanted to win, dammit.

    Now understand, my "Original Vision" for Jason, Krissy, and Travis was that they were tied to this one little story and wouldn’t appear anywhere else. Their story had been told, and anyway it didn’t feel right to dilute Jason’s inevitable death. But I used them again anyway for the 2010 contest for one reason and one reason only:

    Strategy.

    I knew from just a little experience that the toughest thing about a one-week writing contest was coming up with a good idea for a story. So using original characters was a not-insignificant handicap for those of us who never really used canon characters. But I already had these three characters in my head, along with a vague but real knowledge of what made them tick and how they interacted with each other, and better yet their backstory was so vague that they could fit into almost any situation. That was my plan: reuse the same characters, expand on them a little, and save myself some valuable time for writing.

    Didn’t place that time either. F*ck!

    I stuck to the plan, though. Fast forward to 2011, and this time I get really serious. I come up with more details about the three trainers, such as what their Pokémon are (it really took me two years to think to include that) and getting more into their strengths and weaknesses. Krissy’s really good at battling, Jason’s not and he has trouble connecting with his Pokémon (later this weakness would be moved to Krissy because she had no weaknesses), and Travis is all about water and named his little Horsea Wyvern to compensate for how unintimidating they are. I spent more time than I ever had in the planning phase, and paid special attention to working multiple threads and resolving them together organically. Then came a writing blitz, extensive proofreading/revision up until the last minute, and finally the waiting game…

    And it won! Yes!!

    Not gonna lie, that was one of the best days of my life. I don’t think I’d ever gotten first place in anything before? Maybe it felt like using the same OCs for three contests in a row was an unfair advantage, but I figured if those other folks wanted to win they should have committed to their own two-year strategy to win a fanfic forum contest. So here I had a story I was proud of with three characters who had grown into a real trio that readers seemed to connect to. That was already great, but honestly the victory itself meant just as much or even more because I have a feverishly competitive personality, not unlike Jason.

    And it’s a shame, because winning nearly killed these characters.

    The fact is, they still weren’t great characters, not yet. What they had going for them was an emotionally resonant (but hardly original) dynamic, but there was still very little else to say about them otherwise. Krissy especially was this Little Miss Perfect and nothing besides. Imagine if her development had stopped at Dumb Luck and there was nothing else to her. Part of this is that I had a lot to learn about how to write female characters who were actual human beings, but there wasn’t much to Jason or Travis either. I didn’t realize any of this until years later because hey, they won, they did their job, they were my proudest achievement as a writer. I’m glad I didn’t stay happy with the way they were, because they deserved better. That was a big part of my motivation for writing WSSTK.

    That said, I don’t think the lesson here is “Don’t be competitive because winning makes you complacent.” The fact remains that if I didn’t have this obsessive drive to win, the trio wouldn’t have come as far as they did. Shallow as they were after three shorts, after one they were really just these vague archetypes who lived only to serve a single abstract idea, and one of them had to die for it. The next two shorts did give them some kind of vitality and made me care a lot more, and that was a good step on their way to where they are today. My childish obsession with winning that silly contest (which I still try to win, year after year, just with new characters each time now) was ultimately a good thing, I think; it just wasn’t sufficient. It was a first step that I had to move on from. But it still played a vital role.

    And hey, that’s life. What trips you up at one point is exactly what you need in another. I think children especially illustrate this principle, and I hope that that idea resonates with what's in the story. So much of what children have to grow out of is a necessary side effect of what makes them such a blessing in the first place. They find adventures in places adults are too smart to look, and come up with invaluable insights that adults are too wise to think of. In the story, if the kids had been thinking like adults when it came time to decide whether to go save Derek, Derek would be dead. It may have been a bad gamble on their part, but it is adult pride and arrogance to think that kids only prove adults wrong in fiction.

    If I’m allowed to sum up the point of the story in one paragraph, here it is: try not to stop the kids in your life if you can help it. Sure, sometimes you really have to, but so often the best outcome is to let them run, try to keep up, and occasionally nudge them one way or the other so they don’t die. We won’t always know when it’s the right time to do this, but we (and they) stand to lose so much more by not letting them surprise us.

    That’s about it for author’s notes. Before I go, here are the one-shots on PokeCommunity that the six main characters first appeared in for anyone who’s interested in checking them out:

        Spoiler:


    *********

    Once again, thank you all so much for reading this.
    A fic I wrote: Will Somebody Stop These Kids?

    And another one, this one being a one-shot: The Magician of Ilex Forest

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