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Penultimate

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Chozo, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Chozo

    Chozo My Serebii face

    Dedicated to Muyotwo, because in some respects this is all his damn fault.

    Also dedicated to Terry Pratchett, because the world needs pale apelike imitations of his work to try and prepare for his untimely demise.

    Tentatively rated PG-13 for bad words, violence and innuendo.

    PENULTIMATE

    Sometimes Fate brings together legendary heroes to accomplish extraordinary things.

    Sometimes Fate brings together a motley array of unlikely heroes to accomplish incredible things.

    And sometimes Fate can't be bothered to go through all the work and goes shopping at the Dollar Store instead.


    Chapter list:

    PM LIST:
    fishyfool, TrueCharizard, Sike Saner, poke poke, Jerichi, ALTOCHARIZARD55

    ***************************************************
    Chapter 1

    Many people tend to have romantic notions of the wild. They sit in their cubicles day in and day out, envisioning that one day they might magically become a Pokemon and roam the world, going where they choose and answering to no one. The irony that most people fail to realize, however, is that for many Pokemon such a life is largely regimented and proscribed anyway.

    On a typical Pokemon’s daily to-do list:
    1. Wake up
    2. Find food
    2.b. avoid becoming food (as applicable)
    3. Sleep

    So in other words, a Pokemon’s daily routine is much like a human’s daily routine, with fewer ******* coworkers and more random violent death. It is no surprise then on this typical day in a typical forest in a typical part of northern California that a certain Pokemon would soon be stirring to begin yet another typical day. Still half-asleep, the creature carefully poked its head out of its burrow, checking its surroundings. Same pond surrounded by the same trees with the same wild birds chirping the same incessant songs, the same as every other day. Content that everything was in its place, the Pokemon clambered out of its burrow in preparation for the daily cleansing and drinking ritual.

    The Pokemon was a Raticate, in the sense that at one point in time it may in fact have been a Raticate. It was larger, with elongated forelimbs and stubby rear legs that gave it an almost ape-like gait. Each toe on each limb was host to a wicked-looking claw, capable of slashing Pokemon as easily as they could move dirt. Its long tail swished easily as it walked, showing a flexibility that would have made an Aipom jealous. Coal-black hair was peppered with gray hair around the eyes and muzzle. Arriving at the edge of the water, it regarded its reflection the same way it had regarded it yesterday, the day before yesterday, and the many days before those days, the novelty of its unique appearance having lost its curiosity long ago. The creature bent down for a drink.

    And much like how toast will always land butter side down and a window will take a baseball in order to protect the drywall surrounding it, the break in routine happened at the worst possible time.

    The Pokemon’s ears twitched as it heard something stumble noisily through the forest, right towards its secluded glen. With remarkable speed the Pokemon turned, bared its claws and assumed a low fighting stance. There had been many Pokemon who thought themselves powerful enough to bully the rat-like creature around: many of them learned quickly not to repeat the mistake. So prepared it was to fight another Pokemon, the rat Pokemon soon found itself taken aback as a human stumbled into its territory. It had been years since the Pokemon had seen a human being, and seldom-used parts of its brain found themselves frantically dusting off the cobwebs, searching through their mental archives for information about the intruder. Moments later, an electrical pulse came bearing valuable information about the human: he appeared to be what humans called a “teenager”, and looked to be about halfway through that period. And…that was it.

    The Pokemon groaned inwardly.

    The lanky dark-haired youth started at the Pokemon. He appeared to be just as confused, until something clicked and caused him to toss down his backpack and frantically search through it. The Pokemon watched with part caution, part detached interest.

    The youth grinned as he found what he was looking for, and produced a half-red, half-white spherical object.

    The Pokemon groaned inwardly again.

    ***************************************************************

    The concept of Fate is hotly debated amongst humans. Some feel that Fate is rigid and that everyone is predestined from birth to a certain destiny in order to balance out some grand cosmic equation, preferably one with lots of variables so that scientists get to feel good about constructing ridiculously large supercomputers in order to solve it. Others feel that Fate is like a rubber band, and many adherents to this theory soon find themselves metaphorically rubbing their injured hands because they decided to see how far it would stretch. Still others feel that Fate involves butterflies, thus making the insects the most insidiously powerful beings on the planet as well as proving that God has an odd sense of humor.

    Regardless of whether Fate is a one-way highway or the world’s largest rubber band ball or an irate swallowtail taking out its frustrations on the world at large, it is generally agreed that Fate works in mysterious ways. In this case Fate had chosen a rough-hewn, disheveled man and his Houndoom as her agents. The pair quietly crept through the forest, hot on the trail of a youth who had moved through the underbrush with all the subtlety and grace of a pink Donphan on a drinking binge. The man’s associates had taken off to pursue another traveler, leaving him and his Houndoom to the task. In the man’s mind, it was still gross overkill: the kid apparently didn’t have any Pokemon with him, and in case Houndoom’s fiery breath wasn’t enough the man still had his trusty rifle, showing its years of use in the wilderness but still capable of ending life when needed.

    Of course, one of the downsides of working for Fate is that she rarely deigns to tell you that you’re in her employ.

    ***************************************************************

    The youth threw his Pokeball for the third time.

    The rat Pokemon caught the ball for the third time, careful to not trigger the capture mechanism. He tossed it back.

    Returning his property without damage apparently angered the youth a great deal, and the boy quickly began throwing every Pokeball he had at the rat.

    The rat decided to demonstrate his ability to juggle. For some reason this only made the youth angrier, so the Pokemon decided to return the balls again, “accidentally” aiming for the face this time.

    The boy sat down a few bruisers richer, glaring at the Pokemon. The Pokemon sat down on its haunches, enjoying the sight of the frustrated youth and the Houndoom about to pounce on him, ready to tear the boy’s throat out.

    In the time it took for the rat’s conscious mind to register the thought wait a minute… his unconscious mind had propelled him forward at blinding speed, up into the air, and right at the Houndoom, claws ready to rend flesh. The dark Pokemon howled in surprise as claw met muzzle and soon found itself on the receiving end of an unepected thrashing. The rat Pokemon punctuated its slashing and biting with a violent headbutt, slamming hard on the Houndoom’s muzzle and causing the Pokemon to stagger backwards, surprised and disoriented by the rat Pokemon’s violent attack as blood began to trickle from open wounds and a broken nose.

    His foe temporarily out of the way, the rat spared a gaze to check on his newfound ward. The boy’s face betrayed both utter surprise and the utter desire to wet himself, with more of the latter as raw instinct propelled the rat forward once again, tackling the youth and dragging him into the underbrush as bullets tore through the space the pair had been occupying moments ago. The two wound up in a heap, the rat on top of the human and the former looked down on the latter, who appeared to be trying to disappear underground solely through force of will. The rat Pokemon leaned down until he was near the boy’s ear, and felt the youth struggle as fang accidentally scraped earlobe.

    “Stay down.” He felt the boy suddenly jerk, recognizing that the Pokemon was speaking in the human tongue, the accent rough but comprehensible. “Let me handle this.” Somehow, despite having gone from discovering a new species to nearly being murdered in the space of five minutes, a talking Pokemon was apparently the most unusual thing that had happened to the boy this morning.

    “You talk!?” the boy asked, both with incredulity and at a volume that was perfect for attracting unwanted attention, which caused the source of a constant stream of invectives and curses to start coming closer to the pair’s hiding spot. The youth heard a grunt—exasperation or confirmation, the boy couldn’t say—and the sudden sensation of a large weight being taken off his body.

    Howls of pain and the sound of gunfire followed moments later. The boy risked a look out of cover.

    The Houndoom thrashed about, howling bloody murder as the rat sunk its fangs deeper into the back of its neck. The rat’s forelimbs alternated between pinning the body to the ground and keeping the dark Pokemon’s head and fiery breath pointed in a direction in which they could do little harm, and the Houndoom’s eyes were alight with a feral desperation. A man in camouflage with the telltale signs of one who has lived off the land for longer than was comfortable cursed as he moved to reload his rifle.

    Looking back, the boy couldn’t say whether it was fear or adrenaline that caused his legs to act, but they were soon propelling him towards the camouflaged man at seemingly breakneck speeds. Distracted from watching his Houndoom get the worst of it, the man reacted too late: a satisfying grunt of pain followed the shoulder to the gut, and the two humans soon found themselves on the ground in a heap. The sharp sensation of a rifle butt to the forehead soon followed that, and the boy found himself on the ground, clutching at his temple in pain as the man climbed to his feet, breathing heavily.

    The sound of the rifle cocking was like the voice of Death himself.

    And the rat’s incoherent battle cry was like the whole of the Heavenly chorus. The man’s shot went wide as the Pokemon fell upon him, clawing and biting with berserker madness. The man’s legs buckled underneath him even as he desperately tried to deflect the attack, his efforts in vain. His screams faded to a weak gurgle.

    And then it was over. What had once been a Houndoom laid in a bloody heap not ten yards away from his master, who had apparently felt that if he was going to the afterlife he would try to one-up his Pokemon in the sorry state of his corpse.

    The boy—too numb from the adrenaline rush to fully comprehend what had just happened—watched as the rat Pokemon walked over to the water and began to wash himself. The water turned red where the Pokemon dipped his claws. Somewhere along the line the boy’s backpack found its way back into his possession, although he could not remember picking it up.

    More gunshots rang out through the forest. The rat’s claws stopped in mid dip as he turned towards the source of the sound. The boy’s gaze followed his, and moments later their eyes met.

    The two quickly began dashing through the underbrush towards the source.

    ***************************************************************

    For Chuck, it was a very good day.

    Granted, Chuck wasn’t his given name. Hell, his given name wasn’t even “Charles” or any other name starting with a C that could reasonably be shortened to Chuck. His fellow bandits had given him the nickname simply because he embodied the very essence of Chuck-ness, a man whose picture would appear by the word “Chuck” in the dictionary if anyone could ever sit down and agree exactly on what Chuck (with the capital C) meant.

    Nomenclature aside, Chuck was in high spirits on this particular day. He and four other bandits had finally managed to corner their quarry, a female Pokemon trainer and her Gardevoir. They had managed to herd the pair into a clearing, where the group had proceeded to surround them, maneuvering to ensure that the Gardevoir would never be able to teleport in any direction safely without earning a third eye for her troubles. At the moment the duo were desperately trying to figure out how to escape the noose set for them, but with five armed bandits and just as many Houndoom in between them and freedom their chances were growing increasingly dim.

    A female trainer and a Gardevoir: in bandit terms it was the proverbial Christmas-come-early. A predatory smile began to form on Chuck’s face.

    In the throes of triumph it is a characteristically human trait to become blind to certain warning signs. Under normal circumstances an experienced outdoorsman would probably be wary of the sound of something charging through the forest towards him, especially after a lengthy and noisy chase that would cause most animals to run away from the ruckus instead. Indeed at some level Chuck’s mind desperately tried to alert him that something was amiss, but found itself stymied by Chuck’s rather active imagination regarding the fruits of the hunt.

    So when a black mass of fur and claws came screaming out of the forest and right on top of Frankie, the left brain being able to say “I told you so” turned out to be cold comfort. The bandit howled as the creature began to lay into him, bellowing challenge as the other bandits moved to help their comrade. Being the farthest away from the newcomer Chuck and his Houndoom found themselves struck dumb as to whether to aid their comrade or focus on the girl instead, who seemed to be just as confused as the bandits were. He watched as the Gardevoir suddenly turned towards him, her trainer following her lead almost instantaneously and without any obvious communication between the two. To Chuck it seemed that the decision had been made for him, and he leveled his rifle.

    Of course the Gardevoir hadn’t been looking at him, but rather the thing rapidly approaching from behind him.

    The wind went out of Chuck’s lungs as the force of over a hundred pounds of teenage male was focused on his spine. The rifle clattered out of his hands, landing precious yards away as the pair tumbled in the dirt, wrestling for the upper hand. Chuck’s Houndoom turned in surprise as it watched its master fall to the attack from behind and prepared to leap in to his master’s defense. A large rock to the skull ended Houndoom’s ambitions.

    Flying in the air at a trajectory impossible under most physical models, the rock made a 180 degree turn and aimed itself at Chuck’s head, the bandit having managed to recover from the attack and having pinned the boy to the ground, ready to deliver severe cranial trauma via clenched fists to the unfortunate youth. The boy watched with surprised relief as the bandit’s head jerked, blood flowing from the wound where rock had met head as the bandit tumbled off him to the ground. Pushing the unmoving bandit off him, the boy clambered to his feet to the sight of a girl and Gardevoir regarding him with caution, the psychic uncertain if she would have to use the rock on this one as well.

    The boy saluted the pair in order to assuage their fears. A long moment passed before the Pokemon responded, and he felt a sensation in his mind signaling that the creature had given him her tentative approval. Suddenly her head jerked, turning towards another bandit who had decided to focus on the girl rather than confront the violent whirling mass of teeth and claws. He lifted his rifle. For the boy the entire sequence seemed to pass by in slow motion.

    The bucking of the rifle as the shot exited the barrel.

    The Gardevoir disappearing.

    The Gardevoir reappearing mere feet away, between her trainer and the bandit.

    A spray of red as the bullet made contact.

    A scream of pain that was felt rather than heard.

    The Gardevoir staggered as her trainer dashed to her side, catching the psychic Pokemon to stop her from falling. The boy felt himself paralyzed, only able to watch in horror as the man cocked his rifle, spent shells ejected from the weapon to the ground below as he readied the second shot. His second shot never came to be as the rat Pokemon made a timely entrance by landing on the bandit, claws at the ready. The man yelped pitifully as the Pokemon began its dirty work.

    The rat didn’t even look at the trainers as it yelled “get out of here!” This seemed to break whatever spell had come over the boy, and moments later he soon found himself helping the girl carry her injured Gardevoir through the underbrush, the sounds of battle echoing behind them.

    Some time later the pair would look back on the experience and realize that it was where Fate had chosen to set them on the road to their destinies. Both would have preferred it if Fate had made her decision known with a beam of light and booming voice from heaven and a lot less blood and screaming.

    ***************************************************************

    The sun was making its slow descent into the western horizon. Two trainers and an injured Gardevoir found themselves gathered around a small campfire, the flames occasionally licking at the cans of ravioli placed on a grated metal tray above the flames. The impromptu group had kept running until the sounds of battle had faded, and exhausted from the day’s events had settled on making a camp in order to rest and tend to the Gardevoir’s wounds. The pair had done their best with the meager first aid options available on their person, and several bloody bandages covered where the bullet had hit the psychic type in the side. She sat on a nearby log with her trainer clearly spent, half-open eyes staring at nothing in particular. No one talked: generally when people encounter each other in life-threatening situations the usual conversation starters like “how do you do” and “nice weather we’re having” seem inappropriate. Both humans pretended to find something intensely interesting in the flickering flames that required their undivided attention instead.

    The rustling of underbrush broke both trainers out of their spell, and they turned to the noise. Almost on cue a strangely familiar voice called out.

    “Relax. If I was going to do anything to you I would’ve done it already.”

    The group remained tense as the rat Pokemon—bloody and bruised but otherwise apparently in high spirits--walked into camp, dragging a loaded backpack by the shoulder strap behind it. The Pokemon looked at three confused stares and sighed.

    “It’s a bag of supplies,” he replied to the unasked question, “you know, the stuff you bring with you into the wilds because you’re too clueless to survive off the land like even the stupidest Pokemon alive can.”

    The boy seemed to regain his bearings first. “You didn’t…” he began.

    The rat gave him what could most accurately be described as a shrug. “’Kill ‘em all and take their stuff.’ They lived by it, might as well have ‘em die by it too. Besides, I didn’t hear you complain when I killed to save your scrawny ***.” The boy said nothing, so the girl decided to fill the silence instead.

    “Thanks,” she ventured, and seeing the rat Pokemon nod slightly to no one in particular decided to continue. “But, why did you-“

    “Would you take ‘they were a bunch of *******s and the world is better off without them’ as an answer?” the rat interrupted.

    “I guess, but what are y-“

    The rat cut in again. “I’ll tell you my name if you tell me yours. If we’re talking to each other I want to work with a little more than ‘hey, you’ or ‘hey, dumbass.’” The rat shot a glance at the boy, who pretended not to notice.

    It occurred to the pair of trainers that they hadn’t gone over this part yet, and would have to anyway to make things slightly less awkward. Boy looked at girl with a look that said you first.

    Girl shot back with no, you first. In the grand rock-paper-scissors game that is the battle of the sexes, the fairer sex often has access to the dreaded cruise missile hand sign, allowing them to win the game at will. The boy’s scissors withered in the face of such a brutal onslaught.

    “Jonah,” the boy volunteered.

    “Caroline,” the girl added, then gestured to her Pokemon. “And this is Syl.”

    Greetings, Syl replied. No sound came from her lips, only words that spontaneously formed in the listener’s mind along with the sensation that a female had said them. Caroline saw the dumbfounded look on Jonah’s face twist into confused anger.

    “I thought that Pokemon couldn’t talk,” he huffed, “could someone please tell me what the Hell is going on?”

    “Well Syl can,” Caroline said, venturing the obvious. “I’ll explain later.” She ran a hand nervously through her waist-length blonde hair, held behind her by a red bandana that covered her head. Syl wore the same affectation as well, and had the situation not been so dire Jonah might have laughed.

    The rat Pokemon snorted. “Kid, if a talking Pokemon is all it takes to rock your world you’re going to freak at some of the **** you would have never guessed existed.” An uncomfortable silence followed, and then it dawned on the rat that he had to fulfill his side of the bargain.

    “Oh right,” he began. “Just call me Raticlaw.”

    “Raticlaw?” Jonah asked.

    “Yeah, Raticate plus claws equals Raticlaw. Don’t fall over yourselves telling me how brilliant I am now.” The trainers exchanged a look, neither sure if this was sarcasm.

    “Well…uh…Raticlaw,” Jonah began, “you didn’t happen to bring back…say…a gun maybe?”

    Raticlaw gave Jonah a look like he was talking to stupidest human being on the planet. “Do you know how to use one?” he asked, and seeing Jonah’s mouth begin to open added “If it any point you have to say ’I saw it on TV’ it doesn’t count, by the way.”

    Jonah’s mouth closed.

    “Then you’re not getting one,” the rat Pokemon said firmly. “You’re a trainer, aren’t you? Why the Hell are you wandering the woods without a damn Pokemon?”

    Jonah looked down, somewhat embarrassed. “Well, they only give out Pokemon once every three months, and you know how you have to be fifteen before they’ll let you begin as a Pokemon trainer, right?”

    “And?” Raticlaw asked.

    “Well…I turned 15 the day after the latest giveaway was held.”

    “And instead of waiting three more months, you decided to set off on your Pokemon journey. Without an actual Pokemon.”

    Jonah looked at him sheepishly. “Yeah.” He said this with considerable embarrassment. Raticlaw sighed and turned to Caroline.

    “And what’s your story? You don’t look older than he is, and I’m pretty sure they don’t give out fully evolved English-speaking psychics to greenhorns.”

    Caroline looked almost offended. “Syl and I have been together since we were little,” she said, as if Raticlaw’s insinuation that Syl was a mere Pokemon was somehow a grave insult. The rat Pokemon turned towards the Gardevoir and began to give her a critical look. His eyes fell on the bandages.

    “Were you able to get that bullet out?” he asked nonchalantly.

    Caroline shook her head. “No good,” she said, “we won’t be able to get at it until we get to a Pokemon center.”

    “To Hell with that, we can get it out now. Got any soap?”

    Syl’s eyes shot wide open as her trainer nodded and sudden, painful realization dawned on her. No, that’s quite alright…

    “Good. Hey Jonah, get over here, I’m going to need you to hold her down.”

    Really, I’m fine…

    “See if you can find something for her to bite down on while we’re at it. Wouldn’t be much good if she swallowed her tongue.”

    It’s okay! I’m fine! I’m fine!

    Raticlaw stared at the flailing Gardevoir as both trainers tried to restrain her without causing the psychic type even more injury. This was quite a feat, all things considered. “Quit being such a goddamn baby,” Raticlaw snorted, “if you’re going to be a trainer’s Pokemon this is nothing.” He lathered his hands with the bottle of soap Caroline had tossed to him, and he set it down carefully. “Hey Syl, what’s your favorite legendary Pokemon?”

    Syl stopped flailing, confused at the sudden turn in the conversation. Favorite…legendary?

    Raticlaw peeled carefully at the bandages. “Yeah.”

    Well, Groudon, but I don’t see why that’s im-

    Claws suddenly disappeared into her open wound. The psychic scream sent flocks of Pidgey scattering in panic for miles as small burst of tomato sauce erupted from a neglected can of ravioli.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  2. Muyotwo

    Muyotwo Gone Crusadin'

    zomg Chozo, why are your trainers starting at 15 instead of 10?

    xd Well done dude. Looking forward to more of the stuff that lurks in the back of your mind while you're shipping packages and such.
     
  3. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    Your intro on 'pale imitations of Terry Pratchett' was what drew me in in the first place, although I have to say this is far from a pale imitation - it's really quite good.

    There's nothing much to critique here - mostly everything is sound, such as events, characters, and most of all humour - certaining nice too see, and very funny at times as well. You did a very good job for the first chapter, and I definately look forward to more. I'm also looking forward to seeing what 'quest' these characters will go on as well.

    Raticlaw is an interesting Pokemon creation - and a nice smart-alec personality with him as well, suits a 'altered' talking Pokemon well, I think. :) Also the intro on Fate going to the dollar shop was nice... ah, whatever, I liked it all. :)

    Here be some quotes, and a few corrections, some just suggestions and not really required.
    Good list, but maybe 'avoid' should be capitalised as the other 'first' words are capitalised themselves.
    Funny. :) A tad predictable (in that I guessed he was looking for Pokeballs eariler in the second paragraph), but still funny.
    I'm liking Raticlaw a lot now. :)
    Any other reason for capitalising Heavenly and Hell, besides emulating Pratchett? That is, if he does so - truth be told haven't read one of his books for a while. If not, then I don't think you need to, but maybe you have your reasons...
    Chuck... Norris? Liked that segment, and all the others that you do that go off a tangent to what is happening or is important - very much like Pratchett, and well done on that.
    'Earning a third eye' somewhat confused me...
    Super nitpicky, but mere doesn't quite work as well as other words might - still does though, but could be reworded perhaps.
    Nice. :) Reminds me of a similar joke in a stand-up comedy show I saw once.
    That bolded quotation mark is around the wrong way.

    Overall, great work there - very well written, and throughly enjoyed this. Keep it up.
     
  4. TrueCharizard

    TrueCharizard Well-Known Member

    Oh my good Lord. That is the best thing I have read on here for so long.

    Your narrative style.. I can't explain it, it's like the omnipresent narrator is talking to you and setting out to make you laugh. As far as I am aware, there were no grammar errors or spelling mistakes. I'm also usually not a fan of made up pokémon, but I was thinking for so long they need to evolve ratticate because it could be so much better and cooler looking than it is. I cannot wait to find out what else is weird in this world.

    Put me on yo' PM list, *****! ;)
     
  5. fishyfool

    fishyfool And a nice chianti

    So what's this? Chozo, sarcastic of the PASBL, has decided to make a fic? One must read it, and read it twice I did. The first time was for lulz, the second time was chopping the highlights of this hilarious piece.

    Speaking of which...

    Magnificent opening. Just magnificent. Sike Saner would have a blast reading this comedy.

    Lol, I can imagine the life of a legend then.

    XD at the bit in bold.

    The description of the human is world class, as is Raticlaw's reaction to said vaults of knowledge.

    XD.

    Chuck Norris references are win.

    Hahaha.

    Raticlaw's conversations are just world class.

    Cruise missile hand sign = XDXDXD.

    Best. Pokemon. Name. EVER. Also, lol @ Raticlaw's remark about Jonah.

    Tomato sauce eruptions at the same time as surgery makes for ultimate win.

    And so my butchering comes to an end, and all I can say is: Moar! This is without a doubt one of the best fics around, and the forums needed this. Shove me on the PM list, and one can surmise that Raticlaw is also distantly related to Rats of your PASBL team.
     
  6. Chozo

    Chozo My Serebii face

    RAWR MY EGO DEMANDS THE BLOOD OF MAIDENS

    ALSO MORE STOKING

    There's no hard and fast rule as far as I'm aware. I (and some others) capitalize Heaven and Hell when referring to them as locations of existence, while other people don't. It's a Big Endian/Little Endian debate, honestly.

    Catching a bullet in the head, in other words. I'm not opposed to rewriting it for clarity (been thinking about the line myself), but just FYI.

    I disagree personally, but looking at the sentence again I thought of a couple ways to improve it. I might decided to replace "mere" as well, but I wanted to imply that it was a short teleport.

    As a warning, Raticlaw won't be the only made up Pokemon in this, but he'll be one of the few and their existences will be an aberration. How/why is that? Well, you'll just have to find out when I write it =P

    Personally I'm not a huge fan of made up Pokemon in fanfics either, which admittedly seems odd when I premiere one in the very first chapter. A couple reasons for this:
    1. I wrote a terrible, terrible OT fic when I was but a wee lad (ie GEE IT SURE IS MARY SUE AROUND HERE). It was a horrific blight on existence even by the pathetically low standards of fanfiction.net, but there were a couple "good" ideas that I thought I'd salvage from it to use in this fic.
    2. Practically speaking, these super-powered made up Pokemon are hard to deal with once you've included them in the fic: if your trainers have access to Pokemon that wipe the floor with their lesser ilk, you have to throw commensurately more powerful opponents at them. The result (as I found out the hard way in writing the aforementioned Mary Sue atrocity that will be cited by historians as Everything Not To Do In Fanfiction) is DBZ power level absurdity, with I HAVE ACCESS TO A SECRET SUPER POWER THAT I HAVE MADE NO MENTION OF HAVING UNTIL JUST NOW abound. The position I envision Raticlaw in with relation to Jonah and Caroline (old, cantankerous mentor figure) mitigates this somewhat in the context of the Pokemon universe.

    Sure. Expect a PM in a week or two barring acts of God/writer's block/utter apathy.

    The funny thing is that it wasn't even meant to be a Chuck Norris reference. It just sounded like a good name for a mountain man. But I guess I shouldn't have told you guys that because it dispels my mystique as a SUPER INTERNET NOVELIST.

    The hierarchy goes something like this.

    Raticate/Raticlaw in horrible fanfic that will not be named
    ->
    ASB Rats
    ->
    Penultimate Raticlaw

    So yeah, hopefully he's a good character because I've been rehashing the same general idea for several years now. As you can tell, I am a fount of out-of-the-box thinking.
     
  7. Chozo

    Chozo My Serebii face

    Are you a bad enough dude to read lengthy, pointless exposition?

    Chapter 2

    “Well, I guess the important place to begin is that many Pokemon are capable of learning to speak a human language.”

    Jonah listened intently as Caroline began her explanation. The group had set out early in the morning on Raticlaw’s insistence, and there were still a couple hours before noonday was a reality. The rat Pokemon walked several feet ahead of the trainers, looking for any potential trouble.

    After his impromptu operation on Syl, Raticlaw had declared to the trainers that--given their sorry state—he was taking on the responsibility of making sure they made it to civilization safely and was not going to take “no” for an answer (questions about his origins were rebuffed with equal vigor). Despite volunteering of his own volition the pair periodically heard Raticlaw grumbling under his breath about something or other, and they had decided to let him take point so that he could vent a healthy distance away from them. In any event, they had little choice: Syl was too badly injured to risk battle, and even as they walked along the winding path through a small mountain range the psychic type rested inside her Pokeball. Jonah had noticed the lack of her presence seemed to make Caroline fidgety and uncomfortable, and he had decided to start a conversation in order to distract her.

    “Well, if Pokemon can, er, speak human, why don’t they?” Jonah asked.

    “Beats me,” Raticlaw said loudly, not bothering to turn to face him, “how would they be able to live without talking to a brilliant gentleman such as yourself?”

    Jonah stopped in his tracks. Caroline stopped as well, trying to figure out why Jonah had stopped. This in turn caused the noise of the pair walking to trail off, which drew Raticlaw’s attention and caused him to stop walking and turn around. There was an uncomfortable silence.

    “Dude, what the Hell is your problem?” Jonah asked Raticlaw. “Ever since we started out today you’ve been on my case about everything!”

    Raticlaw seemed unfazed. “First off, I’m not your dude. Second, it’s because you’re an idiot.”

    “What?!”

    Raticlaw nodded. “You heard me. You’re just another dumbass city kid with no clue about the wild and you’ll always be a dumbass city kid until you can prove you’ve smartened the Hell up.” The rat Pokemon watched the teenager stew in his own anger with obvious amusement, and held up one clawed hand when the trainer began to reply. “Save your breath, kid. I don’t have to give the girl crap because one, she’s not a moron and two, if her Gardevoir hadn’t been banged up she wouldn’t even need my help. You, on the other hand, are currently total deadweight, a liability in battle and most importantly you owe me big time for saving your ***. So if I were you I’d be grateful every time I offer you advice on how to not get yourself killed as you think about what you’re going to do to repay your debt instead of acting like I ****** on your patsy.”

    And with that, Raticlaw abruptly turned on his haunches and began to amble away, ending the conversation before Jonah could reply. Caroline watched Jonah try to burn a hole in the back of Raticlaw’s skull through sheer force of will for a moment before coughing politely. It managed to get Jonah out of the staring contest with Raticlaw’s back hairs.

    “Sorry about that,” Jonah apologized.

    Caroline shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. You did help us out yesterday.” Caroline avoided adding even if Raticlaw doesn’t think so to avoid provoking another argument. “Where was I…oh yeah. Anyway, most Pokemon can learn a language, but most don’t. For wild Pokemon they usually don’t have any reason to, and for trained Pokemon you can usually get by so long as your trainer knows when you’re asking for food, water, or a bathroom break.”

    A flock of Starly flew overhead, off to some unknown destination in the horizon. The trainers watched them go, and then Caroline continued.

    “So…yeah, Syl and I. Well, my parents are Pokemon breeders, and as it turns out my dad’s Gardevoir gave birth to Syl around the time my mom gave birth to me. So we were both together from a very young age.” Caroline smiled at the memory. “You know how psychic Pokemon bond with humans, right?”

    Jonah nodded. Nearly all prospective trainers were required to take a course on Pokemon training, due to someone’s insistence that if one was required to take a course in order to own a mere pistol one should also have a rudimentary level of education before being handed de facto control over creatures who could breathe horrific gouts of flame and punch through two inches of steel with jets of water.

    Caroline continued. “When psychic Pokemon and humans bond at a very young age, they share aspects of each others mental development, particularly in the parts of the brain that control language comprehension. Long story short, Syl learned English because of me and I learned Pokemon because of Syl.”

    “Wait a second, what do you mean ‘learned Pokemon’?” Jonah asked. Caroline stared at him, trying to figure out what to say: it was something she had known all her life and taken for granted. She would have found it easier to explain sight to a blind man.

    “I can understand Pokemon when they speak their…um….native language,” She finally said, “I don’t need them to speak ours because I can understand them already. Pretty helpful when you’re a breeder actually: it’s nice to have the Onix tell you where it hurts rather than poking around until the tail to the face lets you know.”

    Caroline watched Jonah’s face contort in thought as he mulled over this newfound information. She couldn’t help but feel like she had just admitted to having twelve toes.

    And if the subject had been about toes, Jonah’s reaction would have suggested that six-toed feet were his sexual fetish. “Can you teach me to speak Pokemon?”

    Caroline was taken aback by his response, but quickly regained her bearings. “Sure. Well, it won’t exactly be ‘teaching’ in the way you’re expecting.”

    “How so?”

    “Well, it turns out that Syl can pull double duty as a translator. As long as she’s around she can ‘translate’ anything a Pokemon says to you.”

    Jonah frowned. “Isn’t that a lot of work though?” Intrigued by the idea as he was, he was already tired of being considered a burden and wasn’t looking to enhance the reputation.

    Caroline shook her head. “She’s psychic. Once she’s decided to translate for you her subconscious mind does all the heavy lifting for her. Even better, she’ll be teaching you subconsciously even while she’s translating. Hang around with us long enough and you’ll be able to understand Pokemon without Syl’s help.”

    The conversation ceased as the pair walked on, mulling over what had just been said. A concerned look spread on Caroline’s face.

    “I just agreed to travel with you, didn’t I,” Caroline said.

    “Yup.”

    “Crap.”

    Raticlaw took the opportunity to jump back into the conversation. “Sounds good to me.”

    Jonah’s face brightened, apparently pleased that his stature had risen in the eyes of a 4-foot-tall rodent. “Really?”

    The trainers—staring as they were at the back of Raticlaw’s head—were able to make out a nod. “Sure. If you two run into an Ursaring, she just has to outrun you instead of the bear.” He s******ed.

    Caroline felt a sinking feeling in her gut as she saw an already depressingly familiar facial tic that on Jonah signified a wellspring of anger boiling just below the surface. She watched as Jonah began to pick up speed, apparently eager to catch up with Raticlaw in order to start yet another argument. He decided to shave off some time by walking through a bush that Raticlaw had decided to circumvent, and found out why the rat Pokemon had chosen to do so when his foot contacted a bundle of dark blue mass and three leaves and sent it bouncing along the ground.

    To a casual observer, it seemed like time froze for Jonah as he literally stopped mid-stride, transfixed on the unfolding spectacle. The Oddish looked up at the unwitting trainer who kicked it, and the raw survival instinct necessary to survive a world full of fire breathing monsters when one is a one-foot tall plant Pokemon quickly overrode the Oddish’s conscious thought. Crying out and shaking its leaves, it released a thick cloud of spores that bore down on Jonah.

    Elementary physics holds that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time (this law is apparently lost on most drivers stuck in traffic). Raticlaw made use of this physical principle as his body traveling at high velocity forced Jonah’s out of the area he had been occupying a moment before. Jonah went tumbling backwards as the startled Oddish made a break for the nearest tree line.

    The first thing Jonah was aware of past the sudden pain in his tailbone was the sound of footsteps running towards him. Deciding to risk opening his eyes he found his vision filled with a Caterpie’s-eye-view of Caroline.

    “Are you okay?” Caroline asked (the fact that people will ask this of others when the person being asked is in several pieces is a hot topic of study amongst anthropologists). Jonah sat up, and feeling nothing broken nodded. Then he turned to Raticlaw. Caroline followed his gaze, and then the two trainers turned to each other in unison.

    “Crap.”

    ***************************************************************

    Raticlaw gurgled weakly. Paralysis tends to do that to one’s vocal capabilities. Neither trainer paid it much heed: he probably hit a bump or something.

    Jonah and Caroline found themselves carrying the paralyzed and barely-conscious Pokemon through the forest, utilizing a couple of tent poles and a sheet as an impromptu sled to carry him. Not surprisingly, this made for an uncomfortable ride, made even more uncomfortable by the speed at which the two trainers were moving, both hoping to be well out of the forest before something with a large number of sharp teeth and/or claws realized that the two trainers were easy pickings. Ratsiclaw had told the pair at the outset that the current path would get them to the nearest town by late evening: both trainers were hoping that a mid-afternoon arrival was in the cards.

    Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry: in this case, “awry” happened to be sitting in the middle of the path, its attention drawn to the humans that suddenly skidded to a stop upon seeing it. It was human-shaped, albeit shaped around humans who thought that gluttony was less of a sin and more of a lifestyle choice. It appeared as if whatever had designed the creature had decided to create one with a barrel-chested body and hands large enough to comfortably grip a redwood tree and then near the end of the process realized that arms, feet and a head probably needed to be included somewhere. It gazed at the trainers gawking at it with the about the same level of concern a Steelix gives a Diglett with dwarfism.

    Jonah lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, in case the gigantic fighting Pokemon somehow took offense. “I thought Hariyama didn’t live on this side of the ocean.”

    “They don’t,” Caroline said, and hurried to clarify before reality made a liar out of her, “but I think some came over on boats a couple hundred years ago for the railroads and…well…” she gestured vaguely in the Hariyama’s direction, who was busy using his meaty hands to get at an unpleasant itch.

    “So, what the Hell is it doing here then?”

    “How would I know?”

    “You’re the one whose family raises Pokemon for a living, aren’t you? Go talk to it, or something.”

    Caroline realized—and not for the first time that day—that she had talked herself into trouble. Jonah watched nervously as Caroline took some tentative steps forward, testing the fighting Pokemon’s reaction. She breathed a sigh of relief when the Hariyama made no move to fight or even stand up, and strode forward with as much confidence as she could muster.

    The sheer size of the Pokemon suddenly became apparent to Jonah as he realized that even sitting with its legs splayed out in front of him the Hariyama had to look down on Caroline to make eye contact. He couldn’t make out what Caroline was saying, but the fighting type’s rumbling voice easily carried across the distance.

    A few minutes later Caroline came back, clearly puzzled. The Hariyama watched her go with mild interest but remained sitting.

    “He says he wants a fight,” she reported, responding to Jonah’s question before he even asked it.

    “Then he can find something to fight in the forest, right?” Jonah, like many people, was well aware of the penchant of fighting Pokemon to pick fights for little apparent reason. He had also assumed that a fighting Pokemon would seek battle with things they couldn’t pulp in a single hit.

    At least .500 is a good percentage in baseball.

    “He says he’s been sitting on the path for days, and he’s not leaving until he gets what he wants. He won’t let us pass until then.” What Caroline didn’t say is that the latter had been assumed rather than explicitly stated, but she had decided to not try her luck with a Pokemon capable of sending a truck flying with an open palm strike.

    Jonah looked to Raticlaw. The rat Pokemon was still lying on the sled, groaning and periodically twitching through his paralysis. “He does know we don’t have any Pokemon that can fight, right?”

    Caroline shrugged. “He wants something, and I don’t think he’s too picky about where it comes from at this point.”

    A glimmer suddenly came into Jonah’s eyes, and he began rifling through his pack. Caroline saw what he was doing and began hoping that her wish to take back anything she said would be granted, preferably immediately.

    “You’re seriously not going to do it,” Caroline asked rhetorically as she watched Jonah fasten a wicked-looking knife to the end of a tent pole with the help of large amounts of duct tape. While he hadn’t let them keep guns, Raticlaw had brought back some knives that he had scavenged: a Pokemon trainer with a knife would be asked fewer questions than if he had a gun, Raticlaw had reasoned. More importantly, accidental fatal injury was largely restricted to the user and not everyone within a 50-foot radius.

    Jonah paused just long enough to vaguely gesture to the surroundings before returning to work. The path had been cut into the side of a mountain years ago, and whoever had done so had decided to let the work of countless feet handle the thankless task of maintaining it. To the path’s left the side of the mountain towered towards the sky at an angle too steep to climb, occupied only by trees with courageously tenacious roots. To the path’s right was a similarly steep mountain face angled downwards, promising anyone trying to climb down it a messy but brief union with the rocks below. The path was relatively wide--enough for a medium-size vehicle to traverse--but with an 8-foot tall Pokemon sitting in the middle of it both trainers badly wished that the designer had thought to make it wider.

    Jonah didn’t even turn to look at her as he said, “Raticlaw said the fastest way besides this would be three days at least, and I dunno about you but I want to be out of this god-forsaken shithole well before then. If you’ve got a better idea I’m open to it.” He took Caroline’s silence as an admission that she did not.

    Jonah grunted as he finished his work, examining it with some satisfaction. He gave a series of quick thrusts to some unseen foe, making sure that the spear tip wouldn’t break off after the first strike, and then stuffed an extra pair of knives wherever he was reasonably sure that it wouldn’t accidentally shank him in the middle of the fight. Caroline watched as Jonah turned towards the Hariyama, assuming a fighting stance that reminded Caroline of the image of a caveman—primitive but bold—about to take on a Mamoswine with nothing but the clothes on his back and the spear in his hand in a primal battle for survival. The image might have even been impressive had Jonah had the body type of Conan the Barbarian and not the body type of Conan O’Bradley, the newly hired fast food employee.

    Jonah leveled the spear point directly at the fighting type in challenge. The Hariyama cocked its head at the strange display, before giving a noncommittal grunt and moving to stand up. In the time it took him to do so Jonah had already crossed the distance and leapt at the fighting type, spear point at the ready. Jonah felt grim satisfaction as he heard the Hariyama grunt, the spear tip piercing the Pokemon’s torso with the wet sound of metal cutting flesh.

    Now, some might think that Jonah was either a coward or full of stupid bravado. The reality, however, is somewhere in between: it wasn’t that Jonah was cowardly per se, it’s just that he was possessed of a certain pragmatism that said trying to attack foes who (to use military parlance) have a significant force multiplier over you is in general a very bad idea. And it’s not that Jonah was fearless, but merely that when backed into a corner a man’s primal instincts take over and insists that if it must go down, it would prefer to leave a few bloody noses in its wake and win the moral victory. Jonah looked up and saw the Hariyama staring at him with murderous intent, injured but unphased by his reckless assault. This is also about the time where Jonah’s competing mental processes collided in a horrible wreck and tried to untangle themselves, doing little but making the problem worse.

    Jonah’s mental bureaucratic fustercluck soon gave way to the sensation of flying through the air punctuated by a sudden horizontal stop. He was vaguely aware that Caroline was screaming as he felt his body slide off the side of the mountain back towards the path, and he hazily threw out his arms to stop himself from landing flat on his face. Eventually his mind returned to a semblance of order: he had taken a glancing hit from one of the Hariyama’s massive fists, and even now he felt his body screaming at him as the Pokemon’s thundering footsteps came closer. Jonah risked looking up. The Hariyama was looking at him with a stare that suggested he would not be so quick to underestimate the trainer next time, and the spear wobbled where it lay impaled in the sumo Pokemon’s flesh, seemingly forgotten in the fighting type’s rage.

    Jonah barely managed to roll out of the way as one of the Hariyama’s feet came crashing down, throwing up dirt and putting a dent in the place Jonah had been moments earlier. He unsteadily clambered to his feet, drew a knife and assumed what he felt was an intimidating fighting stance. Had the Hariyama not been nearly 3 feet taller and a quarter ton heavier this might have actually worked. He circled, managed to dodge another hastily thrown palm, and struck with the knife. A thin cut appeared on the Hariyama’s torso, but the fighting type didn’t even flinch as he stomped the ground, causing Jonah to stumble. This saved him, as his body was jerked to the right just as the Hariyama’s foot shot out in an awkward kick, catching only air. Regaining his balance more quickly than the fighting type, Jonah struck again and again in desperation, which only grew as he realized that he was barely inflicting superficial damage on the Hariyama and that there was nowhere to run.

    He hadn’t even brought a knife to a gun fight, Jonah realized. A more accurate comparison, his brain added, would have been bringing a plastic fork to take on a tank.

    Jonah barely avoided another open palm strike that would have sent him tumbling to the rocks below, nearly caught off guard by the deceptive speed of the Hariyama’s attacks. In his haste to dodge Jonah wound up tripping over his own feet and then on his backside. The Hariyama leered over him, seemingly savoring his victory before delivering the final blow.

    Jonah tentatively felt behind him. He felt the edge of the cliff, and realized that the only way out of this was most likely terminal. He had always been told to face his fear like a man, his brain reminded him, and to stand proud no matter what comes.

    Yes, another part of his brain shot back, but “fearless” is an honorific frequently used to describe dead men.

    The Hariyama stepped forward, and tripped.

    Jonah’s mind once again came to the rescue by reminding him that he could still roll to the left, and he did so, avoiding joining the Hariyama on its descent as the fighting Pokemon went tumbling ***-over-teakettle down the cliff, yelping in pain all the while. Seconds later there was the sound of something heavy hitting the ground below, then the settling of rubble, then silence.

    As the realization that he was still alive faded Jonah turned to look at Caroline and found her holding Syl under the shoulder, the psychic Pokemon’s face contorted in pain and her breathing labored. Jonah noticed a large mound of dirt that the Hariyama had tripped over and realized that it had not been there mere seconds before. He hazarded a look over the cliff--as if afraid that the Hariyama would somehow be climbing back up to get him—and was greeted with the sight of the fighting type splayed out in the ravine, its groans audible even from so far below. It was a sight that was more comforting to Jonah than he cared to admit. He barely noticed as Caroline approached him, holding a Pokeball that she had taken out of his pack.

    “Syl, would you be able to get this from here?” Caroline asked her Pokemon, holding the Pokeball in front of the psychic type for emphasis.

    Yes, Syl replied, and Jonah registered the sensation that even this simple statement took considerable focus from the Gardevoir, even as her red eyes shone with pained determination. Caroline nodded and turned to Jonah.

    “Congratulations on catching your first Pokemon,” she said, dropping the Pokeball over the cliff towards the Hariyama below.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  8. Jerichi

    Jerichi ASB Overlord Staff Member Moderator

    Freakin' awesome, man. I was anticipating something pretty cool when you told me about your concept, but this... THIS is amazing. I wish I could write Pokemon crap remotely well as you.

    On a totally unrelated side-note, Diglett is spelled with two Ts.
     
  9. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    There's no real problem, only that in my encounters of reading various books and other written works Heaven and Hell isn't often capilised, but that sort of thing is more or less up to the author anyway. :)

    Good work on the next chapter - some nice moments there again, and an interesting way of getting a first Pokemon - fight it, and have it trip and fall over a cliff. :) The event itself was surprising - I was wonder how (and partly if) Jonah would get out alive - I didn't quite expect something so unexpected. Good work with that.

    A few minor qualms - firstly, this chapter differed a bit too much from the first in terms of jokes. Not quality but rather quantity of them. In the first chapter, there were jokes mostly left right and centre, while here, they were still remaining but much more scarce, which slightly upset the pacing - you may need to try to find the right level first of both seriousness and comedy. That's minor though and not really noticable, but still slightly evident.

    I did also notice that you liked the word 'impromptu' a fair bit in the first chapter and also a few more times in the first half of the second chapter. Slightly became too commonly seen, but other than that you use a good vocabulary.

    :) Crap indeed.
    Something I've learnt myself from a knowledgable writer - normally in writing, numbers less than a hundred are written out - such as four instead of 4.
    Seems the swear filter caught you out on that word (snigg-ered) too, right? Did for me too once...
    Also, I do think that here you could link the dialogue and 'he snickered' (for a subsitute) together into one sentence, as it does flow on - (i.e. "..instead of the bear," he snickered.)
    Only place this happened I think, and boaderline as well, but a tad repeatitive in the opening word of To and The of the sentences. Just don't do it more than that, and it should be fine.

    Had to mention it again. :)

    Overall though it was quite good again, and I look forward to your next chapter.
     
  10. Jerichi

    Jerichi ASB Overlord Staff Member Moderator

    >Only place this happened I think, and boaderline as well, but a tad repeatitive in the opening word of To and The of the sentences. Just don't do it more than that, and it should be fine.

    I'm going to have do disagree with you on this; I think it creates a good parallel sentence structure that works well in the story.

    On that note, a little bit more sentence variety wouldn't hurt anything, but I don't see much need for it in this story.

    >The Hariyama stepped forward, and tripped.

    The comma here is unneeded.

    On that topic, your biggest problem seems to be comma usage. You're missing commas in a few places and have a few extras as well. I'm not really one to talk; I do the same thing frequently.

    [/grammarpolice]
     
  11. TrueCharizard

    TrueCharizard Well-Known Member

    What a chapter.

    What an ending.

    The only thing I was thinking is that sometimes maybe humans could stand a chance, just thinking of the Chuck wrestled his pokémon sometimes and won. It was good though.
     
  12. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    Wasn't really saying that it was a mistake, just a warning not to overdo it. ('...don't do it more than that, and it should be fine').
     
  13. Chozo

    Chozo My Serebii face

    Chapter 3​


    “Wow, you look like a Hariyama walked all over you.”

    Jonah looked over at the…his Hariyama. A small group of Chansey had clustered around the fighting type, appearing to debate the best method of removing the remains of the spear still embedded in his torso. While medical technology was advanced enough to heal most of the injuries Pokemon suffered without ever having to leave their Pokeballs, silly inconsequential things like embedded pieces of metal still required the attention of qualified medical personnel, even if said personnel were egg-shaped and pink. The bruised fighting type watched the spectacle occurring around him with befuddled interest. Jonah turned back to the nurse, who was busy applying various ointments to the large bruises covering his torso.

    “You don’t say,” he replied in a tone that could have been used to anchor a cruise ship. It’s not that Jonah didn’t like the nurse, per se: she was amiable and clearly possessed of a berth of medical expertise, human or otherwise. It was more due to the fact that she was one of those people who could breathlessly talk for hours about the ligaments in a knee and how amazing they were at enabling locomotion but was unable to see the connections in a four-piece jigsaw puzzle. On a certain level this was a relief: she wasn’t particularly concerned with why a Hariyama had a knife stuck in its gut and why a Gardevoir sporting a bullet wound had both come into the Pokemon center on the same day, which meant that there was no need to answer awkward questions that at some point would have probably involved the police.

    “All done,” the nurse said, finishing up the last of the bandages on Jonah’s torso, “now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check on how your friend’s Gardevoir is doing.” The nurse walked past a Chansey coming into the room carrying a footstool and a pair of pliers.

    Jonah sat back and watched as the group of egg Pokemon formed a line behind the Chansey with the pliers, the latter who had clamped down on the piece of the blade that had somehow survived the fall still lodged in the Hariyama and begun to pull. He admired the fighting type’s resilience as the Chansey began to heave-ho as a group, grunting with communal effort: if it was painful the Hariyama wasn’t showing it.

    Your first Pokemon.

    The thought echoed around in his head as he watched the Chansey go to work. The very concept that he had taken for granted nearly all his life suddenly seemed patently absurd: he now “owned” a Pokemon who could tear him in half if the mood struck him, and yet ever since he had worked up the courage to release the Hariyama from his Pokeball for treatment the fighting type had made no indication that it wished to do so, despite having every reason to the contrary. Jonah realized that his only real control over the quarter-ton Pokemon was a device that had become so cheap to manufacture that it was sold in supermarkets by the tabloids. It was not a comforting thought.

    The line of Chansey tumbled over like a line of oblong dominoes as the knife blade finally gave way, causing the Hariyama to grunt as its wound began to bleed. The Chansey quickly clambered to their feet and ran to get something for their charge, nearly bowling over Caroline and Syl as they rushed out the door and down the hallway chattering noisily. Caroline and Syl watched them go with a bemused look before coming inside the room and closing the door behind them. Whatever the nurse’s flaws, she had done a bang up job on Syl: her skills plus modern medical technology had healed Syl to the point that it was impossible to determine that she had ever been shot in the first place.

    “So, how are you two doing?” Caroline asked.

    “I’ve been worse,” Jonah said, lifting his shirt to show Caroline his bandages. Hariyama grunted what Jonah assumed was an affirmation.

    “Hey Caroline,” Jonah asked carefully, “that thing we talked about in the forest…can we do it now?” Jonah stared at her as she tried to remember what he was talking about: it had been a hectic 48 hours, and it took a moment for Caroline to realize what he was asking for.

    “I don’t see why not,” she said. “Is there any reason you want to do it right now?”

    “I have a question I’d like to ask.” Jonah’s eyes briefly flickered at the Hariyama, and then returned to Caroline.

    Caroline nodded. “Fine by me, I guess. Syl, are you up for it?”

    Yes. The psychic type suddenly winked out of existence, and reappeared uncomfortably close in Jonah’s personal space. She leaned in closely, just in case any had survived her initial intrusion. Look me in the eyes, she commanded.

    Jonah’s remark about how her eyes took up nearly half her face and thus would have been hard to miss was suddenly snuffed out as the psychic type’s eyes began to glow…

    And then it was over. Syl vanished and reappeared beside her trainer. Jonah blinked. He didn’t feel any different.

    “So, that’s it?” Jonah asked.

    “Yep,” Caroline replied.

    Were you expecting a trip down your psyche, perhaps? Syl asked. Being forced to face your inner demons, that sort of thing?

    “Well, yeah.”

    Syl’s look indicated Jonah had guessed wrong. It’s a psychic technique, not performance art, she said with a tinge of disdain.

    “Well, did you have to be so close to me to do it? I mean, you lift things with your mind, couldn’t you have done it from where you are?”

    I have some sense of presentation.

    “Excuse me, Lady Caroline,” a rumbling voice cut in, “could you explain to me what that was all about?” It took Jonah a moment to realize that it was the Hariyama’s voice.

    “Hey, I understand you!” Jonah said. His Hariyama turned to look at him.

    “You did not before, sir?”

    “No…wait, did you think I could?”

    The fighting type looked lost. “But she understands me,” he said, gesturing to Caroline.

    “Few people can,” Caroline replied, and then added, “you haven’t met many humans before, have you?”

    “Besides you, one other time when a human tried to fight me with a Caterpie. Does he count?” Hariyama asked.

    Caroline thought it over, then said, “Did he try to talk to you?”

    “I am not sure. He did yell at me very loudly for what I did to his Pokemon, but I am not sure that he wished to engage in conversation.”

    “I don’t think that counts, th-“

    The conversation was interrupted by voices that struck Jonah’s ears as sugar cubes with razor blades inserted in them being dragged across a chalkboard. The group of Chansey that had been in the room minutes before came bursting back in, nearly trampling Caroline and Syl in their haste.

    “Excuse us!”

    “I have the bandages!”

    “No fair, you got to do it last time!”

    “But it’s my turn!”

    “How about we all bandage him up together?”

    “Okay!”

    “Great!”

    “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’!”

    “But there’s a ‘team’ in ‘team’!”

    “Wow, you’re right!”

    “We’re being helpful!”

    “Yay!” the Chansey all cheered in unison as the got to work on bandaging up the Hariyama with nearly commando-level efficiency.

    “Pass it over here!”

    “Does anyone have the rubbing alcohol?”

    “I do!”

    “Be nice, wrap it twice!”

    “And we’re done!”

    “Another job well done!”

    “We’re helpful!”

    “Hooray!”

    The group of Chansey charged out the door as quickly as they came, a pink tornado less occupied with tossing trailers and livestock about and more occupied with finding its next sugar rush. Caroline and Syl had the presence of mind to be well out of the way this time. Jonah rubbed his forehead.

    “I think I was happier when I didn’t know what they were saying,” he said.

    Caroline sighed. “Chansey are not…uh…the brightest Pokemon,” she said as charitably as she could, “but their hearts are in the right place. That’s something, isn’t it?” Jonah shrugged and turned to his Hariyama.

    “You have a name, right?” he asked. The Hariyama nodded.

    “My mother called me Hachiman,” the fighting type replied, “but I have not been called that name in many years. I lived alone until you came, sir.”

    “’Hachiman’ works for me,” Jonah replied. “I also have something I want to ask you.”

    “I am at your command, sir.”

    “That.”

    “What, sir?”

    “The whole ‘sir’ thing. Why do you think I command you?”

    Hachiman looked confused. “You are a Pokemon trainer and I am a Pokemon. You have defeated me in battle and therefore I am honor bound to follow you.”

    Jonah’s looked at the fighting type in disbelief. “And that’s it?”

    Hachiman began to wonder if this was a trick question. “Is another reason required, sir?”

    Jonah sagged. “No, I guess not.”

    The nurse popped her head in the doorway, once again demonstrating the ability of medical professionals to instinctively interrupt important conversations. “Oh, the Chansey are already done?” This despite the fact that the Chansey had used enough bandages on Hariyama to wrap half of the Egyptian pharaohs.

    “If you’ll excuse me, I’ll need your Hariyama returned to the Pokeball in order to finish recovery,” she said. A minute later she was walking towards her office, Hachiman’s Pokeball in tow. The trainers and Gardevoir watched her go.

    “Hey Jonah.”

    “Hm?”

    “Why do I feel like we’ve forgotten something?”

    ***************************************************************

    “Urgh.”

    Raticlaw was finally coming out of his paralysis-induced unconsciousness. The rat Pokemon got up slowly, working out the stiffness in his limbs.

    “Jesus, laid low by a goddamn Oddish,” he grumbled to no one in particular as he became aware of his surroundings. He realized that he had woken up in a copse of trees and unidentifiable underbrush, a small island of greenery making its futile last stand against the overwhelming yellowish brown of the grass covering most of the hills. He also realized that he was alone.

    “Son of a *****, the ****ers left me behind!” Raticlaw’s diatribe continued in its unprintable form for several minutes until his stomach alerted him that, yes, while it was important to vent that he should also pay attention to what his nose was telling him.

    Raticlaw carefully crept through the copse and peered out. A highway lazily snaked through the valley below, carrying a small flow of cars on their way to destinations unknown. A small town grew around the highway like a tumor, apparently having originated as a single fast food restaurant that builders had obviously felt required a significant local infrastructure for support. The smell of grease and burning meat assailed Raticlaw’s sensitive nostrils, even from so far away.

    Raticlaw looked up at the sky. The sun was descending behind the mountains, signaling the end of another day. Suddenly, a small Rattata with bat wings appeared, clinging easily behind Raticlaw’s right ear.

    “Don’t be a pussy,” the Rattata hissed, grinning as far as a rodent is capable of grinning, “it’s easy food and it’ll be dark soon. What’s to lose?”

    There was a moment of silence, as if Raticlaw was waiting for something.

    “Aren’t there supposed to be two of you?” Raticlaw finally asked.

    The Rattata’s laugh came out as an obnoxious, high-pitched squeaking. “You, having a good side? Nah, I have to pull double duty.”

    “I saved those kids, didn’t I?”

    “Whatever Mr. Hero, don’t act like I didn’t hear you just now. You’ll never get into the Justice League with such a potty mouth you know.”

    In one quick motion Raticlaw reached above his head, plucked the witless Rattata by its tail and dangled it in front of his face. “Okay you obnoxious little freeloader, you have five seconds to explain why you’re here before I remove you with extreme prejudice.”

    The Rattata looked thoughtful rather than threatened. “Well, as long as I can remember I’ve been mucking around in your subconscious. You think you got it bad? You’ve never lived inside your own head and it is ****in’ nasty in there.” The figment sniffed in disdain.

    Raticlaw glowered. “Piss off.”

    “Hey, it’s not like I had any choice in the matter.”

    “If you don’t answer my question you won’t have to anymore. You’ll also be in several pieces.”

    The Rattata continued to look unphased by Raticlaw’s posturing, likely because The Idiot’s Guide to Tough Talking was one of its favorite books in the prefrontal cortex. “Okay, okay. If I had to guess it’s probably because you’re still, how shall we say, ‘tripping balls’ off of the Stun Spore.”

    “So I’m stuck with you until it wears off?”

    “Yep!” the Rattata chirped happily. Raticlaw grumbled and tossed the smaller rat back onto his head before setting off towards the town below.

    “Wow, you’re finally listening to me!”

    “Yeah,” Raticlaw replied flatly, “and if I keep listening to you maybe I’ll be able to find a bottle of booze so I can drink you out of existence.”

    ***************************************************************

    “He’s a pretty impressive specimen, you know.”

    Jonah took a moment off of counting the floor tiles to look at the nurse. “Hm?”

    The pair were sitting in the nurse’s office, a room so whitewashed, orderly and sterilized that bacteria couldn’t have taken it without military organization and possibly heavy artillery. Hachiman’s Pokeball sat on a nearby healing pad, humming quietly as energy was transferred to mend the fighting type’s wounds. The nurse seemed too engrossed in watching her computer monitor to pay much visual attention to her human charge, and Jonah leaned back in his chair, waiting for the seemingly interminable healing process to end. He wasn’t sure why he hadn’t gone with Caroline to take care of Raticlaw instead of sitting around twiddling his thumbs: his best guess was misplaced obligation to watch over his new Pokemon. Not that the sumo Pokemon would have really needed his help in the off chance that the fecal matter had hit the rotary airflow device.

    “Your Hariyama, sir,” the nurse said with no tinge of reproach. “Most Hariyama stand about seven foot seven and weigh 559 pounds on average.”

    “And?”

    “Your Hariyama is about eight feet tall and weighs over 600 pounds!” the nurse said with far more excitement than Jonah felt the situation warranted. “How did you find such an amazing creature?”

    “Uh…let’s just say he fell into my life,” Jonah replied. Well, it wasn’t exactly a lie, he thought silently to himself.

    “And I take it you got him from someone close to you?”

    “Sure, you could say that.” Jonah shifted nervously. She wasn’t actually realizing that something was amiss, was she?

    “That explains why you’re not in the system then?”

    “The system?” Jonah asked with some trepidation.

    “You’re not registered with the NPL,” the nurse clarified, unaware that Jonah suddenly visibly relaxed, “you said you were going to compete in the league, right?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Well, normally you’re registered with the league when you get your starter,” the nurse continued, “but I can register you here if you like.” The nurse stopped typing for a moment. “Speaking of which, I think your girlfriend needs to register as well. I guess I’ll have to ask her when she gets back.”

    Jonah was caught off guard, until he put two and two together. “Uh, she’s not my girlfriend.”

    The nurse stopped what she was doing and gave him a conspiratorial wink that suddenly made him ill at ease. “You can be honest with me, dear. I was a trainer when I was your age too you know.”

    Jonah had a sense that he knew where this was going, and against all reason decided to continue anyway. “…and?”

    “Oh come on. Out on your own, no adults for miles and miles? I met a boy while I was traveling…” the nurse began to stare off into the distance with hazy eyes as she continued to ramble, “handsome, tall, built like a Machoke…my first kiss, the way his hand cupped my-“

    Jonah’s mind was racing full speed, imagining the nurse in front of him and a man in flagrante delicto. It was less successful at imagining the nurse being three decades younger, much to his horror.

    “Please stop,” he groaned weakly.

    “…and put his hand in my-“ the nurse continued oblivious, now completely lost in her own memories. Jonah put his head in his hands.

    “Why me?”

    ***************************************************************

    “Raticlaw, where are you?” Caroline called out. She and Jonah had decided to leave Raticlaw in the copse before heading into town to see to their own Pokemon and find medicine for the rat Pokemon. Things were currently not going according to plan.

    “Any luck?” she asked Syl.

    Syl shook her head. No, he’s not here.

    “Are you sure you didn’t miss him?”

    You don’t “miss” a mental presence like that, Syl said firmly. Yes, even more obvious than a Rhydon covered in Christmas lights playing the drums, Syl added, reading Caroline’s thoughts. Doesn’t look like something bad happened to him though. You don’t think he…

    It was Caroline’s turn to finish the psychic’s thoughts. “Why not? He’s a rat, it’s not like he’s going to be a picky eater. She began to walk back down towards the town, and Syl followed behind her obediently. “Come on, let’s go get something to eat.”

    Are you sure, Carol? Syl asked. Shouldn’t we try to find him first? She heard the rumbling of her own stomach and tried her best to ignore it.

    Caroline shook her head. “He can take care of himself. And if he’s doing what I think he’s doing, we’re bound to run into him eventually.”

    ***************************************************************

    The nurse smiled and handed Hachiman’s Pokeball back to Jonah. “All done! Your Hariyama is fit and fighting ready.”

    Jonah accepted the Pokeball, now filled with more knowledge than he would have cared to know than when he had given it to the nurse an hour and a half ago. “Thanks,” he said with the little enthusiasm as he could muster. He turned to leave.

    “Have you had any trouble feeding him?” the nurse asked him as he began to pass through the doorway. Jonah stopped and turned to her.

    “No, why?”

    “Oh, so finding him enough to eat hasn’t been an issue?”

    “Not really,” Jonah said. “But, let’s just say…hypothetically speaking of course…how much does a Hariyama eat?”

    The nurse sat back in her chair a moment, eyes flickering as if reading through some mental archive. “Well, the rule of thumb for Hariyama is that they eat roughly five times that of a normal person daily.”

    Jonah nearly choked on his own surprise. “Five times?”

    The nurse nodded. “That’s just for your average Hariyama, though. Yours probably eats around six times, right?”

    Had the nurse been more observant, she would have been able to almost literally see Jonah’s heart sink down into his feet. “Yeah, probably.”

    “Well, so long as you aren’t having any problems,” the nurse continued. “See you in the morning, dear.”

    “Yeah, good night,” Jonah said darkly. He walked out of the nurse’s office, out through the Pokemon center’s doors and out into the cool night air. The National Pokemon League had established such centers across the country to serve both as veterinary centers for Pokemon and as hostels for Pokemon trainers, and many were staffed by ex-trainers-cum-nurses who were believers in the cause and a retinue of Chansey who felt that a sufficient level of enthusiasm was an adequate replacement for a sufficient level of competence. All of this sounds rather noble until one learns that the centers were partly established by the NPL as a PR move to convince the public that Pokemon battles were a respectable sporting event for the whole family and not overglorified cockfighting for uneducated hicks (although said hicks still made up a healthy portion of the league’s revenue).

    And more pressing for Jonah, they didn’t offer free meals. He was starting to wish he could have mowed more lawns before setting out on his journey, but there was nothing to be done about it now. He looked down at the Pokeball in his hands and lifted it into the air.

    “Hachiman, come on out,” he said. The ball opened as a jagged beam of light erupted from the center and coalesced into the Hariyama. It turned to Jonah and began to speak in its rumbling tone.

    “Sorry Hachiman,” Jonah interrupted, “I can’t understand you if Syl’s not around.”

    Hachiman looked down at his feet apologetically.

    “Don’t worry about it,” Jonah continued, “we’ll learn to play it by ear, alright? You up for some grub?”

    Hachiman cocked his head at him.

    “Food,” Jonah clarified. Hachiman began to speak, stopped, and nodded instead.

    “Well, come on then.” Jonah began to walk off towards the center of town, and felt a steady beat of slight tremors as Hachiman followed behind. Jonah’s mind began to wander as he walked.

    ***************************************************************

    The problem is that you’re looking at it from a humanocentric view, Syl said.

    “What the Hell does that mean?” Jonah asked. The nurse had just taken Hachiman off for healing, and Caroline had decided to slip out to ask the woman if she had any medicine for paralysis. Syl had begun to follow, but had sensed Jonah’s uncertainty and had decided to stay behind to answer the question she had seen coming.

    Syl sighed. Look at it this way. Let’s say you were to describe me: you’d give me qualities that you use to describe humans, yes?

    “Yeah.”

    But you would not say that I am human.

    “Of course.” Jonah rubbed his temples. “Are you going somewhere with this?” He avoided her glare.

    Simply put, she continued, you see the world through human eyes and view it in human terms. You accept that your Pokemon is not human but yet you are surprised that he does not see the world in the same light as you do.

    “Syl, you’re making my head hurt.”

    Would a human have sat in the middle of a path for days just to pick a fight?

    “How crazy are we talking here?”

    You think it’s crazy. To a fighting Pokemon it’s not. To humans, a Tyrogue taking on Pokemon that it has no chance against is pure insanity, but to fighting Pokemon doing so is a demonstration of courage and drive to improve. In short, an embodiment of the fighting spirit.

    “So you’re saying that Hachiman sees me as a Tyrogue.”

    Syl considered this. In a sense. He has a deep amount of respect for you, you know.

    “How do you know that?”

    Being psychic helps.

    “Oh, right.”

    Fighting types value courage and strength above all others. Having challenged him to battle you proved the former, having beaten him you proved the latter. That’s all the reasons he needs to follow you into the mouth of Hell itself.

    “But I didn’t beat him, you made him trip!”

    Syl gave him an innocent look. Why, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    “Yes you did!”

    Are you calling me a liar? A sudden mental sensation washed over Jonah. Had he known of phrase at the time he might have described the feeling as “plausible deniability.”

    “Whatever,” he said, dropping the subject. “So you’re saying that the only thing stopping my Pokemon from ripping me in two is respect.”

    That’s the short of it, yes.

    “That doesn’t make me feel a lot better.”

    Why? Did you really think there was more to trainers controlling their Pokemon than that? I could be “free” in seconds if I wanted to be. What do you think stays my hand?

    “The power of friendship?”

    You said that to be sardonic, but correct nonetheless.

    “But why would he give up his freedom to follow me, of all people?”

    What did I just tell you about humanocentrism?

    Jonah stared at her to see if she was joking. She wasn’t. “How is the idea of freedom humanocentric?”

    You see it as enslaving a sentient being. Hachiman sees it as a guarantee that he will find battle and grow stronger.

    “But…”

    The people who have the most idealistic view of living “wild and free” are the ones that have never done it. Look at it from a Pokemon’s perspective: they can either live a “free” life, uncertain when their next meal is coming or that death is just around the corner, or they can become a trainer’s Pokemon, be guaranteed steady meals and fights that are for fun and not life-or-death. What would you choose?

    “But why would he choose to follow me? I don’t even know what I’m doing!”

    And he’s out of his depth as well. I guess you’ll both have to learn together then, yes?

    ***************************************************************

    A finger thicker than his neck tapping him on the head brought Jonah out of his thoughts. He turned back to Hachiman, who gestured towards a nearby alley. Growling and clanging metal could be heard echoing in the darkness. Jonah peered into the murky blackness for a moment and turned back to see Hachiman patiently waiting for orders. He realized that Hachiman was not going to be able to fit into the alleyway, which meant that he was on his own barring being able to outrun whatever it was in the darkness. Jonah would have simply ignored the noise and continued to walk on, but the weight of his Hariyama’s expectations hung over his head, and he became aware of how easy it would currently be for the line holding them up to snap.

    “This is my garbage can you mangy fleabag! Get the **** out!” Jonah jerked as he recognized the voice.

    “Hachiman, stay here,” he ordered, and the fighting type nodded in confirmation. He dived into the alleyway. “Raticlaw, is that you?”

    “What the Hell are you doing here ki-“ the voice was suddenly cut off by a gurgling scream followed by, “you little son of a *****!”

    Jonah hurried to reach the source of the sound. What greeted him when he got there was Raticlaw, an overturned garbage can, and a mangy-looking Growlithe whose very appearance suggested “stray”. Jonah could see where the fire Pokemon had singed a small patch of fur off of Raticlaw’s torso, but it was an injury that was more angering to the rat than painful.

    “Raticlaw, what the Hell are you doing?” Jonah asked.

    “What the Hell am I doing? What the Hell were you doing leaving me behind? I oughta gut you like a fish!”

    “We didn’t think you wanted to be brought into town!” Jonah replied angrily, “Caroline just left the Pokemon center a while ago to take care of you!”

    “That…” Raticlaw began, “is actually a good point.” Realizing he was losing the initiative, he redoubled his efforts. “Damnit, you’re not allowed to be right when I’m ******!”

    “Why are you picking a fight with a stray over the garbage?” Jonah asked. Said stray was watching the fight between man and rat, confused as to what was going on and how it had gotten involved in this whole mess.

    “Because it’s my garbage! I got here first, and if Sparky here thinks he can take it from me he can get to know ‘Sin’ and ‘Punishment’ personally.” Raticlaw held up his clawed forelimbs for emphasis.

    “We’ll buy you something to eat, for God’s sake,” Jonah said with exasperation, “just stop fighting! You’re going to get found out if you keep this racket up!”

    Raticlaw’s stare belied his sudden burst of rage. “Oh I see how it is. ‘Mean old Raticlaw is picking on poor Fluffy Wuffy, and only I, City Brat McAssface, can save the day.’ Well piss off you obnoxious little jizzstain, I guess I’ll go find another garbage can and leave the little puppy alone so as not to wound your bleeding heart.” He began to walk off muttering, “I can’t believe I risked my damn life for you.”

    “That’s not what I-“ Jonah began, but it was too late. Raticlaw had scampered up a nearby wall and was already gone. He looked down at the Growlithe, who whimpered. Jonah tried to avoid the mesmerizing gaze of its puppy-dog eyes and failed.

    “I’m already feeding six, what’s one more?” Jonah conceded in defeat as he wandered out of the alleyway, Growlithe wagging its tail happily as it came up behind. Hachiman gave him a questioning look as he emerged from the alleyway.

    “Don’t ask,” Jonah said as he began to consider how he was going to feed both Pokemon without bankrupting himself. He looked up at a lighted sign nearby and suddenly inspiration struck.

    ***************************************************************

    The manager leaned back in his chair, watching his employee’s nervous expression. The new kid hadn’t even been employed a week and already there was trouble. “I want you to run that by me again.”

    The employee began to speak without stopping for breath. “So I was working at the front when this kid came in and asked for a table for three and he was all alone so I asked him if the others were coming and he said yeah, so I went ahead and charged him for three and then two Pokemon come out of their balls and I tell him that we don’t open the buffet for Pokemon and then he said that he paid for three and that I didn’t say that the customers had to be human and that since we don’t offer refunds we had to serve them and then…”

    The buffet manager held up a hand, stopping the employee in his rhetorical tracks. “So you’re telling me that you fell for the oldest trick in the Pokemon trainer book.”

    The employee shifted uncomfortably. “Yes sir.”

    “Well, I guess I’ll have to handle this then,” the manager said, climbing out of his office chair. “You do realize that this is coming out of your paycheck?”

    If dictionary makers ever needed a picture to go with the definition of “crestfallen,” they would have been hard-pressed to do better than capturing the employee’s expression. “Yes sir.”

    The manager strode out of his office, into the restaurant, and face to face with a Hariyama who had decided to forgo the formality of using a plate and had instead decided to grab an entire ham from the buffet table. Since the manager was stocky and short and the Hariyama was stocky and tall he was “face to face” with the Pokemon only in the figurative sense.

    “Now look here,” he began, and suddenly felt his conviction waver as the Hariyama turned its gaze to him. Survival instincts hurried to remind him that coming between a Hariyama and its food was roughly as intelligent as coming between a mother Ursaring and her cubs. A trainer, apparently the Hariyama’s master, looked over from a nearby table with a Growlithe busying itself with licking some plates clean.

    “Excuse me, is there a problem?” the trainer asked with an innocent voice that suggested anything but. The Hariyama continued to stare down at him with its distinctive glare, as if challenging the man to take back the ham already cradled in his massive fists.

    The manager calculated how many smoked hams his life was worth, and decided to be conservative with his estimate. “…no, have a nice evening,” he said weakly, and beat a hasty retreat back to his office. The employee was still inside, waiting expectantly.

    “Did you take care of it, sir?” the employee asked.

    “Sure, sure,” the manager said hurriedly. “Don’t you have something to do? I spilled something on my pants and I’d like to change them if you don’t mind.”

    ***************************************************************

    In an alleyway dumpster elsewhere in town, a certain rat was busy drowning his sorrows in flat soda, half-eaten hamburgers and rotten fruit.

    Raticlaw stared at a half-eaten apple in his hand as if trying to project his anger and despair onto the fruit. He wasn’t very successful. “It’s ******** how nobody respects me,” he muttered before unceremoniously tossing the entire fruit into his mouth.

    The Rattata watched Raticlaw intently, having somehow managed to acquire a leather chair, pencil and pad of paper designed for someone a foot and a half tall. He scribbled on the pad energetically.

    “I think,” the Rattata said, chewing on the eraser, “it all has something to do with wanting to have sex with your mother.”

    Raticlaw stopped in mid-chew. “Whuf doff dat haff to do wiff anyfing?”

    “I dunno,” the Rattata said, “but according to humans it’s important or something. Freddyian, I think.”

    Raticlaw swallowed. “I hate you, you know.”

    “And I hate you too,” the Rattata said bluntly, continuing to scribble on the pad, “and I am you…well, a part of you…so it turns out you hate yourself! Pretty deep, huh?”

    “Fascinating. What are you writing on that thing? Some notes for to keep track of your ‘deep’ thoughts?”

    The Rattata looked up, puzzled. “Notes? Nah, I’m drawing a picture of a Ditto doing its impression of a tangle of wires. Wanna see?”

    “No thanks.”

    “Your loss, then.”

    A sudden commotion outside the dumpster cut the pair’s conversation short.

    “I’m not playin’ around wit’ you! Gimme your goddamn purse!”

    A voice Raticlaw recognized as elderly cried out as the sound of flesh hitting flesh reached his ears. The Rattata walked by him on his hind legs, pad in paw and continuing to chew on his eraser thoughtfully.

    “You know, an outlet for aggression is good for long-term mental health,” the Rattata said.

    “First thing you’ve said that I agree with,” Raticlaw replied, before kicking the top of the dumpster open. He peaked his head out and saw a gangster holding an old woman by the collar of her dress, both wearing the same expression of surprise. Raticlaw noticed a growing bruise on one of the woman’s cheeks.

    Raticlaw grinned wickedly. “You caught me in a bad mood, punk.”

    “Who’re you callin’ a punk!?” the thug yelled as he let go of the woman. Temporarily forgotten, the old woman took advantage of the distraction to make for the street as fast as her aging legs could take her. Raticlaw watched as the man reached for a pistol tucked into his belt. He leapt out of the dumpster, claws bared and screaming.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2008
  14. Muyotwo

    Muyotwo Gone Crusadin'

    Another thoroughly enjoyable chapter, Reed. I particularly enjoyed the chattering Chanseys and the forgotten Raticlaw, and you integrated the Deus Ex Gardevoir well. I'll be looking forward to the next chapter, and seeing more of Hachiman. Keep the Growlithe as well, Jonah.
     
  15. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    Nice chapter there again, and I felt it was better than the previous as well. A nicer balence of comedy and not-comedy I felt, and a much better pacing - very smooth and with no hiccups.

    Good events as well there - the fic is moving along nicely and some rather memorable scenes to be had there. Good description as well - maybe just a tad more in bits of the dialogue could be warrented at times, but overall it's fine. And the characters are getting more and more enjoyable. Shall be interested in the Growlithe, and I like what you did with Hariyama's 'respect' for Jonah, as well as that you backed it up and explained it in Gardevoir's explanation.

    The best parts for me - the amusing Chanseys - very nice there, and perhaps the best part for me, besides maybe the reminicing nurse about her youth and romance - nice one there as well. Hurrah for the scene with the manager as well - a good idea by Jonah to feed his Pokemon. :)

    'the...his' is a bit confusing - I'm pretty sure Jonah is correcting himself that Hariyama is his now, but could be clearer I suppose, maybe have Jonah say 'over at the - no, his- Hariyama. Minor but.
    Liked that. :) Feel sorry for the Catepie - both for his defeat (which I can only imagine how heavy it was), and having a stupid trainer.
    Unexpected and funny. A tad questionable that he was forgotten, but I'll let that past. :)
    It took me a while to realise that this was the 'subconsious' of 'good and evil' for Raticlaw. Maybe you could elaborate eariler that it is that - maybe more on the wings and that they looked angelic and demonic at the same time, or something... whatever, just so it is clearer for those who don't catch on that clearer when tired. :)
    Heh. Would say however that things 'thought' by Jonah could be 'announced' as well similarly to how speech is shown by quotation marks - italicing could work for instance. A presentation thing but, and optional and up to you.
    I just find a large Hariyama cocking his head amusing. :)
    I wouldn't say 'just taken Hachiman' is the case, as it happened a few scenes ago.
    Ahh... nice touch there. (Reminds me of a similar thing I did as well regarding psychic Pokemon.) :)
    Lighted does seem somewhat uncomfortable... and maybe a comma after 'nearby' for a slight pause.
    I wonder what he 'spilled'... cough... :)
    Firstly, was it meant to be caught by the swear filter? (Hard to tell, obviously... and could be both).
    Secondly I suggest the comma there for a slight pause, so that it doesn't seem to go on just a bit too long. It's minor but is usually done in writing. There are a few other instances elsewhere where the same could be done - normally after *insert synonym for said* when it is followed by actions or description about something else.
    'Claws bared and screaming' - just seems that you are implying that the claws are screaming (which they can't), without a comma or a pause of some kind, or even slight rewording.

    Most of that is minor and sometimes just suggestions mind - generally quite sound, and well done on a solid chapter.
     
  16. fishyfool

    fishyfool And a nice chianti

    Ah, once again I am humoured, and this one even more as I literally laughed out loud here. One cannot wait for chapter 4, and now come the highlights.

    One of the better opening parts I've seen to a chapter in a long time.

    The description of the Chansey as 'Egg-shaped and pink' was humourous and true.

    Chansey never have had massive strength, making this bit even more hilarious. I can just imaging a line of Chansey pulling at a lump of flab...

    Poor personal space...

    Caterpie gags in any fic are instant win.

    ROFLMAO! This is by far one of the funniest bits of the chapter, as I can just imagine a gaggle of nurses being like that.

    This was my LOL moment of the fic. Pure, utter genius.

    Stun Spore for pokedrugs? Hehehe...

    I believe that even Sontaran bacteria would have trouble...

    Innuendo FTEW!

    Jesus, I'd hate to think of the Wailord...

    AHAHAHAHA!!! Hick jokes are beyond funny, as well as rambling comedy paragraphs.

    Best. Nickname. EVER.

    Magnificent, that gag with the stocky ones.

    So once again, freaking magic.
     
  17. TrueCharizard

    TrueCharizard Well-Known Member

    I thought to myself.. "Do I really want to read fifteen pages?"

    Then I thought "Why not?"

    Now I'm thinking "That was the best way to spend my time since.." Actually, you do not need to know how I'm going to end that sentence, but the point is YES!

    Best fic on the boards at the minute (IMHO).
     
  18. Jerichi

    Jerichi ASB Overlord Staff Member Moderator

    Pretty damn amazing.

    I seriously don't know how you do it. Your cast of characters is absolutely amazing, and it's only chapter 3.

    Keep it up, dude.
     
  19. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    Holy crap. This has already proven to be very entertaining. :D As I was reading, it kept throwing frelling great choices of words at me, such as in these excerpts:


    Raticlaw... oh man. XD He definitely goes on the list of the characters I've read that have entertained me the most. He's already brought about quite a few classic moments and has had some frelling awesome lines, as shown by these excerpts:


    And now for some miscellaneous highlights:

    "Essence of Chuck-ness"... XD

    I really like the way you chose to write that part. When I read it, my reaction was something along the lines of, Damn. o.o

    XD

    "Fustercluck"... XD Nice one.

    I find that image very amusing. XD

    The part with that big section of Chansey-chattering was pretty darned funny, I thought, especially those two excerpts. XD

    ...Oh my God. XD

    This has been a severely enjoyable read so far--I look forward to more, definitely. :D
     
  20. Dresden

    Dresden Pokémon Master

    Just read the first chapter so far. Very good! I'm a little confused though... Is Raticlaw a Raticate evolution of your own invention, or does this particular Raticate just give himself that name?

    Either way, very well written. You can actually spell and use correct grammar, which sadly isn't the case for a lot of fics here. Very good mix of humour and drama and action and violence. You've got a reader in me. Time to read the other two chapters that are up.
     

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