The Road to Indigo (Pokemon RP (Closed): Chapter 7: Dead Living On The Radio...)

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"The party, you know? The one all of us are going to tonight on the S.S. Anne," Eileen told Callum, gesturing at the sudden onslaught of people as being part of the 'us'. It was somewhat funny to her how everyone seemed to be joining them at Route 6 after they were just about to head back into the city.

She gave a quick greeting to everyone before answering a couple of the questions, "I think Callum and I cleared out all of the Trainers here; most were just some school kids and such. Nothing too hard, and it passed a little bit of time before the party. I'll probably just get myself ready for the party early once I get my Pokemon healed. Not much else to do around here other than more training, but there will be time for that tonight on the ship."

"Sorry for not finding and inviting you Alan. You missed some pretty cool double battles," she said to Alan after he joined up with the small group.

Cleo seemed to be eying the backpacks everyone was carrying, as if she was plotting out a way to get stuff out of them without the owners noticing. The quick nudge her Trainer gave her as a way to tell her to stop was met with a few Scratch attacks to the leg before Cleo ran off towards the city. "Drat!" Eileen said, holding her leg with one hand and Cleo's Pokeball in the other as she returned the feisty Pokemon, "More training needs to be done with her. Are the rest of you just going to just train until it's time for the party?"

Mika nodded as the newest members of their party arrived where they were. He nodded softly, going up and offering his hand to Callum. "Nice to meet you guys. I'm Mika." The blond-headed kid said softspokenly to the new Trainers, and Tyler.

"I dunno... I don't really have much to do until later." Mika responded to Tyler's question, putting down his bags and starting to unload them into the various pockets of his backpack. He paid attention to the conversation as it went on, stuffing the empty plastic sacks into the front pocket to recycle later. "I was kind of hoping to get a little training done before the party... but then again, I think that my Pokemon deserve a nice rest beforehand, too."

When Alan commented about being a reporter assigned to Eileen, he looked at the man curiously. "Oh, you're doing a story on Eileen? What about her, specifically?" He asked, interested in why she'd attracted the attention of a news agency.

Upon seeing Eileen's Pokemon scratch her leg something fierce, he winced and looked over at her. "Your leg gonna be okay? It's not bleeding, is it?"

"Don't worry about it Eileen, I figure I can always catch a bit more before we leave and if not the SS Anne will prove to be a good opportunity." Alan replied before being asked why he was following Eileen.

"My job and passion has always been stories, especially the good ones. So my assignment was to travel in the field and get stories from all walks of life in the pokemon world. I basically asked Eileen if I could follow her since she is the daughter of professors and wanted to be one herself. She would be the first person wanting to be a pokemon professor I have followed hoping she would be a good story. So far she hasn't disappointed, her fight against Misty was very inventive and made for a good report, as did her fight against Brock. So it wasn't so much that I was directly assigned to her, but at this point I consider her story to be my assignment." Alan replied with a broad smile. He loved talking about his work, and he didn't want to gush too much and get into the stories he had already covered. Many had been fluff pieces but a few had gotten him a little recognition, but he was proud of all of them regardless.

"In fact I'm hoping to add all of you into the story with your permission. I've never actually run into a group this size before, and learning all of what you've all done so far and following what is to come would actually be an opportunity I haven't seen before."

"I was thinking of doing some training around here before the party. My Pokemon could do with some extra training, especially Felina, Sonya and Xal. If I will train Sonya, that is." Aeris answered Tyler's and Eileen's question. "Don't want to exhaust them, so I'll probably try to give them a rest before the party starts."

Aeris could tell that scratch might not have felt pleasant. "Damn. Yeah, I can understand that she needs more training. My Felina is good towards me, but I know I still need to earn her trust and train her more."

Turning towards Alan, she said "Yeah, I don't mind if you add me to the story. You just need to ask if there's anything you want to know. Even though some things might be harder to talk about than others..." She rubbed her arm a bit when she said that, but kept her smile. "But don't worry about that. I should be alright, mostly."

Although a bit hesitant, Callum shook both Mika's and Alan's hands when they were offered. As Alan began to his explain for why he was covering Eileen, Callum tuned him out and instead focused on the topic that had gotten his own interest. "No, I don't know about this party of the S.S. Anne," Callum replied to Eileen before her Meowth scratched her.

"That looked like it stung. I did tell you that you need to work on your relationships with your Pokémon though. At this rate I'll have to carry you back to the Pokémon Center," Callum joked before catching Alan's words about needing permission. "You can add me or whatever," Callum replied, before he spied a little bit of blood trickling from the cuts. That joking probably wasn't needed.

"Okay I get it people my Meowth is a bit feisty and needs some training. I get it and I'm going to work on that. I just barely caught her a few hours ago, and I haven't had the time to start properly doing it. I'll get on it though," Eileen said with frustration after hearing everyone make their own small comments about her latest injury.

"The cuts don't hurt that much, and they aren't very deep. I won't be able to wear a dress to the party now though, but at least I have some nice dress pants at home. You know I'm going to start heading to the Pokemon Center so that I can patch my Pokemon up," she said, examining her torn pants and the cuts underneath. Cleo seemed to have gone easy on her this time, with most of the scratches barely breaking the surface. A few were bleeding slightly and would need bandages, but none would require anything more. 'I better ask Nurse Joy where the first-aid is so I can patch myself up once I drop off my Pokemon,' she thought, standing back up straight and walking off towards the Pokemon Center after saying she'll see everyone later. She paused after a few feet before turning back and tapping her foot while looking at Callum.

Callum watched Eileen for a second with a quizzical look before picking up on what she was trying to convey him. "Bye everyone," Callum said after a slight pause and gave a brief wave. Turning around he walked over to Eileen before they continued towards the Pokémon center. I just don't get this girl. I can climb and scale a mountain and yet I still can't get her.

"So do you enjoy my company that much or have you convinced yourself that I'm your slave? Wait. Actually don't answer that just yet, I'd rather get an answer about what the heck is this party on the S.S. Anne that you keep talking about," Callum said pacing his walking speed to match Eileen's.

"It's simple Callum. That tall blonde guy Jordan managed to get us tickets to the anniversary party that is happening tonight on the ship. He has enough that everyone can tag along, including you Mr. New Guy. It's exciting being invited to such a big event; I haven't been to something like this in a few years. Usually it's just tinier, low-key sort of parties I'd get to tag along to," Eileen explained excitedly to Callum as they entered Vermillion and headed over to the Pokemon Center.

"To answer your first question though I just thought we'd be heading back together, so why go ahead," she said with a shrug, not thinking anything about the way she had acted. The Pokemon Center was getting busier now, and it took a few minutes before Eileen could drop off her Pokemon to be healed.

"Oh I see you're back. How was the training?" Nurse Joy asked when it was finally Eileen's turn to give the nurse her Pokemon.
"Pretty good, just need them to be healed. Also, do you have a basic first aid kit? I have a couple of cuts I need to bandage up," Eileen asked as she handed over her Pokemon, watching as Nurse Joy nodded and grabbed a small white container from under the counter.
"Just be sure to bring it back once you're done," the nurse told her, getting a thanks as she called for the next person in line.

Mika nodded at the reporter, stretching a little bit and twisting his neck until he heard a satisfying pop, then shuddered lightly. "You can put me in the story too, I guess... But, ask me for permission before you post anything that might be embarassing, okay?" He told Alan casually.

The young teenaged boy pulled out his phone, looking over at Callum and Eileen motioning to leave before he put it back. "Bye, nice to meet you guys." He said as the two left, returning his attentions to Tyler and Alan. "So, Alan... you have Pokemon, obviously, right? I don't think I've seen any of your party... May I?"

Jordan had grabbed a fishing rod at the same time at the same time as Rochelle, although she was the first one to have any luck, hooking a Poliwag. Maybe it's because she has like, a Water Pokemon already. Wish I could get one. That would be cool.

Finally, there was a bite on the line. Jordan hurriedly reeled it in. "Aww yeah, here we go bros!" He dug out one of his Pokeballs, letting out someone in prep for a battle. Out came Vince, ready for action.

"Scyyyyyyther!" Awww yeah!

"Get ready to fight Vince bro," Jordan told his starting Pokemon as he brought in his catch. "Feels like a big one."

"Scyther! Scyther!" Bout time! Bring it!

Splashes broke the surface of the water. Jordan gave it one big yank and hauled the Pokemon out of the water, onto the shore line. Flopping around on the ground, the Pokemon answered this new situation with a cry.

"Magikarp! Karp!"

"Aw lame bro," Jordan said dejected. Even a novice trainer knows that Magikarp are the weakest Pokemon in the land. "Thought it was going to be something good."

Vince looked down at the pathetic Fish Pokemon and smashed it with it's scythe, a relative Quick Attack, sending it flying back into the ocean. "Scyyyyyyy...." That sucked...

The process repeated itself a couple of times and each time the sprawling Magikarp was send packing back to the sea by Vince. Jordan called over to Rochelle. "Yo, I'm not having like any luck at all. Nothing but Magicrap, you know?"

After fishing up the Poliwag, Rochelle was having much less luck with her fishing. Not much else was biting, apart from a lone Magikarp who flopped around on the beach when it eventually let go of the lure. Rochelle had Kirsten just push it back into the water and let it swim off, after scanning it with her Pokédex. Magikarp might evolve into the much more powerful Gyarados, but Rochelle already had a Water-type on her team and plenty of Flying Pokémon. Plus she had heard stories about Gyarados needing a lot of training and control to keep in check: they were often violent creatures.

"Yeah, I'm not doing so well either. Only found two, a Poliwag and a Magikarp... I figure there'll be a lot of the latter," she answered, reeling in her line and walking over to Jordan, her Pokémon in tow.

Alan first replied to Aeris and Mika both.

"Thank you both for letting me add you to the story. Of course I won't record anything without permission and you can pick and choose what you tell me. I'd rather not make people feel uncomfortable in telling me their stories." He then responded specifically to Mika.

"I do in fact, not many but a few. Seeing as I'm not trying to be a trainer or a professor I only need so many as to defend myself from the wild pokemon and to accept the occasional challenge. You can see them if you like." Alan said as he released Croc, Spike, and Donna from their respective pokeballs to let them run around. They hadn't gotten much exercise today anyway so it was probably a good idea to at least let Croc stretch his legs.

When Croc was out of his ball, Aeris hid behind Mika. Not only was it because he was a Water type, but now he was bigger. She kept her head down. "S-sorry! You know how I am around Water types, even after my victory against Misty..."

She backed away further and behind a close tree, then let her team out of their Pokeballs. Felina, Sonya, Xal and Ekans she had starting to do a bit of training. Blaze and Tristan would have to wait until they'd be trained more later. She kept them two near her while the rest of her team trained on the local wild Pokemon.

"I dunno," Jordan said, reeling in his empty line again. "Maybe I need to put some like bait or something on it. Like, something the Pokemon will eat, you know?"

Jordan looked around the boardwalk that surrounded the beach. He headed towards a vending machine, standing against the hut. It offered a variety of standard snacks; chips, chocolate bars, peanuts. There was one thing in it that caught Jordan's eye though. Down at the bottom, a bit more expensive than the rest of the fare. For 300 Pokedollars, was a bag of Hot Link's Tauros Jerky Balls, Cinnabar Spice edition. That should like, work I think. Jordan scraped some change out of his pocket and purchased a bag.

I should probably see if Pokemon will even eat these though. Vince was still standing sentry over Jordan's rented rod. "Here Vince bro," Jordan dug one of the bites out of the bag. "Try this see how you like it."

Jordan tossed the bite towards Vince who caught it in his mouth with great dexterity. After rolling it around for a second or so, he swallowed. "ScytherScyther!" My mouth is alive with flavor!

"I'll take that as good bro," Jordan brought up the hook at the end of his line and placed one of the bites on it. "See if the ocean bros like this a bit better." He tossed the line out, hoping for something a bit more powerful than a Magikarp.

Mika smiled as Aeris stepped behind him, hiding herself from the Croconaw as it was released. The blond teen quickly pulled out his Pokedex, and scanned the reporter's Pokemon. After taking their information, he put his Pokedex away, and called out a few of his own Pokemon as well. Specifically, he called out Bones, Claw, Toxina and Artemis from their balls, letting them introduce themselves and get acquainted with Alan's Pokemon.

"That's understandable. I mean, if you're not a trainer, you don't really need a big group of Pokemon, I guess." He said with a smile, petting Artemis' ear as the HootHoot perched on his shoulder, Bones and Claw getting into a little wrestling match nearby, eager to let out some pent up energy and train a little bit.

Toxina had taken it upon herself to go along with Aeris' Pokemon, and keep an eye on them for a short while and making sure no one got into more trouble than they could handle.

"Mm, so Aeris. Are you thinking of taking on the Lieutenant, too? Have you decided on which Pokemon to use?" The fifteen-year-old asked her, wanting her to relax a little bit.

Aeris was sitting up against a tree when Mika came to her. "Yeah, I was thinking of taking him on. I was thinking of using Xal, Ekans and Blaze. While Blaze doesn't need the extra training, she is my strongest Pokemon. It'd be suicide to send Tristan out, what with him being part Flying. Xal is an obvious choice against Electric types and Ekans is my third strongest Pokemon right after Tristan. I may have thought about this a little..."

She giggled and put her arms on her knees which were bent, and her chin on her arms, watching her Pokemon train while Blaze and Tristan stayed by her side. Though Tristan was more interested in meeting the Pokemon that lived in the trees. "Although I don't know how many Pokemon Surge will use, so Ekans is more of a third option should he use more than two."

'That moron who can't even remember your name? What kind of luck does this dumbass have? He has a freaking Scyther and somehow he got tickets to this fancy anniversary party for the S.S. Anne. Seriously why do idiots always get the luck?' Callum thought to himself, as Eileen was talking. I also never agreed to join the group and was that an invitation again without asking? It's not even worth bringing up. I'm pretty sure this girl would only hear what she wants anyways.

After that Callum just kind of zoned out and started to pay attention to smell of salt water, any random flying Pokémon that might have been flying high in the sky or off in the distance, or whatever else he might have found interesting for a moment. Before he knew it, Callum was at the Pokémon Center waiting in line behind Eileen. He noticed a few angry glares directed at her whenever she turned her back. I see she's clearly better at making enemies than friends.

Not before long it was Callum's turn to give the Nurse Joy his Pokémon for healing. "So how was your afternoon?" The Nurse Joy asked trying to make a bit of small talk while she dealt with some formalities. "I caught an Oddish and got dragged into a couple of battles. Some of my Pokémon are a bit beat so I hope you can make them better." Callum replied as he handed her his Pokémon. "I'll do my best," the Nurse replied with a smile.

With nothing left to do but wait, Callum walked over and sat down in a random seat. Remembering the TM from earlier, he removed it along with the one he had earned from Brock. With only time to kill, Callum inserted TM 39 into his Pokédex and read through the list of Pokémon that could learn it; before doing the same with his TM 62.

Completely ignoring all the dirty looks she was being given by other Trainers, Eileen waved a 'goodbye' to Callum as she went to the video phones. There were only a few being used, with her taking the one furthest from everyone else. 'I don't know why I should care about privacy, it's not like I'm discussing anything top secret,' she told herself, placing the first-aid kit next to the video screen before dialing her home number.

"I swear if it takes ten tries like the last few times," Eileen started as she waited for one of her parents to pick up, idly examining her leg cuts. At that moment the screen flickered and showed the small lab at the house, with her father in front of the screen eating food. 'That was fast...'

"Hello there Eileen. What a coincidence that you called me just as I was sitting down to eat breakfast," her father said, oblivious to the actual time of day it was. A few of his Unown were floating around in the back, forming the word 'HELLO!' after a few tries.

"Dad, it's after lunch. It's actually closer to dinner," Eileen explained, her dad pausing before giving a simple shrug and saying that it didn't really matter. "Sure dad. Anyways I wanted to let you know I'm in Vermillion now, and I'm invited to the anniversary party on the S.S. Anne tonight. It's a good thing I tagged along with that group I had told you about," she said with a cheerful smile, watching as her father gave her a congratulations.

"That's very nice dear. Did you need me to send you over some clothes?" he asked, taking a bite from the cereal he was eating.

"Yes. No dress though since my leg is going to have a bunch of band-aids on it thanks to my latest Pokemon. I'm think just the grey dress pants, the white and blue blouse, and just dress shoes. No heels. You know the ones, right?"

"I do indeed. I'll go and grab them quickly. Just give me a moment," her father said, putting down his bowl as he left the room. Eileen only had to wait a couple of minutes before Beuford returned carrying the clothes she requested.

"Okay, this should be everything," he stated, putting them onto the transporter to the side and sending them over. "You said you had a new Pokemon, right? What have you caught so far?"

"Just and Exeggcute and a Meowth, both of which are getting healed otherwise I'd show them to you. The Meowth is a bit feisty, but I plan on training it soon enough. Thanks again for the clothes. Any updates on the other two family members?" Eileen asked jokingly, taking the clothes out of the transporter once they arrived.

"Nothing from your brother. Hershel did come out of the labs earlier today to grab some food, so that at least means your mother is alive," he replied back with a laugh, continuing to eat his food as he daughter talked.

"And you didn't interrogate Hershel? He'd know what was going on," Eileen said, watching her father shake his head a few times.
"Yes, because I can certainly take on a Slowking. I wouldn't be able to do anything even if he was still a Slowpoke! I just watched him come and grab some stuff from the fridge before heading back downstairs," he explained, hearing Eileen's name being called out in the background, "I suppose it's time to let you go. Tell me how everything goes, alright?"

"Definitely," Eileen said, saying goodbye to him before ending the call. She got up and carried all of her things back to the front desk, picking up her Pokemon before going into one of the available bunk-rooms to get ready for the party.

"Huh... I didn't think of bait. Just used the lure as it was," Rochelle commented as she watched Jordan take another attempt at fishing. She vaguely recalled fishing being one of the opportunities mentioned on the S.S. Anne pass. Maybe they would have better luck aboard the ship than here on the shore. If they were heading out to the open sea for the party, then there might even be a chance at rarer Water-types that weren't easily met in the city.

Rochelle wanted to be prepared for the evening aboard the cruise ship... a call to home was in order as well. Her parents would probably still be worried about her, after that call from the Cerulean City police station. But they knew she would call eventually, and she would do so before it was time to head off to the party. For now, she could just relax and listen to the sounds of the water. Her Pokémon were looking a bit restless, when she glanced down at them. Perhaps some more battling was in order.

The idea of battling against Jordan was an interesting one, and Rochelle figured it would be good for both Trainers to try facing off against one another. "Say, Jordan... would you be interested in a battle against me and my Pokémon?" she asked, a smile on her face in anticipation. Kirsten and Iskra seemed to perk up a little at her question.

Jordan had the bait out for a bit. It didn't seem to be working, he didn't have a bite on the line. The first bit of action he got wasn't from the water, it was from Rochelle.

Say, Jordan... would you be interested in a battle against me and my Pokémon?

Jordan turned around as he started to reel in his line. "Uh, I guess we could probably do that. Like would probably be good for the bros too and stuff." As he pulled it in he looked at the hook. The jerky ball was gone. "Ah dude! Lame! Man, totally didn't even feel that!"

He looked back at Rochelle, disappointed in himself for letting that one get away. "Yeah, I'd be up for a battle there. Maybe I'll do better at that then the fishing you know?"

"Alright," Rochelle said before looking down at Iskra, who was standing by her side. "You hear that, Iskra? We'll see how you fare in battle against Jordan. You up for it?"

The pink Electric-type looked a little confused by the idea. He recognised Jordan as being friendly: why would Rochelle want to battle him? "Flaaffy?" he asked, looking over at Jordan and back to his Trainer with head cocked slightly to one side. It seemed to Rochelle that Iskra didn't quite understand what she was asking. She did her best to explain it to the diminutive Pokémon.

"Hey, listen, we both know Jordan's one of the regular guys we see. He's a friend. But we need to properly see how well you do in a battle. That Poliwag from earlier wasn't a real test of your strength. Pokémon under a Trainer's guidance are often a lot stronger than ones in the wild... would you like to get stronger?" she coaxed.

That got Iskra's attention. He perked up at the thought of training and becoming stronger, and stepped up in front of Rochelle. Both the Trainer and her two Pokémon looked to Jordan to see which member of his team he would send out to battle: Kirsten was watching from the sidelines, still hanging around in the water.

"That makes sense... and it's a decent strategy. I'll definitely be rooting for you, and I'm glad I've got you doing the same." Mika said to Aeris as she answered him. He turned his attention back to Alan and his Pokemon.

"So, Alan, what made you want to be come a reporter?" The teenaged boy asked curiously, wanting a better idea of the kind of person behind the new face. "What spurred the spark of journalism in you?"

He turned occasionally over back to his Pokemon, making sure they weren't getting into any trouble, and turned back as he saw that they were behaving themselves.

He'd missed the ocean. The sound of the waves, that particular weight to the air. Even the way the air smelled. The only thing absent was the sound of Wingulls overhead - he even looked up to double check - but Simon decided that absence wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The trainer shifted his weight against the post he was using as a backrest. Overhead Pennant was making lazy circles in the air. Every now and again she would dive toward the water with her claws outstretched. She hadn't caught anything yet. It looked like a playful exercise rather than an actual hunt.

"Whirr?" A series of bubbles drifted info Simon's view and brought him back to his current topic. "We've got to come up with a name for you." he said.

*Shrrrr...* a quiet snoring came from nearby.

"Migh?" The second cry was muffled. Suspiciously so. Simon turned around. "Shadow, get out of there!" he commanded. Half of the canine's head was buried in Simon's new heavy-duty 'traveler's' backpack. "Shadow!"

*Wuff* Shadow whined in complaint but obeyed. Fortunately Simon had already removed the Pokémon egg so there was nothing breakable in his bag. Simon bent down to re-secure the zippers and flaps. Next to his new pack was his old cloth pack with the Pokémon egg wrapped in his torn t-shirt and blanket. Brynn was resting, curled partially around the bundle. She didn't like the sunlight. Or the water. Another rhythmic *shrrr* sound came from her direction. Simon resettled the two packs against one another careful not to disturb the sleeping Pokémon .

"Yen..." Shadow paced nearby for a few seconds.

"Krab." A passing Krabby caught Shadow's attention and with a friendly bark he ran toward the bright red creature.

Simon watched Shadow alternate taunting and stalking the Krabby. You are going to get pinched.' he thought. Simon shook his head. He glanced up at the sky, squinting to calculate the time. He'd bought a cheap sunglasses attachment for his normal glasses but it wasn't very effective. Something bumped up against the trainer's leg.

"Poli?" The small blue Pokémon was still waiting.

"Right. I'm sorry. We need a name...."

The Poliwag skipped forward. It stopped in front of the fishing pole Simon had stuck into the ground. "Pol."

"I wasn't supposed to catch you." Simon informed the Pokémon .

Whir?"

"What I mean is, I hadn't planned to go catch you. Or go fishing. At all. At least, not here. But that fisherman was so excited. All I wanted was some potions..."



(Earlier that day...)

"Here you go, sir."

"Thank you, miss" Simon replied. He gathered up his purchases and offered a polite smile to the cashier while he waited to see if he'd be overbalanced. Once he was certain he wasn't going to fall Simon and Shadow walked outside of the PokeMart.

"Oof" Simon dropped the bags onto the nearest city bench and tugged open the zipper of his backpack.

"Hey kid! Hey! Hey, boy!" Someone very loud was very nearby. "Hey!" The voice got louder.

Huh? Simon turned to see an older man, a rather big man, in a bright orange vest and hat. In one hand the man had a cooler. The other hand the man waved as he spoke.

"Come'ere, I wanna talk to ya."

"Excuse me?...Sir?" Simon took a step backwards but the man continued to approach.

"You look like you could be a Fisherman." The emphasis was clear. Fisher. Man.

"I'm sorry?" Simon set his potion back down in the store bag. He saw Shadow laying down underneath the bench, for some reason completely comfortable with this stranger in Simon's personal space.

"A fisherman!" The man exclaimed enthusiastically. "Like me! Look here. I just bought myself this new Rod" The man held up a brown paper bag with a bright red logo Simon didn't recognize. "And I need someone to take this old one. See. Here." The man held out his hand. Once it stopped shaking Simon noticed that there was indeed a fishing rod detached into three pieces.

"So, how about it, kid? It's free! It's in good shape! And if you don't want it maybe you could take it to the hut down on the south shore?...I'd do it myself but I have to get back to my boat."

Boat. Not ship. So a local fisherman, perhaps? Simon tilted his head and tried to see what condition this 'old rod' was. The south shore.. He'd seen signs earlier advertising a sale on bait there. It wasn't too far away.

"So what do you say? It's a really good deal!" The man look at Simon expectantly.

"I uh..."



"I'd purchased so many things already. Getting something for free didn't sound like a completely bad idea. Especially after the price of that new pack. Which wasn't a planned purchase either...someone just decided to chew through the strap of my old one. Shadow..."

"Migh?"



(Even earlier that day...)

"Simon Braddock you have a phone call on line two. Simon Braddock, line two."

Simon picked up the nearest phone from the wall and hit #2. "Hello?"

"Pick up another company shirt while you're in Vermillion, son. They just got a new shipment in Tuesday. I know the manager down there and he owes me one from way back. Talk to uh...." There was the sound of papers being shuffled. "Here he is - Max West. Tell him you need two good shirts and a key card."

"Another key card, sir? But I-"

"Gotta get your region code updated. Some fool forgot to upgrade your clearance on the long-term travel form. HR just emailed me and asked what you were doing in Cerulean."

"Oh. Okay, sir." That explained why it took ten minutes to be allowed into the building. Simon glanced at the front desk. The surly desk clerk was still eying him suspiciously. "I delivered a package earlier today." Simon informed his boss. "Office goods."

"That's good. That's good. Well, carry on." After a casual 'goodbye' the phone was hung up.

Max West turned out to be a stocky but friendly man who, despite the clutter on and around his desk, knew exactly what forms Simon needed to sign.

"And sign here. And here. And initial here. And stand right there so we can get your picture. Great! Now just give this to the clerk up front and she'll get you your new card."

"Thank you, sir. Shadow, leave that alone" Beneath the assistant manager's desk Shadow had grown bored and decided to gnaw on the nearest thing he could find. Unfortunately that was strap of Simon's backpack. Hiding his annoyance Simon thanked Mr. West again and took the elevator back down to the first floor.

Fifteen minutes and a halfhearted apology later Simon had a freshly made key card, two brand-new shirts, and no new packages. He waited until he and Shadow had cleared the entire street before scolding his Pokémon .

"You chewed through the whole strap, what's wrong with you?"

"Miiiiigh." Shadow complained mournfully. He tucked his tail in between his legs and let his ears droop. Despite his height and weight gain in the evolution the large canine very much resembled a lost puppy. It was the sad whine that did it. Simon sighed and shook his head. He reached over to scratch behind Shadow's ears.

"You can't be hungry, bud, so don't even try to use that excuse." Hefting his backpack up by the good strap Simon inspected the damage. The left strap was in two pieces. Gnawed into uneven and frayed ends. He'd had the pack for several years now. He could try and find someone to repair the damage. Or.

"I could look at the bigger packs. Maybe get one with pockets. Or a frame." Simon thought about the distance he'd already covered with the group. "Or perhaps something water-proof."



(Now...)

"What do you think of Wave?"

A sudden burst of water answered the suggestion. It rained for a few seconds within a very small radius. Entirely on top of Simon.

"Hey." Removing his glasses the trainer began wiping the lenses on his shirt. He shook his head briskly, showering the nearby area with water droplets, before squinting at the bouncing Poliwag.

"It was just a suggestion, Skipper."

"Poli. Wag." The small blue and white Pokémon stopped firing bubbles in Simon's direction and began to bounce in place. It was a rather energetic Pokémon .

"Skipper? Are you sure?" The Poliwag bounced again. This time it managed a flip before landing.

"Alright then. Skipper it is."

"Poli!"

Rochelle seemed to have made her choice in the battle. Vince looked ready to go behind him, scythes clashing against each other but Jordan looked back and told him, "No, bro. Save you for later, just in case." Vince looked a little disappointed but silently accepted his trainer's decision. He stood back behind as Jordan reached into his pocket and produced another ball. "All right, let's see if I got this right."

He tossed the ball out and in a flash of energy rooted to the ground, Spike appeared on the ground. He looked a little dazed, but quickly regained his frantic composure. Mankey....Mankey! Mankey! Mankey! Whazzat....Fight! Is it a fight! It's a fight!

"Calm down Spike bro. We're just taking this easy, right? No need to get crazy."

Mankeeeey! Manman! Fine, fine! Let's go!

"All right Rochelle, I guess we can, like, go and stuff."

"Alright then... Remember, Iskra, don't hold back. Hit him with a Thunder Wave," Rochelle told the Electric-type. His eyes narrowed in concentration and his tail began to glow a bright blue, but before he could build up enough of a charge to use the attack, Spike leapt forward of his own accord and delivered a vicious Karate Chop to his opponent. Iskra stumbled backwards, fell over onto his back with a short cry of alarm, and accidentally released his buildup of electric energy in Spike's direction. It took the form of a blue wave of electricity, which connected with the Pig Monkey Pokémon and sending him backwards in turn.

Spike looked the worse off for the exchange. As Iskra got back to his feet, a bruise already forming on his skin, Spike stayed down for a while longer, twitching as little blue sparks danced around him. The Thunder Wave had done its job: Rochelle allowed herself a little smile at the result of her tactic. Paralysis slowed down a target and sometimes stopped them from moving altogether, and she doubted Jordan had any medicine on hand to counteract the effects. Iskra now had a clear advantage.

"Come on, Spike bro, just like, keep doing what you were doing there!" Jordan shouted, trying to encourage his Pokemon but not really offering much guidance. Rochelle raised her eyebrows at that: his command gave her the impression that Jordan lacked the focus to lead his Pokémon effectively in battle. And now she would show him how it was done.

"Again, Iskra. ThunderShock this time," she instructed. While she watched Spike getting back to his feet, clearly afflicted by the Thunder Wave, Iskra built up another electrical charge and released it from his tail, hitting the Mankey perfectly. Spike screeched as the electricity lanced through him, but stayed on his feet and rushed at his adversary... it was a slow attempt at a charge. Iskra made to move out of the way, but even with the paralysis Spike was fast enough to catch him. He jumped on Iskra and began attempts to exact revenge, tugging on the wool on his head and hanging on for dear life.

"FLAAAAAA!" Iskra cried as he flailed around, trying to dislodge Spike before he could do any extensive damage. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts he fell onto his back again, prompting even further raised eyebrows from Rochelle as the collision with the ground knocked the wind out of both combatants. It made Spike let go, though, and Iskra quickly got up, beginning to build up another shock to be released at Rochelle's command.

She was of the mind that the one-on-one battle was more or less over, and looked over to Jordan to see if he was ready to call it off. She could have switched Iskra out after using Thunder Wave, replacing him with Phoenix or Natalya: their Flying-type moves would have easily knocked Spike out within a couple of minutes. But that would just be adding insult to injury, and she had no intention of making Jordan annoyed as a result of the battle. It had been a fair face-off, for the most part.

"I was always fascinated with stories and tales. I was very much a reader as a child, and biographies and personal stories were always interesting. I guess it kind of followed I would take a career where I asked questions. If you're good at something never do it for free. I'm actually hoping the articles I write can springboard me to making books of oral histories." Alan replied, his pokemon joining some of the others that were playing, Croc though remaining behind his trainer at the sight of Aeris.

It was obvious that Spike was having a hard time with this battle, the paralysis not helping at all. "Yeah OK, you totally got me there Rochelle," Jordan told her, returning his Fighting Pokemon to its ball. "Man, I just, like, haven't had an answer lately, you know? Like first Misty, now you. It's like, a bummer. This is so much tougher than it looks. Or maybe just Rock Dude is absolutely terrible."

As Rochelle returned Iskra and Kirsten to their own Poké Balls, she had to stifle a short laugh so as not to offend Jordan, though she did smile a little at both her victory and Jordan's attitude to the battle. "The thing is, Jordan, you weren't giving your Pokémon any real direction. Battling takes more than just having the Pokémon out and ready to fight. I myself tend to think in a tactical sense, using the right move for the right situation.

"For example, Iskra is fairly slow compared to some of the others on my team, so the first step when he's in a battle is to paralyse the opponent with a Thunder Wave," she explained, feeling a little like a teacher as she explained the basics of strategy. A subject in which Jordan seemed to be lacking.

"It also helps to have a good grasp of the advantages and disadvantages certain types have. There's a lot that goes into a battle..." Rochelle trailed off, remembering where she had gained her knowledge of Pokémon. "Wait a minute. This should have all been covered in school, ages ago. How come you don't remember things like that? Giving Pokémon instructions is, like, fifth or sixth-grade stuff."

"Well I wasn't exactly in on the whole battling thing when I was little," Jordan explained. "My mom, she was pretty against me having anything to do with them. She hates them. Don't know why. Wouldn't let me be involved with any of the in class training, signed some release form. And like, back then, I totally didn't complain. Was like terrified of Pokemon back then cause of something that happened. But my uncle taught me that they could be cool. Like he can surf on his. It's pretty sweet. But mom still is like no.

When my dad decided I should come out here, like this there was a big fight in the house. I just wanted to head on back down to the beach but Dad was like, not happening, bro. But yeah, I'm not like sure what to do totally. I think I need coaching, or something. Cause like, I'm not really getting all that good here." He looked down, a bit ashamed of his lack of skills and his current .500 record as a trainer.

Mika nodded as he listened to the reported tell his story of how he came to get into his profession. "That's cool. Glad that you knew what you wanted to from so young... I still have no idea what I want do to when I get older... I mean, you can only manage being an adventuring Pokemon Trainer for so long... I mean, Gym Leaders and such are the exception, I guess. But, I suppose I have the rest of my teenage years to figure that out, huh?"

Mika held Aeris' hand in his, trying to get her to calm herself around the Water-Type Pokemon. "Deep breath, Aeris... Deep breath."

So Jordan didn't exactly have a large amount of experience as a Trainer. Rochelle wasn't all that experienced herself, not counting the Trainer classes in school where she had never battled with anything that was all that strong. She knew her way around type advantages, knowing most of them by heart, and how some Pokémon were naturally immune to some attacks. She figured she could teach Jordan a thing or two, if he wanted to learn.

"Hey, it's okay... we're all new to it in the beginning. If you like I can give you some tips on how to battle effectively," she suggested. "It's easy enough once you get the hang of it... your Pokédex is a huge help with that. It'll tell you about your opponents as well as your own Pokémon if you scan them every so often."

Rochelle was a little confused by Jordan's explanation of his mother's attitude towards Pokémon. They were good friends to have around, trusted companions and could protect you from harm as long as you trained them well. Why a mother would keep her son away from them, even going so far as to exclude him from an important part of his education, she didn't understand.

Aeris took a deep breath, holding Mika's hand. She held her other hand close to her chest to help her calm down a bit more. "Thanks, Mika." She smiled towards him and gave him a kiss. She felt a bit easier at the moment. But that Alan's Croc had evolved into a bigger Water Pokemon didn't really help. She still kept herself behind the tree she had initially gone behind.

Meanwhile, Blaze and Tristan were still staying close to her, though Tristan was kinda occupied with checking out the Pokemon in the tree. Not fighting them, more just communicating with them. Xal was busy dealing with a Mankey, avoiding what attacks came his way as he could, because he knew he was weak against its attacks, but this could possibly make him tougher. Sonya was playfully fighting some Oddishs with her Confusion attack, taking care of them all as she could. Ekans managed to make easy prey out of the local Drowzee by using Bite, followed by a Wrap attack. As for Felina, she was having fun with the other Meowths, fighting them to show them she was superior. Which she made clear in most of the cases, though she wasn't without her own losses.

"Are the rest of you just going to just train until it's time for the party?"

Tyler shrugged. "That's the plan. If you excuse me, I'm gonna see if there's still anyone out there who wants to battle."

With that he waved goodbye and continued his way up north.

As he walked, he heard the sounds of Pokemon fighting and young Trainers barking commands from the tall grass that surrounded the path on both sides. Tyler wondered briefly why there were so many kids out around. 'School just let out, maybe?' But that could be to his advantage; with all the people out, there had to be someone who wanted to battle...

"Hey! You!"

The voice came from Tyler's left. From out of the grass sprung out a young man, who couldn't have looked older than fourteen. His lanky frame was in stark contrast to his thick-rimmed glasses, which began to slide down the bridge of his nose until he corrected them. He pushed aside a streak of greasy black hair that covered his eye and pointed at Tyler.

"You're not from around here, are you?" the kid asked.

Tyler looked around before answering. "Uh...yeah," he replied uncertainly. "Why?"

"Good! Fresh meat!" replied the kid as he withdrew a Pokeball.

"Right...well, I'll battle you if that's what you wa-"

"Faraday, go!"

The young man hurled his Pokeball with a flourish that seemed rehearsed, yet extremely cocky. From the device appeared a creature with a metallic spherical torso and two horseshoe magnets on either side of its body.

"Magnemite."

Tyler pulled out his Pokedex and did a quick scan

image
081 Magnemite
Magnet Pokémon
image image
HT 1' 00""
WT 13.2 lbs
The units at the sides of its body generate anti-gravity energy to keep it aloft in the air.

'Hmm.'

He reached for Tank's Pokeball. Since he knew Double Kick, it was the logical choice.

"Tank, you're up!"

Free from the Pokeball, Tank took a moment to look around before setting his sights on his opponent.

The young man looked at the Nidoran and scoffed. "A Nidoran? This won't take long at all. Faraday, Thundershock!"

Sparks formed around the Magnemite's body and quickly focused around the screw-like appendage at the top of its body. A yellow arc of electricity fired out from the appendage in Tank's direction.

Tank jumped to the side, and the bolt slammed harmlessly into the dirt. Faraday fired again and scored a hit as Tank tried to evade again. Tank yelped as he was momentarily stunned by the electric blast.

"C'mon Tank, shake it off!" Tyler commanded. "Use Double Kick!"

Shrugging off the worst of the Thundershock attack, Tank charged and leaped forward. The Magnemite tried to dodge, but it was too slow to avoid the attack. Tank's hind feet struck his levitating opponent squarely in the face, sending it hurtling backwards. It crashed into the ground as it lost consciousness, rolling towards its trainer before coming to a stop.

The young man gaped at Tank in disbelief. "F...Faraday, return..." he mumbled quietly as he returned his Pokemon, all signs of his previous arrogance completely gone. He pulled some money out of his pocket and meekly handed it to Tyler. Without a word, he walked dejectedly towards Vermillion, no doubt to the Pokemon Center.

'Well, that was something.'

"Ran!"

Tank's call caught Tyler's attention. When he turned around, he was surprised to see Tank glowing with a white energy. The same kind of energy he saw when Geist evolved.

"Tank, are you..."

The Nidoran's form became a shining white silhouette and started to change. He doubled in size, his ears became larger, and the spines along his back grew in length. After a few seconds, the bright whiteness began to fade and in its place was the newly evolved Tank.

"Nidorino!" Tank declared happily.

image
033 Nidorino
Poison Pin Pokémon
image
HT 2'11"
WT 43.0 lbs
It raises its big ears to check its surroundings. If it senses anything, it attacks immediately.

A quick Pokedex scan informed Tyler about his new Pokemon. 'Interesting...'

"Man, look at you! How are you feeling?"

Tank grinned and nodded positively. "Nido...Nidorino!"

Tyler flashed a smile as well. "Good," he replied. "Now how about we get you something to eat, huh? I bet you're hungry."

"Nido!"

"I thought as much."

"That'd be cool," Jordan agreed. If Rochelle was willing to help him at all with this whole battling thing, it would be greatly appreciated. "Like I dunno, maybe we can do these practice matches again, like so I can get better and stuff, you know?"

Jordan was fumbling around for the right words. He hadn't felt any kind of desire to do anything other than lounge and surf in a long while. But seeing the effort that Vince and Spike and Vicky were giving just for him made him feel different. Hell, Spike could barely move and he was still willing to fight through it just to try and get the win. He had to get better at this. Not just for him, but for his team.

"I think we should probably heal up the bros though, you know? Like, and get some food. That would be cool too."


As the hour of departure approached, the trainers invited along on Jordan's ticket congregated at the Pokemon Center for a light meal and a heal-up session before hearing to the pier.

It was easy to find the ship. The S.S. Anne was a dominant presence on the waterfront, easily double the tinier speed based ferries docked. The S.S. Anne was built for comfort, and it showed. A steady stream of trainers was already making their way up the gangplank as a pair of jacket-clad workers checked for passes. Since he was the one with the pass, Jordan led the group up to the entry.

"Hey," he said to the one on the right. "So yeah, like, I got a pass here for like ten people. So that's me and my bros in behind me there right? I think I got it here." Jordan pulled the crumpled pass out of his sweatshirt pocket and presented it to the worker.

"Mhmm, of course," he replied, barely looking at the pass before ripping it up. "Right this way, watch your step! Come on through!" He kept waiving people through as everyone started up towards the deck of the ship.

"If you ever need any help with battling, or just want to talk about how it's going for you, I'm here," Rochelle assured Jordan with a friendly smile.


Later in the afternoon, while waiting for her Pokémon to be healed at the Vermilion Pokémon Center, Rochelle placed a call to home from one of the available videophones, to give her parents an update on how she was doing. She could call from her Pokégear, of course, but the small wrist-mounted device couldn't transport items. She was of the mind that an event such as the S.S. Anne's anniversary party required attire that was a little better-looking than the clothes of a travelling Trainer.

Soon enough her mother Dayna picked up at the other end. "Rochelle! Are you alright? You didn't sound one hundred percent when we last spoke." Her expression was a slightly anxious one on the screen.

"I'm fine, Mum. I've put that incident behind me as best as possible, and I'm carrying on with the others," Rochelle answered, giving her mother a warm smile to show she was okay.

Dayna let out a sigh of relief. "That's good to hear. Your father was worried sick when I told him the news yesterday..." She was interrupted by another voice Rochelle knew well: that of her father, Jonathan Sanders. "Is that Rochelle?"

"Yes, Dad, I'm here - " was all she could say before Jon cut her off. "Your mother's right, 'chelle. I was going to come and pick you up myself when I heard about Team Rocket taking you prisoner... But you appear to be fine. Are you sure you don't want me to come out there? If you want I can give you one of my Pokémon for protection."

"Dad, I'm fine... really. I have my own team now, and I'm not travelling alone. Learned from that mistake," Rochelle answered. She didn't want to sound like she needed special treatment from her parents over one little thing. A fifth Pokémon on her team at this early a stage in the Pokémon Gym challenges might possibly be a bit much to handle, especially if it was older and stronger than the rest of her team put together.

"Alright, alright... I trust you, baby girl. You're a smart kid. You won't let one little thing drive you away from your dreams," Jon conceded. "A shame that you don't want my help, though. Torch could use a little bit more exercise than he gets. Eh, bud?" he added, looking off to one side of the screen. The familar "Arf!" of Torch, the slightly chubby Arcanine of the family, came over the phone. Rochelle had to laugh at that. Torch was indeed a bit of a lazy creature.

"Now, what else is happening, 'chelle?" Jon continued. Rochelle explained that the group with whom she was travelling had been invited to a party aboard the S.S. Anne. She wanted some fresh, semi-formal clothing to wear for that night, and promised to send them back over the phone the morning after the party.

"I know just the thing..." Dayna said as she hurried off-screen for a few minutes.


That Evening:

Rochelle let out a low whistle at the sight of the magnificent vessel before the group. As per her request for a new outfit, she was wearing a blue, sleeveless blouse with a halter-neck design, her usual jacket over the top and a long black skirt whose hem stopped six inches short of brushing against the ground.

Rochelle had opted not to wear her bandanna to tie her hair back, instead leaving it loose for the occasion. A couple of locks of bright red hair were bugging her by getting in front of her ears, and she occasionally tucked them behind her ear only for them to fall back into place. Finishing out Rochelle's outfit was her usual backpack and belt, Poké Balls attached to the latter. She wished she had a small satchel or something to carry them in, as the belt didn't really go with her skirt. And her slightly travel-worn backpack stuck out like a sore thumb, since she was trying for a semi-formal look.

All four of Rochelle's Pokémon were secured on her belt, since she didn't want any of them wandering around the ship and possibly getting into trouble. Intending to take part in the battling she remembered being advertised on the pass, she followed Jordan aboard the S.S. Anne, stumbling a little on the gangplank before getting her feet in the right places.

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