Chapter Three brings with it a battle, a sociopathic Mudkip, and a weird hairstyle!
... Unfortunately, it's not Miror B. I'm referring to.
/ Chapter Three /
"The Zigzagoon Platoon vs A Scientific Buffoon"
Route 101, Hoenn ~ 4:00 PM; present day
The United Nations classifies Hoenn, along with the URR, Sinnoh, and about eleven other countries, as a Trainer Nation. Trainer Nations are countries in which Pokemon are found in nature more commonly than so-called 'regular' animals, such as dogs, sheep, and chimpanzees. Since Pokemon are so prevalent in Trainer Nations, much of the economy revolves around them as well. One of the most popular career choices in Trainer Nations is training, from which the classification derives its name. Training, quite simply, consists of people going out in the wild, hunting down Pokemon, and capturing them for use in battle against other Pokemon. In order to find wild Pokemon to catch and battle against, trainers often go off the beaten path and onto roads less travelled, since the stronger the Pokemon, the farther it will live from civilisation. Of course, this procedure was rife with safety concerns. Finally, after the horrific MacKitchinson incident in Johto, 1989 (the one inolving demented Weedle, birthday cake, and a melancholy Porsche), most Trainer Nation governments organised a system of safe paths between roads and cities. These dirt paths - 'Routes', as they were called - were trails that unobtrusively ran through the wilderness, far enough from suburbia that wild Pokemon would not be scared away, but close enough that a trainer in need of help would be able to quickly reach civilisation.
Route 101 was one such path, leading from Littleroot to its neighbouring town, Oldale. A small dirt track between cities, it was straightforward and simply wound over a small ledge, until it finally found its way to Oldale. It was just a kilometre or so long, but it still seemed like a small piece of the plains ripped out and placed into the town. Flowers gave way to tangled knots of grass, and trees lined the roadside, preventing trainers from wandering too far off the route. It was at the Littleroot end of this road that Hazel found herself, panting. Besides her, Rikuya stood still. Both of them were by the grass at the end of the road, looking ahead at a decidedly odd sight.
Rikuya slipped his backpack off and reached into it, pulling out a notepad, on which he scribbled, Wait here, I'll get help. He then proceeded to run back into town, leaving Hazel staring into the clearing ahead. A thirty-something man (he was just old enough to have thick brown stubble covering his double chin and a pot belly, but too young to have a wrinkly face) dressed in a lab coat was stamping at the ground, trying to kick away some small, furry raccoon-like things, while they bit at his ankles, tried to get under his feet, and generally irritate the hell out of him. Simultaneously, the man in the lab coat was shouting, "Help! Hey, help! Goddamn it, someone help me for the love of - Get away! Go! Help!"
"Um ... dude? I'm right here," Hazel called to him. "You don't need to yell ..."
"Thank God you're here!" the man said in relief, while trying to kick away one of the acrobatic pests which had jumped on to his shoe. "These damned Zigzagoon have been on me for half an hour now. A man can only take so much abuse before he lashes out!"
"Don't worry, Professor, your son's gone to get help," Hazel replied. "You are Professor Birch, right?"
"That's me," Birch confirmed. "But we can't wait that long!"
"What were you doing out here anyway?" Hazel queried curiously.
"I was studying the group behaviour of a wild platoon of Zigzagoon when they decided to study my response to a group attack. Now can you help me out here?"
"Like I said, your son's -"
"I can't wait that long!" Birch shouted in frustration. "These Zigzagoon are going to be the death of me if you don't help me right now!"
"Okay, okay. But you really shouldn't be out here without your own Pokemon, you know," Hazel deadpanned.
"I had my own Pokemon!" Birch answered, swatting at a Zigzagoon that had crawled up his pant leg. "They were in my bag, but I dropped it when the Zigzagoon jumped me! Wait a minute," he paused as an idea occured to him, "the bag! It's still around there somewhere! Quick, find it!"
Hazel looked around and spotted a brown bag in the middle of a bush. She tugged at it and the bush relinquished its grasp after a few seconds, scraping against the faux leather surface. Opening the flap of the bag, she found that three PokeBalls, all in their 'small' state, nestled amidst a sea of papers, folders, and a pair of binoculars. She dug in and pulled them out, holding one in each hand with the third at her foot.
"Wait, wait!" Hazel looked at Birch, annoyed. "If you use all three," he explained, "the Pokemon will get confused. Only call out one."
"Heh, all right." She looked back to the two PokeBalls in hand. "Which one? Ah, I guess I'll go with that one!" She dropped the one in her right hand, juggled the other so that now it lay in her right hand, and flicked the switch. A burst of white light streamed out as the ball swung open on its hinges, taking the form of a small, blue ... thing? It looked oddly like a cross between a lizard and a frog, with a large and spiky fin on its head in the style of a mohawk, two orange star-shaped fins on its cheeks, and yet another translucent, wet-looking fin as a tail.
"What the hell?" Hazel was taken aback at the sight of this strange Pokemon. "Hey, Professor, what Pokemon is this?"
"It's a Mudkip!" he shouted. "Please, quickly, help!"
"But I don't even know what attacks it has," Hazel pointed out. At this point, Birch gave a desperate cry, muffled by the fact that he had finally toppled onto his rear and was currently trying to pull two Zigzagoon off his face. "Um ... whatever. Mudkip, use ... Tackle?"
The Mudkip did something Hazel was definitely not expecting it to do. It turned to her, twitched its cheek-fins disparagingly at her (How, Hazel thought, can it even do that?) and glinted its eye (Okay, that's weird. How does it know which angle to stand at to reflect sunlight off?), before it sprinted straight at the Professor. Smashing into Birch, Mudkip charged at the Zigzagoon. The platoon scattered, scampering for safety to save their skins from the weird blue amphibian with an attitude, until only one remained.
The last Zigzagoon faced off against the Mudkip, squaring its small shoulders and glaring with its beady black eyes (They're actually kinda cute this way!) in an unconvincing effort to look threatening. Its spiky fur reminded Hazel of a cup of espresso, with swirling bands of opponent reared on its back legs, sneering down at the small mammal as it landed back down in an attempt to show the Zigzagoon exactly who was boss. The raccoon Pokemon folded its ears backwards, flat against its body, and opened its mouth, baring small, sharp teeth. The Mudkip responded by twitching its cheek-fins at the Zigzagoon again.
The Zigzagoon narrowed its eyes, giving it a look of intense concentration.
The Mudkip lowered its head fin and pawed at the ground, like a bull.
... An epic showdown, this was not.
"Uh, Professor?" Hazel called to Birch, who, on the opposite side of the field, had just gotten up and was dusting himself off. "Why aren't they attacking?"
"A good question," Birch said approvingly. "Perhaps they're having a show of power. Each trying to intimidate the other, show its superiority. This is clearly Zigzagoon's territory, but Mudkip is unquestionably badass so it's anyone's game."
Hazel rolled her eyes. "I know it's a good question, but do you have a good answer?"
"Err ... no," Birch muttered. Then his face lit up. "Actually, yes! You have to command Mudkip to attack, don't you?"
"Uh, he seems intelligent. Why would I need to command him in battle? It's practically begging Zigzagoon to dodge. Wouldn't it be more strategic to think up a maneouver and give it a cool codename instead of shouting out orders?"
Birch shrugged. "I don't know! Look, girl ... Actually, why am I still here? Those Zigzagoon aren't on me anymore, so I can go. Oh, and if you want a reward, drop by my laboratory tomorrow!" And with that, he gathered up his bag and the remaining two PokeBalls (leaving behind Mudkip's PokeBall) fled, jogging as fast as he could (which was slightly faster than the average snail on steroids).
"You know, Mudkip," Hazel said. "There's no point in battling any - huh?" For Mudkip was now walking away from the fight, its Mohawk standing proud and straight in the gentle breeze, leaving behind it a collapsed heap of fur and dust that had more in common with roadkill than Zigzagoon. "Wow, that's cool. You actually won the fight while I was talking to that old man?"
In response, the blue whatever-it-was raised its three-toed paw up and put two of its toes down.
"Oh no, you didn't," Hazel spat under her breath. The Mudkip continued to stare smugly at her. "Goddamn it you -", and she proceeded to comment profanely on the Mudkip's parentage, while hitting the switch on its PokeBall. The behaviourally deficient Pokemon vanished in a burst of light, being sucked up into HammerSpace. Still cursing under her breath, Hazel began to trek back up the road, but stopped in her tracks when she noticed a certain shaggy-haired male leaning against a tree, the epitome of relaxation.
"You were around all this time, weren't you?" she said, noticeably pissed. Rikuya simply answered with a smug smirk. "Stop doing that!"
The boy shrugged in innocence, as if to say, Stop doing what?
"You know what. That silent thing you keep doing! It's pissing me off."
Rikuya straightened up, shifting into a proper standing posture. He handed her a note which said, No one wanted to help.
"Leaving me alone like that with a weird old man and a sociopathic Mudkip," Hazel growled, "wasn't very chivalrous of you. Sooo ..."
A look of discomfort appeared on Rikuya's face. He knew that kind of sooo. It was the sooo someone said when you ate the last piece of cake which the only toddler in the room wanted, a sooo that was bone-chillingly filled with consequences.
"As punishment," Hazel continued, "You'll have to walk me home. It's almost twi - sunset. Damn, I almost said it. Anyway, it's almost sunset - even though it's only about four-thirty and I don't know how safe this town of yours is. C'mon," and she marched off, PokeBall in hand. Rikuya stared for a second before walking after her.
the Indigo Plateau, Kanto ~ 2:15 AM; present day
Every Trainer Nation has a government-sanctioned association of Pokemon trainers, known as the National League of Pokemon Trainers, and the URR is no different. In fact, being a country composed of two regions rather than one, they have a much larger League than most other countries. While most countries have a board of directors composed of two representatives from the Gym Leaders, one from the Elite Four, the current head of the Active, Competitive and Extreme Training Measures Organisation (the ACE trainers), the Champion, and around four other highly respected trainers, the URR had five Gym Leaders, one person qualified to be an Elite (but not holding the post of Elite as well), and three more respected trainers. One of the five Gym Leaders in question was Pryce W Townsend, and he was the one who had called the meeting of the board of directors.
"In short," the aged Leader concluded, "we must immediately speak to the government, sending a recommendation that they put into effect, as soon as possible, new tax laws and more stringent security methods."
The Champion, Lance Stryker, nodded gravely, his pretentious red hair stiff as a statue. Copious amounts of gel slithered through the six-inch tall mountain of flame-like hair as he stood to speak. "Thank you, Mr Townsend. Now, we'll close this meeting as soon as we rule on whether or not to approve Mr Townsend's solution proposition for the problem he a - afore - said before." Although the correct wording would be 'proposition for a solution', no one bothered to correct the pompous thirty-year-old, who looked proud at having managed to slip two polysyllabic words into his suggestion.
There was silence for a few minutes as everyone read the leaflets Pryce had inconspicuously placed on the table earlier. A gradual murmuring began, but died down under the fierce glare of the septagenarian Gym Leader.
"Shall we approve the motion?" Lance enquired. "We'll simply have an informal show of hands for this ingenious solution. All those in favour, raise hands."
A few seconds passed as a secretary, sitting in a dark corner, quickly took a note of the votes. At a nod from him, Lance continued. "All those voting no, raise hands."
A few more seconds passed.
"All those abstaining, raise hands."
Once the meeting was complete, the secretary quickly tallied the votes, and handed the results to Lance. The League's poster boy frowned in surprise as he read, but when he put the clipboard down, he looked as though he had won the lottery (a decidedly difficult feat since all attending doubted Lance's ability to count without using his fingers, a textbook, and a look of concentration - if such a thing was possible).
"The solution," Lance said quite happily, "is approved. As of now, Norman Ruby is an outlaw in the URR, and we will be sending a team of League officials to bring him back to Johto by any means possible."
"The platoon scattered, scampering for safety to save their skins." Try saying that five times fast!
... Y'know, I usually write a lot more in this section.