September 19th, 2009 (10:27 AM). Edited September 20th, 2009 by An-chan.
Author's notes: Hello everyone! This oneshot was originally a 7-day 7-K project I had to drop because I was overwhelmed by tons of other stuff at the time. However, it bothered me to just leave it unfinished, so now I've completed it. I did it purely for myself and I didn't have any intentions to post it. Then again, I thought, why shouldn't I? So, here it is. I tried to proofread it a dozen times so that it would have as few mistakes as possible (I even used a spell check that went crazy over all the pokémon's names in there *chuckle*). I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
So, proceed, and read about what most certainly was the weirdest day of Rodney's life.
Rating: PG. With almost no profanity or violence, this fic should be suitable for all readers older than the age of 10.
Once in a Forest Fire
"Fire, you idiot! A forest fire!"
"A forest fire."
"Yes, Russell, a damn forest fire! Care to do anything about it?!"
Rodney Russell frowned. He noticed he hated to be called by his last name, as it felt a bit unfamiliar to him, and he also wasn't very fond of forest fires. "I guess I have to," he sighed.
"This is what happens when rangers don't do their jobs properly," raged the young woman in front of him. Rodney had a faint recollection that the woman was called Lorraine, but he wasn't very sure. He was trying very hard to remember if the woman was indeed Lorraine or if her name was something else. While he did that, he forgot to actually listen to what she was saying. This didn't stop the woman from yelling at him. "I can bet one of your students did this, because my students don't start fires! Haven't you told your rangers anything? You can't just let fire pokémon go in a dry forest or something! Have you taught them anything, Russell? Anything at all? You should get your sorry ass fired already!"
The mention of his last name snapped Rodney out of his thoughts. "I don't like to be called by my last name, Lorraine," he told her with a strict tone. The woman looked at him, and Rodney noticed she was very, very angry. "Uh, you're not Lorraine, are you?" He asked.
"What?! Of course I'm Lorraine! Didn't you- What were you- What's wrong with you?!" she was screaming from the top of her lungs and her face was alarmingly red. "Tell me, Russell, how did you ever reach your current position?"
Rodney opened his mouth to arrogantly tell Lorraine exactly how he did reach his current position, when realization hit him. He closed his mouth and opened it again, and all colors left his face, making him look like he was from a black-and-white picture. He shrunk noticeably and large drops of sweat started appearing on his face.
"W-well," Lorraine asked cautiously. Her anger really suffered from his reaction, as she started to feel sorry for him. "Spit it out, Russell."
Rodney gulped. "I don't know," he whispered barely audibly.
"Uh... Well, that's what I thought!" Lorraine regained some of her arrogance and anger. "I bet it was luck, or something!"
"No, you don't understand", Rodney cried out. He was trembling. "I really don't remember! I don't remember anything!"
"I can't remember what happened! The ranger school, my first missions, my decision to become a ranger... I know all those things must've happened, but I don't remember any of it."
Lorraine was silent for a fleeing moment. Then she opened her mouth. "Fire!"
"Fire, you idiot! The forest fire, remember?"
"Oh, right! We should probably do something about it, huh?"
Rodney tried hard not to get lost in his thoughts of 'holy crap, I can't remember anything'. It was though, but somehow he managed to stay focused on the forest fire. He ran out of the ranger station and called his loyal partner. "Arlie! Are you here?" At that moment, he realized he didn't remember the moment he had gotten Arlie as his partner pokémon. He also realized that whatever the circumstances, he would never have named a pokémon Arlie. Maybe the aerodactyl had been named before it was given to him. He didn't know. It was frustrating.
Thankfully Arlie the Aerodactyl flew to him at that moment, stopping his train of thought before it had time to really begin. Rodney covered his eyes from the grains of sand and dust flying about when Arlie landed. The pokémon looked at him and shook her mighty head.
"So, uh, a forest fire," Rodney explained to her. "We should probably put it out somehow."
Arlie gave him a look that made it seem a lot like she was raising her eyebrows.
"So, of course, we need to go and snatch a water pokémon first, right?"
The aerodactyl nodded approvingly.
"You wouldn't happen to know the closest places to find some, would you?"
The pokémon pondered for a while. Then, she opened her mouth a bit and nodded eagerly.
"Okay! Let's go, then!"
Arlie spread her wings and pointed at Rodney with one of them. To be precise, she pointed at his wrist. At this point, Rodney realized he had no idea whether Arlie was a male or a female, and he was almost swept away in his thoughts again. Noticing this, Arlie let out a commanding sound, still pointing at his wrist. Rodney raised his hand and looked at it. "What's wrong..? Oh, right. My Fine Styler." He went back in to fetch the Styler with his name on it, all the while wondering how he had reached the position of a Top Ranger.
He wasn't very eager to be a ranger, nor did he seem to be very good at it. He had no recollection of how he became one in the first place. All in all, it looked like there was either a mess-up or that something had happened to him. In any case, something was off, and he was very eager to find out what exactly it was.
He returned outside and climbed to Arlie's back. She spread her wings again, this time to actually fly, and the two ascended to the sky. From here, Rodney could see the smoke raising from the forest. The forest fire wasn't awfully large, but it would spread quickly if they didn't put it out fast.
"Okay, to the river! Let's find ourselves a water pokémon assistant!"
Faintly nodding, Arlie took a dive in the air - for fun - and turned towards the river that split the forest in half.
They landed on the riverbank about a hundred meters downstream of the local water pokémon hot spot. Rodney hopped down and started walking towards all the pokémon frolicking about in the water. They were completely oblivious of the raging forest fire a few kilometers to west of them. Not that it would concern them much anyway, Rodney thought, seeing as they were water pokémon and lived in the water. Then he decided to try and remember how to use his Fine Styler before he reached the group of pokémon.
Suddenly he noticed a young woman standing on his way. She looked dubiously familiar to him, but he couldn't name her or think of how he knew her. She had short, blond hair; green eyes; and she was wearing an attire that suggested she was a pokémon breeder. Her face was nothing like Rodney's, so she probably wasn't related to him. Also, everyone in his family had black hair, as did Rodney, if he recalled correctly. Which, quite frankly, he probably didn't.
She looked at him and smiled. "Hello, Rodney! What brings you here?"
"Oh, no, I should know you, shouldn't I?" Rodney sighed.
"You don't remember me?" The woman kept her calm facade, but deep concern could be seen in her eyes. She kept on smiling and looking Rodney awkwardly straight in the eyes.
"Well, I don't remember much anything, if that helps," Rodney admitted. He pointed at his Styler and continued, "for example, I can't seem to remember how to use this damn thing. It's supposed to make the pokémon help me, so not being able to use it will be a bit of a problem..."
"Oh, don't sweat it," the woman said, still smiling. "First of all, my name is Leanne Russell. Secondly, the water pokémon you see in the water now are all bred by me. So, I can lend you a few and you don't need to use your Styler at all."
"Styler! That's what it was called!" Rodney snapped his fingers happily. "And you're related to me after all? I'm sure I'll remember you in no time at all! But now, I have to go... uh..." He turned to Arlie and asked, "hey, what were we doing again?"
"The forest fire, Rodney!" Leanne raised her voice, looking somewhat distressed at this point. "Take the pokémon and hurry before the fire spreads, okay?"
"Oh! Right!" Rodney slapped his forehead. "Thanks!"
Arlie slowly shook her head. So did Leanne.
While picking out the water pokémon he wanted to help him with the forest fire, Rodney happened to glance at his reflection in the water. His hair, as he now noticed, wasn't black at all: it was, in fact, more orange than any other hair he had ever seen. Maybe it's fake, he thought for a fleeting seconds, until he realized that this was yet again something he had remembered wrong. He didn't have time to be confused about this fact, because both Leanne and Arlie were telling him to hurry up.
He walked up the riverbank, wondering how to fit the water pokémon on Arlie's back. None of them knew hor to fly: he had picked two starmies, two slowpokes, two marills and a poliwhirl. With Leanne's help, they managed to actually fit all seven water pokémon and a ranger on a single aerodactyl. The poliwhirl stood on Arlie's head, being the only one who didn't refuse to do so. The two marills were clinging to the aerodactyl's feet. The other four pokémon were sitting on her back, just like Rodney was. He found the situation rather unpleasant.
"This isn't very comfortable," Rodney commented as Arlie spread her wings. One of the starmies loudly agreed with him.
"Oh, come on, Rodney," Leanne said, rather angrily. "You don't have the time to complain about something like that. Hurry up! Someone might be in danger out there!"
At that very precise moment, Rodney suddenly knew someone was in danger. Someone out there was in grave danger because of the forest fire. He didn't know how he knew it, he just knew. In an instant, he was very motivated to put out the fire as soon as possible. Without a word to Leanne, he plunged to the sky with the group of pokémon.
The forest fire was much easier to find than the water pokémon had been. While they flew closer, Rodney saw that what had been a manageable fire only a few moments ago had now gotten completely out of hand. Around it, other rangers with their flying pokémon companions were circling: some of them were putting out the fire, some of them were trying to stop it from spreading and some were just flying about to see if there were people or pokémon in trouble down there. Rodney felt honored to be a ranger, even a Top Ranger. One of the information-gathering rangers noticed him and flew to meet him.
"Ah, Russell! I see you've got quite an extinguisher team there," he noted with a wide smile. Well, at least it was wide considering the circumstances.
To this, Rodney replied, "Quick! There's someone trapped down there! We've got to help!"
The trainer's smile was instantly gone. "But... How do you know that? You just only came here and..."
Rodney interrupted him. "I don't know how I know, but I do know I know." He was silent for a while, and the ranger looked like he hadn't understood a word. "Oh, forget about it! Just go down and see for yourself!"
"Well, Russell," the ranger said, looking very confused and rather hesitant, "as our regional leader I'm sure you're well aware of the rules and all... I can't just plunge in there and risk my life just because you have a feeling someone's in there."
"I don't have a feeling," Rodney bellowed, "I know there is someone down there, and that someone needs help! If you're not going to help him, then I guess I'll have to do that myself, huh?"
"Have you completely forgotten about the rules?" The ranger was baffled and angry. "Besides, how can you be so sure someone's in there? What's wrong with you, Russell?! Are you comple-"
Again, Rodney interrupted. "I am not Russell, okay?" He was surprised at what he had just said, as was the ranger. He was also surprised about how much sense it made to him. He was not Rodney Russell, that simply had to be the case. It explained everything, from his suddenly red hair to the unfamiliarity of his name. In the heat of the moment, he didn't have time to think about the minor details, such as how he had come to be Rodney Russell when he clearly was someone else. Overcome by adrenaline and this rather confusing conclusion, he stood up in Arlie's back. The starmies, again, protested loudly at this.
"Lend me your fearow, whatever your name is," Rodney told the ranger. "You take my Arlie and join the people putting out this fire, and I'll plunge to my death and save the person down there."
The ranger looked at him in amazement. "No," he said adamantly. That, again, made very much sense to Rodney, or whoever he was.
"Why not?" Rodney asked him, rather irritated.
"Because you're nuts," the ranger screamed, seeming scared at this point. "You've gone completely mad!"
"Well, maybe I am nuts," Rodney admitted, frowning at the idea the ranger could very well be right. "But so what? If there really is someone down there, you'll feel really sorry you didn't lend your pokémon to me so I could've saved him."
At this, the ranger scratched his head, let out a loud grunt and stood up as well. Rodney smiled, but then he realized he had to get to the fearow's back somehow. Suddenly he noticed how high up they were, and how far the other pokémon was. He knew he had to jump first, because there simply wasn't room for another person on Arlie's back as it was. He had to repeatedly tell himself someone down there needed him before he could take the plunge. He leaped in the air before he really realized he did it. For a fleeting moment, he was flying: he had the smoldering forest underneath him, white clouds and the blue sky above him, and heaploads of air in between the both. It felt great, it felt like the world had slowed down, and he hoped it would never speed back up to the normal flow of time. However, in a blink of an eye, his body hit the back of the fearow, who caught him quite skillfully. The other ranger quickly jumped to Arlie's back - a lot more confidently than Rodney had jumped, mind you - and steered her downwards to the other people trying to put the fire out.
Rodney and the fearow started to descend from the sky, nearing the forest and the thick smoke raising up from there. From up there, he saw a clearing in the forest. It was gray and black like the rest of the forest around it, but was obviously a clearing. Rodney decided that it would be a good place to start looking for the person he was looking for, because it had considerably less flames raging about it than the actual forest. They got closer and closer, until the fearow's downside was almost touching the treetops. Suddenly, a half-burned tree fell down in the forest right in front of them, causing - on top of the incredible noise - the other trees closeby to burst into high flames. This, of course, scared the fearow, who pulled up to get to safety and dropped Rodney from its back while doing so. Letting out the loudest scream of his entire life, Rodney fell down, hitting the branches as he went, all the way until he was stopped by the shrubbery that grew by the trees.
It took him a minute or so to recover from the shock and the pain the fall had caused him. He then stood up, albeit awkwardly, and looked around. The forest looked eagerly familiar to him, but he expected it to be because he was a ranger - well, if he indeed was a ranger, that was. His head was still spinning, so he wasn't thinking very clearly. Also, he had completely lost his sense of directions: he didn't have the slightest idea which way he should go to get to the clearing. He had very little options, though, as the forest fire was closing on him from almost all directions. Thus, he decided to head to the way that seemed least lethal.
While he was pushing himself through the thick puckerbrush, he started to think it had been a bad idea to come down there after all. It was really hot and he could hear the flames crackling around him. It was the rangers he had to thank for the fact he wasn't on fire right now: in their efforts to extinguish the fire, they had made the unburned parts of the forest around here very wet. This slowed the spreading of the fire down considerably. It also made walking there a whole lot more unpleasant. Rodney was about ready to give up and start screaming for help, but something in the back of his head kept telling him that he had to keep moving, he had to hurry, he had to help... After what felt like an eternity, Rodney suddenly stumbled out of the shrubbery and found himself on the clearing.
And there, in the very middle of the clearing, was what he could only assume was a pokémon. It looked like some sort of ancient doll made out of clay: it had a distinct head, hands on both sides of its small body, and one foot on which it balanced on the ground. It was slowly spinning around, so Rodney could see it had eyes as well. Aside from the slow spinning, it was completely lifeless. Rodney had never seen a pokémon quite like it before, nor did he know what it was. He just stood there and stared at the weird creature.
Suddenly, the strange pokémon started to float in the air. Its spinning got slightly faster, and it moved a bit towards Rodney.
"I thought you'd never come," a voice echoed inside his head.
Naturally, Rodney assumed it was the pokémon speaking to him. He then answered, "Huh?"
"I thought you'd be quicker," the voice said. It was silent for a while. "I'm sorry."
"Uh, what?" asked Rodney.
"I apologize," the pokémon repeated. It sounded very sorry, but also like it was expecting something.
"Well... I forgive you?" Rodney tried to react like he thought he was supposed to. This did seem to comfort the pokémon.
"That's very generous of you," it said, rising a bit higher. "Thank you." With this, it started to spin faster and faster until it vanished entirely after a few seconds.
Rodney, on the other hand, was left there, on the clearing, utterly dumbfounded. A strange pokémon had apologized to him out of nowhere. For a while, he had completely forgotten why he was here. Now that the pokémon had gone, he suddenly remembered he was supposed to help someone. Roughly at the same moment, he saw something other than black, gray or green on the other side of the clearing. Something white was there. It could be ash, but it could very well be what he was looking for. He started to run.
There, on the ground, he found a human male and a pokémon. The man's clothes were partially burned and Rodney could see his legs had sustained quite a bit of damage from the flames. The pokémon, Mr. Mime, was bruised and burned, but not lethally as far as Rodney could see. Then again, Rodney was no doctor. The two could very well be dead. Before he even reached them to check on their vital signs, he started to yell for help. This yelling was even louder than the one before, because Rodney was now shocked by the strange pokémon, jubilant because he had been right about there being people down in the fire, stressed because of the severe condition of the two, and, most of all, pumped up on adrenalin, because he was being the hero. He yelled like he had never yelled before; like it had been his own life at stake here.
When he reached the two, he shut up for a while to examine their condition. The Mr. Mime, who was closer to him, was definitely alive, as Rodney could see him breathing. It was still obvious that he needed some medical attention as soon as possible, because he seemed to be burned rather badly. Rodney then rushed to the man. The man was wearing a long coat that had probably been white before the fire, but now it was mostly gray except for some of the black spots here and there. His shoes had almost completely melted and his trousers were ragged to the point there was hardly anything left of them. His legs, of course, were badly burned, raw, and bloody. Rodney winced at the sight of this. It seemed to him that there were very slim chances for this man to actually keep his legs after this. He was lying on the ground face down, so Rodney knelt to him and turned him over. His face and hair were also black and gray from the smoke and the ash, but Rodney had no time to take any notice of this. Now that the man was face up, Rodney could clearly see that he wasn't breathing. Hastily he gathered what little he knew about first aid and started to resuscitate the man.
He pumped the man's chest and blew in his mouth, completely forgetting about everything else. He was pretty sure he couldn't possibly do anything to help the poor bloke, but he had to try. So, he pumped and he blew and he breathed and grunted desperately for a moment that seemed to him to last forever. When he felt that he didn't have the energy to do it much longer, the man bulged and couched faintly. Rodney immediately let go of him and watched his chest as it started to move up and down at a natural interval. The man was breathing again. Rodney had actually saved him. As he sat there, head spinning from all the effort and blowing, he couldn't help but to notice the name tag on the man's coat.
Prof. Rodney Lee, it said.
This person is me, Rodney realized just a few seconds before he collapsed from the lack of oxygen in his brain. My name's Rodney Lee, he thought as his consciousness slowly escaped him.
The dry grass crackled under Professor Lee's feet. It was a hot summer morning, and the forest was dying of thirst. There was more brown than green in his field of vision, but that didn't interest him. He was here for one purpose only.
Professor Lee had been a psychic trainer for a long time before he actually became a professor. He believed that he also had psychic abilities and was very eager to do research on the subject. Many other scientists told him that parapsychology was for New Age hippies and other loonies, but he consulted psychologists and neurologists often enough to convince himself of being an actual scientist. He was a professor, after all, no-one could deny that.
As a psychic trainer, he also owned an army of psychic-type pokémon. Yet he still didn't have all the possible kinds of psychic pokémon out there. As a trainer and as a scientist, he considered it his mission to catch all the psychic-types possible. He had heard that in this very forest, there was a clearing where someone had spotted a rare, interesting psychic/ground pokémon: baltoy. Professor Lee had been absolutely overjoyed to hear about this sighting, and he had immediately ordered his most trusted pokémon, Mr. Mime, to teleport him into the forest. They were now nearing the clearing, silently with the help of Mr. Mime's psychic cloak.
And there, on the clearing a forest fire had formed several years ago, they saw a baltoy floating about. It looked a lot like an ancient clay doll, and had it not been floating, no-one would have guessed it was alive. It was spinning and twirling slowly on its place. Of course, while doing so, it spotted Professor Lee and Mr. Mime watching it. It flinched, but didn't float away from them.
"Don't be afraid," Professor Lee said with a gentle tone. "I'm a friend of psychic pokémon. I'm very interested in you. Would you like to come with me and meet other exceptional pokémon like yourself?"
The baltoy hovered in the air, still spinning slowly like it hadn't heard a word of what Professor Lee just said. He sighed, and spoke to Mr. Mime. "Maybe it doesn't understand human speech. It's wild, after all... You try talking to it."
Mr. Mime nodded and tried to make eye contact with the pokémon levitating above the dried grass. It was hard, as the baltoy was still spinning. After a while, Mr. Mime turned back to Professor Lee and shook his head sadly.
"Still no answer?" Professor Lee was both dumbfounded and annoyed by this. "Maybe it doesn't want to answer. Or, maybe it really is a clay doll and someone's messing around with us. Maybe there's another psychic pokémon hiding here, levitating the doll?"
Mr. Mime answered him again by shaking his head. Professor Lee couldn't quite tell if it meant that there wasn't another psychic pokémon hiding or that the baltoy wasn't just an inanimate clay doll. In any case, it seemed like there was no conspiracy going on. He decided to try and threaten the baltoy.
"If you don't answer in some way, I'll fight you," Professor Lee warned it. This time, the pokémon answered. It stopped spinning and floated closer to the two. Professor Lee sneered. "A battle it is! Mr. Mime, if you please?"
Mr. Mime stepped forward for the fight.
The baltoy didn't move at all, which lead Professor Lee to think - again - that it wasn't alive at all. It was levitating there, completely still in the air. Nothing in it moved: not its arms, not its head, not the things that seemed to be its eyes. Professor Lee almost reached his hand out to just take it, and that was when he realized it was provoking him to do so.
"It's baiting us! Let's try Confusion," Professor Lee told Mr. Mime. The pokémon nodded, as he always did even though he didn't have to, and proceeded to attack the baltoy.
The attack hit, and in a wink of an eye, the baltoy made a 180 degree turn with its strategy. All the stillness was suddenly gone as the pokémon started spinning twice as fast as it had before. It floated up and down, clearly planning to do something bigger.
Alarmed by the sudden turn of events, Professor Lee didn't want to wait and see what the baltoy was planning to do. "Psybeam, Mr. Mime!" Again the pokémon nodded before attacking. Professor Lee cursed the fact that he really didn't have anything but psychic pokémon. A dark type or a ghost type would have been really handy when catching new pokémon. Mr. Mime's attacks didn't seem to do anything to the baltoy, it didn't even flinch when it was hit by the Psybeam. Before Professor Lee could think of a new strategy, the baltoy released its attack.
Small fountains of hot lava burst out at Mr. Mime's feet, and Professor Lee immidiately realized the attack was Earth Power. "Oh no... Use Barrier, Mr. Mime!" Even at a moment like this, Mr. Mime stopped to nod before taking action. Thus, before he could actually use Barrier, the dry, brown grass at their feet had caught fire. Mr. Mime was soon surrounded by both flames and fountains of magma, and because of the suprise, the attack, and the stress, he fainted.
"No!" Professor Lee was trying to get closer to his pokémon, but the fire was spreading quickly through the dry grass and had already reached the shrubbery surrounding the clearing.
"No, no, no! This can't be happening!" Professor Lee was angry, but he didn't know if he was angry at himself or the baltoy. He pointed his words to it anyway. "You're a psychic/ground type, you idiot! You're not supposed to start forest fires! How did this happen? Help Mr. Mime!" He realized that tears were falling down his face. "Somebody help Mr. Mime!" Why did the stupid pokémon have to nod every time before obeying his commands? He had never asked Mr. Mime to do so, and none of his other pokémon did anything like it. Mr. Mime was special in many ways, both good ways and bad ways. He had to save him. But how?
Suddenly Professor Lee realized that this was one of the forests used to train new Rangers. That being the case, there were bound to be some of them young, motivated Rangers around. "Rangers! Any rangers here? There's a fire! Fire!" he yelled from the top of his lungs. "Rangers? Anyone?" He sniffed, and the sound of it almost echoed in the silence that was the lack of answers from any Rangers. He could only hear the distant humming of the trees and crackling of the flames eating away everything around them. He glanced over to the baltoy that was floating on its place, lifelessly. "I've got to help him myself," Professor Lee mumbled, covered his face with his arm and started to run through the flames.
The flames where everywhere, and running through them proved to be quite a bit more painful than he had imagined. The pain clouded his thoughts, and he began to stumble. Not after many steps, his rescue mission was cut short when he tripped and fell down. His head hit the ground, rendering him as unconscious as his pokémon a few meters away from him.
The flames kept on spreading, and some trees had already caught fire. The magma fountains had dried already, and the grass around them was charred and smoldering. The whole clearing was completely taken over by flames. There was no way of stopping it from becoming a full-fledged forest fire - at least not an easy way.
Above the flames, the baltoy floated, spinning slowly, showing no signs of being alive.
When Rodney woke up, he felt utterly, unbelievably awful. His head was aching, his feet and hands felt numb, he was hurting all over, and generally feeling like had been hit by a truck or something. He opened his eyes, but had trouble focusing them on anything. He did see, though, that the room was mostly white. Seeing as how his own bedroom was far from white, and that he was hurting all over, he concluded that he was in a hospital. This thought somehow made him feel at ease. Then again, he realized that this probably meant the whole episode with rangers and forest fires had been real, as well. He worked hard to focus his eyes on something, and after quite a bit of effort, he managed to focus on the person sitting beside his bed.
"I thought you might wake up if I come here," the person said. "From what I gathered of the nurses' talk, not many people visit you... eh?"
Rodney looked at the person. He had red hair, hazel eyes and a freckled face that was decorated with a wide, friendly smile. "You're Rodney Russell," Rodney said to him, still feeling a bit out of it.
"Yeah," the redhead admitted. "I was there with you the whole time, you know."
"You could've helped me a bit," Rodney told him. "I had a hard time on my own."
"I know," Rodney the redhead agreed. "But I actually thought it was a dream, so... Sorry. You can call me Roddy, by the way."
"Roddy. Right," Rodney mumbled and closed his eyes. "For me, it was too real to be a dream. I'm not fit to be a ranger, I reckon."
"Nah, you did fine," Roddy said and looked like he was going to start a longer story about something. He was, however, interrupted by Rodney before he could say anything.
"Where's Mr. Mime? Is he okay?" Rodney asked desperately. "If something happened to him because of my stupidity, God forbid... Is he okay?" He felt really bad for putting his most trusted pokémon in danger because of his silly collector's habits. Never again, he swore to himself, never again will I do something like that... Although, he had to say to his defense that nothing like this had happened before. The odds had been just completely against him and Mr. Mime.
"Well, he's in a lot better shape than you are, so don't worry," Roddy calmed him down with a soothing tone. "My wife is taking care of him while you're here." At this, he grinned. "You've met her, actually. She's Leanne, the blond woman you had worried sick because you told her you don't remember her." This was clearly something Roddy thought of as extremely funny, but he still had a sort of accusing undertone in his voice
"It was the truth," Rodney defended himself, a bit hurt by the accusation, but unbelievably relieved to hear that Mr. Mime was fine. Well, more fine than he was himself, at least, but that might have not been a lot. He was then silent for a while. "Do you know why that happened? Why did I become you?"
Roddy was equally quiet. "No," he said finally, "I really don't know."
"It was the baltoy," Rodney realized. "The baltoy tried to drive us away, but he started the forest fire by accident... So, he started to regret what he'd done, and sent me to someplace I could find help. That makes sense, right?"
"No, not really," Roddy said, smiling while he stood up. "I guess that's something you could work on, seeing as how you're a scientist and all."
Rodney was extremely pleased to hear himself being called a scientist, as that was a title many of his colleagues refused to give him. He couldn't help but to smile widely at his namesake.
"Anyway, it's getting late, so I should go," Roddy said, raising his hand in order to wave at Rodney. "My wife's waiting for me, and I still have parts of the mess to clear up. We'll keep your Mr. Mime safe until you get out of hospital." He then waved at him and walked to the door. "You know where to find us when you get out. Try to get well soon!" With that, Roddy was gone, and Rodney was left alone in the room to sort out his thoughts.
What had happened had clearly been the baltoy's fault. Somehow, the baltoy had switched Rodney's mind into the other Rodney's body. Rodney didn't know any psychic types that could do that, so this was definitely something he should work on in the future. It was very clearly dangerous, and there had to be some way to counter it. He was also eager to see if any other pokémon could preform a trick like that.
Suddenly he remembered his legs that had been burned badly. Hastily, he pulled the covers off. He was very shocked to find out he no longer had any legs. Under his knee, the whole rest of his legs had disappeared. That's what he had feared, but now that it was true, he couldn't believe it. For more than an hour, he just laid there, staring at the stubs of his feet. He could no longer walk on his own, not could he move by teleporting or levitating like his psychic pokémon did. Sure, his hands were still in mint condition, but losing his legs would still mean losing some of his independence. Evening walks would be a whole lot more difficult for him. He'd have to modify his home and laboratory so that he could operate from a wheelchair or with clumsy artificial legs. Suddenly, something occurred to him. Being the scientist he was, the setback was quickly turned into an inspiration.
"I could make myself new legs," he mumbled to himself, "ones that work with the power of the mind and the neural system. Somehow, I'm sure I can make artificial limbs that work like real ones." He started to work on this problem, quickly utilizing the pen and and the tissue paper he found on his bedside table in the planning. He had never been this determined about something - well, if you don't count the time he spent as a ranger - in his entire life, but then again, this time it was about his own mobility and independence. He could also really help any other people who had lost their limbs for various reasons. This time, he could really be of help to people and make himself known as a scientist. He could already see how having his legs amputated would turn his life over in so many ways.
As Professor Rodney Lee was making notes on any paper in his reach, he didn't forget to put down the thought he had had earlier. He needed to get some pokémon that weren't of the psychic type, to help him with battles and in general. As he wasn't collecting psychic types anymore, his new pokémon didn't have to be dark or ghost types. Right now, he was thinking of getting himself some flying type pokémon: he had grown quite fond of flying in the short time he spent on Arlie's back and in midair.
Yes, flying types would definitely be good. Just as long as they weren't fire types: for some reason, the idea didn't really sound very good to him. The baltoy had most likely meant to teach him a lesson, and right now, Rodney felt like it had succeeded in this plan. He was still mad at the creature for putting him and Mr. Mime in such danger, but he had a feeling he wouldn't hold a grudge for the pokémon. To him, life looked everything but grim right now. He knew what he would have to do and he definitely knew it was what he wanted to do.
First, he'd have to learn some things about artificial limbs and technology. He pressed the nurse call button and waited eagerly for a nurse to arrive so he could ask when he could go home and if he could get some books to read while he was still in the hospital. At this very moment, Professor Rodney Lee smiled to himself.
Miles and miles away, in an untouched, ancient forest, a baltoy was floating and slowly spinning above some moss-covered ruins. All of a sudden, it stopped and opened its eyes. Its body started to glow and stretch as it changed shape: its hands shrunk and detached from its body, floating next to its sides; it grew another foot and some extra eyes... After a few seconds, a black, much larger pokémon was floating on its place. After floating on its place completely still for a moment, it turned around and started to float deeper into the forest. It did not want to be in contact with humans. Humans made it feel guilty.
The forest got dimmer and dimmer as the sun set, and the claydol's black shape vanished in the shadows.
BTW: This actually only has 6500 words or so as it is, and it only took me two or three days to write it. With a bit more time and effort back then, I could have actually succeeded in that 7-day 7-K challenge... ;_; So close, yet so far!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this! If y'all could share your comments with me, I'd sure appreciate it a lot. Negative feedback is also welcomed. Thanks!
September 19th, 2009 (8:24 PM).
Curious, can you remember the theme you were thinking of entering for the 7k? ;
I have to say, interesting story you have here. So a scientist’s mind suddenly gets switched to another person’s for a short period of time? I was confused at first which Rodney is which, but then later on with that scene I was able to tell which is which. ; Also, nice you have what happened with Rodney’s legs inspired him to actually help people and advance technology.
There’s one thing I want to point out. Why the baltoy switched the two men’s minds? I assume it must be the baltoy feeling threaten, though. I might have to reread this one shot to understand this, though. XD
Next thing is even though I didn’t expect the two Rodneys minds to be switched, I kinda have the suspicion that Rodney is the professor mentioned in the flashback. Pretty much the flashback ruined that plot twist. Maybe if you put the flashback after Rodney finds out he has been in another person’s mind or something.
Another thing I want to point out. I don’t usually do this since I’m that that great with grammar, but there have been a few grammar and spelling errors I was able to find:
Rodney decided that it would be a good place to start looking for the person he was looking for, because it had conciderably less flames raging about it than the actual forest.
This, of course, scared the fearow, who pulled up to get to safety and dropped Rodney from it's back while doing so.
it was slowly spinning around, so Rodney could see it had eyes as well.
Overall, I like this piece a lot, but you could have done better with the foreshadowing to leave the plot twist more suspenseful and surprising. Good luck on your other writing projects!
September 20th, 2009 (11:03 AM).
I fixed it!
Thanks for the review, Bay. I actually was a bit hesitant to leave the flashback where it was, because it felt a bit odd for me, too... So, now I actually changed it's place a bit. Well, a lot, to be exact. I think the story's flow is a bit better now, and the plot twist isn't as predictable.
As for the baltoy's motives, I realize now that I didn't really get much into that. Partially, that's on purpose: I don't like the way some movies have a sort of summary in the end where everything is explained to the smallest detail (an exception to this is Poirot, because in that case it's the whole point...), so I wanted to leave it up to the reader. But maybe there's too little to go by after all... I mean, Rodney Lee does have one theory that he says out loud, but the other Rodney doesn't think it's credible. In my opinion, Rodney Lee is right.
...I'm not very good at explaining, am I?
Also, I'm really glad you liked what I did with his feet and the effect it had on him. I was really anxious about that, as I feared that people might think it's not very convincing or likely that he'd turn it into an advance so quickly.
Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing!