JX Valentine

Your aquatic overlord

Harassing Bill
Seen August 19th, 2020
Posted December 8th, 2012
3,276 posts
16.6 Years
Only a few years had passed since he was accepted into Celadon University. He felt more comfortable there, in a setting where numbers of people shared his interests and dedication. There, he wasn't an awkward annoyance. He was a colleague, a legitimate classmate, someone whose opinions could be discussed and embraced, rather than restrained for the comfort of his classmates. Instead of being a child, he was a help, a potential study partner and a student to be respected rather than completely ignored. For that, because people were for once willing to listen to him, he felt actual creative freedom – the first inkling of such a sense he'd ever had.

Around that time, he also decided to become someone else. It was an abrupt change, rather than a gradual one. One moment, he felt perfectly comfortable being William McKenzie. The next, he told his mother he wanted to be called Bill. He never told her why, but really, it was a combination of matters. The first was the fact that everyone recognized his surname. Although his name was not entirely uncommon, his father's
was, and people seemed to notice this fact. Despite the fact that his father barely did much in the way of pokémon research then, in his glory days, he had been respected and revered in that world, with numbers of books with his picture on the back. Pictures that looked remarkably like Bill. Naturally, Bill hated the comparison more than anything – not because his father never cared much for family life but instead because it felt like people were saying Bill was his father, rather than anything remotely unique.

The second came in the form of one of his newfound friends at Celadon University, a girl named Barbara Larson. She, abruptly one day, dubbed herself as Bebe for the sole reason that she hated her real name, and in the process, she'd announced that Bill was to stop using the name William, mostly because of the fact that it reminded her of the growlithe of stuffy English lords. Although Bill had preferred the name William at that time, he couldn't resist the name, and soon, everyone on campus knew him simply by that single syllable. When Bebe named something, the name stuck.

Yet, it also opened the door for opportunities. Ironically, for whatever reason, people took his ideas more seriously when they didn't connect him with his father. He was his own person, not his father's son. So, it was probably for that reason that his first brainchild was ever even remotely considered possible, rather than passed off as a whim by people who knew his father's reputation then and assumed Bill would soon be the same. After all, it was his father who had, in his descent from a respectable researcher to a mediocre scientist who spent most of his time in gambling halls, designed at least fourteen oddball inventions that went from the nearly legitimate egg incubator (purported to be far efficient than anything else on the market – but known to catch on fire nine times out of ten) to the obvious scam that was a machine that automatically triggered evolutions (the plans of which he eventually sold to a peddler after the prototype killed a rattata in its first run). By the time Bill's father turned to gambling, he was thousands of dollars in debt from devoting his time, efforts, and personal funding (as well as grants) into creating prototypes that almost never worked, and the scientific community began to virtually ignore him.

Therefore, to be taken seriously and to convince people he was not about to follow that same path, Bill chose to be someone else. So, when he presented the plans to his colleagues in his final years of college, he only used one name. As eccentric as that seemed, he felt a sense of security as they listened to his ideas without tacking his father's failures onto him. Without that distraction, they considered it, and eventually, one by one, they agreed to help him.

The idea, like the initial inklings that mark the birth of something new and extraordinary, came from something incredibly simple. Namely, it was something he'd noticed in Celadon's pokémon center, during a time when he'd usually study in the back corner of the lobby (if only to watch trainers and their pokémon come in and out when he should have been working). Oftentimes, trainers would flock to Celadon for the department store and gym, and for that reason, many of them came with backpacks full of poké balls containing pokémon they had captured on the long trek to Celadon from its neighboring cities. It was hardly uncommon to hear a trainer complain of back pains or bulging backpacks, and judging by their loads, Bill knew immediately why.

Over the next months, Bill began to write volumes across napkins and through notebooks, often with pieces scratched out or rearranged or written suddenly, partway through a conversation. At first, everyone he encountered asked about it, but none of them received a straight reply aside from, "It's something I'm working on." They tried to understand the language and the diagrams written across every piece of paper he could keep, but none of them grasped the idea then. Not yet.

Eventually, Bill rewrote the language in a notebook, neat and organized and accompanied by a full description and pages of diagrams of what he wanted. That was when he began to enlist the help of friends and professors, particularly in the engineering department. When one asked, he showed them a page in the notebook and explained to them what he needed. Not long afterwards, he'd have it.

Slowly but surely, the idea came into being that way, piece by piece, with each fragment never made by the same person. He pieced the rest together, working with the computers and the parts he received or bought himself to slowly shape the creature in his mind.

Eventually, he graduated from that college, and as he moved to a secluded spot north of Cerulean – so chosen for the peace and security of isolation – the thing went with him. That was the last he'd asked anyone for help. He had everything he needed. All he had to do then was piece it together and give it a brain. For about a year, no one heard from him. Summer passed into autumn and autumn into winter, with green leaves turning gold and then brown beneath white. A world of color surrounded Bill, and he shut himself away in his cottage, not to be disturbed until he was finished.

When spring came, he finally opened his door and walked out of the cottage, towards Cerulean City.

Several months later, every pokémon center in Kanto ordered PCs to support his new system. It, what he simply called the Storage/Retrieval System, spread like a virus across the region, from one center to another. Trainers who started before it came jumped at the chance to register for their own accounts. Trainers who started after began receiving free subscriptions as if it had always been offered. By the following year, there were plans to bring the system to Johto, and both Bebe and the sister team of Lanette and Bridgette Rousseau (both of whom he'd met through online conversations) were already sending him requests for the system plans to implement and run their own versions in their home regions.

The scientific community had no choice but to notice Bill at that point, not only because he'd developed, nearly by himself, something widely considered to be revolutionary but also because he'd proven that modifications of the same technology that existed in poké balls anyway could be applied elsewhere. Before the system, pokémon were believed to have only the unique property to convert their bodies to energy – a fact that made the poké ball possible. The system, meanwhile, converted the energy (and the matter of the poké ball itself) into digital data. Within the system, millions of electrical pulses recorded themselves as different pokémon and filed themselves neatly into a complex network of computers.

While that alone wasn't enough to merit the attention of the Pokémon Symposium, the paper that came nearly two years later
was. Previously, it was a mere assumption that a pokémon's DNA contained genes that coded for their unique ability to both deconstruct their bodies into pure energy and generate energy they needed for their techniques, but no one could actually pinpoint what the process entailed and what triggered it. The mechanisms of the poké ball itself had been a secret and therefore not much of a help; balls often were designed based on their ancient ancestors made from apricorns.

Bill, naturally, found the answer – or what he and the scientific community thought was the answer. Stemming from the research he had to do in order to figure out how to get his system to work, Bill worked out a theory, a complicated one that entailed an unstable chemical makeup, coded by unique expanses of DNA that all pokémon apparently shared – genes that also covered the possibility and methods of rapid evolution.

That was submitted as his final dissertation for his post-graduate program. A committee of professors at Celadon University read it, then handed it to members of the scientific community. Months after receiving his doctorate, Bill was invited to join the ranks of the Pokémon Symposium.

There was, of course, no way to turn down an invitation like that.

The induction took place one cool, autumn month, several after Bill began delving into the field pokémon psychology and several before he met a certain young trainer from Pallet Town. He was fifteen then, and though he matured since the day he last experienced an emotional outburst in front of Professor Oak, he still wrung his hands with nervousness in the hall. Several hundred people were in attendance, including members of the press. That night, after all, was the night the Symposium, the elite group of pokémologists, was admitting their youngest member, a record that was predicted to remain unbroken for some time to come. The others, meanwhile, were already members, waiting to observe the latest mind among their ranks, as well as the inductee's closest relatives. It was arranged like a school play, an intensely formal one in a wide, ornate hall with red carpeting and theater seating and pristine, white walls. The hall itself was often used for Symposium discussions and presentations, so seats were arranged in an amphitheater fashion, cascading down to a raised platform with a screen behind it that served as a stage. In one chair – metal framed with uncomfortable, red padding to serve as a seat – Bill sat in a well-kept, black suit with his hands folded in his lap. He tried his best not to fidget, not to bring shame onto his mother, who he insisted on having right there to witness the event.

The actual event felt scripted and overly "uptight" (that is to say, formal by his definition) for his tastes. Beside him, at a podium, a squat, gray-haired man in a tuxedo – one that conformed to his round shape in such a way that reminded Bill of black empoleon – stood and wove a speech that slipped past Bill's attention. The man, he recalled, was Professor Eustace Westwood V, an eccentric by every extent of the word. It seemed like no surprise to the current members of the Symposium that Westwood carried on with his speech, bobbing in and out of metaphors and anecdotes to avoid the overall point of having Bill recite an oath to uphold the values of the organization and presenting him with a medallion that all inductees wore until the end of their ceremony.

Knowing that Westwood wouldn't finish for some time, Bill allowed his eyes to wander into the crowd without turning his head. He spotted some faces that were plastered on the backs of his books: Samuel Oak in the first row (given that he was one of the highest-ranking members in the organization), Felina Ivy of the Orange Islands in the fifth row, Terrance Elm of Johto in the second, Quincy Rowan of Sinnoh next to Oak…

Eventually, his eyes fell on his family. His mother sat in almost a mirror image of her son, with her legs neatly crossed under her chair and her hands folded in the lap of her black dress. Her dark eyes met his, and for once, he couldn't read her expression.

Just as Westwood turned to ask Bill to stand and take the oath, Bill's eyes fell on the place on the other side of his mother, and he suddenly stopped. In his memory, he knew that his father should have occupied that space, but instead, someone else was there.

She was a small girl in a white dress. Her green hair was done up in two buns on the sides of her head, in the same style as his youngest sister's, but his sister should have been too young to watch this ceremony and would have been, if he recalled correctly, asleep in Goldenrod and watched over by his grandfather. This girl looked about her age presently, and even then, the crystal-blue eyes defined her as something that wasn't part of Bill's family, much less human at all.

Time had stopped then. Even if he moved from the stage, all eyes were glued to his former spot. Professor Westwood didn't even question why he was staring into the audience or why he stepped away and jumped off the edge. No one seemed to notice as he approached the girl except the girl herself.

She smiled at him shyly, and it was in that expression that he realized what he was looking at.

"You're not supposed to be here," he said.

She shook her head.

As if that was the answer to everything he wanted to know about her, he took a few steps back and pulled himself onto the stage to sit at its edge. He barely noticed that he was no longer an awkward fifteen-year-old, as in his memory, but instead an adult, slightly taller and at ease in his movements. It could have been because his black suit had suddenly disappeared, and the absence of the choking necktie and the presence of more familiar clothing acted as the skin in which he was most comfortable. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly.

"Why?" he asked.

She looked at him strangely, with a tilting head and large, blue eyes.

"Why me?" he asked again.

The girl's blue eyes rolled upwards, so she stared at the ceiling while her head still rested on her shoulder. Bill watched her before pulling one of his legs onto the stage. Wrapping an arm around it, he furrowed his eyebrows and tried to make sense of this reaction.

"I'm not a fighter, you know," he said. "There were two wild pokémon who had to help me. I wouldn't have even survived an attack from those houndoom if they hadn't stepped in."

The girl thought about this statement for a moment and said, "You know, not many people believe us anymore."

Bill blinked. "Believe you? You chose me because I believed you?"

The girl shook her head, rolling it back and forth on her shoulder. "Everything has a beginning and a story to be told, you know."

"I don't understand." Bill exhaled. Why was he even having this conversation with her? Why was he questioning her? "Why did you give me the egg?"

"They wouldn't have come if you didn't call them," she said with a shrug.

"Who?" Bill raised his eyebrows. "You don't mean… them, do you?"

She shook her head. "They like you, you know. A lot of them do. You have a certain heart. You just need to be guided to your purpose."

Bill stopped. The question of who kept flashing in his mind, but he had a feeling he knew exactly who she was talking about. Moreover, he didn't think it was remotely possible for the stories to simply like him.

And anyway, what did they have to do with his purpose?

As if reading his mind, the girl continued, "The stories did not choose you specifically. There is another who is our champion. But you – we cannot ignore you. You are another spirit altogether, a story that may be lesser known but still written. Whether or not your story will be remembered at all is your choice to make, but we can at least guide you if you choose us."

Silently, he thought about this response. None of it made sense to him, but he had the strangest feeling that if he asked her to clarify, he would only receive a longer and far more cryptic explanation. After a long pause, a second question surfaced in Bill's mind, but he couldn't bring himself to ask it. Her blue eyes fixed on him, and by then, he knew she had entered.

"Take care of her. She was meant to be yours, just as you are meant to be hers. Your paths are intertwined to remind you of your purpose and to give her one of her own. If you were not hers, she would not have found you."

"Purpose? Intertwined? Found?" Bill blinked. "In that case, she called

"That is how it always is." The Voice nodded. "Your second task is simple, Guardian. She will hatch, and you are to watch over her. In turn, she will remind you of your promise you made on this night and the night your companion evolved. You will be written, yes, but only if you agree to follow that promise."

"What promise?"

The Voice straightened and furrowed her eyebrows. Bill found himself staring deep into her blue eyes, eyes that saw the past, the future, the present – everything. He saw the form of the green pixie, small and delicate, yet woodlands incarnate. This creature was the spirit of majestic redwoods and oaks, rising high above the forest floor. This creature was the carpet of flowers fed the stantler and the rattata at the height of spring and summer. She was the leaf-obscured sky, the shadows that played across the forest floor, the earth itself into which roots reached deep, the time that passed from the first forest to the last on that green planet. She was nature itself, an unpredictable and beautiful force.

"The stories," she said. Her voice resounded off the walls, as if it came from everywhere – and it probably did.

Bill felt himself cringe slightly. "The stories?"

The Voice nodded once. "Tell them. That was your promise."

Before Bill could question her, he was blinded by a brilliant, green light.

Slowly, it transitioned into a white light. Then a red light. Then nothing at all.


When a wave crashes upon the beach, the sound is unique. Try as one might, it's nearly impossible to replicate to the exact detail the sound of a wave hissing and cracking against sand.

Bill awoke to that sound, a familiar noise that he'd heard all his life. It called to him the same way the Voice did, but it did so for different reasons. Like the Voice, it was powerful and eternal, something ever present as long as there was land for water to meet and water to rush back and forth across sand in its wild rhythms.

It called him back to consciousness and life, pulling him like a pebble into the tides. For a long moment, he lay there, on his stomach with his cheek against the cold, white sand. His ankle throbbed slightly, but even that pain was ebbing away like the ocean itself. He couldn't remember why he was there as he curled his fingers deep into the soft earth. His eyes fixed first on a Krabby, its red shell contrasting sharply to the beach itself as it scuttled towards the blue-green waters. Along the way, it passed a green shell.

Suddenly, Bill sat bolt upright. The events of yesterday stormed his mind in a torrent of memories. He remembered the smell of the fire, the dogs, the woods, the egg – everything. Looking around frantically, he searched for the egg. His fingers picked up the shell fragment, part of the top half of the egg broken and still wet. Immediately, his heart raced in panic. Did he fail? Was the egg broken and eaten by a sea pokémon?

On his other side, he heard a small growl. Glancing down, he saw another part of the egg, the bottom half turned upside-down on top of a set of blue-green legs. The legs pawed helplessly at the shell as the thing beneath it squirmed and growled again. Carefully, Bill reached down to pull off the shell. Beneath it, a small, frog-like pokémon sat. Its green bulb dominated most of its back, making it look smaller than it actually was. Slowly, its red eyes opened, squinting into the sun and then up towards its protector. Its nostrils flared as its bulb opened slightly in the sunlight, just enough to let the tip of a brown seed jut from its center. Catching Bill's scent, the female bulbasaur opened its wide mouth to let out another small, scratchy sound before attempting to climb into his lap.

At once, Bill cracked a smile and scooped the newly hatched bulbasaur into his arms. Holding its squirming body, he glanced towards the forest, still as green and healthy as it ever was.


Two years passed quietly. One month faded into the next, and the air warmed to its peak in the summer and chilled as the days edged quickly towards the first snowfall. At the end of autumn, the bulbasaur that hatched from the egg grew several sizes, from a runt to a healthy creature that ran around the floor of the Sea Cottage with alarming speed for someone of her species.

Since the day she hatched, Bill had meditated on what to do about his last instructions. Months passed, and all of his projects began to collect dust on the shelves of his laboratory as he continued to watch the bulbasaur grow. His colleagues – particularly Bebe, the Rousseau sisters, and Celio – grew slightly concerned for him, but mostly, other than an e-mail or two a day, few bothered him. They had, after all, figured Bill was just working in silence on his latest project. None of them knew that he hadn't stepped foot inside his laboratory (save to run routine checks on the system) for over a year and a half.

Mostly, he thought about the visions, the dreams he had that day and night. He carefully considered why he had them and what they meant, especially the final one. Seemingly oblivious to his meditations, Bulbasaur remained by his side, depending on him like a newborn human. Without a question, he took care of her as if she was his own daughter, not a pokémon companion.

Eventually, it was Bulbasaur who inspired him. She reminded him, the way she sat in the spring and summer sunlight, of why he was there – of that initial rush he felt the moment his venusaur evolved and the lingering desires afterwards. The ideas began to form in his mind, one by one, until finally, he sat down with a fresh notebook and, like he had only a few short years ago, began to cover its pages.

That October, curiosity got the better of his colleague in the Sevii Islands. One crisp morning, Celio came to the Sea Cottage, and an hour later, he sat across from Bill in the kitchen as he read what was written so far in the notebook. His chestnut hair formed a curtain that, at an angle, worked with the notebook to obscure his expression from Bill's view. Every so often, one pale hand would reach up to push the glasses on his long nose closer to his dark eyes, but other than that and turning a page, Celio didn't move. In the meantime, Bill waited patiently, sipping tea from a hot cup every so often. He kept one eye on Bulbasaur whenever she entered the room (and whenever she exited a few moments later) while the corner of the other remained steadily on his closest friend.

Finally, with a deep breath, Celio closed the notebook and placed it on the table. His hands transferred to his own cup of tea, and for a long time, he didn't say anything.

"Well?" Bill asked. "What did you think?"

Celio took a sip before answering. "I still think it's a little odd that you're giving up research for this."

Bill shook his head, sending dark curls into his dark eyes. "Oh, no. I'm not giving up my career. I just feel I need to take a moment to write this."

"Even so, it's a little strange," Celio said with a shrug. "I never thought you would want to write a children's book. It seems like a complete change compared to scientific papers."

Bill leaned back. "It's really not much of a difference. In both cases, the scientist and the author still tell a story. The difference simply lies in how the story is told."

"And whether or not the story is true."

A strange smile played across Bill's face as he picked up his cup again. "Who said these stories weren't?"

Celio jolted in his seat. "You don't actually believe these, do you?"

Bill brought the cup to his lips. "All stories have a shred of truth to them, I think."

"I guess, but…" Celio closed his eyes. "These are fairy tales, Bill."

At that comment, Bill calmly placed his cup on the table again. "That's a possibility, but who knows? These pokémon are documented in the National Dex. It would be right to record the stories about them."

"The ones your grandparents told you."

"Yes." Bill eyed Celio carefully. "You sound incredulous."

Celio sighed and let his eyes wander away from his friend. "I'm just worried about you, Bill. You've been acting a little strange lately, and I wonder if you just need some time away from this place. You're always welcome to come to Knot Island, you know. I'd make sure you could find some time to relax."

"I am relaxed." Bill smiled in the way an adult smiles at a child who's said something cute, innocent, and obviously incorrect. "You really don't have to worry about me. I'm fine. I just need to do this."

With a nod, Celio turned his head to fix his eyes on the table. Setting his cup down, he held his hands with the palms towards Bill. With a push, he motioned that he was backing down from his position before his hands lowered to rest the heels of his palms against the edge of the table.

"That's fine," he said. "That's fine. I'm just saying that Bebe, Lanette, and the rest of us were wondering if this was a sign that you were overworking yourself. The last thing we want is for you to hurt yourself or suffer a burnout. That's all. I completely support you with whatever you choose to do. I just hope that after you're finished with this project, you'll come back onboard."

Bill nodded. "Of course I will. I'm still primarily a researcher, Celio. I just… am writing a different sort of paper."

"I guess you're right." Celio's voice, of course, carried a note of uncertainty that Bill chose to ignore.

Leaning back, Bill took his cup in his hands again. Celio rested his elbow on the table and his chin on the back of his hand. His other hand rested beside his cup as he glanced towards the kitchen window. A few minutes later, a soft scuffle and a grunt pulled his attention from the blue sky outside to the floor. Bulbasaur scampered across the linoleum tiles, headed towards a water bowl set up in the corner of the room for her. Celio watched her for a moment, as if only now realizing she existed at all.

"Congratulations," Celio said.

Bill lowered his cup. "For what?"

Turning his head, Celio lifted his other hand to motion towards Bulbasaur. "Your venusaur laid an egg, didn't she? Why didn't you tell us she was expecting?"

"Oh!" Bill smiled. "No, no. That isn't Venusaur's. I found her in the forest."

Celio raised his eyebrows. "The forest? I didn't know bulbasaur lived around here."

"Not many, no," Bill replied. It was a half-truth. There were, but he avoided mentioning that Bulbasaur wasn't one of them. "I was lucky, I suppose, to come across her."

Celio nodded, as if acknowledging that he accepted the explanation. "Will you release her back into the forest, then? I'm surprised you caught her. You haven't caught anything for a few years now, have you?"

With a shrug, Bill said, "No, I haven't. She doesn't seem to have much of a desire to return to the forest, though, so she's welcome to stay here for now."

"For now? What do you mean?"

At Celio's question, Bill glanced towards Bulbasaur as the frog leaned over the bowl and continued to lap water from it. The words of the Voice played through his mind again. She had her own purpose, and it wouldn't be with him.

"My sister – you know her, the youngest of our family – will be beginning her pokémon journey in a year," Bill said. "I think Bulbasaur would make a nice partner, once I raise her a bit."

Before Celio could ask anything else, Bill stood and picked up his empty cup. Bulbasaur scampered across the floor, back towards the door to the hallway just before Bill crossed behind her to approach the sink under the window. Placing his cup in the sink, he reached to the window, opened it, and leaned against the counter. The warm sunlight played across his face, and a cool breeze blew gently into the room. Celio, in the meantime, finished off his own tea and stared at his friend's back.

"What if your sister doesn't want to be a trainer?" he asked after setting the cup down again.

Bill shrugged. "Everyone has their own purpose. The only way to discover it is to step into the world and search for it. She will."

Celio leaned back in his chair again. He knew very well about Bill's philosophies, and oftentimes, he even agreed with them. This time, however, something didn't seem quite right.

"Purpose? So, then, how do you know that Bulbasaur's purpose is to go with your sister?"

Bill leaned towards the window to feel the cool breeze. He closed his eyes, and listened carefully. On the wind, he could swear he heard a familiar melody.

"I just know," he said.

Outside, the wind blew between the trees, carrying with it a song that told a story.
Professional ninja. May or may not actually be back. Here for the snark and banter at most.

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