Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
Are you a boy or a girl?
What are your special skills?
– Compassion: You are less of a $#!tbag than most kids your age, allowing you to empathise with people and Pokémon, and intuit their desires or concerns.
– Science: You hang around Professor Oak’s lab a lot, and have picked up a lot of debatably useful trivia about everything from astronomy to marine biology.
– Tactics: You watch televised Pokémon battles obsessively. You know Pokémon type advantages by heart, and know how certain moves can be used in creative ways.
What is your rival’s name?
– I think it’s like a colour or something
Okay, let’s get on with it!
You’re at Professor Oak’s lab, ready for the beginning of the rest of your life! The floor is tiled in pristine white – or at least, it used to be; they do a lot of experiments here and the cleaners can’t keep up. You can still pick out most of the stains that are your fault. Thick textbooks on Pokémon behaviour and anatomy line every wall and are scattered over most of the tables, complex machines with lots of enticing buttons litter the main room, and the lab assistants are that particular kind of dishevelled that says “we barely know how to feed and clothe ourselves, but give us grant money and we’ll work 36 hours a day!” You nod cheerily to each of them as you pass. You have a lot of fun memories in this place – culturing bacteria in Petri dishes, mixing chemicals to create violent colours and beautiful explosions, learning to predict the weather from air pressure measurements, helping the Professor’s assistants to draw up charts of Kantonian habitats and biomes. It’s almost a shame to be leaving, but there’s so much to do out in the world: people and Pokémon to meet, natural phenomena to explore, battles to win! Professor Oak is standing, magisterial and dignified, but with a kindly smile on his face, just next to a high bench with three glittering round objects.
Oh, yeah, and what’s-his-butt’s here too. The Professor’s grandson. Grandson? Great-nephew? First-cousin twice removed? Whatever, he’s here. He’s in your class at school, and obviously you see him at the lab from time to time, but you’ve never paid much attention to him. One time you tried to strike up a conversation with him about a really interesting new research paper on the correlation between Clefairy moon rituals and the appearances of several known periodic comets. You’re fairly certain he didn’t understand a single word you said; he just called you a nerd, farted and then ran off. To be honest, you get the impression he has a really awkward relationship with the Professor and has transferred a lot of his feelings about that onto science in general. You felt a little bad when you realised that, and wondered if you should have made more of an effort to reach out to him, but… well, he is also kind of a dick.
“Gramps, I’m fed up with waiting! Can we just start already!” complains… him. You know he’s told you his name; you want to say… Cyan? Or Teal?
“I told you, Blue,” (Blue! That’s it) “we can’t start until both new trainers are ready.” Professor Oak looks up and sees you. “Ah, and here’s my wayward young student now. Let’s begin.” The Professor clears his throat as you come up alongside what’s-his-face and give him a curt nod of acknowledgement. “You both know why you’re here, of course: to take your first steps as Pokémon trainers!” he gestures to the red-and-white spheres on the bench next to him. “Exploring the wide world, making friends with mysterious Pokémon, having adventures and doing good – ah, it makes me long for the days of my youth!” He laughs, and for a moment the years seem to fall away from his wrinkled face, as if he’s a green new trainer too, excited to see the world. “You’re already familiar with the rare Pokémon that I receive from the Pokémon League for my promising new trainers: Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. You can have one. Go on, choose!”
“Hey! Gramps! No fair!” complains Blue. “What about me?”
“Be patient, Blue. You’ll get your turn.”
At the Professor’s nod, you approach the bench and consider the three Pokéballs in front of you. In front of each one is a sheet of paper with a black-and-white image of the Pokémon it contains: the Grass-type Bulbasaur, the Fire-type Charmander, or the Water-type Squirtle. You knew this choice was coming, so you’ve already taken some time to study the moves and abilities of all three, and have a good idea of how those skills will change as they grow. Any of them has the potential to become a strong and noble partner. In the back of your mind, though, part of you wonders whether Professor Oak has any other Pokémon – ones that might be more of a challenge for an ambitious up-and-coming new trainer. You’ve spent enough time here to know that there aren’t really any Pokémon living in the lab long-term, but wild or semi-wild Pokémon often pass through for one reason or another, usually related to the Professor’s research. You don’t want to seem ungrateful, and if the Professor did find something else for you, there’d be no telling what it might be, but… if you weren’t up for a bit of uncertainty, you wouldn’t even be doing this, right?
As you mull over your options, you glance at Blue. He’s trying to suppress his impatience, but he’s not good at it. He keeps fidgeting with the little silver pendant around his neck and shifting his weight from one foot to the other. It would be a nice gesture to let him go first instead; after all, there’s no reason you should get the first pick, except that the Professor likes you. Then again, it isn’t only the two of you who will be affected by this choice. There’s a saying in some regions, “your Pokémon has to choose you too.” Maybe the Pokémon should have a say?
Come on kid, make up your mind or we’ll be here a whole week!
5 thoughts on “A Pokémon Trainer Is You! II: For Real This Time, ‘Cause You’re Getting A Pokémon!”
While letting Cyan choose first might be the smarter move, and begging for a special Pokémon might yield us some excitement, Bulbasaur’s simply too much of a darling to me.
Very nice writing, btw!
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Seriously guys, we all know Gary is going to pick the one with a type advantage over us, and apparently I’m the only one tempted by the chance to flip the script of that classic moment?
Behind the curtain for a moment: if we had been the “devious” character, there would have been an option to use sleight of hand to confuse him about which Pokémon you picked, and make him choose the one with a type disadvantage instead.
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I am so, so proud of all the poll takers for choosing the poké-empath option and then picking bulbasaur.
The only correct choices have been made. I just wish we could have picked being friends with blue…
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If the option to let the pokemon decide wasn’t there, I definitely would’ve let Orange pick first.Things as they are, I care more about how my pokemon feels than how he does. :v
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