Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
What do you do when Oak offers you a Pokémon?
– Ask Professor Oak to let the Pokémon decide.
You turn to Professor Oak. All three of these Pokémon are great, you explain, and you feel confident that any of them would make a powerful and versatile partner, but it seems unfair to make this choice without their input. Maybe it should be up to them, which one goes with you? Blue rolls his eyes, but the Professor nods sagely and smiles at you.
“I think that would be a very interesting way of making this decision! Well, everyone, come on out!” With a single fluid wave of his hand, he somehow activates all three Pokéballs at once, and the three Pokémon inside them emerge in a blaze of blue-white light: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle.
You squat to look each of them in the eye, and speak to them. It’s nice to meet them, you say. You start to explain that you’ve been offered the chance to choose one of them as your partner for your first journey, before Professor Oak cuts you off with a gentle and only slightly patronising “they know that.” Blue huffs impatiently. All right. You tell them about your dreams and ambitions – becoming a great Pokémon trainer and great researcher both. All three are curious when you begin to talk about challenging Pokémon gyms and entering tournaments, though the Squirtle looks almost bored by your soaring ideals and lyrical fascination with science. The Charmander listens intently, but dispassionately. But the Bulbasaur’s eyes light up when you talk about studying nature and harmony, and it smiles broadly at your (frankly saccharine) hopes of making friends with Pokémon of all different kinds. When you finish speaking, it glances at the other two Pokémon, as if asking permission, then takes a step forward and extends a fresh green vine to shake your hand.
Bulbasaur has joined the party!
Height: 62 cm
Weight: 5.9 kg
Moves: Tackle, Growl, Leech Seed, Vine Whip
Special Skills: None/Unknown?
Blue is leaning against a desk off to your left, looking bored and tapping his foot rhythmically. He seems deeply unimpressed by your antics, but you catch him watching out of the corner of his eye and suspect he’s curious in spite of himself. As you talk to Bulbasaur, one of the other Pokémon, the Squirtle, wanders over to him and gently headbutts him in the shin. He looks down, slightly startled, and frowns at it. You and Bulbasaur both fall silent and watch. Squirtle smiles up at him. Blue blinks twice, and you sense something shift inside him as his expression softens.
“Oh.” For a moment he seems incapable of saying anything else. Hesitantly, he crouches to the floor. “You… want to come with me?” Squirtle’s high, nasal voice cheerfully responds in what you assume is the affirmative. Blue starts talking again, and his voice is softer than you’ve ever heard it (not that that’s saying much – he doesn’t normally have much of an ‘inside voice’). You can’t make out most of what he’s saying, but you think you hear the words “you were the one I wanted.”
The third Pokémon, Charmander, watching with an air of aloof satisfaction, looks up at Professor Oak and shrugs. It hasn’t found its trainer today, and it’s quite happy to keep waiting. The Professor replies by returning the shrug, along with a knowing smile. Meanwhile, Squirtle is tugging on Blue’s sleeve, directing his attention towards one of the Professor’s assistants, who is sipping a mug of coffee and squinting through bleary eyes at a printout of climatological data. Squirtle winks at Blue, blows a huge concussive bubble and sets it loose. Blue watches, fascinated, as the bubble sails gracefully through the air, smacks into the poor man’s back and bursts with a sound like a thunderclap and a rush of wind and water, sending his coffee and research papers everywhere. Blue and Squirtle both double over, laughing hysterically.
They are, you admit in spite of yourself, perfect for each other.
“And now,” Professor Oak begins, apparently anxious to call the meeting back to order, “I want to give you both something.” He turns to his desk, piled high with stained research notes and elaborate scientific instruments that are definitely too delicate to be stacked like that. After a few moments’ rummaging, he excavates a pair of bright red tablet-like devices and proudly presents them to you and Blue. Obviously you already know about the Professor’s pride and joy, the latest model of the Pokédex. You also know what the Professor wants you to do with it. This isn’t the old days, when he’d hand trainers a Pokédex that was literally blank and ask them to use its sophisticated scanning technology to gather data on all Pokémon from scratch, but that tradition of a Pokédex database built by volunteers in the field is still going strong. It’s always possible to learn more about the behaviour and ecology of even the most familiar Kantonian species, especially now, since international travel is on the rise and there are more exotic Pokémon in some parts of Kanto than there used to be. Obviously, he’s been careful to remind you at every turn that this is your journey, and you mustn’t sacrifice things that are important to you, like your gym challenge. You, every time, have reminded him in turn that science is important to you too. And that, kid, is the kind of dumb bull$#!t that leads to Larry starving to death in the woods.
You have your partner Pokémon, you have your Pokédex, and it’s finally time to get underway! You thank the Professor, run some quick checks with him to confirm that your Pokédex is in working order, thank him again because that’s apparently the kind of polite nerd kid you are, and are about to leave the lab.
“Wait!” You turn to see Blue and Squirtle facing you, both wearing confident smirks. “Let’s check out our Pokémon! Come on; I-” he catches himself, with a glance at Squirtle, “we’ll take you on!”
“Oh, for Pete’s sake… so pushy, as always,” the Professor mutters to himself, though he makes no effort to intervene. Every battle is a matter of a trainer’s honour, and as rude as the abrupt challenge was, it would be ruder to come between you and put a stop to your first battle. You exchange looks with Bulbasaur, each confirming that the other is ready for this, and accept with a grin.
Unfortunately for Blue and Squirtle, you’ve mentally gamed out several different strategies for battles between any two of the three starter Pokémon you knew Professor Oak was going to offer you, and, as luck would have it, you’ve ended up with the Pokémon who has a type advantage over Blue’s. This should be an easy first victory.