[Catch up on the story so far here!]
Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
Which of the debaters at the museum do you agree with?
– Hammond-Spruce: There’s so much science can learn from ancient Pokémon, and it isn’t fair to write them off as savage monsters that are too dangerous to bring back.
There’s obviously a lot of reason to be cautious about the technology they’re discussing – in fact, didn’t you see a disaster movie with this exact premise once? – but you think the bottom line on this one is pretty clear. The technology to return extinct species to the world is within humanity’s grasp; how can you not reach out and take it? Yeah, you’re pretty committed; research to resurrect extinct Pokémon is a good thing, full stop. I don’t know why that matters, of course; it’s not like you’re ever going to be in a position to make major world-changing decisions directly related to this topic. Why the hell would you be?
As the debate wraps up and the two speakers begin to take questions from the audience members milling about in the spacious hall, you start talking to Ellis, who seems a bit more cautious about the ecological dangers of genetic reconstitution of fossil Pokémon. The conversation is just starting to get interesting when, without warning, Abner starts tugging at your sleeve and pointing across the room.
“Look, look!” He’s pointing at a young man, maybe late teens, with spiky brown hair and a green vest, who is leaning against a column with his arms folded, still listening thoughtfully to the debaters. You give Abner a quizzical look. Who the heck is that guy? “I recognise him; I’ve seen him on TV! That’s Pewter City’s gym leader! I think his name is… Brick? Brack? No, Björk!”
“I don’t… know what his name is, but that is definitely not his name,” Ellis says. Abner, undeterred, grabs you by the wrist and starts dragging you through the crowd, ignoring your stuttering protests. A few people give you dirty looks as you bump past them, but you manage to move with enough grace to avoid causing a scene and soon find yourself face-to-face with the Pewter City gym leader.
He looks you up and down, frowning very slightly as his gaze flicks between you, Scallion and the four Pokéballs on your belt. “Let me guess… second badge?”
You correct him – this will be your first; you’re only in your second week as a trainer. You introduce yourself, and the gym leader responds in kind, identifying himself as Brock.
“First badge, huh? Well, it sounds like you had some week.” His gaze turns to Scallion, standing dutifully at your side. “And who’s this?”
You introduce your partner, who reaches up with a vine to shake his hand.
“I guess you probably know already that Grass Pokémon are strong against my Rock-types?”
You didn’t know he was a Rock-type specialist, but it makes sense to have a Rock gym here, and damn right you know your type matchups.
“Well, don’t count your Torchic before they’re hatched! Us gym leaders are serious; every battle is supposed to push the challenger to the limit! Although… you already seem like you’re light years ahead of most new trainers I meet.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” says Ellis, who’s been on the receiving end of Scallion’s prowess and your creativity. Brock searches his face, looking thoughtful for a while, then suddenly breaks into a grin.
“This should be fun.” He looks around the room as the Q-and-A session wraps up and the crowds begin to disperse. “So you must be interested in fossils and Pokémon biology, right? What did you think of the debate?”
Of course, you offer your honest opinion: Hazelwood made some good points and all, and any new technology has to be treated with caution, but Hammond-Spruce is right; we can afford to move fast on this. You thought she was a better speaker too, good at getting across the revolutionary potential of her work. Hazelwood came off as a bit of a stick-in-the-mud. Brock laughs.
“Yeah, I can see how you’d feel that way. Grant thinks resurrecting fossil Pokémon will take all the ‘romance’ out of palaeontology. He’s not wrong, but I don’t think many people see it the way he does.”
“So you know them? Cool!” Abner says.
“That’s right. They’re both from Pewter City originally and they come back to visit a lot. They grew up hunting fossils at Mt. Moon, graduated from the Pewter College of Sciences. I think June was doing her Master’s thesis there when Grant started undergrad, then both of them did doctorates at Cel U. They butt heads a lot, especially since June’s at CIG now and has a vested interest in what the public thinks of this fossil reanimation research. They’re good sports about it though; it’s always a fun time when they’re both home. Well, normally it is.” Brock falls silent, and suddenly seems deep in thought. “Showing up now, just when…” he muses out loud. You give him a quizzical look, and his attention snaps back. “Listen, come by the gym for your battle tomorrow. I’m there all day and I only have one other challenger booked, so I’ll be wide open. 2v2, standard Indigo rules, no wildcards. But after that, we should talk. There’s something you might be able to help me out with.”
Brock excuses himself, and you spend the rest of the afternoon playing with cool gadgets in the museum’s technology wing before returning to the Pokémon Centre for the night.
You have a little time to talk with your Pokémon, review their growth and plan your strategy. Knowing that you’re facing a Rock-type specialist makes some of your choices pretty clear. Most Rock-types are very resilient to Electric attacks, so Nancy should probably stay on the sidelines, and it’s clear that Scallion will be your ace in the hole, but you’re not sure how your other Pokémon will fit in. As a Bug/Flying dual-type, Aura will be very vulnerable to Rock attacks, but has a Grass attack of her own that will make her kind of a high-risk/high-reward choice. Jane Doe is new and untested, and frankly you don’t understand what her powers do yet, but she’s clearly a tricky customer, and Rock-types are… to put it generously, not known for their intellect.