[Catch up on the story so far here!]
Which Pokémon do you plan to open with against Brock?
– Jane Doe, the Zorua
Which Pokémon would you like to talk with?
You’re a reasonably down-to-earth kid. You’re not going to go charging into your first gym battle with a Pokémon on your team that, frankly, you barely know. You’re going to figure out what Jane’s deal is. As far as Jane herself is concerned, her deal is primarily rolling over and receiving belly rubs, and to be clear, you are 100% down for this. She is a good girl and her fur is almost outrageously soft and silky. You still want to know what her powers do, though. Jane’s species isn’t even in your Pokédex, but the Pokémon Centre has a book room with a decent collection of field guides and textbooks. With a little help from Jane herself, who yaps encouragingly whenever you find pictures of Pokémon from forested central Unova, you quickly find a profile in a recent trainer’s almanac. Like I said, Jane Doe is a Zorua. She’s a Dark-type and a fiercely intelligent ambush predator. She should be able to learn a range of speed-based techniques, as well as attacks that strike at an opponent’s senses or mental state, and she has certain unique abilities that make your eyes pop out like an old cartoon character’s when you read the book’s description. This definitely warrants a little practice before you go to bed.
Once you’ve sorted out what her species’ deal is, you try to focus in on what Jane’s deal is. It seems clear that she wasn’t born in Kanto, but when you try to prod her with more specific questions about how she got here, she just rolls over and asks for more belly rubs. When you mention the poachers who’d captured her in Viridian Forest, though, “Team Rocket,” she suddenly bares her teeth and growls – not at you, but apparently at the whole memory of her imprisonment. The vibe you get is not so much trauma or even fear, but almost indignation. You’re reluctant to press her further, but you do suggest, tentatively, that although you didn’t exactly sign up for hunting poachers, you wouldn’t let them pass unchallenged if you encountered them again. Jane’s reaction to that is simply to look you in the eye and grin mischievously.
Special Skill: Vendetta
Jane is motivated by a desire for revenge on Team Rocket, and receives a major bonus in battles against them.
The next morning, you and the bug catchers enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your Pokémon at a chain café near the Pokémon Centre (during which you learn that Aura – who doesn’t eat solid food anymore – is an espresso fiend) then head for the Pewter City Pokémon Gym. A receptionist at the front desk waves you through to the arena without much fanfare, and you get your first look at the battlefield. Brock’s arena is a huge slab of grey Pewter City limestone, covered in randomly scattered boulders and pock-marked with cracks and craters from powerful Pokémon attacks. A bored-looking referee in an orange uniform sits in a folding chair off to one side. Brock himself is standing at the challenger’s end of the field, talking to someone who has their back to you. As you approach, he spots you and shouts a greeting.
“Perfect timing! We’re just finishing up here. My Pokémon just need to take a breather and some Potions; we’ll be ready for the next challenge in about ten minutes.” The person talking to Brock – the previous challenger – turns around, and…
“Oh, hey! So you finally got here, huh?” asks… um…
y’know, the guy, the other guy
fµ¢£, what was his name again
it was, like, a colour or something
Magenta. No, Lilac!
Look, you remember this idiot’s name if you care about him so much.
Exactly; that’s what I thought.
Lilac’s Squirtle greets Scallion with a cheerful squawk, toddling over to you to play with your Bulbasaur, who is standing dutifully at your side. Scallion just stares back in confusion, looks back and forth between you and Squirtle a few times, then pointedly backs away. Squirtle appears puzzled and hurt, and looks up to catch your eye. You wink, grin and hold a finger to your lips. Squirtle doesn’t really get it, but it can tell that there’s something you want it to play along with, so it nods and returns placidly to Mauve’s side. You introduce Mauve to Abner, Ellis, Stacey and Dane, and exchange some pleasantries while Brock is busy with something at the other end of the field – the usual Pokémon trainer small talk topics; how was his trip through Viridian Forest (pretty dull in comparison to yours), are his Pokémon doing well (yes), was it a good battle (very; Squirtle’s type advantage was only just enough to overcome Brock’s skill with Rock Pokémon). You ask Magenta whether he’d like to stay and watch your match, and after a moment’s hesitation, he agrees and heads up into the stands with the bug catchers and Squirtle. Abner holds his Metapod up over his head to give it a better view of the field. You call Nancy out of her Pokéball and tell her to get ready to start cheering – you suspect you’ll need it – then crouch down to talk to Scallion and go back over the strategy you discussed the night before. Another couple of minutes later, Brock is ready to go.
“New challenger, first badge, two Pokémon a side, all standard rules,” he calls to the referee, who quickly scribbles something on a clipboard. Brock looks right at you, directly down the field. “All right! This may be your first gym challenge, but I’m not going easy on you. Rock Pokémon stand for defence, determination and willpower, and you’ll need all three with a Boulder Badge at stake. Now, show me you can battle with honour – Geodude, go!” He hurls a Pokéball right into the middle of the arena, where it bursts open to release a floating round-bodied Rock Pokémon with two burly arms. Scallion steps into the ring, grinning broadly. Brock huffs his approval. “Be careful of this one, Geodude,” he warns. “Let’s start with Tackle!” Geodude flies towards Scallion, its arm moving into position for a shoulder barge. At a word from you, your Bulbasaur springs sideways, dodging with apparently supernatural ease as Geodude hurtles past, springs forward again to strike it in the back of its head with a stubby claw, then gracefully backflips to land with poise on the arena floor.
Brock furrows his brow in surprise, but keeps throwing out orders. “Stay on the inside of its Vine Whip range, Geodude! Tackle again!” Geodude does as he says, hovering around Scallion, trying to stay too close for Vine Whip to be effective and alternating between jabs and full-body slams. It scores a few glancing hits, but keeps underestimating the speed of Scallion’s dodges. Scallion, for his part, strikes Geodude almost every time it attacks, but can’t seem to get through its rocky skin. It’s a bit of a stalemate situation, but you think you have it under control, as long as-
“Now! Rock Tomb!”
You and Brock have both been consumed by the steps of the dance, your Pokémon dodging and striking in circles around each other – but you suddenly realise that Brock has also been paying attention to its wider direction. Scallion has his back to a couple of boulders, and although there is still room for him to juke away to the side-
Geodude clenches its fist, draws it back and punches hard into the air. With a horrible screeching crash, another huge boulder bursts up out of the arena floor, cutting off Scallion’s escape. Your eyes flicker around him, hunting for more escape routes, but before you can call the dodge, Geodude summons another huge rock up through the floor, blocking your paths as fast as you can identify them. Finally, with one last shout in unison from Geodude and Brock, a boulder crashes up from beneath Scallion’s feet and sends him flying.
When he hits the ground, his body flickers, ripples, then dissolves with a flash of purple light, leaving Jane Doe lying unconscious on the arena floor. Brock and his Pokémon both blink in confusion, then you see comprehension cross his face.
“You really are full of surprises! I thought it was impossible for a Bulbasaur to move like that.” You run out onto the field to make sure Jane is okay. She’s bruised, battered, and clearly done fighting for today, but doesn’t look too seriously hurt. Brock calls out to you and tosses you a Potion spray. “You seriously might have had us there – that would have been embarrassing! Do I get to fight the real thing now?” You give him a cheerful, albeit distracted, affirmative answer as you apply the Potion to Jane’s wounds, then recall her to her Pokéball. Scallion is obviously the logical choice to fight Brock’s Rock-types from here. You can tell Geodude is winded from chasing your Zorua around, and shouldn’t last too much longer against a foe with a type advantage, but you have to assume Brock’s second Pokémon will be something with more bite to it.
[If you think Scallion should attempt an unconventional tactic, explain what you have in mind in the comment section, or by making a submission to the Pokémaniacal question box https://pokemaniacal.com/qanda/ (if you use the question box, enter your name as “APTIY vs. Brock”). You can make use of the environment, a combo of two or more moves or abilities, an unorthodox way of using a move, or anything else you can think of that isn’t outright cheating. The more creative the suggestions – as long as they’re reasonably possible – the greater the odds of success will be.]