One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
What do you want to investigate? – Visit Lexa, then go looking for the Super Nerd
You decide that Mal and Ellie’s comments about a “weirdo” who hangs out at the mountain’s peak are the best thing to follow up, so you head over to the tent where they said their fossil conservator, Lexa, is busy working.
What moves should Scallion focus on? – Razor Leaf and Sleep Powder
What moves should Nancy keep? – Thunder Wave and Helping Hand
Now that Scallion’s bigger and can’t lift his own weight on his Vine Whips, they’re not as useful; may as well go into Razor Leaf specialisation instead. He’ll still have the vines, obviously; they just won’t be as versatile or effective without continual practice. As for Sleep Powder, it’s not only great in battle, it’s so useful for pacifying wild Pokémon – or potentially even people, if you run into “Team Rocket” again – that you can hardly pass it up. Nancy, on the other hand, you think should stick to what she’s already good at. Thunder Wave is just a great disabling technique, and Helping Hand fits her cheerleader schtick too well to get rid of it. The other moves she could learn instead might be useful, but you don’t think she really has the temperament for trickery to master them.
You really need to hurry to reach your destination and get on with that… mission… thingy… or whatever. I mean, not that I give a $#!t but it seemed important to you. The going’s going to be much slower now that you’re climbing the mountain and trekking through caves. Still, Mount Moon isn’t completely inhospitable. Yeah, the cave floors are pretty uneven – lots of stalagmites and unexpected potholes – and gravel and dust keep falling on your head in a very unsettling way. Your Pokédexes have GPS, but with so much rock over your heads they might as well be cardboard compasses. On the other hand, you and Blue both have torches (plus the glowing tail flame of Blue’s new Charmander) and Brock’s map shows the layout of the caves on your direct route in fairly high detail. There are even a couple of softly-glowing phosphor lanterns that must have been left by the dig team as waypoints. You more than once trip over an unruly Geodude, but Scallion and Aura both have Grass attacks that can quickly send them packing; with Blue’s Squirtle on your flank, they’re no trouble at all. There are also Zubat just… everywhere. You love all Pokémon, Professor Oak groomed you to be a paragon young trainer and scientist, but if there were ever a Pokémon that could stretch your patience to breaking point, it’d be the one constantly trying to perch on your shoulder and give you a quick anaesthetic bite so it can suck your blood unnoticed while you walk onward through the dark caves. Fortunately, Nancy the Negator isn’t having any of that bull$#!t. On top of everything else, you have this uncanny sensation of being watched by something just outside your torchlight. When you bring it up, the Pokémon just seem to think you’re being paranoid, but Blue bites his lip and mutters something about how it’s not paranoia if “they” really are out to get you.
Screw it, may as well ask what he has in mind. You quietly gesture for Blue to continue. He waits for the Magikarp seller to reach a crescendo of enthusiasm in describing the virtues of his “product” (his words, not mine, just to be clear). Then, he presses something into your hand. You glance down at it. It’s… a plastic drinking straw? From… the restaurant you had lunch at in Pewter City yesterday, you guess? Has this just been in his pocket the whole time? Why did he even keep this? “Use that Pokémon you have,” Blue whispers to you under his breath. “The one you used in the gym battle.” Jane? How-? You look down at the straw again. Oh. You interrupt the Magikarp seller to cheerily ask him whether it would be all right for you to take a closer look at the merchandise. “By all means!” He waves a hand towards the tank. “See for yourself how smooth and soft its scales are!” Blue clears his throat. “So, uh, how exactly did you get into the Magikarp business, anyway?” “Oh, my young friend, you shouldn’t be asking about my story, but about how you can get into the Magikarp business! Let me explain…”
You’re a little tempted to just pay the asking price and take the damn fish. A Pokémon is a Pokémon, no matter how proverbially useless. Besides, you kinda feel for the stupid thing. Even if you decide later that you can’t be bothered training it until it evolves, you can probably find a better life for it than… whatever this carnival snake-oil setup is.
On the other hand, you’re curious now. You still don’t see any direct evidence that this Magikarp has been mistreated and you doubt Blue (who is currently on the other side of the Pokémon Centre lounge, practising his trash talk against an annoyed-looking hiker) would have anything to add on that score. But the idea of selling Pokémon has piqued your curiosity. Is that even a thing? Is it actually legal? You voice these questions to the Magikarp salesman.
You already know his name; the Narrator’s being a jerk
Excuse you, I am a fµ¢£ing delight. But whatever, if it’s that important to you I guess I’ll put in an effort. What’d you say his name was? “Blue”? God that’s so fµ¢£ing dumb. Blue is, like, at best a passable name for a small predatory dinosaur. Kids got no damn business being named Blue. Who gave him that, his dumb parents? Probably named him that so he’d be, like, “calm” and “sensible” or some bull$#!t? Ugh, no wonder he’s such a basket case. We gotta see about changing it.
Yeah, yeah, whatever, I heard you, get off my ass already.
Which Pokémon do you try to catch?
Try to find the source of the fires [you might not catch anything]
Aren’t you supposed to be, like… doing… something? Eh, whatever, not like it’s any of my business. Scallion and your other Pokémon have a pretty vague and subjective concept of time, and Blue has no sense of responsibility or commitment. Besides, you’ve made surprisingly good time this far, so if you want to spend a couple of hours clambering up and down dry dirt hillsides looking for an unknown Fire Pokémon, no one’s going to stop you.
What would you like to do as you head out towards Mount Moon? [Choose up to two]
Catch a Pokémon
Study the environment and ecosystem
Ask the other guy to join you?
Sure, why not?
The other g- I mean… Indigo or… whatever his name is- look, are you gonna learn his name at some point? ‘cause if you’re not gonna, I’m not gonna, and at some point it might start to seem rude if you’re hanging out together.
The light is swelling. You’re not afraid of it. Why would you be? You’ve studied with Professor Oak, so you know how evolution works – or at least, as much as anyone does – but you also know there’s a spiritual aspect to it. Evolution is the path to fulfilling a Pokémon’s potential, to realising their full powers and finding their place in the world. You’d never make Scallion evolve if he didn’t want to – but reassuring him that nothing bad will happen if he chooses this? That’s kind of your job. You tell him, in a few soft words, that it’s okay to let go; you’ll still be here on the other side. And he changes.
What should Scallion do? – Just make it a straightforward fight – Scallion should be favoured. – Brock’s tough; you should try to come up with something more creative.
[AUTHOR TIEBREAK: Well, it would really be a shame to waste all the interesting suggestions for option B that I got in the comments and my Q&A inbox…]
The next stage of the fight goes just as you predicted. Geodude is already tiring, and after a few rounds of dodging, circling and jabbing, you spot it lowering its guard and call out. With an almighty THWACK, Scallion springs a coiled Vine Whip forward and nails Geodude right between the eyes. Geodude lurches back, lists in its formerly smooth hover, spins around drunkenly and crashes to the arena floor. “Super effective, babyyy!” hollers Abner from the stands, tossing his Metapod up into the air and catching it in celebration. The bug catchers all cheer, and out of the corner of your eye you even notice Lilac(?) slowly clapping, an enigmatic smirk dancing across his face. Brock joins the applause as he strides out onto the field to help his Pokémon pick itself up. “Now that’s a Bulbasaur,” he exclaims approvingly, before crouching to take his Geodude’s hand. “Good job as always, Geodude.” He gives his Pokémon a quick once-over before recalling it to its Pokéball and returning to his end of the arena. Scallion joins you back at your end of the field as well. “Well, I guess that means it’s time to get serious.” Brock suddenly has another Pokéball in his hand, and throws it high, higher, up towards the ceiling. “Onix, go!”
Which Pokémon do you plan to open with against Brock? – Jane Doe, the Zorua
Which Pokémon would you like to talk with? – Jane
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.