Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Gift of a Master Ball

Some wounds never really heal.  Some scars rip themselves open at the most inopportune moments.  This is gonna take some explanation, though, so bear with me, please.

I’m currently working on developing an idea for continuing this whole “Pokémon Diaries” concept that I have going.  I like the writing style and I’d like to keep the whole daily writing thing going for as long as humanly possible because the longer I keep it going the easier it’ll be to keep going and maybe I can actually get something finished!

Yeah, yeah, dreaming real damn big there, but I gotta do something.

Anyway, I have this Original Character idea for the Pokéworld.  Her name is Erica Anne Redwood and she’s the daughter of Professor Kieth Redwood, the foremost expert on Fossil Pokémon.  I’ve got a rough outline of an idea but it’s being darn slow in development.

Basically, Professor Redwood sends his assistant, Heath, with three Pokédexes and three Pokéballs to find his estranged daughter and set her on a journey to fill the ‘dex by meeting as many Pokémon as possible.  I’m looking for ideas on where to have her start out at and what her Starter should be because I’ll have her start with the League Challenge in that region and then move on from there to the other ones.

So I was playing in Pokémon Black last night and my Trainer, Harmony, was given the Master Ball by Professor Juniper.  (She later USED said Master Ball to catch Tornadus because that’s a legitimate use of a Master Ball to my mind.  If he’d stay still then I wouldn’t resort to that because I prefer not to use Master Balls if at all possible.)  Harmony was the one who nearly got her backside handed to her by Clay and Bianca because I was suffering from the effects of Confusion.

Anyway, seeing Harmony receive the Master Ball, a fairly important event where Trainers and Pokémon are concerned, set off something in the back of my head and the next thing I knew I was writing and trying to keep tears from messing up the paper too badly…

Oh, and did I mention that Professor Redwood’s based very strongly on my own father?  Yeah.  ‘Cause that’s a thing.  It’s actually the original concept for Erica’s journey, to be honest, born from my own struggle to deal with the legacy of a father who was so absent and yet so foundational to my life… only to have him suddenly disappear.

So yeah, Erica is very much my attempt to deal with things that are ripping my insides apart at odd times.

The Gift of a Master Ball

Erica couldn’t believe her ears.  “He… what… I-I don’t…”

Heath’s expression was filled with painful sympathy.  “Professor Redwood, your father, died suddenly this morning.  I’m… I’m so sorry.”  He took her nerveless, unresponsive hands and put a box in them, a box that was tied with an absurdly inappropriate bow.  “He left this for you.”  Heath’s voice choked slightly.  “I think he intended it to be in celebration of your Eighth Gym Badge.”

She knew, some portion of her mind just knew what was in that box, but she didn’t want it to be.  She tried to deny it even as she tugged the bow loose and opened the lid to see the colorful sphere with the “M” painted on it sitting on a plush velvet cushion.  She shook her head, still wishing that this wasn’t happening.

Heath sighed and nodded as he saw the final legacy.  “The Master Ball… I knew that he’d been looking for one, can’t say that it surprises me that he would give it to you.  You’ve become a very strong Trainer.”

Erica looked at him in disbelief, emotions roiling in her mind.  “Strong?  What in the hell is that supposed to mean?  Strong trainer… powerful trainer… gifted trainer…” her voice changed as she obviously imitated the comments she’d heard on her journey.  “How in the world do I get the credit when my Pokémon are the ones who are doing all the damn work?”

Her hands clenched as the hysterical need to destroy the most coveted Pokéball in the world flooded her mind.  “I’m not even telling them anymore which moves to use.  They know what they can do and they don’t need me micro-managing something that comes naturally to them.”  She’d never been this irrationally angry before.  “They don’t even need me at all!  What in the Hell am I doing here anyway?”

Tears started streaming down her face and she couldn’t hold them back.  “This whole damn journey was his idea in the first place.  Why did he have to send me on this damned wild goose chase if he was going to just… just leave like this?”

Heath shook his head.  “This… being given a Pokédex and tasked with filling it… it’s an honor.”

“But did he ever consider that I might not want it?  That it might be just nothing more than… than a bloody, annoying burden?”

“You don’t understand…”

“Damned right, I don’t understand!  He didn’t know me.  He never even tried to know me.  If he was feeling so Arceus-damned paternal, why’d he never try talking to me himself?”

Heath took her by her shoulders, pulling her close in a hug.  He grieved, too, for the Professor who, in a very real way, was more a father to him than to his own daughter.  “Because, Erica, the point of a Pokédex journey isn’t the Professor; it isn’t the League Challenge, or even the Pokédex itself.  The point of it all, my sister-in-tasks, is you, the Pokédex-bearer.  He knew… he knew that he was dying and he knew that he’d never have the years he’d squandered along the way.  Not even Celebi herself could give them back to him.  He was never going to have the chance to know you.”  He cradled her in his arms for a time.  “In giving you a Pokédex, he gave you the chance to get to know yourself in his place.”

She utterly collapsed, then, crying out the loss and pain and resentment of a lifetime that had been stolen by pride.

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Not a Good Day to be a Hydreigon

The Hydreigon’s Terrible, Horrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day

It’s strange, sometimes, just which moments in a game choose to imprint themselves in my memory and imagination.  So far I’ve shared two near-misses, moments where I should have been sent packing back to the Center with an exhausted, defeated team… and somehow pulled victory from the Hydreigon’s jaws, so to speak.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t suffered a Total Party Kill… it’s happened more than I really like to admit.  But the near-misses make for better storytelling, to be honest, and I adore a good story entertainingly told.

To be bluntly honest, though, I usually don’t enjoy being challenged in battles.  If I’m worried about the outcome then it’s too stressful by half.  I much prefer the Steamroller approach to battling in-game.  After all, I’m facing AI units in a videogame.  My brand of fun is to open a can of whoop-ass and proceed to Infernape-stomp a mudhole in someone.

I get downright giggly at one-hit KOs and total domination of my opponent.  Sweeping a whole Gym using only one of my Pokémon and not even having to pull out a Leppa Berry to restore PP makes me very happy.

It’s even more fun for me if I’m kicking Pokémon into orbit with a cute Pokémon that isn’t normally known for badassery.  But damn, that has to completely suck from my opponent’s viewpoint, you know.

Take, for example, Ghetsis from Unova.  I hated him from the first time I saw that sonofaHoundour speaking.  He oozed slime and I took an instant, very personal dislike to him.  This, of course, means that I take an intense pleasure in thoroughly humiliating him every chance I get.

So I was playing White 2… or it may have been an early reset of Black 2, I’m not certain.  In any event, it was one of the Unova sequels.  I’d special bred some hatchlings for the Trainer to use and traded them in.  One of them was a Pikachu female that I called “Caila”.

By the way, Pikachu’s complete unavailability in Gen 5 outside Events or transfer is the most annoying thing imaginable.  I’m not usually much for overused mascots… but Pikachu is legitimately badass in potential.  The case in point being Caila.

See, her OT went to the effort of evolving her from a Pichu so that she could learn one Technical Move in particular, Brick Break.  Fighting type, very respectable power… and damn if Caila couldn’t rock it like a boss.

So here I was with a raging grudge against Ghetsis and his team in particular.  I like to speculate that his Cofagrigus was evolved from a Yamask born from the death of the player’s father in either game… yeah, there is almost no crime that is not believable if attributed to Ghetsis.

The Pokémon that I focus my ire on most, though, is his Hydreigon.  The damn thing’s Pit Bull-vicious to begin with and that’s before Ghetsis got his hands on the thing.

I actually believe that the Hydreigon line is the Pit Bull of the Pokémon world; it’s all in how they’re raised.  Kind and friendly if raised lovingly, cruel and vicious if raised in the hands of human scum like… oh, Ghetsis for instance.

It doesn’t help that his Hydreigon’s underleveled on top of everything else.  It implies that he found a way to artificially force evolution before the Zweilous was ready for it.  This, of course, implies that he’s had “dealings” with Team Rocket Redux from Johto, possibly through one of their pet scientists who didn’t want to give up the research after the Goldenrod Radio Tower Debacle.

Seriously… when will these bastards learn?  If a Pokémon Professor sets a group of Trainers loose on the Region with Pokédexes and the directive to meet as many different kinds as possible… that is not the time to be starting crap.

But no, getting his rump kicked two years before by a youngling Trainer with a Pokédex didn’t teach Ghetsis a damn thing.  So here he was in the Great Chasm facing down another Pokédex-bearing Trainer and in her team is Caila, the Raichu with a grudge.

This was not the day to be a cruelty-maddened Hydreigon with a weakness to Fighting moves.

Hydreigon is a Dragon/Dark Type.  I could have attacked with Ice (my favorite is a Stoutland with Ice Fang, or a Lucario with Ice Punch), or a Dragon move (Archeops wielding Dragon Claw is my usual choice), or even Bug (training Sewaddles by hunting Purrloin is a favorite tactic in Black and White)… but no, I send out Caila and watch with a madwoman’s grin as the Raichu teaches his Hydreigon the true meaning of pain, reducing him to a quivering mass of goo incoherently begging for mercy.

I really gotta wonder if that Hydreigon still wakes up screaming from nightmare flashbacks to that unholy smackdown.

All in all, it was a very satisfying battle, and Ghetsis’ subsequent mental breakdown was just icing on the cake for me.  I don’t always carry a grudge, but when I do it’s epic.

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