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2/20 c51 pikupstix
I've read 50-odd chapters, and that's probably as far as I'll go. I enjoyed it at times, but I've decided to cut my losses. I'll list the problems I had with the story up to this point, in case they are useful to you as an author. A lot of it is my own perspective/opinion about storytelling (NOT rationality), but you've mentioned in a number of places that you like feedback, so here it is.

First, the main characters are all too similar. Red and Leaf in particular. Most descriptions of one would fit the other. (Open-minded, observant, insightful, sensitive, gifted, mature, precocious, intellectual, to name a few.) Aiko, when she joins, has many of the same qualities again. Blue gets off the hook just barely, because he matures over the course of the story. Specifically, his failures are shown, and his arrogant/overconfident nature gives him a lot of room to grow, although in actuality he too is just a shade from being another Red/Leaf doppelganger.

Second, everyone is too smart. The main four seem to all be borderline geniuses, which is one thing, but the supporting cast and villains (Laura, the professor, Bill, Giovanni, basically all gym leaders, Mewtwo) are full to the brim with secret motives, plotting, politics, Machiavellian deals and trickery, lies and half-truths... It just feels like too much. In comparison, where are the simpler, more earnest characters? You wanted a serious world with real danger, where people can (and do) die if they're careless, I get it, but stripping away (or simply not giving sufficient spotlight to) any 'normal' people gives the story an alien feeling, like I'm solely relying on my higher level logic functions to process PEOPLE, and can't engage with anyone on an emotional level. More contrast between exceptional and baseline would have been appreciated, especially within the main cast.

Third, it's a rational fic. Weird thing to criticise, since for many that's the main appeal, but for me this is as much a drawback as a positive. For one thing, it's rare that characters seem to genuinely WANT anything, and instead they are just assigned a goal that 'makes sense'. Red in particular is prone to dissecting his own thoughts as he thinks them, questioning whether he is being emotional or irrational from every possible angle. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad if there was more diversity in the cast, but as it is, his friends (and a shocking number of minor characters) cede to his impressive reasoning skills, replying in kind or even improving upon his thinking, which makes a majority of interactions feel clinical, even comical (game-like). Further effects of this: characters are not able to be passionate or expressive in a realistic range of emotion, nor display characteristic childishness or make significant mistakes in judgement. They don't keep awkward or embarrassing secrets (a crush, say, or a silly dream/desire), they don't hold grudges, they voice and clear any disagreements exactly as they arise. There isn't a lot of drama or character conflict, basically. Perhaps that's the norm for rational fics, but it dried out the experience too much for my liking.

Fourth, the pacing is far too slow. I'm unsure how to describe this issue, other than to state frankly that I would want to somehow cut 50% of the word count at a minimum. Each town or 'arc' (Viridian Forest, Pewter City, Mt Moon, Cerulean City, picking up Aiko, etc.) is itself novel length, and that simply didn't work for me. (Note that I'm reading this all at once, compared to your regular readers who get 10k words every month or two.)

Finally, the biggest issue, the main contributing factor to me quitting, is that I wasn't really sure what I was looking forward to. I mentioned already that your characters decide things based on what is 'sensible', but it goes deeper than that. Take Red, our hero. He wants to be a researcher, which makes sense because he was all but raised by Professor Oak. Red is smart, and he wants to know how the world works. His dad died when he was young, and this impacted him a lot, so now he wants to do something related to pokemon, yadda yadda, you get the point. Logically, all the pieces fit. But where is the heart? Where is the drive?

Let's try another angle. What happens if Red DOESN'T become a researcher? What will he lose, internally or externally, if he fails in his quest? In other words, what are the stakes? Conflict is important here as well. What sort of obstacles will test his mettle? He nearly dies in Viridian Forest (and a number of times elsewhere), but what does that obstacle represent for his journey? Why specifically isn't he allowed to die here, before having accomplished his goal? As it stands, I don't know the answer to these questions. I don't know why Red wants to be a researcher, other than it is a fit for his personality and he knows Professor Oak. I don't know what breaking his arm during a forest fire has to do with becoming a researcher. I suppose they simply aren't connected? But that in itself is a problem. This story has a lot of elements that seemingly boil down to "showing the reader what the world is like", instead of depicting a character moving toward their goal for a motivated reason (and in doing so, indirectly showing what the world is like). It's boring, frankly. It's dry, and it leads to bloat.

Emotionally, the highest stakes you've got seem to be "Red will be disappointed in himself if he fails, because he wants to prove himself to Oak". This isn't particularly inspiring for the reader to work out, especially since there are no clearly defined ways for him to fail. Compare this to, hypothetically, if Red wanted to become a ranger instead, like his dad. Now we get it, especially once the psychic/emotion stuff starts coming out. Red MUST become a ranger, because it's how he's holding onto his dad's memory. Or whatever, it's just an example. But the point is, it's close to the heart. It's something that Red can fight for, something you, the author, can test him on, threaten him with losing. You can add tension with a time limit: his dad got his licence at 12, well ahead of the norm, and Red, a mere month from his 12th birthday, finds he has little aptitude for anything outside his books. This pushes him to take risks, seeking experience recklessly, such as pursuing the Zapdos alongside Blue, sinking all his available funds into equipment on the way, to maximise his chances. And so on. Now, if Red fails, he's not only going to lose some of the connection he feels with his dad, but he's out of cash, and he's potentially in real physical danger too. There are stakes, because our hero is in a precarious position. There is tension, because readers want to see if/how he gets out unscathed.

Apologies if I'm droning on, but this is a pretty fundamental element of fiction, and I don't think you've included it in your story very well. Both HPMoR and Game of Champions did it well, for reference.

(Note that these same questions can be asked of Leaf with similarly unsatisfying answers. She picks up journalism out of nowhere in Pewter, and sticks with it... just because? What does this line of work mean to her? Is she looking for quick money? Has she dealt with corruption in the past, and now can't bear to stand by when she sees the same problems in a foreign land? Is there a particular mystery she wants to solve, and being a journalist is just an excuse to fish for information? There are infinite possibilities, but you have to pick something and stick with it; it will form the core of her character for the entire story.)
2/20 c57 1CMY187
This will be my last review until after 21st March, as I will be studying for an exam.

“he can feel the grief lurking at the edges of his thoughts already”
Psychic power can save your life and also destroy it. It brings a whole new level to psychology and psychiatry. (looks at Vanya in Umbrella Academy) Huh.
“too much exposure of it on undamaged flesh would cause other medical issues”
You could buy knock-off/cheaper products via the black market, but that obviously has its consequences. I wonder how much illegal contraband is confiscated in this world per month. What are the most in-demand products in Kanto?
What if large numbers of Magikarp in the seas around Kanto suddenly evolve, causing an infestation of Gyarados? There is SO MUCH that humanity does not know about pokemon. For all the progress they have made, it is like taking a few feeble steps on what is a seemingly endless path that stretches into the horizon.
Sakki is so frightening to me. And as Blue’s shiftry Kemuri proved, the programs in pokeballs are not infallible; pokemon can and would turn on their owners. If Leaf were to ‘release’ Raff from his ball, would he remain at her side, run off without a backward glance never to return, or snarl and send out his vines to wrap around her neck?
Also, when a pokemon evolves into a larger or faster form, does it become necessary to transfer them into a Heavy or Fast Ball?
“medic duty”
I thought of Desmond in Hacksaw Ridge.
“steamed bellsprout…fake oddish”
Hmm. (looks at Mad Cow Disease) Oof.
“you’ve got to learn to mingle”
I snickered imagining Sam Oak having to do this. Then I imagined him meeting a scarred and proud veteran pokemon trainer who openly disapproves of/disagrees with at least one of his products and/or theories.
“Observe: humans in their native habitats”
Nature documentary about people. I love it.
“This is my normal expression”
Ha!
“not being sufficiently mingley”
Is Leaf good for Red or bad for him? In my opinion, she is both.
“dying of awkwardness”
Public Speaking is a legitimate fear. Some people become physically unwell upon having to do it. Apparently, a common practice is to use bright lights placed at the rear of /above the audience to partially blind the person on stage so that it would be more difficult for them to perceive the crowd.
“You fools, you’ve DOOMED US ALL!”
‘BIT-H, why the F-K did you say ‘yes’?!’
“The girl studies him briefly”
I personally don’t see a problem with using Bill to gain contacts and/or information. Bill is also free to use Red Verres as a reference for his own ends. Everybody uses everybody.
“The way things work now, researchers are both the people who come up with the theory they want to test, and then do the experiments to test them”
I thought of Mewtwo. He is apparently the only ‘successful’ of numerous failed attempts to clone the pokemon Mew. And he has both Mew and human DNA.
The scariest thing about Mewtwo in my opinion is that he may only be the first of his ‘type’. If people can do it once, why could they not do it again? However, Mewtwo is currently the single most dangerous pokemon in existence (if he can even BE categorized as a pokemon, and not a half-pokemon half-human with the intelligence and abilities of both), and has already broken free from and cut ties with the people who created and raised him.
There likely would be people who’d urge Giovanni to hunt him down. Mewtwo is going to be seen, which means that there is a chance of the public learning of his origins. If that happens, I don’t know if Giovanni would survive the backlash.
I can easily imagine Leader Erika expressing outrage, horror and disbelief toward not only Giovanni for what he has done but also to Leader Sabrina for going along with it for years…though this is assuming she also isn’t involved. (looks at Blaine) …whether he is an ally, enemy or neutral party to Giovanni, he was/is definitely involved in some way. If the laboratory in Cinnabar is discovered by the public, people WILL ask how it could have been functioning and running for years without him knowing.
The discovery of the facility beneath Rocket Casino may dog Erika’s footsteps for years afterward. People may be whispering behind her back on whether or not she was involved in it.
“just pay that money to Raikoth, marked specifically for a particular kind of research”
(looks at the lab in Cinnabar) …how was it funded?
“muk exposure”
(looks at the Grass/Poison type pokemon Raff) Huh.
“Depends how the post-cruise funding goes”
With recent events that have occurred involving Legendary-class pokemon – not to mention the events of Lavender Tower – researchers must be going crazy. There would be no end of work and opportunities for them.
What Blue went through in Lavender…well, I doubt it’s the first time that people would claim that there are pokemon that simply cannot be caught.
“a basic way to check for honesty”
This is assuming you can trust BOTH psychics; the one with you and the one with the person you’re negotiating with.
‘It’s a show! LET’S MAKE A DEAL!’ – And Justice For All.
“I still can’t help but feel a bit paranoid”
Her encounter with Giovanni still haunts her.
“props it up against the wall”
I love metapod.
“not wanting to risk Charmeleon in the enclosed (expensive) space”
I imagined a trainer facing a Renegade underground, with the trainer’s Snorlax barely able to move in the passage while the Renegade’s Arbok attempts to dart past it to strike at the trainer.
“After Raff tries to sneak some for the fifth time”
He really has been spoiled rotten.
“as Pichu quietly snores beside him”
Hmph. That one is no help at all. (looks at metapod) Neither is that one.
“the great lizard”
How in the world does a Charmander develop the ability to fly as it evolves? Are there Charmeleon that are capable of flight?
Also, for some reason I remember the writing in the Adventures-manga of magmar; that they are extremely vengeful creatures who relentlessly hunt down any that defeat them without killing them. Red knocks out two magmar with a Sandshrew before leaving, and after observing this brilliant display of using tactics and resourcefulness to overcome stronger opponents, Giovanni has his cloyster kill the two magmar.
“the middle aged, athletic man”
Beware of an old man in a profession where many die young.
“Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Calcium, Sulfur”
Artificial pokemon. I love this.
“how it could change the world”
It definitely could.
“genetically engineered hybrid pokemon”
Giovanni set out to create the deadliest pokemon in existence. And the worst possible outcome happened; he succeeded.
In my opinion, I do not think that Mewtwo could hide from the world indefinitely, in Cerulean Cave or anywhere else. A prize like him, people would hunt him no matter where he goes. He would be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.
Even if Giovanni forbids his own faction from doing so, people WILL search for and seek to capture Mewtwo, destroy him, obtain his DNA or all three.
“the entire fields of catching and training pokemon”
(looks at pokemon breeding) Hmm. (looks at Gold in the Adventures manga whose specialty apparently lies in breeding) I got nothing. Even Gold doesn’t quite get it. Breeding and training in my opinion are two different fields.
“don’t respond to any but the most extreme stimuli”
There have been real-life attempts to clone animals such as sheep. The results...have not been very positive. Apparently, skipping the steps that are taken in natural biology/breeding just disrupt the building process.
“People said it was impossible”
(looks at the Altered Carbon series) …who knows. Not that long ago, many would say that something like the World Wide Web is impossible and could never be made real.
“the finest minds in biology, tech, and business”
(looks at Mewtwo) Why Mew? Why not another pokemon?
“the alternative is that they just don’t have a brain”
Perhaps the clone is comatose?
“over a dozen Gifted in this room too polite or wary…novelty overrides such concerns, for myself”
I smiled at this.
“This emptiness”
Sabrina is able to communicate with Mewtwo without speaking out loud. Mewtwo really is one of a kind. There is no other being in the world that is like him.
“detectable minds long before they actually hatch”
I thought of the velociraptors in Jurassic World (2015).
Also, I imagined something similar to one of the scenes in that movie occurring in this story; pokemon rangers finding the remains of numerous pokemon strewn across an entire valley, dozens upon dozens of carcasses, most of which have no signs of being eaten. One of the rangers then states, ‘It’s killing for sport.’
“Who are you, really?”
I love that Red and Leaf are enigmas to many of the people aboard the boat.
“falsely believing that he was surrendering”
This adds new levels to the saying, ‘All warfare is based on deception.’
I now suspect that in seven badge Challenge matches, Sabrina holds nothing back and directs her own psychic abilities against the challenger themselves.
“That way lies madness”
‘Stop chasing the mice inside your skull.’ – Munich (2005).
“I’m not actually a secret agent of Bill’s”
…yeah. Bill’s got enemies. There’s no way he doesn’t. He lives alone and in isolation for a reason.
“Cloning mentally crippled pokemon is just the start of what looks to be a pretty horrifying future”
‘Where is the voice that said altered carbon would free us from the cells of our flesh? The visions that said we would be angels? Instead…we became hungry for things that reality could no longer offer.’ – Altered Carbon.
“it might not have been able to breathe fire, or fly”
This made me look at Red needing to keep his metapod out of its ball to progress its metamorphosis.
“nothing says they have to be alive first”
I have to side with Leaf here. Pokemon would definitely die to further such a product.
“going to hate him forever just because they argued”
I am very worried about N.
“nostrils flared at the lingering scent of food”
Seriously, she just spoils all of them. And now I’m reminded of Maturin observing Red and Leaf’s Charmander and Bulbasaur receiving food, then asking Blue to give her some food as well.
“I’m back to suspecting something shady is going on”
I’d be surprised if something shady WASN’T going on at the cruise.
“would you still be against being able to revive your pokemon”
I thought of Kristin Ortega’s argument with her mother on ‘spinning up’ people in the Altered Carbon series.
“being given the ability to return a dead pokemon to life, and just…starting over with a new pokemon instead”
My Maltese dog died at the age of 17 in September 2020. If I could, I would without hesitation bring her back to life, albeit young and healthy.
“Would we even value life if it was that easy to replace?”
People don’t value lives NOW.
“I guess maybe I am a narcissist”
I disagree with this. Red Verres is anything BUT narcissistic. I am comfortable with saying that I have knowledge and experience of narcissistic people. I live with three of them.
“that word means more that you don’t care about others”
Dennis Reynolds as a pokemon trainer. Oh my God, the Always Sunny gang in the pokemon world would be amazing.
“Why not just clone yourself”
This is referred to as Double-Sleeving in Altered Carbon, and is highly illegal. One character double-sleeves, and refers to his copy/clone as his brother. (looks at Jango and Boba Fett) Huh.
“He thinks he’d be okay with that”
They are not ‘other halves’ of the original Red Verres in my opinion. They’d be their own individuals who may or may not go down different paths and make different choices.
“to grab Metapod and stick it in his closet”
Ha!
“voice a bit stiff”
He’s not paid enough for this.
“Paul says, not a question”
Methinks Paul is in the wrong profession. He’s too smart for his current job.
“sending the impulse to hide and be quiet”
Why is this scene so tense?!
“Gah! Nails! Sharp!”
This made me laugh.
“but the dull green pokemon is still sitting where he left it”
I love that metapod is a comedic device. Now I’m imagining a bored pokemon trainer being unable to do much less while they wait for their kakuna and metapod to evolve.
2/19 c89 TheScottishLegend
Another great chapter!
2/12 c56 CMY187
“At Sea”
I am afraid of the ocean in real life. That fear would be a full-blown phobia in a world like the one of this story.
What is the largest Gyarados ever recorded?
“noticing that it’s getting shaggy and making a quick memo to cut it when he returns”
Red has some of the traits of a stereotypical absent-minded scientist in my opinion.
“constantly checking the time and traffic on the route there”
I’m guessing that pokemon trainers are among the most discipline and diligent people in the world, though of course there are many varieties.
“then frowns”
I love this aspect of Leaf’s character.
“We’re going on a swanky cruise”
Makes sense that Leaf is like this. Her mother has probably attended fancy/formal events with Leaf present. Red’s mother on the other hand worked as a columnist while Red himself was but a lab assistant.
“His cheeks are burning”
Yep, definitely an absent-minded scientist.
“After a few months on the road”
…I wonder what people like Lance and Giovanni were like before they became trainers. Lance may have been a VERY different person compared to his present self.
“Her eyes flick down to his shoes, but she doesn’t comment”
This made me laugh. It’s moments like this that truly make a story in my opinion. Funny how characters are usually the key to a story. I’ve seen too many stories that have an interesting premise but also have forgettable characters.
“internet signal on the ship will be spotty”
Which regions in Kanto do Rangers have the most difficulty in maintaining signals?
“link between psychic ability and pokemon size”
I thought of Alakazam and of Lugia, though that is probably an unfair comparison. Legendary pokmeon are in a class of their own.
“from the same couple of journals”
Interesting.
“She looks impressed”
Ha!
“See if there’s something I can do”
You COULD plot and scheme to have the journals publish an article on a story that YOU secretly concocted/created, then have said story be revealed to be a complete hoax so they would lose all credibility.
“an intimidating amount of security”
I don’t blame the convention personnel. People would steal, rob and murder for what is going to be put on display aboard the ship.
“he got distracted”
Dammit, Leaf.
“Leaf seems utterly calm”
I love how in her element she is here.
“Eventually he decides to cheat a little”
Is it wrong that I cackled at this?
“no one near as young as them”
People will remember their presence on the ship, which may turn out to be both good and bad for them. That they are representing Bill may become public knowledge.
“everyone else’s luggage apparently fits in a container ball or two at their belts”
If Heavy Balls are required for weight and/or mass, would certain balls be needed depending on other properties of the pokemon? (looks at Fast Balls) Hmm.
“none others have six like he and Leaf”
They really are standing out aboard the ship.
“old enough to be trainers”
…this is a terrible world.
There are probably families who have a policy of raising their children to be strong, smart, capable, etc and would not tolerate children whom they perceive to be weak (sickly, opposed to/afraid of violence against pokemon, etc) (looks at Giovanni and Silver) And now I feel sympathy for Silver. But is it really immoral of Giovanni when one considers the world that Silver has to live in? Considering recent events, Silver may decide to start a journey of his own without the knowledge and/or consent of his father.
“Grandpa gave me a sip now and then. He seemed to like the faces I’d make”
I like that Leaf reveals bits and pieces of her past throughout the story. There are clearly things that she has not shared, though.
“He doesn’t want to look like he’s bragging”
Considering what Blue has gone through, I think Red made the right choice here.
“play pool”
I immediately thought of Adventures-Gold.
“an outdoor swimming pool”
Now I’m just thinking of the episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in which the Gang goes on a cruise.
“a single person already making use of”
Why did this make me smile? Now I’m thinking of Leader Chuck of Cianwood City.
“Sir…this is a boat”
HA! I like Paul.
“they’re not going to be training a tyranitar”
It’s a cruise boat, not a military vessel. Sorry, Red.
“A whole week without being able to take a run with Raff”
Leaf really does love her pokemon. They are like family to her. But the love would also inevitably carry a lot of pain, as them being wounded or killed would only make the loss worse for her. Blue on the other hand has lost pokemon but is able to take deep breaths and to keep moving forward. In his mind, he is a soldier in a war, and has ambitions to become, essentially, commander-in-chief of all pokemon trainers in Kanto and perhaps even beyond. Napoleon Bonaparte was an unknown Captain during the French Revolution.
“move the couches around to set up an obstacle course”
There may be such courses in the Pallet Labs.
“the high and mighty among the business world”
For me, Red and Leaf’s arc aboard the SS Anne is no less interesting than Blue’s arc in hunting the absol.
“there’s still whole districts and neighborhoods he hasn’t set foot in”
I love this.
“Red’s cheeks heat at the choice of words”
His feelings for her are going to contribute greatly to his character development.
“before he can really reconsider or stop himself”

“for the welcome speech”
It just occurred to me that something like the SS Anne would probably be an ideal mission setting for a Hitman game.
And now I’m imagining a Renegade hitman who utilizes their pokemon to carry out murders either quietly and out of sight, or to make the deaths look like accidents or natural causes. In this very story, a Renegade has his Graveler kill humans and make the deaths appear to be from falling debris.
“blah blah”
Ha!
“particularly any on storage technology”
Bill is the protagonist of his own story. He has allies and enemies, and his story has its own antagonists and villains.
“Ugh. Pass”
I’m just really enjoying Leaf’s words and actions in this chapter. She is a great character.
“allow a trainer to virtually interact with their stored pokemon in real time, rather than just use pre-set programs that borrow their likeness”
Man I love this chapter. The pokemon universe is absolutely fascinating. There are a thousand and one stories that one could write in it.
“compatibility with various existing software”
I am currently in a part-time academic course for logistics and supply chain management. Integration is apparently one of the major factors to be considered when making additions or changes to one’s supply chain.
“one of his nightmares about going to school and finding out there’s a test the next day on material he’s never seen before”
Imagine Red being given a tour of the Sliph Co. main facility (not necessarily the headquarters).
“he can’t imagine that professional battle trainers or coordinators would be able to push the envelope with it”
It seems that the product is designed to meet the needs of a specific market, and trainers and coordinators are not it.
“the arm throws it and captures the tamed rattata”
So like the equivalent of a snare or trap. Interesting.
“But wait, there’s more!”
HI, BILLY MAYS HERE. HAVING TROUBLE KEEPING WILD POKEMON OUT OF YOUR BACK YARD?
“deployed by private citizens, governments, gyms, and rangers to finally bring us all what we’ve been dreaming of: peace of mind”
And then Groudon and Kyogre show up…
“We at Game Freak”
I love this.
“a far more powerful version of the standard tackle”
Now I’m imagining a Rapidash launching a Double-Edge attack. And then I imagined two wild Jolteon fighting each other to the death.
“dozens of other tests”
This product must have taken months or even years in the testing stage before being unveiled here.
“millions of hours of battle footage from hundreds of thousands of battles”
There has got to be an archive(s) of sightings, encounters and battles against the Stormbringers. And yet I suspect that the deadliest/most intense trainer vs trainer battles in the history of this world have never been recorded.
“made him feel a pang of something he imagines is close to what Leaf feels”
Yesterday, I visited my aunt’s home for Chinese New Year. She has three cats; Cleo, Thumper and Brownie. Brownie slept in the kitchen and stayed there for the duration of my family’s visit. Thumper was shy and spent hours under a table before emerging to ask for food. Cleo sat at everybody’s feet, meowing at me whenever I stopped petting her and also meowing at my aunt to give her better food (she did not want canned food but freshly-cooked prawn)
I wonder how Leaf would feel if she were to meet a trainer who also has an Ivysaur, but who treats it differently from how she treats Raff.
“Sorry, in a bit of a flow”
Still smiling at Leaf. Would she strain or even sacrifice her relationship with Red for her beliefs and her life-long goal?
“Since when did he start feeling hurt from Leaf being productive?”
In my opinion, what Red may now be feeling toward Leaf is not love but infatuation.
“Sure enough, more garbage”
For some reason I imagined N being a vicious online troll who often knows what he is talking about.
“Red feels himself getting angry again”
This is probably to be expected when you are a rationalist.
“take his research”
Could he sue them for libel?
“sheer amount of these things that have come out in the past couple of days”
I narrowed my eyes at this.
“His work is being used to justify all sorts of sensationalized nonsense”
The writings, words and actions of Leaf and Blue are also being used by other people to further their own agendas. ‘Tis the way of the world, young Verres. The Game is the Game.
“after she dismissed his anger earlier”
She knows what it is like.
Saitama: ‘Somebody has a lot of free time.’ – One Punch Man.
“Leaf really values the time she spends working out and playing with them”
Again: they are her family. (looks at the absol) Neither Red nor Leaf have interacted with it. I would advise them to stay as far away from it as possible.
“An hour later, the living room is transformed”
This made me smile.
“settling more of the wilderness”
Why do I have a bad feeling about this?
“push out past Mount Silver for new settlements”
Good luck with that…this is a world where the wildlife is extremely dangerous and unpredictable.
“who would want to live on the frontier until it stabilizes”
I thought of The Revenant (2015).
“Thundurus hit one of the cities there, forced it to be abandoned”
Like Zapdos, Thundurus is an Electric/Flying type. In order to effectively attack it, one may need to utilize Flying-type pokemon of their own…
I find it interesting that Thundurus has more than one form. Makes me think of the final boss of the Ocean Hunter arcade game.
…so who wants to travel across and within the world’s oceans to kill or capture specific individual pokemon that have been terrorizing their respective regions? Such as a Kingler the size of a goddamn building that has driven away many of the other pokemon in the area, claimed the lives of over sixty people, and been dubbed/given a name by humans. Now I’m imagining Leader Misty of Cerulean City tracking, hunting and somehow capturing the gigantic pokemon instead of killing it, though not without sacrifice on her part.
“trying to push further”
Blue would definitely take an interest in this if he hasn’t already.
“somehow managing to look impatient. Cheater, Red accuses”
Heh!
“a single empire sweeping across the island or continent”
Why did I immediately think of the Britannian Empire in Code Geass?
In my opinion, if Blue were to gain the same geass as Lelouch VI Britannia, he may go down a similar path. After all, Blue Oak’s goals are not all that dissimilar to those of Lelouch.
“much as we might treat them poorly now”
We humans don’t even treat each other well…
“Unless they’re Renegades”
I still love the writing in this story that the punishment for being a Renegade is so draconian.
“morals are kind of a luxury”
I agree.
“They’re just really delicious. Like really”
This made me stroke my chin. Alright, let’s get, say, ten people and have them eat ordinary crab meat and then Krabby meat. Both meats have been prepared by the same cook and the dishes made in the same way. How many would say that the Krabby meat tastes better?
“She looks so excited”
Have I mentioned that Leaf is crazy?
“they’re already dead!”
That’s not how it works, Red. Admit it, you just don’t want to have to eat less-tasty food.
“you could smell the salt in the air from right outside my door”
I thought of Pallet Town in the Adventures manga to be written to be one of the cleanest and most pollution-free settlements in Kanto. But in a world like this one, all it would take is a single catastrophe…
“Aiko hasn’t been there at all, and she’d probably get a kick out of Pallet Lab’s ranch”

“drawn irresistibly back”
I love this.
“whether he’s eavesdropping”
Welcome to the corporate world, Red Verres.
“Why are there so many psychics here?”
This chapter is AWESOME.
“feel awkward sitting beside them”
I snickered imagining Bill not caring about personal space and just sitting at a random table while ignoring everybody who is already at it.
“a kindly smile”
Beware of people who smile all the time. They usually have something to hide.
“we’re strictly on the hunt”
…why did I think of Mewtwo?
“no love lost between myself and the press”
I cackled like a defective electronic device at this. Sliph is deliberately messing with Red.
“Incentives, Mr Verres, are what the world runs on, even more than money”
In my opinion: Most arms dealers seek out and hope for clients and customers, while the best ones create the demand for their products.
“Those things that vie for your attention, but do nothing to further your goals, should be cut out from consideration”
I thought of Tywin Lannister’s single-minded obsession with putting Lannister blood on the Iron Throne. His obsession and pride ends up becoming the near-downfall of his entire House.
“He’s not going for badges, he’s not trying to be a Ranger”
I still love the different goals and objectives of the Oaklings.
“protect others in ways no one else can”
(looks at the Rocket Casino) …
“a preemptive loneliness”
Giovanni has a son. Where is Silver’s mother?
“his chest-vault is secure”
Psychic power is scary. It could aid you and at the same time damage you.
“the ball-meat company”
Ha!
“Leaf gives him a level look”
Leaf steals this chapter for me.
“he was nice enough”
I thought of the characters of the McMafia TV series.
“without interest in any kind of clarification or rebuttal”
You want to convince that you DON’T have special abilities or supernatural powers? Demonstrate/Reveal them.
“I’ll ask my mom what she thinks”
Was Sliph sending a subtle threat to Laura by sitting down and conversing with Red?
“She’s really pretty when she’s so focused”
You’ve got what is often referred to as a crush, Mister Verres.
2/11 c89 Mr. Priscilla CB
Finally caught up. Best story I’ve read on the site and am very excited to see the world continue to grow, this chapter in particular was a great take on the source material.
2/5 c89 Crimson
I'm enjoying your work so much. One thing that stands out to me after reading this chapter is that you often reuse "hordes of pokemon en masse" to provide conflict. Only now after all this time did I think "maybe stop using this as a vehicle every time"

Although in fairness I can also think back on a whole bunch of other encounters in the story that were unique, engaging, and extremely well done.

Anyway, kudos to you. No other fanfic has kept me more immersed in the Pokemon World than this one. You make me think of things that I would never have considered otherwise when it comes my own Pokemon head canon. I don't even mean with your unique take on concepts that already exist in Pokemon. It's simply how well you write. I've never injested any Pokemon content whether it be official or fanmade that made me stop to consider what my Pokemon smells like until reading your story. Sooo, thank you.
2/6 c55 CMY187
“her recent and distant past”
I miss Aiko.
“every feather a gem of a different color”
Ho-oh is not the first legendary-class pokemon, nor will it be the last. There will be others, and some would be greater and more terrible than any who had come before them. (looks at Mewtwo) …I imagined other organizations ruthlessly and relentlessly hunting him, not to kill him nor to turn him into a slave, but to use him to create artificial pokemon of their own.
Now I’m imagining a person dressed in the uniform of Celadon law enforcement searching and discreetly taking items and downloading files from computers in the area beneath the Rocket Casino.
Giovanni may have started something that he would never be able to stop. Mewtwo may not be the last artificial pokemon. What if someone were to acquire DNA from Articuno, Moltres or Zapdos and attempt to splice/meld it with human DNA?
“face an onix for the first time”
Jesus Christ, this story is terrifying.
“embedded into the ground to feel vibrations”
Sandslash and sandshrew are interesting pokemon. Wouldn’t they require space in order to effectively utilize their claws?
“blocking the way to its eggs”
But apparently it does not seem to mind the absol sitting amongst them. What the hell has the absol done to it? Is it something Dark-related?
“the onix tries to pick its target
Onix is a Rock/Ground type. I suspect that Brock and Giovanni have different ways of training this particular species of pokemon.
“the rocky whip sweeps out and hits”
Something that big should NOT be that fast. Onix are goddamn terrifying. (looks at Steelix) …I hate pokemon now.
“The hariyama is heavy enough that it doesn’t go far”
Never be quick to count out a Fighting-type pokemon.
“before remembering that she hasn’t trained it”
Using a pokemon you have only recently caught, and with little to no training. Aiko is in serious trouble here.
“scrape up wedges of rock and dirt, then fling them at the attackers”
Onix have some degree of intelligence. They are not mindless creatures in any capacity. Still, the absol is clearly the smartest pokemon in this chapter.
“the Pressure is getting to him too”
I hate that absol so much. This is all just a fun show to it; people fighting for their very lives.
“slamming its palms into the onix, and it staggers under the blows”
Interesting. Why do Normal-type attacks apparently have little effect on Rock-type pokemon while Fighting-type attacks seem to damage them more than other types such as Grass and Water?
“She withdraws her hariyama”
In those few seconds, Sumi probably decided that stopping the absol is worth the risk.
“instead of bounding up toward the hariyama, leaps to the side, its horn piercing Sumi as it runs by”

“I can’t die”
I really, really hate this chapter now in hindsight. What happened here definitely contributed to Aiko’s decision in Vermillion City that led to her death. In a way, one could argue that the absol killed her.
“cut through her armor mesh”
The characters will need better armor and equipment. Demand is increasing across the world. If Sliph Co. cannot meet that demand, other companies may step up. And I wouldn’t put it past Red, Blue or even Leaf to decide to turn to the black market.
“Ranger Miko yell ‘Stay focused on the onix!”
The absol chose a good moment to flee. Staying to watch some more was becoming too risky for it.
“She’d sent it to its death without even getting the chance to know it. All to buy a few extra seconds”
This is the world that these characters live in, and the things they have to do to survive.
“the onix’s thick, gel-like blood”
Interesting.
“the front half of its body is disappearing underground as it spins itself like a slow drill”
More than a few people forget that Onix is not a pure Rock-type. How many of them have paid for such a mistake with their lives? Are there any people in Kanto who are considered to be experts in hunting and/or capturing Onix?
“Blue’s group is knocked off balance, and barely have a chance to react”
In my opinion, Giovanni WILL do this to Blue when/if they face other in a Challenge match. In a seven-badge match, he may order his pokemon not to target Blue’s pokemon but Blue himself. I still remember the moment in the Adventures manga; Giovanni stating that his Nidoqueen will kill Red with its Poison Sting within the five seconds that Red will need to release his Pikachu so it could charge up and launch its Thunderbolt attack.
“Kemuri’s hoarse cough of pain mixing with Blue’s yell of rage”
He is never going to forget this. (looks at the absol) Nor forgive it.
“sometimes he seems more like a machine than a person, body executing perfect catches, throws, and swaps without any wasted motion or energy, almost making it all look effortless”
When you look at a Leader or an Elite, they may seem like larger-than-life figures. Out of their element, however, they are just people like everybody else. How many people in Giovanni’s organization have lost faith in him due to Mewtwo’s escape AND his apparent command not to pursue it?
“The throw is like watching a different person”
…it’s still nearby. That GODDAMN ABSOL. It’s STILL THERE. That sadistic piece of filth. I hope someone tracks it down and kills or captures it. Who knows how many victims it has claimed, human and pokemon alike.
“his first Rationally Thinking post”
Honestly, DayStarELD, you could write an entire story that focuses mainly on this; Leader Giovanni’s life around his blog.
“Train your mind, and you may triumph even when your body or pokemon are insufficient”
I thought of Sakki, and of Mewtwo being one of if not THE most intelligent pokemon.
“The Pressure makes it hard to think”
Jesus Christ, that is the real problem. If it can be overcome, the rest of the hurdles that must be cleared to defeat a Legendary-class pokemon would probably be trivial by comparison.
Also, I remember that Pressure gets worse the more a person is exposed to it. My stance is now firm and concrete: The absol killed Aiko, if by proxy. Now I’m imagining Aiko’s Eevee – now Blue’s – in a fully-grown/evolved form, roaring in rage upon seeing the absol.
Also, I imagined a trainer losing ALL of his pokemon to a diabolical scheme of the absol, and the absol standing over him for a long moment before smirking and leaving him alive, among his deceased pokemons’ carcasses. Damn, I’m getting True Detective vibes now. Take Off Your Mask.
“Apex predators. Not scared of any pokemon cries”
WHY are onix so powerful? Are there pokemon that are predators of infant or adolescent onix?
“Each one is about the size of a small adult…weighs almost as much as solid stone”
I imagined Gold stating that an onix egg would likely sell for a lot of money. Come to think of it, are there any professional Onix breeders in Kanto?
“carry the egg and outrun an onix”
Could a machamp resist an onix’s attacks? Could strength overcome sheer weight?
“they can swallow their eggs and regurgitate them later”
Interesting. Are there any studies that compare Onix to Arbok?
“it still won’t be enough”
What Water-type pokemon have the ability and/or capacity to flood an entire room/chamber?
“Sumi’s eyes flutter open”
Would Sumi desire revenge against the absol?
“might have just clipped it”
Jesus Christ…
“grab Bretta’s bayleef in its jaws…the horrible crunch, the cut off bleat of pain”
DayStarELD, ever since I first read this chapter, I have been unable to forget this moment. I can’t even look at a Bayleef or an Onix now without thinking about it. Thanks a lot.
“Her pokemon leaps forward”
Without being commanded to. Dune knew it was running to its death and did so anyway. (looks at Aiko’s decision in Vermillion) …God damn it.
“The others can care for her pokemon”
And as of the current point of this story, they are. Blue currently owns and looks after Aiko’s Eevee. How does one decide what to evolve it into? Is it even possible in this world to control its evolution?
I still have not forgotten the writing of the Eevee owned by Red in the Adventures manga; the subject of horrific experiments conducted by the Rocket organization, with the purpose being to grant it the ability to evolve and de-evolve into different forms, from Flareon to Vaporean to Jolteon. The Pokemon Adventures manga is seriously awesome.
“gallons and gallons of water”
Has anyone ever used a similar strategy or tactic in a Challenge match against Giovanni? (imagines Giovanni calmly noting said tactic, then sending out a Quagsire) Goddammit.
“if their mate suddenly vanishes”
It’s one thing to capture a pokemon, but what if the pokemon is pregnant or, like in this case, carrying unhatched eggs?
“The absol is leaping after the departing onix”
I hate that thing so much, way more than the Stormbringers. The latter don’t MEAN to hurt or kill people, that just happens when they are nearby and they typically only attack when attacked first. The absol is malicious and sadistic.
“the first opening to pull it inside”
It’s going to escape, isn’t it? Assuming the program inside the ball even worked on it. If it has indeed been trapped in the ball, I wouldn’t let it out. I have a feeling that letting it out would be a very bad mistake. That one is just too smart.
And that’s even assuming that it was caught at all. Who knows what Dark-type pokemon are capable of.
“In the space of a heartbeat the Pressure fades to nothing”
Interesting.
“her shame only grows as they travel up and up”
This only makes me hate the absol even more.
“We’ll help each other”
They have made progress in patching things up between themselves, but I doubt Blue is ever going to forget that Red allowed Aiko to enter the building instead of forcibly restraining or incapacitating her.
“Aiko turns to face him fully”
I thought of the scene in the Rome TV series in which Lucius expresses to Julius Caesar his regret in letting Pompey flee to Egypt.
“surgery…if something happens…my pokemon”
Not long afterward, over six hundred people die in Vermillion City, Aiko among them. I don’t want to know what the pokemon-casualties are.
“if it will keep her pokemon and teammates alive”
But not herself. The struggle in the underground cavern caused her to put less value on her own life.
“You get Giovanni out of the way before your fourth badge, maybe your fifth or sixth, but seventh is a bad idea. Eighth is just arrogant”
I 100 percent love this. Loved it when I read it, still love it now.
“It’s not as bad as saving someone like Brock for last”
I’m guessing Abdu, Slava and Payton have watched Challenge matches involving Brock and Giovanni.
“I don’t plan on ever doing that”
You sure about that, Blue?
What if someone were to challenge Giovanni for Leadership and insinuate/make subtle digs at him losing control of Mewtwo?
“Sabrina’s alakazam…Sync”
Interesting.
“If you fight and win against them”
I love that Brock and Sabrina have pokemon that are just as famous as they are if not more.
“he has no single pokemon as strong as theirs”
Giovanni is likely a master of commanding his pokemon as a single unit.
“beat him team against te-“
That will be anything but easy. Can Blue accomplish that? Only time will tell. For now he is nowhere near the level he needs to reach to even consider challenging Giovanni at seven badges.
“permanent damage…nicked her spine”

“acquire a pokemon that will be so important to research”
Don’t. Let it. Out.
Pokeball protocols are anything but infallible. Just look at Kemuri. In my opinion there is no way that the absol is going to be truly subservient, and it is much more clever than Kemuri was.
Cage or holding pen, it doesn’t matter. Don’t let it out of the ball. You do that, it will escape. I guarantee it.
Are there trainers who own pokemon that are undoubtedly cruel, sadistic and/or malicious? Which pokemon species are noted for their cruelty?
Hm…y’know who I think the absol WOULD follow, at least for a time? Mewtwo. Can Mewtwo be affected by pressure?
“They’re probably enjoying a fun, peaceful cruise”
I hate you so much, DayStarELD.
2/5 c89 gigamew
I'm enjoying your work so much. One thing that stands out to me after reading this chapter is that you often reuse "hordes of pokemon en masse" to provide conflict. Only now after all this time did I think "maybe stop using this as a vehicle every time"

Although in fairness I can also think back on a whole bunch of other encounters in the story that were unique, engaging, and extremely well done.

Anyway, kudos to you. No other fanfic has kept me more immersed in the Pokemon World than this one. You make me think of things that I would never have considered otherwise when it comes my own Pokemon head canon. I don't even mean with your unique take on concepts that already exist in Pokemon. It's simply how well you write. I've never injested any Pokemon content whether it be official or fanmade that made me stop to consider what my Pokemon smells like until reading your story. Sooo, thank you..
2/4 c89 1EndangeredMuffin
This has been my favourite Pokemon fanfic I've read to date and I absolutely adore it. It single handedly made me look around for more Pokemon stories with a similar plot line only to be disappointed to not find any. Absolutely fantastic work.
2/2 c89 KEB
Fantastic as always. I like the growing trust between Leaf and Red, Red and Jason, and Blue with people in general. Leaf saves the day. Thanks for writing!
2/3 c89 4Parselmaster
I love it. Having some mystery is important in an adventure. You nailed it to me.
2/3 c25 threeheadedhydreigon
I put off this story for a couple of years, but I kept getting the notifications of it updating, so I decided to pick it up again. I'm surprised at how much of it I remember. It really feels familiar. But I think I'm getting close to where I left off last time. Excited to see where it goes, this is very well done.
2/2 c89 hitdatefd
I really thought it was going to be a Trick Room Dusclops at first. Still a cool encounter and keeps with the games canon so people shouldn't really be too disappointed that it was a "made up" pokemon.
2/2 c89 Leaf5
Love it
2/2 c13 threeheadedhydreigon
I see that Worm reference ;).
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