Chapter 70, everybody! And now, a minor detour featuring everyone's favorite trio….
Yes we're referencing the 4kids jelly donuts we're throwing the shade because in the episode that introduced Tripp they actually called them rice balls. Ergo, they have no excuse. Did have to do some editing back when I was writing everything up and got to this point because it was written ahead and I finally found where it connected, but it shouldn't affect too much.
Also hi, this me, who did my dissertation on comic books and education and can attest that comics are indeed good for you. As for the reference…Watchmen is heavy to the point that I could only read a few pages at a time when I got the graphic novel, it's not exactly for everyone.
In other news, Porygon-speak is…let's go with interesting….I actually looked up the move information and why is there this much work into Tackle this is why the Pokémon games suck when it comes to optimization good grief.
Moving on to reviews: thanks to griffin blackwood, Dragonkeeper10, aodean, Cyan Quartz (awesome!), talesfanjmf, DeathCrawler, epantoja521, and 7sky, thanks for the reviews! Allow me to take a moment to clarify that I will not be going back and editing three tons of chapters to get rid of the author's notes I'm busy enough with ensuring new chapters now. D:
Pokémon © Game Freak; Nintendo
And now, for something completely different:
On the continuing coverage of the Pokérus, the PCDC has more health tips for taking care of infected Pokémon. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your quarantined Pokémon, to prevent the spread of the virus. The PCDC recommends at least twenty seconds of vigorous washing. For those of you who don't wish for the tedium of counting every time, wash your hands for the time it takes you to sing the first verse and chorus of your regional anthem.
"Okay," Meowth said, as they ate at the little cafeteria in the Rocket headquarters beneath the Celadon Game Corner. "Chances are, the twerps and da Darkrai are gonna to be showing up here sooner or later—the twerp wit da hat said he was going after his sixth badge, and Celadon's the last confirmed gym on the circuit. After dat it's either lesser gyms or wild Swanna chases."
"I think there's a lesser gym in Saffron," James said.
"So it'd be seventh instead of sixth, dat's just splitting hairs at dis point. And I question your eating habits, by the way."
"What's wrong with them?"
"Rice balls and jelly donuts? Seriously?"
"I like them—it's the contrast of salty and sweet that gets me."
"I prefer my canned Wishiwashi, myself," Meowth said, popping another saucy fillet into his mouth.
"So they really should be showing up any day now," James said, working on another rice ball. "With the Rockets here, we ought to try capturing Darkrai again."
"Again?" Jessie asked. "I thought the first time was just to put the tracking chip on it."
"Properly, I mean."
"We're talkin' a Pokémon dat probably rivals da tree legendary birds as far as power goes," Meowth pointed out. "We're going to need ta be talkin' stronger than everyone here already is."
"Yeah," James said, poking a jelly donut and causing some red to leak out. "Or I guess we could try a mech machine—they probably wouldn't see that coming."
"Or we could try trapping it in a different way," Jessie pointed out.
"Yeah, but the only trap we know is digging a hole in the ground, and Darkrai floats."
"We need better skills."
"We do," James sighed.
And then it was like a lightbulb went off over his head.
"Or maybe we trap it and then attack it—weaken it with a mecha or something and then whammo with our Pokémon!"
"Except our Pokémon aren't equipped to be taking that on—no offense, guys."
"None taken," the Pokémon eating next to them chimed, before going back to eating.
"I take offense," Meowth decided to say.
"I guess cats have more delicate sensibilities."
"Dat's probably it."
"Well…we could train a little!" James said. "We've got practice rooms in here—and I guess we could take our bonuses and buy some TMs?"
"Don't you mean steal?" Jessie corrected.
"No, I mean buy—the memo said to cut back on criminal activity in Celadon for a while so the police would stop canvassing the area."
"Dose darn Jennies," Meowth muttered.
"Okay then, next question," Jessie said. "What bonuses? Didn't you blow all our money on that Magikarp there?"
"Technically, yes—but technically, we also got a slightly increased salary to keep track of the twerps and the Darkrai, among other things like their skill level and their teams. Apparently, the boss is taking this very seriously."
"So maybe we ought to think about getting you another Pokémon?"
Jessie blinked. "And what's wrong with Ekans?"
"Yeah," Ekans hissed, rattling his tail.
"I mean in addition to Ekans," James corrected, hands up. "And—come on, the twerps are playing with full teams, and I've got three Pokémon—"
"Does the Magikarp even count?"
"And Meowth is more the logistics planner than an actual fighter—"
"Dis is true," Meowth said.
"So really, even bumping up our team number to five battling Pokémon would be better."
"So we're still counting the Magikarp," Jessie said flatly.
"She'll get there eventually. Won't you Penny?"
The Magikarp in question flopped happily.
"You're depressing," Jessie declared.
"Come on," James argued. "If a ten-year-old twerp can do it, I certainly can. It just requires some training and focus. And a lot of Rare Candies."
"I stand by my initial statement."
"Right," James said, popping the last jelly donut into his mouth and standing up. "Wfsf—" he swallowed and tried again. "Well then, let's go see what they've got here!"
"You're not proposing we go out and catch one?"
"No, don't be silly—we're going to see what's handy in the barracks."
The barracks were called such for lack of a better term, and was generally where all the equipment—from mech pieces to extra Pokéballs—were stored in the Celadon Rocket Base.
There was also a caged office in the corner, attesting to the notion that this had indeed been a place with military or law enforcement roots before such branches weakened due to the strains of war. Generally, there was to be at least one Rocket assigned to the room at all times, and the one there currently was in the office-cage, reading a comic book.
"Dose tings will melt your brain," Meowth said, hopping up and clinging to the cage side so he'd be able to see over the counter.
"On the contrary, there are a lot of studies coming out that say these are good for me," the grunt said, sparing them a glance. "Besides, it's Watchmon—it's a paragon of psychological examinations of overpowered Pokémon, or something like that."
"Isn't one of the main characters naked?" Jessie asked, raising an eyebrow at James, who suddenly became very interested in the ceiling—Meowth remembered the month that James had been obsessed with that book, until Jessie pointed that minor fact out and teased the Mankey out of him.
"Just the one guy," the guy said, putting a napkin in his book and setting it aside. "So what can I do you for?"
"We're needing an extra Pokémon to give our team more diversity," James said, looking back down.
"That's what he says," Jessie pointed out.
"Preferably something strong against Ground types," Meowth said, having given it some thought and warming to the idea. "We got two Poisons and a Fire type here, and even with one having Levitate as an ability, it's still a pretty glaring weakness."
"Boy, did you guys come to the wrong place," the grunt said. "We're selling the Pokémon upstairs as prizes for the game corner, not handing them out to grunts."
"All right, we tried—wait, excuse me?" Jessie asked, rounding back on the grunt. "I'll have you know we just got promoted! Tracking down a powerful team of wandering trainers with a really rare Pokémon, and you want us to go off half-cocked? Don't make me tell our superiors about you!"
James leaned back, mouthed wow at Meowth, which Meowth returned. Jessie may not have liked the idea, but she wasn't about to let her respect get dissed like that.
"All right! All right!" the grunt yelped, hands up as he scooted over to a far drawer. "Let me see what we got here."
"Much better," Jessie said, returning to normal decibel levels.
The grunt rooted around before pulling out two Pokéballs. "Okay, we've got a Porygon and—"
"Send up a Dratini, someone's cashing in," the microphone on the desk said.
"We've got a Porygon," the grunt said, putting the one Pokéball into the little metal tray underneath the opening in the cage.
"Two minutes earlier and we could have had a dragon on the team," Jessie sighed.
"A Porygon isn't bad," James said. "Which one is that again?"
Jessie picked up the ball and pressed the release mechanism, bringing Porygon into the room with a flash of light.
After they could see again, Meowth considered the angular blue and pink thing floating in front of them.
"I…have no idea how to react to that thing," Jessie said finally.
"I hear Porygon are good with computers—that might be something," the grunt said, putting the ball with the Dratini into a transporter and sending it vanishing to elsewhere. "And it's either that or nothing."
"We'll take it," James said.
"Then that makes it yours," Jessie said, handing the ball to James.
"No, it's still yours—come on, let's take it to the practice field and find out what it can do."
Meowth followed them, figuring it would occur to them eventually that relocating wouldn't make Porygon's moveset any clearer.
Five minutes after arrival, that occurred to them too. Hence why Meowth was currently trying to carry on a conversation with a Pokémon that he was pretty sure was speaking in binary.
"I'm not a computer," Meowth finally told it in irritation, stomping a foot on the ground. "Say it in plain speak!"
The Porygon considered this for a moment before making a loud beep.
"And dat means what?"
"Input received. Awaiting further data," the Porygon said.
"Okay, we're getting somewhere," Meowth said. "What moves do you know?"
"Current moveset is as follows: Conversion, Conversion 2, Sharpen, and Tackle."
That told Meowth very little. "What do those moves do?"
"Conversion reverts type to Normal. Conversion 2 converts type to that of move last used by opponent. Sharpen raises attack stats. Tackle inflicts damage equal to: Level times two over five plus two times power times opponent attack over opponent defense over fifty times modifier—modifier being target, one if one target and point-seven-five if more, times weather if—"
"Stop stop stop," Meowth said, waving his paws in frustration. "I know what Tackle is. What offensive moves do you learn?"
"Translating offensive as moves that do direct damage to the opponent as opposed to battle effect damage. Moves that fit that definition are listed as follows, in order of classical learning by Level-Up: Psybeam, Signal Beam, Discharge, Tri-Attack, and Zap Cannon. Moves that fit the definition which are taught by Technical Machine, or TM, are listed as followed in numeric order—"
"Stop—stop," Meowth ordered, waving for it to stop before stalking back to Jessie and James, who had sat down for a game of cards when it became obvious that Meowth wasn't going to get anywhere fast with this thing.
"Well?" Jessie asked, when he was close enough.
"Congratulations, it's a dictionary," Meowth said flatly.
Jessie and James exchanged blank glances. "So…what moves does it know?" Jessie asked.
"Tackle, which is the only one I know right what it is. Sharpen raises Attack, Conversion makes it Normal, and Conversion 2 turns it into whatever move hit it last. After dat, search me, because da ting was making my mind go fzzt after da first few minutes."
"For the record, this is your fault," Jessie said, pointing at them. "You were the ones saying we needed more Pokémon."
"So we go back to our original plan of buying TMs and feeding them to our Pokémon," James said, standing. "Come on, let's go shopping."