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Gee Officer Wayland: Indomitable

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA Part 2: Wayland's recounting of his past moves from his traumatic youth to his less-than-stellar first attempt at Pokemon training. However, from failure, breeds a new chance at success.
You could probably imagine my parents being pretty reluctant to just let me go off on a region-spanning journey after having nearly lost me for good to some elusive psychopath, but they knew how much it meant to me, and, bless them, they had the courage to let me go after I made my pleas loud and clear. Of course, I did have to promise them I’d keep in contact, but that was a pretty basic caveat I was more than happy to oblige.

I had all my stuff packed up and set off to Nuvema Town, generally considered the ideal starting point in Unova for trainers, at least on the east side. It’s one of the two towns with a registered Pokemon Professor taking up residence, the people who typically hand you your first Pokemon and handle all the paperwork and credentials and whatnot for League registration. The starter Pokemon for Unova have been mainstays for years now, rare to acquire outside of this inaugural moment: The grass snake, Snivy, the fire pig, Tepig, and the sea otter, Oshawott. Grass, Fire and Water, that ageless starter trifecta…

I couldn’t say I was too partial to any one type at the time, so I simply had to choose which of the three Pokemon just seemed to… I don’t know… fit, I guess, for lack of a better term. With each outside of their respective Pokeball, Snivy and Tepig were certainly adorable, no doubt, but… the Oshawott… the poor little thing’s expression just seemed so lost, as if it had been in this spot one too many times and had resigned itself to a particularly disappointing outcome, much as it wanted to move beyond that hopeless stupor. I mean, if 11-year-old me could pick that up, that’s how you know just how clear this little fella’s feelings were being put on display. The professor even seemed to affirm this when she noticed the water-type had drawn my attention the most. “Little guy’s been here the longest I’m afraid,” she briefly explained, but apparently, she didn’t want to get into any further detail, probably didn’t want me to make a choice based on pity.

I wouldn’t quite say that was the ultimate decision-maker for me… I mean, sure, I did pity that the Oshawott was faced with neglect, but much of that came more out of empathy than anything. I think, more importantly, I felt I could relate with him, feeling lost and alone like that, memories that were still clear as day for me. I can still remember just going up to him and giving him a light pat on the head. Little guy was startled as all get-out by that, but it didn’t make a move to flee or anything, just staring at me curiously, like it was a novelty to have someone looking at him for more than a couple seconds tops.

“Hey… You think we could work together?” I asked him. That’s really all I can remember saying, I wasn’t much of a talker then… Guess that much hasn’t changed. The Oshawott actually looked like he was gonna start weeping right then and there, but he put himself together long enough to smile at me and chirp in agreement before bounding up to hug me in gratitude. He only got so far as to embrace part of my leg, but I wouldn’t dock any sentimentality points for an obvious height difference. I decided to name the little fella Fuzz, figured it matched, the guy had a pretty fluffy coat of fur on him. Incidentally, ‘Fuzz’ is also a slang term for a police officer… I’ll get back to you on that in a bit.

With my decision pretty clear-cut, the professor finished up the whole registration procedure and my new partner and I were off, back up the northerly route 1, Striaton City being our destination, the first gym within reach. It had been smooth sailing to get this far, but that was as far as I managed to get before the wheels came off.

Naturally you don’t face a gym leader without practicing against other trainers and potentially an eager wild Pokemon or two beforehand, a means of figuring out what level you were at, your strengths and weaknesses, that sort of thing. That’s what we did, and there were plenty of fellow trainers of the ‘just starting out’ variety to practice with. Unfortunately, while there was a surplus of trainers, I can’t say there was a similar surplus of wins coming from our battles with them. To sum it up in the bluntest terms, we sucked, even by our low standards.

What was the deal? Why was I so damn terrible you might wonder? I know I certainly wondered it myself. It never seemed like we lacked any talent or power the opposition had. They certainly weren’t all electric and grass, I’m pretty sure a number of fire types were involved. Lack of experience? Maybe a fair excuse the first dozen attempts, but at some point, we both figured we should’ve been making a little more headway. I’ll give Fuzz all the credit in the world though, he never wanted to give up, there were times where I had to insist that he rested for a bit just because I didn’t want to see him get too hurt, and that was probably the one time he was ever anything but obedient with me. He clearly wanted to do this for the both of us, maybe even show his gratitude for my choosing him. We got a win or two in just from stubborn resilience, but, boy, they didn’t feel very triumphant, more emotionally and mentally taxing for me… and, y’know… obviously physically taxing for Fuzz. It didn’t help that those wins were followed up by another flood of Ls…

Looking back on it, I have to wonder if it was just the location. See, those first couple routes and cities were located in the same section of Unova where I had been imprisoned and brainwashed, and though I had made a vow to myself to not let that incident affect me… I can’t deny that it did. Kept my reactions dulled, my tactics sloppy, and my focus hazy. It all just makes me feel all the more sympathetic towards my first companion, and all the more grateful for his dedication. At any point he probably could have just thrown his scalchop to the ground and called it quits, he would’ve been in the right to do so, but instead, he would just keep getting up every time he got knocked down. I may have had to pack it in before I even got to the first gym, just because I realized we weren’t getting anywhere, but I place the blame solely on myself for that, and at the very least that first journey taught me one pretty important lesson about how far you can take dedication and loyalty when it comes from a genuine place.

I returned home far earlier than I had wanted to with my Oshawott companion, who, though looking somewhat crestfallen himself, did still seem more focused on keeping me in decent spirits… and I mean, I couldn’t exactly stay upset at that little adorable otter face… little guy just tugged at the heartstrings effortlessly. Still, this left me with a great bit gap for my future, failing in the only ambition I ever knew. Nonetheless, my father sat me down one day to discuss it some more.

“What else do you feel passionate about? Give yourself a moment, just think about what sparks the most powerful emotions in you when you’re recalling them,” he had suggested, and when I gave it a try, something popped up rather suddenly in my generally chaotic mind… I felt a pretty deep anger. For what? Well, for my fears, my fears of being abducted by someone my supposedly sworn protectors couldn’t even bring in to face the justice they deserved. That feeling, it had stuck with me, even when I had thought I’d stowed it away. It remained, in my subconscious mind all throughout my training follies, and I realized that if I couldn’t be some league champion prospect, the next best thing I could do was become a police officer and put an end to the incompetency that led to cases like my own in the first place.

With my new goal established, I was enrolled in a police academy situated near the big city of Castelia. No surprise that sprawling urban jungle would be where the police would want to train their potential recruits of course, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place with more criminal likelihood throughout most regions. Being near all that just hammered in the point of what the job entailed.

After I made it through a few classes and I didn’t look to be getting cold feet, my Mom called me over one night, saying there was something she needed to show me. She had a jewelry box with rather intricate designs throughout, patterns that were, I’m told, very reminiscent of the kind of traditional art in the Kalos region. That wasn’t too surprising really, if you know my lineage from my mom’s side. The Savoie line was pretty deeply embedded in that part of the world, and my grandmother used to mention how great-grandma had once been a skilled trainer in those days of old before the family migrated to that uneventful patch of land north of Unova.

Aside from her stories though, there’s really no evidence to support that kind of supposed history… the only keepsake passed down through the generations was in that jewelry box. What was it? Well, inside, sitting on its own was… well… essentially it was a marble. Yeah… that’s all it appeared to be really… I mean, it was a pretty marble at least, it seemed almost luminescent from a certain angle, and there was the curious little pattern of sorts situated at the center, but to my eyes it was still just a fancy little rock. Still, this wasn’t a matter of practicality, more so sentimentality. It had been a family tradition to pass that little marble down from generation to generation. I still remember her tearfully admitting she thought she’d never get the chance to have me inherit it, but by the good grace of fate, I was back, and she felt I was ready to take possession of this decades-old family trinket. Seeing how much it mattered to her made me realize it had plenty of worth, and I promised to take the utmost care of it. I bring all this up for a very particular reason beyond the fact that it was a nice heart-to-heart with my mother, and that’ll make itself clear in due time, just a few things still needed to happen beforehand.

Apparently, my father’s advice was dead-on in its effectiveness, because I took to law enforcement waaaay better than that botched training venture. It was still a rigorous experience, don’t get me wrong, but, suddenly my hard work was actually getting some payoff to it. Thing is, outside of just studying law and going over the legalities and formalities and such concerning how to deal with citizens and criminals of varying behaviorisms and circumstances, there was still plenty of Pokemon-related activity. I mean, it’s like I said, everything ultimately comes right back to them in some manner. In this case we were instructed with a training method that was supposed to make for quick neutralization and swift apprehension.

At times it almost felt like I’d enlisted into some kind of battling academy from how many times they’d thrown loaner-Pokemon at us and had us battle one another. No surprise, at first, I was usually hitting the bottom of the rankings in that category, but the lessons started to stick, and I found myself steadily improving. It wasn’t drastic by any means, but it was something, and while that was going on, we were learning another sort of combat to go with it. Obviously as a cop you can’t just sit back and let the Pokemon do all the heavy lifting, generally us humans have to make the actual arrests after all. Therefore, we had to learn some fighting moves of our own. Hand-to-hand combat came first, we had to master the fundamentals of that before proceeding any further, and then there came the nightstick and pepper spray instruction. For the former of the two, I can say I never before realized just how important it was to learn the proper way to swing around a blunt weapon, but… let’s just say after a while you start to get the hint after hitting the mat yourself a few dozen times. For the latter? Well, know which end to point at the target for starters, don’t ask me how I figured that little nugget of info out…

Years passed, and I only served to improve my way up the academic ranks, until I found myself at the top of my particular class in my graduating year. Now, to understand how much this meant to me, you have to know that I was near the bottom of the barrel at the start. Even when I took to the lessons I tended to be outclassed by my peers, but somehow, I’d been resilient enough to claw my way up from that pit of mediocrity, and to see it pay off at the top like that was nothing short of euphoric. All the while, Fuzz had proven an apt motivator in his own right. In fact, I probably owe a lot of my improvement to him, seeing as he quite enjoyed playing the part of my “coach” when my fellow humans weren’t doing the job. I’m not even kidding by the way, I’m pretty sure when he evolved into a Dewott it was mainly on account of all those instances. Not the traditional way that comes about but, hey, I wasn’t complaining that my partner Pokemon was earning some much-deserved progression of his own. By the way, fun fact, scalchops hurt like hell, don’t let your Oshawott or Dewott use them if you’re gonna do any sparring like this. You can thank me for the lack of scarring afterwards.

Graduation day arrived, and with my success, I was told I’d likely have no trouble at all getting into the police force early on, but I didn’t immediately jump to do so. No, with everything I learned I decided to try my hand at something else… a second try, as it were. Yep, I was gonna take on the League again, one more time, before plunging into a more permanent career. Call it cathartic, or self-actualizing, or whatever you want, but I knew I had to try it again, to purge myself of that past failure. I was going into that badge-collecting business as a new man. In doing so, I’d naturally amass a team of Pokemon along the way.

To start things off, I knew I needed to try to nab a sturdy fighter, someone to complement Fuzz’s quick and offensive-based tendencies. By this point I had a pretty good idea of my home region’s various habitats, especially those near Driftveil, and I knew just the place to attempt my first catch. Just north of that city was a mountainous region of various caverns. Hiking through the area, I eventually came upon a cave with a single Aron rather aggressively standing guard of its territory. I had just barely noticed it by the time it set to attacking me, and despite the wild steel-type seeming quite young and inexperienced, it put up a helluva fight, and by the time we seemed to have him on the ropes, it looked almost to me like the little guy was beginning to feel a begrudging respect, just from the glance it gave us alone. I wasted no time in lobbing a pokeball in its direction then, and much to my pleasant surprise, after the usual tense moment to see if the capsule would keep the Pokemon securely contained and therefore fully captured, it eventually gave the distinctive confirming ‘click’ sound. Nearly a decade late, but I’d finally caught a Pokemon. Gotta say, despite it being something of a basic fundamental when it comes to training, it was a fulfilling achievement.

When it came to naming the Aron, being so fresh out of school meant I had a bunch of law enforcement lingo and code names bouncing around. Calling back to what I mentioned before, Fuzz’s name already fit this idea pretty handily, and I decided to name his new battle companion BOLO… “be on the look-out” if you’re wondering.

With that, I headed back to where I’d left off, and as per usual there were still plenty of trainers milling about, but, this time, let’s just say I wasn’t racking up that many losses any more. I was seeing battles a whole lot differently now, I could get a read on a trainer’s intentions and figure out their tactics, my Pokemon in turn were reacting sooner and evading strikes faster thanks to my quickened responses, the symbiosis between the fighter and the commander was finally being set, and the payoff was fantastic. That first gym battle in Striaton was an exhilarating match, no doubt the gym leader saw I wasn’t going into this battle quite as green-horned as the usual trainer starting out, and it definitely took a lot more concentration and stalling for time to get a read on him, but eventually, we managed to win out. Having a badge in my hands for the first time was like some kind of dream. I expected myself to suddenly wake up back in that nightmarish shack, it genuinely felt too good to be true. Nonetheless, it was the reality of the situation, and with that taste of victory, I was ready to collect some more. By the way, Striaton’s gym? Probably the best restaurant I’ve ever had the privilege to dine. Highly recommended for the food alone.

Fuzz and BOLO remained the only members of my party for a time, and I think much of that decision came from just how good they had worked as a duo. That little Aron learned the ropes insanely quick, and he was already a Lairon by the time our badge count had risen to 4. That fourth badge was from the Nimbasa gym, incidentally. First time I’d stepped foot in that city since the incident, and right after, I was headed back to Driftveil, taking on the gym that had stood out so clearly in that small port town. I remember my folks even took the time out of their day just to watch the battle play out… Thankfully my team brought their A-game, so they weren’t disappointed, especially considering Fuzz finally evolved into a Samurott at the end of it, which was simply icing on the cake. I was just happy that I could make them proud, honestly… and I know, that’s frustratingly cliché when it comes to parents and all, but there’s a reason why it seems so overdone. Sometimes you just wanna let them know you turned out alright.

Five badges with two Pokemon… I was still progressing well, but, even with how quick BOLO had gotten on par with Fuzz’s ability, and their general competence as a duo, I couldn’t have them carrying us exclusively for another three gym challenges. They needed at least one more companion to help distribute the weight a little better, but I didn’t want to gamble any Pokeballs on a Pokemon that wouldn’t fit well with the team. Wouldn’t be fair to any parties involved if that happened. Thankfully I did manage to strike gold in my search, but wouldn’t you know it… this time it happened rather unconventionally.

I’d actually skipped over Mistralton’s gym, venturing northward on my Pokemon search until I stopped at Dragonspiral Tower. Now, this place is pretty notorious for its legends concerning powerful mythical Pokemon being created and residing there, so I figured, even with the lack of any actual legendary beasts of lore, there had to be some pretty powerful wildlife lurking around the tower. I ended up finding something a lot sooner than I’d expected, and it came in the form of a gigantic rocky automaton laying near-motionless on the floor. Any self-respecting Unovan knows a Golurk when they so-rarely see one, and by all accounts such a Pokemon would be a perfect addition to a battling team, but there was something wrong with this one… Something else must’ve gotten the jump on it somehow, or maybe it just bit off more than it could chew in a previous encounter, but the poor thing could barely turn its head to acknowledge my presence. Cracks were all over its body and the mysterious energy that usually emanated from its various markings shimmered in a very dim light. If it didn’t get some proper assistance soon it wouldn’t last for very long, not in this state, but in no way was I capable of carrying that behemoth an inch, much less to the nearest town. I had to resort to catching it, much as it felt like I had taken advantage of a creature who hadn’t even been given a fighting chance. Still, it was to save its life, and once it was healthy again, I’d have been more than willing to let it go if it so pleased.

Hastily I made it over to the Pokemon Center in Iccirus City. It was a close call, but the medical staff managed to get the Golurk back in working order after quite the… tense waiting time leading up to that news. I may have not had any history or connection to this Pokemon beyond the necessary capturing, but still, you don’t want to see such a creature hurting like that, and you definitely don’t want to entertain the notion of them dying on you in your efforts to save their life, no matter who they technically belong to.

As I’d promised, I took the Golurk back to Dragonspiral Tower once it was fully recovered, and gave it the chance to go right back to where I’d found it if it so desired, but… well I should’ve known… Not like I’m brilliantly charismatic or anything, far from it, but it probably still realized I’d saved its life, and whether it had a desire to pay off that debt or just show me appreciation, the Golurk decided to stick with my team. I had my trio, and boy, what an addition… I named our new bot pal GAT, police jargon for an illegal weapon, because they could pack such a punch it probably should be illegal. Fuzz and BOLO had the support they were really starting to need, and we tore through the next three gyms, bringing the total up to eight.

Eight badges… the desire of pretty much any trainer aiming for their respective league, because now, they were real contenders. Those battles were the qualifier into the one challenge that stood above all the others, quite handily so. If you want some real battling, you go to a League Tournament match. Each one is a spectacle, and honestly with the right cable package or whatever, you could probably catch each one on TV wherever you might be situated, they’re that big a deal. I won’t lie, I was feeling the temptation to give it a try myself, the date of the Unova tourney wasn’t too far off the horizon, and it looked like this was going to be my best chance to see for myself what the tournament scene was like… but I ultimately decided not to. I hadn’t gone into this for the championship, I couldn’t stray from my path to be the best police officer I could be, and I was going to make good on it. Instead of the tournament, I was going to take one last victory lap of sorts around Unova, really take in the region I had now gotten quite thoroughly familiar with… and maybe even pick up a couple more badges while I was at it.

I paid a quick visit to one of the pathways that led to the League, just to see it off since I was already this far out of my way… and in doing so I stumbled upon one more new addition to my crew, once again in a matter I really didn’t expect. See, as I looked up that mountainous path, I heard the faint chirp of what I could only assume was some kind of aviary creature, but nothing was flying overhead. I looked down and noticed a baby bird struggling to pull off the last of its eggshell. Seeing no parentage in sight, I decided to help the poor thing out and was greeted with the sight of a newborn Rufflet looking back at me, its eyes showing off a glimmering, tearful sense of fear and helplessness. He had to have been abandoned, from the looks of it… Had I arrived a day later, I shudder to think of the possibility that no one else would’ve stopped by to help him in time. Thankfully, things all seemed to align to make that encounter happen, and I took the eaglet in. I decided to call the little bird JPATS, akin to a flight system used for transporting criminals, and saw to it that he made it healthily through his infancy. It all served to prolong my journey, but I was fortunate enough to have the resources to last me for some time longer, so I could still take my time.

I didn’t want to venture too far with a newborn Pokemon still adjusting to the world, so I decided to stay put in Opelucid City to make sure JPATS would be ready for the exploring sort of life. I recall then, using that spare time to look up a few things… specifically the old family heirloom my mother had given me. See, by this point, as my training experience had grown, along with limited knowledge of other regional cultures, I started uncovering a few images of stones pretty jarringly similar to Great-Grandma’s. Problem was all the information I could find was in the language of Kalos, and a translator was hard to come by, even in a town such as Opelucid, a place that seems to be simultaneously careening head-first into the future, and digging its heels in the past, depending on how you look at it.

My search for information only revealed so much. Nothing in my familiar Unovan language was available at all… I couldn’t help but wonder just what kind of curious Pokemon mysteries were being held in that region across the sea… after all, even they only had limited articles on the subject, it was as if it was the kind of info people generally kept to those already in-the-know… or maybe even just those considered ‘worthy enough’ to hear it. I’d have to work my way through this language barrier somehow though, even the limited data was better than nothing… but that would take longer than I’d be willing to wait, it would have to be stowed off for a little bit later.

JPATS was maturing pretty quickly, and to my surprise, my crew seemed delighted to play a sort of surrogate family to him, which meant he was introduced to battling very early on, naturally. That’s another interesting thing about Pokemon, it’s pretty difficult to pin down exactly what “growing-up” is for them, especially when some of them can just evolve in an instant upon exposure to a particular element or stone, or, hell, if they just really really like you. Whatever the case was for a Rufflet, mine was ready to take on the world pretty early, though I was still hesitant to put him in the thick of things at first. Better to start with the tamer stuff; A few rounds against a wild Metapod, or more preferably an Audino, they make for good practice especially. He was putting up a better fight with each proceeding attempt as we neared Humilau city. Not quite enough to take on a gym battle yet, though I let him out of his Pokeball to spectate the match, just to give him that extra boost of inspiration watching the team.

Though it ultimately proved another victorious endeavor, the battle in Humilau was especially exciting as BOLO finally grew into an Aggron. That was satisfying to witness, as it really put the exclamation point on just how much he’d grown up since I first found him as a scrappy little Aron. He’d become a fierce frontliner, highly reliable, though perhaps a little too protective at times… Comes from hanging out with Fuzz for too long, I think. His affinity for the guardian role rubbed off on his first Pokemon ally, but the accompanying patience and maturity? Not quite as much.

There was only one badge left for me to acquire if I wanted to go for 10, but that last gym was situated in Virbank City, clear across the other side of the region. I already had to limit my initial plan to journey through Unova again after getting sidetracked with JPATS, so walking all the way would be out of the question. Fortunately, I had a solution, and it came in the form of our resident rock-bot. GAT could turn their limbs into booster rockets and fly all of us there, though they’ve never actually flown with a passenger before, so, it was definitely going to be a very… memorable experience, a presumption that was quickly made fact once they secured me to their back and blasted off.

I’d never really flown by any means before, not by plane, or bird, or anything. Riding a Golurk rocketing across the region was a… unique way to expose oneself to airborne travel, I cannot lie. Imagine you’d accidentally latched yourself onto a giant missile, that’s as close a comparison I can make. I doubt it could’ve been more than a half hour by the time we landed, but it took at least a couple hours before my legs decided to catch up to the rest of me. To GAT’s continual credit, they managed to haul me to a nearby Pokemon center so I could at least lay down on a couch for a bit… and make good use of their garbage bin as well. Think I lost three meals from that trip… but I won’t touch on that any further, for everyone’s sake.

Once I’d recovered, we took the fight to the Virbank gym, and this time, I was even willing to have JPATS take part. I’d hesitated back in Humilau, but now I figured this was the chance for the eaglet to show what he could do. The gym leader had been down to their last Pokemon, a Scolipede. JPATS gave it a better fight than I think it expected, taking some slashes and an aerial ace or two before it started to take back control of the match. I had been tempted to call JPATS back but he seemed adamant on going on. He wanted to stay in the fight for as long as possible, and I decided to give him that opportunity. He fought hard, it helped of course that he had the type advantage as well, though in the end, he still ended up going down first. I got BOLO back out there to play relief, and in no small part to JPATS’ efforts, he was able to finish off the Scolipede with a well-timed takedown. Victory achieved, a nice round 10 badges… though at that particular moment I hadn’t let that sink in, as I had to attend to my Rufflet’s bruised ego… along with the many physical bruises.

Walking out of the Pokemon Center, I placed him beside me on a nearby bench so we could talk it out… to as much of an extent that a human and a Pokemon could without any of that fancy telepathic or aura-reading stuff. I think I told him something along the lines of this: “You’re not always gonna win just because you gave it your best effort. You’re gonna be fighting above your weight sometimes, and that can sometimes mean you’re not gonna come out of it with the win. Nobody’s undefeated, talk to Fuzz about that, believe me, he knows as much as I do. Just try to enjoy every match, take a loss as something to learn from, something you’ll get better from, and y’know, try to have fun with it.”

I don’t know if any of that really stuck with him, hard to say, but, coincidentally or not, JPATS’ behavior did start to get a little looser from that point on, and in turn, his skills began improving.

After that matter was settled, I (somewhat begrudgingly) had GAT rocket us back to Driftveil so I could show my parents my team’s accomplishments before finally applying for the police force. Probably didn’t have to go through all of that to get a position, but, the ten badges and the competent party I’d amassed were undeniably a helpful supplement to my academy training. If anything, it at least made me feel more fit for the job, and the force wasn’t inclined to disagree with that sentiment. 10 gym badges, and 1 police badge… After all that, the real work was only just getting started.