Author's Note: This was written for a contest on the Serebii forums to celebrate the upcoming release of Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee, which was supposed to use only characters from the first generation of the games.
I'm not sure why Mew decided to locate her office in one of the most expensive waterfront properties in Kanto, given that she can teleport and the only requirement for my job is that it be in a location with working phone service, but I can certainly appreciate the view of Vermillion harbor from my window. For a while, I stand and look out at the ocean, watching the cargo ships come and go. The president of the city's pokémon fan club flies by atop a fearow, and I wave to him, even though he almost certainly can't notice me. Eventually, I grow tired of standing and return to my desk, where I find myself staring at the antique red telephone resting silently on its surface.
Even now, I still can't believe I really have this job. At first, when I saw the job listing in the newspaper for someone needed to operate a telephone help hotline for Mew, the creator of all pokémon, I thought it was a hoax. But by that point, I was desperate enough to try anything. I'd thought that a major in public relations would be enough to guarantee a career at some big corporation, but no one seemed to want to hire someone with a degree from Lavender University. …although, I guess I can't really blame them, given the state of public relations for that place.
When I first arrived at this office, I was greeted by Mew herself, in the flesh, dispelling any notions I might have had of a prank or scam. She hired me on the spot without even asking to see my résumé, saying that the job was 'really easy', and that anyone could do it. From what she told me, my only responsibility is to sit at this desk and answer that red telephone every time it rings, and then answer whatever question the pokémon calling has for their one true god and creator. At that point in the interview, I carefully raised the point that this might be difficult for me to do, given that I'm a mortal human and not the immortal deity in question. Mew just said that if I got a question I couldn't answer, I could just ask her and she'd tell me what to say. Pretty soon, she claimed, I'd have memorized all the responses I'd ever need to give, and then I wouldn't have to pester her anymore and she could go off and do… whatever it is she does all day. Well, we'll see how that turns out…
Briiiiiing! The bell on the phone startles me out of my reminiscence. Okay. My first call. I can do this. I pick up the phone and speak the lines I've rehearsed in a steady voice: "Good morning, you've reached Mew's help line! What can I assist you with today?"
"This is that new number where you can ask Mew questions, right? Well, I've got a question for her: How come she made it so psyducks get headaches all the time, huh?" someone quacks at me from the other end of the line. I can almost feel the spittle flying out of their beak. "It sure as hell can't be a requirement for having psychic powers! Do hypno or kadabra have to deal with these Mew-damned migraines all the Mew-damned frigging time? Hell no! So why do we have to suffer them? What gives, huh?"
"I'm sorry to hear about your migraine problem, sir. Would you mind holding for a few minutes while I tell Mew your question?"
"Yeah, I can hold. But she better have a pretty frigging good answer!"
"Thank you, sir. I'm putting you on hold now," I say, and carefully set the telephone's handset on the desk. Then I open the door and walk across the hall to Mew's personal office, praying along the way that she did indeed have an answer frigging good enough to satisfy the angry psyduck. As Mew's door creaks open, I'm treated to a view of a small city erected out of painted wooden blocks interspersed with paper roadways. Little wind-up pokémon wobble across the floor, knocking over plastic streetlights and bouncing off monochromatic storefronts. Mew herself is hovering over the center of the room, clutching a pencil and notepad as she stares down at the toy tableau with a look of intense concentration. Seeing my entrance, Mew pulls the wire-frame spectacles she's inexplicably wearing down her nose and turns towards me.
"Oh, hey, what's up?"
"We've got our first caller. He's a psyduck who-" Before I can finish speaking, a little toy charizard opens its mouth and belches a stream of fire onto a miniature shrub by a train station, setting it alight. Smoke rises into the air. Mew doesn't seem to notice. "…er, are you going to do something about that?" I ask.
"Nope, it's cool!" Mew says, without looking at where I'm pointing. Fwoosh! Fwoosh! Two more plastic plants get ignited by the toy charizard. I wince, but continue speaking.
"There's a psyduck calling who wants to know why you designed their species so that they suffer from near-constant migraine headaches."
Mew giggles. "Oh, that's an easy one! See, I thought the trope of psychic powers causing headaches was nifty, and I wanted to use it for one of the pokémon I created! But all of the psychic-types I made sort of already had their own thing going on, you know? That's when I realized that I'd been trying to think up something cool for this bipedal-platypus thing I'd been working on, and so BAM, psyduck! Pretty neat, right?"
…seriously? You condemned an entire species to suffer for no other reason than you thought it would be neat!?
"Yeah, that, uh, sounds nifty. I'll go tell him," I say, and leave the room.
Crap, crap, crap! How can I possibly tell this to that psyduck? The trip back to my office is much slower than the one out of it, but there's only so long I can delay the unpleasant task ahead of me, and soon I find myself staring at the red phone on my desk. Is the psyduck still on hold, I wonder? Maybe if I'm lucky, he'll have hung up by now. Buoyed by this possibility, I pick up the handset and speak. "Sir? Are you still there?"
"You better believe it, bub. So what's Mew's big frigging answer, huh?"
Great. So much for that little hope. Well, it's too late to back out now. I take a deep breath.
"Sir… I don't know how to tell you this, but… you're an alien."
"Yes. Mew said that this must be kept absolutely confidential, but your species isn't native to Earth. At around the time she was creating all the other pokémon species, a meteor fell to Earth and split open to reveal the first psyduck egg. Because this planet lacks the special radiation of your home-world, your species has always suffered terrible headaches. That's the true reason why they happen. I can assure you that Mew is a loving creator who would never, ever design a species with a built-in source of suffering. That's why she created an evolution for your species that doesn't get headaches, and why, even as we speak, she's researching ways to cure the problem in your unevolved form."
A long silence issues. "…you- you've gotta be pulling my tail! This can't be true, right? Why wouldn't Mew have told anyone this?" the psyduck quacks at last.
"Sir, this is Mew's official help line. We don't tell jokes or tall-tales here. This is complete and utter fact, straight from the mouth of your creator. For years, Mew has kept your real origins a secret, not wishing for your kind to be discriminated against or feel set apart for being aliens. But when I told her about your question, she decided to let you know the truth, so that you could have hope. Yet know that this message was intended for you and only you. You must follow Mew's wishes and tell no-one else what I'm telling you now, or-"
"Holy crap! You're really not kidding! Sweet-frigging-Mew, this is amazing! I've gotta go and let all the other psyducks know about this!" the caller says, and hangs up over the sound of my desperate pleas.
Huh. Well, I guess something was bound to go wrong with my first call. Hopefully that doesn't end up getting too out of hand. Before I can worry about the possibilities, the phone begins to ring again, and I'm forced to set aside my apprehension and pick it up once again.
"Good morning, you've reached Mew's help line! What can I assist you with today?"
For a while, no-one answers. Is this a prank call? How long am I supposed to remain on the line in a case like this? But finally, a slow-speaking voice responds to my greeting.
"…hello. I'm a slowpoke, and I need help… There's this big thing biting on my tail, and I can't get it off. It really hurts…"
"Thank you for staying calm ma'am," I say, although I'm not really sure if slowpoke are even capable of not being calm. "We're going to get you help. But first, can you please describe what the creature biting your tail looks like in more detail?"
"…it's this big, spiraling cone thing. It has teeth, and eyes… and the eyes won't stop staring at me. But the weirdest thing is… I think it used to be a shellder. That's what I first saw when I looked behind me… Then it glowed white, and became this… And now I can't even walk right anymore! And it's always biting me! It hurts! …but, but…"
The voice on the other end became choked and heavy, and I could hear sobbing. "…the worst part is, all the other slowpoke… say this is supposed to happen! That- that this is how slowpoke evolve! That's not true, right? Mew wouldn't- she wouldn't - she's too nice to make our species have to evolve like this! …this is just a mistake, right? Please, it hurts so much! I need Mew's help…"
"Of course, ma'am. I'll speak to her right away. Please remain on the line while I put you on hold." I set down the phone and rush back to Mew's office. Just what the heck is going on? My meagre knowledge of pokémon biology offers no hint at what the thing on the slowpoke's back might be. It surely can't be a shellder evolution- they evolve into cloyster, not anything that could be described as a spiraling cone, right?
I burst into Mew's office and start to speak, but as I take in the scenery, my mouth is left hanging open wordlessly. The little wooden town and accompanying wind-up toy pokémon are absolutely nowhere to be seen. Instead, almost every inch of the floor is covered in rows and rows of multicolored dominoes. Some of the dominoes are in the process of toppling over, but any which fall right themselves a second later, creating ripples of fallen blocks that move through the lines of dominoes like waves. Even weirder, the lines of dominoes extend up onto the walls of the room and even the ceiling, each side of the room apparently obeying its own rule of gravity. Mew is hovering upside-down at the top of the room, carefully placing dominoes on a little wooden ramp.
"Hello Mew. I've got a slowpoke on the line who needs help quick."
Mew giggles. "A slow pokémon needing fast help? That's funny! What's their problem?"
"She said that a creature with a spiraling, conical shell is biting on their tail, and that it looked like it might have evolved from a shellder, if that makes any sense? Apparently it really hurts, and-"
"Oh silly, that's perfectly natural! She's evolved into a slowbro! See, I made it so that slowpoke can only evolve by having a shellder bite their tail. I figured that a really lazy pokémon wouldn't be able to evolve by battling, so I came up with a way for them to evolve by combining with another pokémon! And I don't mean to brag, but I'm still really proud of myself for coming up with that one. It's like symbiosis and parasitism at the same time, so it's really unique," Mew says, beaming down at me from the ceiling.
"…um, that's nice, but don't you think that slowpoke would prefer a method of evolution that doesn't require them to have something biting their tail all the time?"
"Yeah, you're right!" Mew replies. Wait, really? I had been rather nervous that Mew would get angry at me for questioning her divine design, but it seems as if-
"The problem is, sometimes the shellder just falls off their tail and they stop being evolved. That's why I'm working on a way for slowpoke to evolve by having the shellder bite their head, instead!"
I stare in response, dumbfounded. That was a joke, right? It had to be a joke. "Er, good one Mew," I say, forcing a weak laugh. "But seriously-"
"Thanks, I'm glad you like it! Now shoo, I'm very busy right now," Mew interrupts, and promptly shoves me out of her office with a psychic push. A moment later, the door slams shut, and a moment after that, I can hear rows of dominoes toppling over as the vibrations from the slamming door spread outwards. A muffled curse emits from the door frame.
Well, it doesn't look as if Mew's in a mood to talk any further, so there's nothing I can do except return to my own office and pick up the call again.
"Are you still on the line, ma'am?" I ask.
"…yes. …wait, when did you leave?" the slowpoke – or slowbro, I suppose – responds, confusion in her voice.
"Never mind that, ma'am. I've spoken to Mew and she has good news: It's possible that the shellder biting you will naturally fall off of your tail, and you'll return to normal." As I wait for the slowbro's reply, I realize she might not be happy with just that, and desperately try to think of a method for improving the odds of this happening.
"…oh. So this isn't normal, right? Mew said this isn't how slowpoke evolve?"
"Yes, that's exactly what Mew said, ma'am! Of course your species doesn't evolve by being bitten on the tail," I say, still trying to think.
"Okay! But then, what happened to the shellder that bit me?"
"Oh, Mew says that they became an alternate evolution shellder have. It's just a fluke that they happened to evolve while they were biting you."
A very long silence follows. Was the slowbro satisfied with my response? Did they just forget to hang up and wander away from the phone? But then I can hear quiet sobbing coming from the other end of the line.
I'm not certain what to do, so I simply ask "Ma'am? Why are you crying?"
"Oh… sorry… I was just speaking with the shellder using my telepathy. They say they feel really hurt that Mew would make an evolution for them like this… They've forgotten all their moves and they can't do anything except bite me. And they really wanted to evolve into a cloyster, too… Now I'm really sad as well. I wouldn't have thought Mew would be so mean to shellder!"
Uh-oh. "Oh, sorry Ma'am, I'm afraid there's been a mistake. That's definitely not how Mew said the shellder's alternate evolution works! She'd never intend for something awful like that to happen to any of her creations! What your shellder is experiencing must be due to a glitch caused by MissingNo. …but, I'm sure it'll go away eventually, so tell them to keep hope."
This time, the pause before the slowbro responds is only about three seconds long.
"THERE'S A MISSINGNO-CORRUPTED POKÉMON BITING ME?!" she screams. "AAAAAHHH!"
"Wait, Ma'am, I misspoke! Please calm down-"
"AAAAAHHHHHH! AAAHHHH! AAAAHHHHH! GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF!" From the other end of the line, I can hear shattering glass, several loud thumps, and then the line disconnects.
Well. That happened.
Briiiiiiiing! The phone is ringing a third time. I pick it up.
"Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! Is this Mew's new phone thing?" a voice chirps at me.
"Yes sir, you've reached Mew's official help line! What can I assist you with today?"
"YES! I'm so happy! Okay, I've got a question! Why do I have to share my body with these two downers? One is always angry and the other's always sad! Total downers! Answer it, answer it, answer it!"
Hmm, sounds like a dodrio. "Okay sir, would you mind if I put you on hold while I go ask Mew your-" I begin, but I'm cut off by a harsh squawk.
"HEY! That isn't the question we agreed to ask, you birdbrain! Stop being such a stupid birdbrain, you stupid birdbrain!" a second voice blares out of the phone.
Then, a third voice joins in: "Yeah, that wasn't it. It's really quite depressing how bad your memory is. It's so bad it made my depression even more depressed. It's that bad."
Whew, that had sounded like it was going to be a tough one. Hopefully their real request would be easier. "Er, alright sirs, what is your question, then?"
"The question we were going to ask is: Why do I have to share my body with these two idiots!?" the second voice shrieks. The third voice tries to protest and tell me what I suspect would be a very similar question, but is quickly drowned out by the second voice yelling at him to shut up.
Oh dear. "Very well, sirs. Would you mind if I put you on hold so I can ask Mew your question?"
"YES! But do it anyways!" the second voice says. Sighing, I set down the handset and once more stroll back to Mew's office. Remembering her mood from earlier, I cautiously knock on her door.
"Come in!" she shouts. I turn the doorknob, and a pile of gumdrops, lollipops, chocolate malt balls, gummy bears, and various other small candies spills out of the room. Looking inside, I can see that the floor of the office is covered in a layer of candy up to a foot deep. Mew is sitting on a heap of treats in the center of the room, cramming sugary goodness into her mouth at an impressive rate, not even bothering to remove the wrappers first. A baseball bat waves back and forth behind her, grasped by her twitching tail. Pokémon piñatas of all shapes and sizes are hanging suspended in midair, like slabs of meat in a butcher's freezer, and their bashed-out stuffing is scattered all around the room amongst the candy. It's a scene from an abattoir. "Want shome?" Mew says through a full mouth, levitating a wad of smushed-together Swedish magikarp up to me.
"Um, no thanks," I reply. "We have another caller. It's a dodrio who wants to know why their heads have to share the same body." Mew finishes swallowing her current mouthful of candy and replies.
"Oh, now that's a funny story! See, back when I was making all the pokémon, I realized that I had accidentally produced way more souls than I had bodies. Whoops! So, to fix it, I just started cramming extra heads onto a bunch of different pokémon so I could fit more souls on each body. Bam! Problem solved!"
"Ah. So you were simply too exhausted from your divine exertions to make any more bodies once you realized the mistake?" I press.
"Haha, nope! I don't get tired, silly! No, I was just feeling kinda lazy and I thought having pokémon with multiple heads would be fun! …now, I think dodrio was one of the species I did last. At that point, I was being a little more careful with what heads I stuck where, so I made sure that species would always have heads with different personalities. Because it'd just be really boring if they had three heads but they all just thought the same things, right?"
"Uh, I suppose so. I'll go tell them what you said." I was going to do no such thing.
Soon, I'm back at the phone. "Good news, sirs! Mew just told me she's going to make two new bodies for you!" I say in a cheerful tone.
"Wait, really!? Oh wow oh wow oh wow!"
"Well, she'd better! These birdbrains don't deserve to share my body!"
"Oh. I'm going to feel sad about leaving you two, but that's only because I'm sad about everything. I hate you guys."
I smile. "Yes, she promised me that the new bodies would be almost as good as your current one," I say, placing heavy emphasis on the almost. "There's just one thing she needs to-"
"Whoa whoa whoa, what do you mean almost as good?" the happy voice interjects.
"Oh, don't worry about it sirs! Mew is going to have to use some of her old spare parts to make the new bodies, but I'm sure they'll be fine. The hearts and livers I saw her preparing didn't look like they could've been more than fifty years old. Sixty, tops. Practically like new, really. They had some weird-looking black spots on them, but that's probably completely normal. Or so I assume."
As expected, the three dodrio heads raise a raucous protest at this information, and I have to hold the phone away from my ear to avoid being deafened.
"Now, please quiet down, sirs! As I mentioned, there's just one thing Mew needs to know before she can do the transfer. She'll need to know which of you three is the most deserving owner of your current body, so she'll know which of the two heads to transfer away to the new ones," I shout into the handset. For a moment, this causes the dodrio heads to stop squawking. And then…
"What a stupid question! Obviously I'm the most deserving, because I'm in the center! Tell Mew to transfer away these two morons who aren't in the center!"
"No way! That's dumb dumb dumb! I'm the most deserving 'cause I'm actually able to enjoy things! These guys would just be sad or angry all the time no matter what body they got!"
"Whoa, I'm already sad mentally. I shouldn't have to be sad physically too. These other saps should have to feel some of the sadness. Transfer them."
"The only thing sadder than your stupid head is your stupid sad logic of stupid sadness! You're already so miserable there's no way a bad body could make you any worse! And you're so moronically happy all the time you'll still be a happy moron even if you have a sucky body!"
"You know what you are? You're a mean, mean, mean jerk, and you don't deserve a good body! I'm going to be so, so, s much happier when Mew takes you off my body!"
"Guys, if I don't get to stay in this body, I'm going to cry. And you know what it's like when I cry. I never stop for days. I'll be keeping you all awake every night with my crying. Then you'll be sad even if you got the good body. Still not as sad as me, though…"
I once more shout into the receiver: "If you're having trouble figuring it out, Mew said that the most deserving head would also be the most intelligent one."
"Well, that's me obviously! If you two weren't such imbeciles, why would I be calling you imbeciles all the time, huh?"
"Hey, you know what's a sign of being really really really smart? Being really really really happy! That's me me me!"
"No, the smartest pokémon are the saddest ones. It's because they're smart enough to know how awful the world really is."
The three voices continue to squabble. "Well, it sounds like you gentlemon have some discussion to do. Please call me back once you know who's the most deserving," I say, and hang up. Another satisfied caller! Won't have to deal with them again anytime soon, at least.
Before long, the phone rings again. Okay, I think I'm getting the hang of this.
"Good morning, you've reached Mew's help line! What can I assist you with today?" It is still morning, right? It feels like it's been a while.
A deep voice answers me. "Greetings! I have an inquiry I wish to make: It is known throughout all the lands that dragonite are the most powerful and majestic of all pokémon species, known for their courage, wisdom, and grace. We enjoy very long lives, our scales are nearly impervious to harm, and our senses are incredibly keen. Yet, there is one aspect of our race that leads me to question Mew's judgment and good nature."
So even dragonite have something to complain about? What, is it how slowly their line evolves? It must be awful having to live as a dratini for however many dozens of years it takes to turn into a dragonair, stuck in the body of a child while having the mind of an adult. And what do dratini eat, anyways? Bugs and raw fish? Yeah, that must be it-
"Therefore, my question for Mew is this: WHY DID SHE MAKE US LOOK SO RIDICULOUSLY GOOFY?" the dragonite blares.
I sigh. This is going to be a long day…
The hours pass by as I take call after call. I'm faced with an endless litany of complaints: An electrode upset that they have to live their entire life in fear of exploding after receiving a slight bump. A primeape who's angry that she was designed to be angry all the time. A magmar who wished she could touch things without setting them on fire (or, at least that seemed to be the thrust of it - her phone melted before she could finish speaking). And a magikarp who was displeased with – well, generally everything about him. (No idea how he managed to place a call from underwater.)
But I'm gradually getting more confident, and my callers start to get more satisfied with my answers. Mew was right: As the day wears on, I find myself needing to go and speak to her less and less, as I increasingly decide to simply concoct my own, more palatable version of the truth without bothering to visit Mew first and find out what god-awful reason she had for designing pokémon a certain way. In the narratives I spin, Mew is always a perfectly benevolent motherly figure who has unfortunate limitations which prevent her from solving everyone's problems, yet who is always able to offer vague promises that things will get better in the future. When all else fails, MissingNo or Team Rocket are able to serve as convenient scapegoats. My public relations professor at Lavender University would surely be pleased at how well I've managed to maintain Mew's reputation in the face of how terrible she actually is.
Finally, the sun begins to get low in the sky over Vermillion harbor, and it's time for me to leave. Just as I'm heading out the door, the phone rings yet again. Hmmm. I'm a little worn out by this point, but I suppose I can take one last call. I finish shrugging on my coat and pick up the phone.
"Good afternoon, you've reached Mew's help line! What can I-"
A harsh blast of static cuts me off. "A 3lOt 6of ;PO6KeMon! hAvE;; BE7en blA0minG m fO~r tH$InGs i di&dN'T do rEC eNtly." The voice fluctuates wildly in volume and pitch, even over the course of a single word, and I can barely make out what the caller is saying over the persistent sound of static blaring over the line.
"…I'm sorry, would you mind repeating-"
"AN^d i'Ve trA$cEd tH#e soU!Rce oF Th*e Li;Es^ ba&Ck t#O THIS. NUMBER," the voice says, only this time, it's not coming from the phone. It's coming from right behind me! I shout in alarm and whirl around to see a glowing, eight foot tall rectangle-with-a-rectangle-cut-out-of-it blocking the exit to the room. The being throbs with pulsating color and shrieks in what sounds like a dozen voices at once, and it jerks towards me in sudden spurts, like it's from a video with most of the frames cut out.
An ordinary man might have become frozen in terror, but my PR training has prepared me to act quickly in times of crisis. "DON'T TOUCH ME!" I shout, and scramble into the corner of the room, where I begin pleading for my life.
"Please! I'm sorry! I didn't know you would care! I'm sorry!" But MissingNo just keeps moving forward, its left edge passing straight through the table as it approaches. It's right in my face and-
"IT'S MEW'S FAULT!" I scream. "I ONLY EVER SAY EXACTLY WHAT SHE TELLS ME TO SAY! CORRUPT HER!" Miraculously, MissingNo pauses… and then backs away from me. It approaches the wall of the room, and then, it vanishes. I wait a few seconds, listening to my heart beat like a machamp hitting a punching bag, and then I dash out of the room and run down the hallway. I fly down the stairs and slam into the front door, and then I'm free, sprinting down the streets of Vermillion city. In a blind panic, I barely watch where I'm going as I shove my way through the thick clots of traffic that form on Vermillion's roads in the early evening.
Eventually, I run out of breath and have to stop. Gotta find someplace to hide… Looking around, it seems my wild run has taken me into an older, more run-down part of Vermillion. My eyes settle on an abandoned construction site I recognize from a newspaper article. Apparently, work on the site ended when some local diglett tunneled underneath the lot and collapsed the foundations. The diglett had then – supposedly – promised to make up for it by cleaning up the area and making it a proper entrance to their main tunnel system. It was time, I decided, to see if they'd made good on that promise.
I make my way over to the construction zone and duck under the yellow tape. Sure enough, there's a large hole in the ground amidst the rubble. I lower myself into it and crawl down a tunnel at the bottom. After splashing through an increasingly deep amount of pooled water, the tunnel finally slopes upwards and emerges into what the light from my cell-phone reveals to be a surprisingly large cave.
I then stop a second time after taking some turns at random to shake off any potential pursuers, and consider my situation. Well. I may have just been responsible for the creator of all pokémon getting corrupted by MissingNo. Even as I speak, a horribly mutated and twisted version of Mew could be going on a rampage, undoing all my hard work upholding her reputation. Or, maybe being corrupted would make her into a nice and reasonable pokémon? If so, it was possible that I'd actually done the world a favor by-
Bwoomph! Air rushes past me as Mew teleports into the space it was occupying. "Oh, you are soooooo fired, mister!" she says. In the limited light of my phone, Mew looks exactly as she always has.
"Er, hello Mew. Fancy meeting you down here. Look, I'm not sure what MissingNo told you, but whatever it was-"
"Why would you even do that?!" Mew asks. "Why would you just… lie to all those pokémon like that? All you had to do was give them the answers I told you!"
I took a deep breath. "Because if I told them what you'd really said, they'd think you were a monster! They'd think you didn't care about them at all and had just made them to be your screwed-up playthings! I mean, you can't just condemn an entire species to suffer from crippling headaches because you think it's 'nifty'! You can't just make up a pokémon that explodes at the slightest touch just because you had a half-baked, harebrained idea to stop humans from using pokéballs! You can't just not design the lower half of a pokémon's body or start cramming extra heads on people because you were feeling lazy that day!" I shout.
"You're being ridiculous! I'm these pokémon's creator! They have to love me!" Mew shouts back. "And it's not like I don't care about them! That's the whole reason I created the help line! They know I make mistakes sometimes and would never think I'm a 'monster' just because their lives aren't perfect!" She turns to a passing dugtrio who's stopped to watch our argument in stunned amazement. "Hey, you don't care that I crammed extra heads onto you or didn't design your lower half, right? You love me, right?" In response, the dugtrio ducks back underground – or, even more underground, considering we're already in a cave – and burrows away as fast as they can.
Mew scowls at their retreat, then sighs. "Ugh… this is just… this is just a total mess! Now I'm going to have to hold a press conference next week to clear up all the lies you told!"
I wince. "Um, Mew, I'm really not sure that would be such a good idea-"
"I don't care what you think! Just be grateful that I didn't throw you to MissingNo earlier, and never speak to me again!" Mew snaps, and begins to glow with a soft, pearlescent light as she readies another teleport.
"WAIT! At least hold the conference on a busy news day-" I shout, but it's too late. The creator of all pokémon disappears, and I'm left with the wooshing sound of the air rushing to fill her place, and a feeling that this isn't going to end well.
As I try to find my way back out of the diglett tunnels, a feeling of guilt creeps up on me. Maybe I should have just told Mew what pokémon would've thought about her earlier? But at the time, I hadn't wanted to sound like I was criticizing Mew on my very first day working for her, and besides, weren't all the old myths filled with terrible consequences for mortals who dared to question the designs of gods? Nevertheless, I still feel like I owe something to Mew. When I get out of the tunnels, the first thing I do is go online and find the time and location of Mew's 'press conference', which has already been posted: It's going to be held at noon, next Thursday, right here in Vermillion harbor. My hand tightens its grip on my cell phone. There's not much I can do on my own, but I know some people in positions of influence. Sorry, Mew. Hopefully I'll be better at calling others for help than the reverse…
It's almost noontime, and I'm standing at the edge of a large plaza in Vermillion harbor. It seems like at least one representative of every pokémon species is here, whether crowding around the rope barrier Mew's erected on the ground, flying or hovering in the air above, or swimming in the ocean to the south of us. And more pokémon are still coming in, being carried by pidgeot, riding on the backs of lapras, or simply teleporting alongside kadabra and alakazam.
"Beep! Beep! Beep!" A large truck slowly backs up into the clearing. The truck itself is not making the beeping noise, but rather the pink pokémon hovering in front of the truck's wheel. Bringing the vehicle to a halt, Mew floats out of its cabin and opens up its back, from which she levitates out a number of materials and uses them to begin erecting a wooden stage. Her appearance leads the pokémon around me to start chattering to each other twice as loud as they were before, and I'm thankful for the strong ocean breeze carrying away the gases spewed out by the gastly and koffing in the crowd in accompaniment to their words. Finally, Mew finishes with the stage and plops a big wooden podium in the center of it, complete with microphone. She hovers into position behind it and begins to speak.
"Good day, everybody! This is just going to be a quick little conference to clear up a few things, so don't get too excited!" Everyone gets more excited. "First, thanks to everyone for coming out here today. Except for all the muk in the audience. You guys really stink! Second – actually, I don't think there is a second, so let's get started! Everyone quiet down now, please…" To my surprise, the crowd actually turns out to be able to suppress their noise level down to a dull murmur, although some dodrio and exeggutor are continuing to squabble amongst themselves.
"Okay, so you might have heard about the telephone help line I started a week ago where pokémon could call in to submit questions they had for me. As most of you are probably aware of by now, the human I hired to manage the phone line turned out to be telling some pretty big fibs! That's why I had to shut it down after a single day. Luckily, I've been able to piece together most of what was said over that line, so I know what the misconceptions I need to clear up are. To start with, psyduck. They are not space aliens!"
"I frigging knew it!" a voice yells out from the crowd. Mew glares at the offender in question, then continues.
"I created them just like I did all the other species. The reason they have headaches is 'cause I try to make each species have their own special thing, and for psyduck I just decided that would be psychic headaches. You know, like in those movies with human psychics where you can tell how intense their powers are because it causes their noses to bleed and their heads to ache? Yeah, like that." The audience starts to mutter amongst themselves a little louder, but Mew ignores it.
"Next up: slowpoke. Yes, you guys genuinely do evolve by getting bit on the tail by shellder. I realize that this decision might have been a little controversial, but I really, really wanted to give symbiotic and parasitic relationships in biology a shout-out, and your evolution does both at once! And hey, if you don't like it, don't worry! You'll be getting an alternative evolution pretty soon, as soon as I figure out a way to make the neurotoxins the transformed shellder inject you with make you smarter instead of dumber."
"…I'm being injected with NEUROTOXINS? AAAAAAAA! GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF!" a Slowbro in the audience screams, and bursts out of the crowd to run in circles in a wild panic.
Mew winces, but continues. "Uh, right, moving along. Diglett and dugtrio: I don't even know what you've been told, but there's a valid reason why I never designed a bottom half for you guys, and it's not laziness! It's called design by subtraction, and it's a legitimate artistic choice." The ground rumbles ominously.
"Okay, now dragonite. That's an easy one: You don't look goofy, you look totally normal! Anyone who thinks otherwise is just dumb. Even if you're a dragonite thinking that." A roared "WHAT?" emits from the crowd, which Mew covers up with a loud cough into the microphone.
"Ahem, next, charmander: Yes, I did make you guys so that you die if your tail flame goes out. But don't worry, you'll have plenty of warning, because I made it so that getting water on your tail is incredibly, incredibly painful! And I realize that that might seem a little unfair because the other fire types don't have such an extreme reaction to water, but I'm working on making it so they also have similar reactions, so just sit tight." The air suddenly feels a few degrees warmer as all the fire pokémon around me begin to smoke and growl.
"Now, for the dodrio: Sorry guys, no extra bodies for you! No extra bodies for anyone, actually. But maybe you'll be cheered up if I tell you the reason how all you multi-headed 'mons came to be. It's kind of a funny story…" Yet, as Mew's story concludes, no one seems to be laughing, and all the dodrio and doduo in the audience kick up an incredible racket.
"Hey, now quiet down, everyone-" Mew tries – several times – with increasing volume – but it's no use, as the yapping multi-headed birds just get louder and louder to match her. It seems like the press conference has been completely derailed, when-
"EVERYONE SHUT UP!" a voice bellows with the force of a sonic boom attack. It's not Mew's voice, but one coming from within the crowd. All the other pokémon turn to see just who created it, and the ones immediately surrounding the point of the voice's origin back away hastily, and with good reason to, as it's revealed to have come from an electrode.
"I HAVE A FUNNY STORY TO TELL, TOO!" the electrode booms, and everyone, even the dodrio, grow quiet. "See, I used to be just a little voltorb, and my only ambition was to gain enough experience to evolve into an electrode, so I could finally have a mouth and talk to people. But it wasn't easy, because I had to live in constant fear of every tiny bump on the road, and every time I went outside I was afraid that this would be the day some stick blew into me or some diglett tunneled underneath me or some random human would try to pick me up, and then BOOM! But I was very careful, and eventually I was able to evolve. However, I'd never seen another electrode before, because, you know, and so I was very surprised when I finally got my mouth and it turned out to be locked into this BIG, STUPID, GRIN ALL THE TIME! DO I SOUND LIKE A HAPPY POKÉMON TO YOU, MEW!? DO I SOUND LIKE I WANT TO BE GRINNING!?" The electrode is screeching loud enough that I have to cover my ears, and all the pokémon near them press into the crowd in an attempt to get even further away.
"ARE YOU LAUGHING, MEW? IS MY LIFE JUST A JOKE TO YOU? IS THIS FUNNY, MEW?! IS! THIS! FUNNY!?" The final word is so loud I thought at first the electrode must've exploded, but I look and see that they're still there, grinning as always. A period of silence passes, of the kind where it only lasts a few moments but it seems like it goes on for minutes.
Mew finally breaks it. "Er, well… See, the reason I made voltorb and electrode that way is-"
"Hey! I've got a question for you, Mew!" a scyther shouts, buzzing into the air. "Why'd you make me have blades instead of functional hands? Did you ever think that I might want to just pick up a coffee cup sometimes or turn a doorknob instead of slicing something to death? Huh? Is that also a joke to you?"
"It's not a joke!" Mew says, agitation finally becoming apparent in her voice. "See-"
A weezing floats down right into her face, and wheezes into the microphone in between hacking coughs: "Well, at least he has limbs! I don't have any! What's the deal with that?"
"Yeah, what he said!" the weezing's smaller head adds. Annoyed, Mew shoves the weezing back with psychic force, but her control of the podium is short lived, as a hypno scrambles up onto the stage and seizes the microphone from her.
"You made my species need to eat dreams to stay healthy, and then you made it so we can only learn the dream eater move from a TM!"
"Hey - give that back!" Mew shouts. She attempts to shove away the hypno, too, but he clutches his pendant tightly in his other hand and resists the force. Then Mew makes a motion with both her hands and her tail, and this time the hypno goes flying back. His head collides with the rocky body of a graveler who'd been clambering onto the stage, and he moans in pain as blood pools onto the floor.
Mew tries to apologize, but she's drowned out by the uproar that follows this. Amidst the chaos, a dragonite flies down and lands directly on the podium, crushing it.
"You're the cause of all our suffering, Mew! Even a noble dragon like myself has had to endure the indignity of one of your ridiculous designs! Your name should stand for Most Evil in World! I say let's kill Mew and make me the new Mew!" the dragonite roars, and spits a hyper beam at her. Mew throws up a barrier in time to block it, but before she can take advantage of the recharge period to retaliate, she has to direct her energy to throw back a screaming primeape leaping at her from behind. While she's focused on that, a bonemerang slams into her side.
"That was for giving me an uncontrollable compulsion to wear my mother's skull all the time! That's messed up!" a cubone shouts.
More and more pokémon pile onto Mew, landing blow after blow. She tries to teleport away, but a gastly's mean look attack blocks that possibility, and a clefable's gravity prevents her from flying. Just as it looks like all hope is lost for her, she unleashes one last burst of power that throws back everyone surrounding her. "I… AM… YOUR… CREATOR!" she shouts. "And… I'm also really tired…" Mew collapses onto the floor of the press conference stage. The dragonite roars in triumph and seizes her up from off the ground.
"Any last words, Mew?" she snarls.
"Your species was supposed to be gentle and peace-loving!" Mew says.
"How fitting that one of your own mistakes kills you, then." The dragonite opens her mouth and begins charging a final hyper beam. Just as she's about to unleash the attack, a gold-plated pokéball sails through the air and beans her in the head.
"Who threw that?" the dragonite roars, and looks around.
"I did!" The voice comes from a short man with a cane and white beard, standing at the edge of the plaza. Dragonite turns toward him with a growl. "I'm the chairman of the pokémon fan club, and I won't let you kill Mew!" he says, shaking his cane at the infuriated dragon.
"Oh, is that so? You and what army?" Dragonite snarls.
"This one!" someone shouts from another direction. We all turn yet again to see a large crowd of humans disembarking from a large cruise ship that's pulled up by the docks, and charging towards the site of the battle. Leading the charge is none other than the famous Lieutenant Surge. "Although we're really more like a platoon! I'm just a lieutenant, after all!"
I'd say there are at least a hundred humans following behind him. They seem to range from young adults to middle aged, and they're carrying various implements of improvised harm like baseball bats and tire irons. More curiously, almost all of them are wearing shirts or hats displaying different species of pokémon, and some of them are even carrying big plush pokémon dolls or little figurines alongside their weapons.
"Wha- who are you people!" the dragonite demands.
"We… are the Gen-Wunners!" Surge declares, prompting several of the people behind him to thrust their weapons into the air and cheer in assent. "After receiving intel that Mew's life might be in danger, we've come to this city from all across the world, united by our love of the first generation of pokémon! And we won't let you kill the designer of that great generation without a fight!"
"Wait… you're a Gen-Wunner, Surge?" an electabuzz asks, bewildered.
"Damn straight I am, son! First-gen pokémon saved my life during the war, you know!" Surge wipes a tear out of his eye at some distant remembrance, then turns to address his troops.
"Now, advance, my soldiers! Let's show our love and appreciation for the first generation of pokémon by beating the stuffing out of these first-gen pokémon until they finally admit how good their designs are! Gen-Wunner Army… ATTACK!" With that, the mob of poorly-equipped humans behind him dash forwards, hurtling themselves towards the group of pokémon surrounding Mew.
"If it's a fight you want, it's a fight you've got! Have at you!" the dragonite cries, and several pokémon rush forwards to meet the charge.
As the Gen-Wunners fall into combat, they shout out various battle cries:
"Lucario suuuuucks!" a balding man yells, swinging a crowbar into a blastoise's chest.
"The new pokémon have too! Many! Details! They're just! Like! Digimon!" A woman with a charizard hoody cries, punctuating each of her words with a hammer blow to the face of a hapless chansey.
It's the bloodiest battle I've ever seen. The air crackles and lights up with thunder and lightning as electric pokémon launch thunderbolt after thunderbolt into the ranks of the Gen-Wunners. Exeggutor send blasts of confusion in every direction, causing chaos as they slam into friends and foes alike. I watch Lieutenant Surge trade kicks with a hitmonlee before he's picked up and thrown into the sea by a machamp. A thick haze of smoke and smog covers the battlefield as magmar and weezing spew forth fire and poison.
Finally, the sounds of fighting stop, and my view of the plaza becomes clear again as a squad of pidgeot and pidgeotto use gusts and whirlwinds to clear the air. The results of the battle are clear: Every single Gen-Wunner has either fled or is lying dead or dying on the ground, and the only casualty I can detect among the pokémon is the electrode, who tragically exploded mid-fight. It wasn't even close. Although really, it wasn't a surprising outcome, given that the pokémon were deadly battle-beasts with elemental powers while the Gen-Wunners were humans with improvised weapons and little experience.
I look around, and note that Mew hasn't even managed to get away in the chaos, and is still lying in the middle of the broken stage, half-unconscious. I've failed yet again: My efforts to organize a force to save Mew were in vain, as were the sacrifices of the brave Gen-Wunners who died this day. "Hey, so are we going to kill Mew now, or what?" a jolteon asks, noticing Mew's position as well.
"…ya know, I don't think I wanna kill Mew anymore," a psyduck says, staring at her body with a curious expression. "If it weren't for those migraines she gave me, I'm not sure I'd have had the anger and rage needed to blast the hell outta all these humans with my confusion attacks."
"…um… my shellder kept biting me when I was about to get attacked from behind… so I guess this evolution turned out to be useful after all… thanks, Mew…" the slowbro who'd spoken up earlier says, apparently having forgotten about the neurotoxins after using amnesia during the fight.
"Hey! Even if these two morons beside me are morons, they sure were good at pecking out those humans' eyeballs! Maybe they aren't so bad!" A dodrio head declares.
A scyther buzzes down and adds his voice: "Yeah, this whole battle made me realize just how satisfying it feels to chop people's heads off with my own limbs. I don't think I'd have had nearly as much fun if I'd just been holding an axe or something."
"Hmmm… and I suppose no one really noticed how goofy I looked when they were begging for mercy before I crushed their skulls beneath my feet! Maybe it was foolish of me to be concerned with that," the dragonite ringleader muses.
"Wait… so you guys really do love me?" Mew asks, finally floating up from the wreckage. Tears are forming in her eyes.
A weezing floats over to her to manage a response in between coughs: "Eh… 'love' is a bit much, but as legendaries go, I'd say you're all right. At least you're not all murder-kill-kill-angst-murder like Mewtwo is, or all aloof and stuck-up like the three birds are. See if I ever come to one of Zapdos' birthday parties again… calling me a disgusting slob for smoking, when they live in an abandoned wreck…"
"Yeah, Mew's all right!" the smaller weezing head concurs.
Mew emits a few more choked sobs, then gathers herself together. "Okay, okay, I guess that's fair… can someone get me the microphone, please? There's something I want to say…" A jigglypuff walks up and hands her the microphone, and Mew begins to speak. Everyone ceases their chatter or moaning over their injuries and looks to her.
"So, um… I suppose I owe all of you guys an apology. When I was designing all of you, I guess I never really thought about you in terms of real living beings, who could be hurt by the choices I made… I always thought of you as just these… cool ideas I had, I guess… But listening to all of you pokémon who came out here today, I realize it was wrong to think of you that way. I admit I've made some mistakes designing you guys. It was especially really dumb of me to make you strong enough to be able to beat me up, but some of the other things I did were pretty bad too, like forcing a bunch of incompatible personalities to share the same body, or making it so that charmander die if their tail flame goes out. So, I'm going to start a new help line, where you can speak to me directly, and I'll try to work on your issues as best as I can."
The response is lukewarm.
"Uh, and also, I'll try to convince the humans to send a bunch of themselves into the wilderness each year for you guys to slaughter. Would that help?" Hey, wait a minute-
All the pokémon begin cheering enthusiastically in response. "We forgive you, Mew!" a blastoise cries, streams of water pouring from their eyes.
"Yes! We all love you, Mew!" a graveler bellows, clapping with all four of their blood-stained hands.
"All right, group hug everyone! Except for the muk, they still stink!" All the pokémon surge up onto the stage and crowd around Mew to hug her as best as their various forms allow.
Once the cuddle session seems to be winding down, I shove my way up onto the stage. "Oh, it's you. I guess you were kinda right about some things. You're still fired, though," Mew says.
"Listen, about that sending humans to die thing. Can we workshop that idea a little bit? See, I was thinking maybe we still have humans go out into the wilderness… but then the pokémon fight each other, instead of the humans. It'd be more of a challenge for them, you see."
"Huh… do you really think pokémon would go for that?" Mew asks.
"Hmm… what if we threw in something else to provide motivation? You know that gym Lieutenant Surge runs where humans train alongside pokémon? What if there was a gym like that in every Kanto city, and they gave out little badges to the pokémon who they certified were best at beating up the other pokémon?"
"Hey, you might actually be on to something there! …you're still fired, though."
"Yes, I know. In the meantime, can you do something to resurrect all these dead humans lying around?"
Mew looks at all the carnage around her. "Um, like what?"
"I dunno, maybe try crying on their corpses? It worked in a movie I saw once…"
"Well, it's worth a shot…" Mew flies over to the nearest dead body and sheds a few tears on it. Absolutely nothing happens. "Oh… well, I guess maybe I'll just put a little plaque here, so that everyone remembers how brave these guys were. I mean, they did die for me, so I feel kinda bad for them…"
"WAIT!" I exclaim. "Look!" Across the plaza, I can see a middle-aged Japanese woman in a business suit approaching. "It's June Eric, the head of development at Gamefreak, a person who's totally unrelated to any actual historical head of development at Gamefreak, and who therefore wouldn't be forbidden from appearing in a story on a fanfiction website that hypothetically disallowed inclusions of persons in that category! What's she doing here?"
"Boo hoo hoo… With all the Gen-Wunners dead, who will play our new games for the Nintendo Switch, Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee? I mean, aside from the millions and millions of Pokémon GO players, of course…" June sobs in tears over the dead body of a Gen-Wunner with severe burn wounds. As the tears fall down, the burn wounds miraculously began to heal, and the Gen-Wunner springs back to life.
"There's a new pokémon game coming out?" she exclaims. "I can't just sit around dead, then!"
As June moves from corpse to corpse, she cries on all of them, and they each revive in turn.
"Wait, the new games are going to be set in Kanto?" a man cries, his head resealing onto his body as June carefully holds it in place.
"And feature only first-gen pokémon?" a young woman says, broken ribs snapping back into alignment.
Some of June's tears fall into the ocean, and Lieutenant Surge emerges from the water. He grabs the edge of a pier and hauls himself onto land, then turns to address the crowd of resurrected Gen-Wunners. "Alright, soldiers, you heard what June Eric said! There's going to be a new first-gen remake coming out, so you know what our duty is!"
"Yeah! We have to get to the forums, so we can start complaining about how watered-down and casual the games are going to be!" someone shouts.
"Did you even hear about the capture system they're going to be using? It'll be just like the one in Pokémon GO! No wild battles at all! That's terrible!" another person cries.
"TO THE FORUMS!" they all shout, and crowd back onto the cruise ship they came from.
As I watch the ship depart, I find tears are rolling down my cheek as well. Mewspeed, Gen-Wunners! Thanks to you, and totally original character June Eric, the day has been saved!
…hey, wait a minute. I'm still fired! Where's my happy ending!? Just then, an imposing man in a dark business suit walks up to me. "Excuse me, but I overheard some of your conversation with Mew before, and I have to say that I find your idea about starting up pokémon gyms in each city… intriguing. And, I've also heard that you were partly responsible for organizing the party of Gen-Wunners to come save Mew. Your ruthlessness and cunning in planning to sacrifice them to sate the pokémon's bloodlust was truly admirable."
"Uh, yeah, that had been my plan all along," I say.
"If you're looking for a new career, perhaps you'll consider a job with us," the man says, and holds out a business card. My eyes widen as I see the bright red 'R' emblazoned on it. Team Rocket?! This is amazing! I've always dreamed about being the one to solve their PR problems! I have so many ideas: A cute meowth mascot, a fun little motto their thugs could recite before robbing people…
I smile and take the proffered card. "Thank you, sir. I'll be sure to give this opportunity due consideration." With my efforts to reform Team Rocket's image, Mew restarting the help line, and the new plan with the gyms, the future of Kanto is about to get very interesting…