Finding That Which We Do Not Seek
On different days and in different regions, May and Dawn express their concerns to child psychologist, Dr. Gwen Hadler about their lives, past issues and questions about each one's maturity to handle such a trip. In chapter eight, Dawn attempted to make her issues about love lost as implicit as she could, but Dr. Hadler got a good read on Dawn, who swallowed her pride and admitted her homosexuality to the doctor. Through this time, she also recollects on her hypersexual relationship with Veilstone City gym leader Maylene and a time when Maylene couldn't get all she wanted from the girl.
May had a much rougher go at it as she had to consider if she went off the deep end with her family. After speaking with the doctor, who suggested May call her mom, she did it and the conversation progressed nicely until Flannery entered the picture. May told Caroline that she didn't want to speak while Flannery was nearby and through no fault of anyone's as Flannery happened to come back into the house to find Caroline on the phone, May blew the situation out of proportion, cursing her mother out and telling her to stay with her girlfriend as she won't have a part of it. Both mother and daughter are emotional after their conversation. May swears to never be like Caroline and inflict that type of pain on anyone and Caroline questions how much of this venom she can bear for doing what she feels is right in her heart.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.
(Chapter 10- The Devil in the Details)
Placing in front of the teen a tray fully loaded with six Poké Balls, the Celadon City Nurse Joy informs him, "Chaz, all your Pokémon are rested and relaxed."
"Thank you, Nurse Joy," Chaz cheerfully responds, positioning his Pokémon in the proper order on his training belt.
As he finishes this and prepares to grab a bite to eat, Joy interjects to stop him by inquiring, "Isn't your full name Charles Anders Graves?"
Turning back to face Joy, he raises his eyebrows for a bit upon hearing his full name, but returns to his regular demeanor, saying "Yes, that's my name. Why? What's up?"
"My system says you're due for a new Pokédex upgrade," informs the nurse.
Chaz gives Joy an odd look and tells her, "That's strange. I just got one of those yesterday!"
"Yeah, the one you downloaded with the updates of Kanto region gym directories is already on file," Joy states. "This upgrade is from the Office of Pokémon Coordinating and Contests. Do you have it? Our records may not reflect all of the most recent updates."
"No, I don't remember getting that," he says. "I've never gotten an upgrade from them, though. That's the main office of coordinating, right?"
"Then I guess it must be important," Chaz figures as he gives Joy his Pokédex to connect with the network. From there, the update takes less than two minutes before he gets his device back and can go to the cafeteria.
The sixteen-year old decides on getting an apple and a serving of melon to go with a vegetable pizza and tomato juice, a far cry compared to the younger coordinators loading their plates with multiple slices of pepperoni, sausage, and cheese pizza without much else but sodas.
Nevertheless after leaving half of his pizza, he decides to check his update and while looking over the logged list, he sees the file at the top. "It's a video! Well, let's check it out," he says. Because it's downloaded he doesn't have to wait before he sees the familiar logo for Pokémon Contests for five seconds before watching the screen dissolve to an even more familiar face sitting at a desk.
"Good day to you, Chaz Graves!" says Director Contesta as it all starts to come back to the teen and he starts to get a good feeling about this video. "My name is Raoul Contesta, Pokémon Coordinating Director and judge. The reason for this video is to inform you of your status for this year's 'Taste of America' Pokémon Contest Tournament. Back in April, you qualified at the Pokémon Contest house of Cerulean City and it is my pleasure, sir, to inform you that your efforts have successfully earned you one spot among our top thirty-two contenders!"
The elation within Chaz could not be fully contained after hearing this news. "All right! Hell, yes!" loudly came from his mouth because he's accomplished what he came back to coordinating to do. Now all he has to do is prove the offices correct in putting him in one of these elite positions.
While doing this, he missed video due to his mini celebration, so he rolled back the video to see if he missed anything of note. From the point Chaz let out his emotion, a flash message congratulating him for his accomplishment was shown before Contesta further explained what this meant in this personalized video, "For your efforts, you will be traveling from late-May until early September to forty-five United States cities including additional locales in Mexico, Canada and single stops in Puerto Rico, Bermuda and The Bahamas.
"You will have a one-week break to return home between this time and most other information will be given to you through a series of Pokédex upgrades like this one. After viewing all these videos you will be required to attend one of two confirmation meetings for the tournament on May 12th and May 13th in Saffron City. All of this leads up to your initial departure less than two weeks afterwards as we arrive on the 26th to our first tournament stop in San Diego, California. There is a little catch to that, though, which we will divulge at the confirmation meeting. Expenses including hotel accommodations, all sponsored transportation and select meals will be paid by the Contest Office and you will be provided with a weekly stipend based upon your tournament performance."
"Throughout your tour, we will constantly be traveling from city to city. You will have the choice to either room with a fellow coordinator or share a room with one friend of the same sex who's willing to travel with you," Contesta says in another video viewed by Drew while he's about to go to sleep in a Pokémon Center room. "Anyone who does not request a roommate in advance or does not have proper paperwork in order will agree to enter into a random draw for their roommates."
As the video continues before finally fading to black, Drew leaves his Pokédex by the side table near a lamp so it will be fully charged by morning. As he gets into bed, he speaks out his hope that he can be with someone familiar for the next few months. "I hope I can get in contact with Robert or Harley soon. For all I know, they're seeing this and could be talking about rooming together, leaving me out of luck. Well, I'm beat so I'll just try my luck tomorrow because…I don't know of any other guys I could bring who'd want to go."
"You are encouraged to bring one to two weeks of clothing and to wash clothes while on the trip. You are required to bring both casual and formal wear including whatever outfits you might want to wear for local contests. We'll have a few dinners with local and national dignitaries throughout the tour and they require formal wear during their get-togethers. At your expense, you can shop for anything you need on most days, afternoons and evenings you won't be coordinating."
Hearing this didn't exactly tickle the fancy of Solidad, another one of the top thirty-two. A Top Coordinator and one of the bigger names not to have taken her talents internationally, she had it in mind to take as much time as she can away from her craft to explore this vast new land. Now hearing that she has no choice but to spend some nights in stuffy hotel ballrooms in form-restricting outfits, despite it obviously not taking up the whole trip, the Pewter City native admits to some confusion.
"Isn't this supposed to be a fun vacation?" she wonders as she puts that video aside for future reference and sets a reminder to ask about matters of recreation while she waits for her Pokémon to be cleared from her local center. "Well, no matter. I may have done a lot in this sport, but this is one thing I haven't notched up just yet. So that means, at the end of the day, I'm going to America with a job to do."
"You may be wondering in the midst of all this pageantry and excitement revolving around the American tour, what your goal will be when you get off the initial plane ride to San Diego?"
"To be honest, yes. What will be the spoils of elegant combat on this trip?" Nando questions as he polishes his Poké Balls and harp in anticipation of a contest in half an hour's time.
"Because of the vastness and strength of the field, giving a single ribbon to one competitor will simply not suffice, and that is why we will be giving you these as proof of your accomplishment," Contesta admits before holding up three large medals with thick canvas straps designed for wearing around the neck. The medals appear to be gold, silver and bronze color. At this point Nando, who was only looking at the video in passing, has now put his polished goods off to the side to pick up his Pokédex and give the screen his undivided attention.
"For your successful efforts in any single contest on the tour, you as the winner will receive an eighteen karat gold medal, designed by a resident in the area in which you won. On the edge, we will engrave your name, the city where you won and the date or dates of the contest. The same will apply for second and third place finishers and they make great keepsakes for your accomplishments on this one of a kind tour."
"Those medals will serve as quite the awards, for sure, and it's much more personable that someone actually will make the design of the mold," says Sinnoh coordinator Kyle Allmund while working out on an elliptical cross trainer and listening to Contesta's words through earphones, "but from what I've learned in my research, America is the land of opportunity. Medals are showpieces but cash remains king! Quit being such a tease and get to the crux of the matter, Contesta! What about the money?"
"The purse for each contest will be one and a quarter million dollars, with the winning coordinator in each contest taking home 100 thousand of that purse." It's a number that causes Jessie to cough while slurping down her tomato soup and miss the director adding that even bottom-dwelling contest finishers can earn ten thousand for their troubles. Thankfully, James and Meowth are by their comrade's side and can inform her that even a bomb out on her part can net her quite the stash of comfort cash.
"150 thousand dollars of the purse will go to bonus money for special achievements by individuals with fifty grand each going to the winner of the best battle, the best knockout and the best overall appeal. This is not the only money you can earn on tour, however, as I'll explain in a future update."
"Now you're talking my language, Contesta," Jessie slyly remarks while continuing to hear more about money on the trip. As far as the eccentric coordinator was concerned, the senior director could keep talking as long as he wanted. This news satiated her appetite for money and competition. All she now wanted to know was where and when she can sign up?
"Wait a minute!" James interjects, breaking Jessie out of her visions of dollar signs dancing in her head. "Don't you remember one of the older videos? You can only take one person of the same sex! How do I get to go if you, by some miracle, qualified for this tournament?"
"You're right," Jessie ponders with the sarcasm from James lost on her given her positive mood. Then, it occurred to her that the fact she had a male partner never stopped them from talking part in what they wanted. Once the idea hits her, a smug smirk enters her face. This causes James to want to protest but not find a reason why given their frequent gender bending history.
"You have no idea how badly I want to say no," James says, not even having to have the situation explained to him, "but it's an American getaway, it's guaranteed money in the bank and…it's just a matter of how long we can keep up the act. I shudder to think what would happen if anyone finds this out, though."
"We can't think like that, James," Jessie asserts before coming to another conclusion. "Speaking of which, I need to get into the habit of naming you by your new alias."
"Yeah!" Meowth chimes in. "After all, how many lady friends do you know with your name?"
"That's if you want to go to America and take in all the different places to chow down while on the tour."
If nothing else convinced James that he should go about disguising himself as a girl for more than three months that was it. He could get great food anywhere and in any region, but few other areas were as encouraging in the art of pigging out as the United States of America. It made him want to dig through his vast collection of women's wear to determine what would make him blend in and not stand out. The opportunities were endless, but the realities were well and apparent.
"No, damn it, no," James says, vigorously shaking his head in disapproval. "We're gonna get caught, I just know it. Besides, why can't we just room together? Both of us are adults, right?"
"Yeah," Jessie responds. "Last I checked."
"Then why can't we ask for a—oh, I don't know; an exemption given the circumstances?"
"Don't think so much about the negatives, James! This is a good thing."
"I just find all of this to be terribly unnecessary, Jess," James figures while continuing to show his disapproval. "Why not just call the office and ask them to consider putting their friends of the opposite sex into the same random draw?"
"Why not just buck up and face reality, James—or should I say, Jamie?"
"Let's face facts; this is my first time ever making it to these heights in coordinating," Jessie figures to her comrade. "I'm a rookie in that sense, even though I somehow qualified for this tour. I'm not saying you can't try and convince them to go along with your plan. I just don't think it will go anywhere. They're big and we're small. What can we do?"
"Right now, I'd like to address something that I have no choice to acknowledge but sincerely wish I could skip." Though Contesta's mood for this video is not as vibrant and jovial it would be wrong to say his mood is somber as he explains, "There are many rules and regulations relevant to this tournament and as I've said in past podcasts, this is a different situation than if you were just coordinating at home. I'm sure for the vast majority of you, this tour will send you to what is a brand new world, so we've worked with promoters in America to have you chaperoned."
"I knew it would be too good to be true," Kenny admits while continuing to watch the video. While shaking his head he does, however, concede "Then again, if you let our bunch loose on America there's a good chance we'll be ordered to leave and never return."
"Shh!" Barry interjects behind his friend while his father, Palmer, listens in earnest. "We're trying to watch this!" The Tower Tycoon had some questions about allowing his son to go halfway across the world, but Barry was insistent that nothing bad would happen and that he's been on his own journeys for a few years. Kenny personally came to visit the pair at their home to assure Palmer that the league offices would not put anyone in harm's way and that he had nothing to worry about concerning his only son.
"Don't fret about this news, though, because these chaperones have been specifically picked for you and your traveling partners to make you aware of your surroundings, inform you of places to go in the cities for recreation and food and essentially serve as guides on the tour. As an added plus for you, I mentioned that the chaperones have been picked just for you and I mean that in that they themselves are either active or retired Pokémon trainers here to help you during this most unique journey."
As this latest video fades to black, Palmer feels the concern he once felt for his son traveling such a distance for a time fading away slowly knowing the precautionary measures of the office are being put to the best of use for everyone involved.
Despite some of his worries being addressed by the league offices, the top trainer still has some apprehensions about the scenario Kenny laid out for him earlier that day. At this point, the father really needs to know that this is what the son wants and that the tour is not merely a spur of the moment idea spurned on by a friend who doesn't want to go without a familiar face.
Sitting down with the two teen boys a minute later, Palmer begins, "Kenny, I'll admit I really don't want my son halfway around the world for that long. I do worry about him with his tendency towards hyperactivity and…with him there as your guest and not doing any training of his own, my greatest concern was him losing focus these next four months. This is not any unfounded concern as you may well be thinking because I've seen it happen all too plainly in the past. If Barry has nothing to…keep him up, if you will, he tends to wander aimlessly for a time, gets bored to tears and after a while I always see him coming back to Twinleaf Town because of homesickness."
"I understand what you're saying, sir," Kenny agrees. Palmer could be accused of a lot of things; including being a tad overprotective given the circumstances, but none of this is stuff that the coordinator would actually admit to his friend's father. "My take on the matter comes down to good sense. They'll make sure everyone here will come back in one piece. If Barry has medications or health concerns the office will be on top of that, too. Heck, I know most of that stuff is already on file with the league—for me, at least, it is. I'm sure the other coordinators would love to have him there. Just think, sir, he'll be going places that were only imaginable a few years ago when he started training. Couldn't this just be a sign that he's made it right at the same time he's also come of age? Look, I believe in fate as much as the next guy, but I also feel that these things happen at the right time for most of us. Why not Barry, sir? That's all I'm asking."
Kenny was breaking him; that much Palmer would admit in secret, but not to the teen. He still had to be the father, though, even if the boy was making good sense. He still had to have some hold on him, even though the time for that would soon be running out.
"Well, I…I am…"
"You are?" Kenny responds.
Crestfallen, the father searches for an answer as if he'd find it on the carpet floor of the family room. No such luck. Palmer has nothing more to say and nothing else to argue. He has nothing other than the final say, which is, "Oh…okay. Barry, you may go."
With those words, Barry jumped to his feet like a lit fuse underneath him met a blasting cap. He pumps his right fist, high fives Kenny, who remained seated, and then ran to his father to wrap him up in a big hug.
As Barry gets as many 'thank yous' out of his system as he can muster in five seconds, Palmer gives his only son a final bit of advice. Leaning in, he cautions Barry to "Stick with it, son. Promise me you'll stick with it."
"I will, sir," Barry responds. "I promise."
"Be safe, do what the office leaders and chaperones tell you, but above all, you have fun."
"Now as for you, Kenny," continues the Tower Tycoon as he gets up and towers over his son's friend, "I understand there are some final forms I need to fill out so that Barry gets his final okay. Is that true?"
Kenny would admit to being caught off guard by that last line of questioning because of the stern, 'father knows best' delivery Palmer gave him, but it all amounted to a formality in the end as he just wanted to make sure every 'i' got dotted and 't' crossed. No worries in Kenny's mind because in a few short weeks, the land of opportunity is theirs for the taking.
The road to this point was tough, but to have a friend with him throughout this journey hopefully makes it all worthwhile. Kenny won't know, one way or the other, until his final day in the states.
"So, my coordinators, with all that I've laid out for you to digest in the past week, you should know that there is still much more to come. Now, though it may go without saying, I have no doubt that you've never been a part of a situation quite like this. Unlike going to a region and winning a specific number of contests to enter the Grand Festival finals, you participate in a set number of events to earn points to an overall championship."
Watching this attentively while lying down in the bed of the Drifrveil City Pokémon Center with her Cinccino, Danielle Moriarity nods in neither approval nor disapproval of the use of a points system. Getting the ebony dreadlocks out from her line of sight, she openly figures, "You just tell us how to win this thing and we'll do our damndest to make it happen, right Cinccino?"
Her Pokémon cries out an approval before nuzzling his face into her midsection and inadvertently tickling his trainer. Danielle has to sit up to stop the treatment because Cinccino indirectly knocked her Pokédex off of her lap and flipping the screen upside down.
"Okay, buddy. That's enough. You're excited just like I am, but I still have to get down to business," says the Caribbean-born trainer before recalling the chinchilla Pokémon and picking the video up around the time she got interrupted.
"So the points system is actually quite simple in nature. The winner of every city contest will earn 100 points. Of the thirty-two coordinators, sixteen of you will proceed to the elimination rounds. Those who don't make it will not earn points for that contest and all qualifiers will earn at least twenty-five points. Quarterfinalists will earn at least fifty while fourth, third and second places will earn seventy-five, eighty, and eighty-five points, respectively. There is only one way to earn bonus points and that's through knockout victories before the time limit expires. For any knockout in any round, you will earn ten bonus points meaning the most any coordinator can win in one contest is 140. Events in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean are exhibitions strictly for monetary gain and no points can be earned from those eight events."
"Conversely speaking," adds the director, "you as the best of the best in coordinating know that there are instances where you've been charged with infractions while working your craft. In virtually all those situations, you've had to pay a fine for improper conduct, damage to the arena or other offenses. For this tournament, the penalty system will change to include fines in points, which will be explained at our confirmation meetings along with a complete listing of the trip rules in and out of contests so nothing will be foreign to you once you step into this brand new world."
"I don't see any problems there," speaks Marina Guertas from her local New Bark Town Pokémon Center. From the first tournament announcement, Marina saw the landscape and determined that she was one of the coordinators with the greatest shot to win it all. Without question, all thirty-two coordinators see this as a chance to prove their worth amongst their peers, but Marina knows that despite her self-proclaimed title of 'Pokémon Idol', her fairy-tale romance with trainer Jimmy Locke, and multiple wins as Top Coordinator, she's constantly in a battle of proving herself time after time.
It has led her to the number two rank amongst coordinators worldwide behind Zoey Martin; a spot that is gratifying given the number of coordinators but humbling given that she is aware that there is still room for improvement. "I just have to push our team further. The expectations on me are going to be through the roof, but…I've been through worse. This will be the most coordinating I've done in one stretch, though. Endurance will be so important over these next three months. The team needs to be in its best shape, or I can forget about number one in the world for the foreseeable future."
"As you are well aware at this point, you will be competing in several events in order to win as many gold medals and earn as many consistent finishes as possible," says Contesta in the next of several messages to the group of thirty-two. Meanwhile, another young woman brushing the hair of her Glameow listens to make sure she doesn't miss any key points of this video. As Zoey grooms her signature Pokémon, Contesta gets to the ultimate crux of the matter of the overseas trip. "You want to do your best in all the events because each result will earn you a certain amount of points. As you might expect, the coordinator with the most points at the final stop of our tour, MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands, will win the SilphCo. Chairman's Trophy, the title of the Pokémon Contest's Grand Festival-North American Invitational Champion and a bonus sum to the champion in the amount of up to twelve million dollars."
Hearing those words about what she can earn if she wins from Contesta came as a mild shock to Zoey. It was shocking enough that she dug too deep into Glameow's scalp with her hairbrush, leading her Glameow to screech, turn her head and swipe Zoey with her claws leaving three fresh red stripes across her left cheek.
Gasping, catching her breath and lightly pressing her fingers to her cheek, Zoey screams in pain at the swift work of her feline Pokémon and runs as quick as she can to her bathroom to check on the damage. "Oh, my goodness!" she exclaims. From her view, she yells "Glameow, was that even necessary? That pain I gave you was temporary and an accident!" Heading back into the room with a very peeved Pokémon, she adds, "Shit, it's not as if it's every day you hear you can make that much! Come on, level with me!"
The plea seemingly falls on death's ear as Zoey finds herself given the cold shoulder by Glameow, whose attention appears to be squarely on the window and her right paw. Zoey refuses to simply call her back into her Poké Ball without settling this "Don't be like that, now. You know me. I would never mean to hurt you. Sometimes, though, we envision something and…just go crazy at the thought of it. Okay? That's more or less what I did. I can't take it back. It happened, I didn't mean for it to happen and, Glameow, I'm sorry. Mi felidae, Glameow, I love you. Come here," she says, wrapping her first Pokémon up in a hug, which after some time, Glameow obliges by turning to face Zoey and rubbing her paw against the scratches.
"Hold me to my word, now," Zoey speaks to her Pokémon. "If you and the others help me win this, you'll be treated like royalty for a long time. Both you and Kelly will be showered with love. You especially deserve it for putting up with me for as long as you have. Do we have a deal?"
Glameow joins Zoey in a sealing of the pact. Afterwards, Zoey returns Glameow and heads back into the bathroom to begin the process of healing her new scars.
A/N: Well, we went from the blackout of Hurricane Irene to the blackout of the June 29th derecho, and this chapter has been sitting here that entire time. I just had an odd feeling about it, and it wasn't good. Despite that, it was sitting here, it introduced an original character and would be the penultimate setup chapter to the coordinators ultimately heading to San Diego. I know—I just KNOW—the next chapter won't take as long. Thanks to all the fans, new and old, for the support.
Until next time, this is Rave! Take care.