Pokémon Journeys - Pt. X - The First Hidden Machine

Started by tenebrae, Jul 11, 2021, 01:08 am

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tenebrae

Preface: ShowHide

Woo, Chapter 10!
Yeah, I'm using ₽ for currency now instead of $ because it looks more like the pokedollar symbol. And so brings it more in line with the games

Link to the beginning


Vermilion City was quite lively at this time of day. As I walked through the city, I watched the residents and tourists alike bustling about as they carried out their evening activities. The Poké Mart had a long line of people waiting to enter, snaking around behind the rear of the building and into an empty lot. I made a mental note to stop by some time tomorrow to buy some supplies. Before then, I would have to check what items I have in my bag that need restocking. I spent a short time wandering around the city to make sure there were no posters up about me, or other similar signs. After a short while, I came to the conclusion the "news" had yet to reach here, however I did see a few posters warning about Team Rocket. Satisfied with my scouting, I started heading towards the Pokémon Centre, but was distracted by a large building sitting by the water's edge.

I approached the building, and upon closer inspection, I recognised it to be the Pokémon Gym. I couldn't see it's entrance anywhere so I assumed it faced the water. There were a few windows on its sides, but placed too high for me to see through. On the right side was Vermilion Bay, a sparkling blue broken up by a few large rocks, and on the left grew a somewhat familiar looking tree.
"Wanna get ta the gym?" A deep voice bellowed out behind me.
I jumped at the sudden voice and spun around, coming face to face with a large man towering over me. He was wearing a dirty brown leather jacket and jeans that looked like they had been burned and then patched many times. I nodded meekly in answer to the unexpected question.
"Well, you'll hafta get rid o' this 'ere tree then! Hahahaha!" He laughed as his rumbling voice rung out.
"But, can't I jus-" I started to say,  but was interrupted almost immediately.
"Oh, but can't ya just jump the wa'er and go 'round it?" His loud tone sounded as if he were mocking me as he cut into my sentence. "Well ya see, it's no' a safe jump, and ya don't wanna end up in the water, it can be dangerous. If ya don't have a Repel tha' is!"
He motioned in a line that cut over the water and around the tree before walking up to the water's edge and peering in. I was about to follow but jumped back as I watched a blurry silhouette appear followed by a tentacle creeping out of the water and wrapping itself around the man's leg.
"This 'ere Pokémon's a Tentacool. Well, jus' one of its two poisonous tentacles. Get too close ta the wa'er's edge and one migh' jus' snatch ya like this one 'ere got me. Oh, and nay, ya can't avoid 'em jus' by checkin' the water. Ya jus' can't see 'em 'til they're next ta ya. They'll surprise any Pokémon Trainer who finds themselves in wa'er. Oh, don't worry about me though, these pants protect me from the poison."
With that, using his free leg, he stamped down hard onto the tentacle. It deformed slightly under his foot before letting go of its hold around his leg and slinking back into the water. The blurry silhouette disappeared a moment later. He shook his leg a bit before continuing talking:
"Lieutenant Surge by the way, and tha' there building is ma gym." He pointed first at himself, then at the building. "If ya get tha' Hidden Machine Cut, you'll be able ta get past this 'ere tree as easy as Raichu winning the annual Kanto Surf League!" He finished with another hearty laugh which left me confused at the analogy.
After his laughter died down, he pulled a Poké Ball from inside his jacket and pressed it to one of the branches of the tree. A brilliant white light shone where the bark was touched, spreading out to envelop the whole tree. Then it began to shrink, as if its growth was reversing. As the tree grew smaller, the light began to fade, until all that was left was a small sapling where the once mighty tree had stood moments ago. Lt. Surge walked through the space the tree had just occupied and then turned around and saluted me.
"Board the S.S. Anne and find the captain. He'll give ya HM Cut. I trust ya got a ticket from Bill?"
After finishing his little spiel, he turned and walked around the corner of the gym and out of sight. I heard a sound of a door shutting, followed by the clicking of a lock, and then the only sound was the waves and slight hubbub of people. Not a moment after he was gone, the sapling erupted into an enormous overgrown tree, identical to the one it replaced. I was left to ponder how he knew Bill had given me a ticket to board the S.S. Anne, as if he were expecting it, and why I had to go through such a convoluted method just to get to the gym. Such thoughts accompanied me as I finally made my way to the Pokémon Centre.

***

When I left the Pokémon Centre early in the morning, there was a large crowd gathered at the eastern edge of the city. While everyone was distracted, I took the opportunity to visit the Poké Mart and buy some supplies.
"That'll be ₽4800," the clerk said.
I opened up my bag to get my money, shoving aside the somewhat bulky golden rock still inside so I could access my money pouch.
"Oh my, is that a golden nugget?" the clerk said, spotting the golden rock.
"I'm not sure, someone gave it to me, and it's taking up a lot of space in my bag..." I said as I took the rock out of my bag and set it on the counter.
The clerk pulled out an eyepiece and picked up the rock, turning it over a few times, before carefully placing it down again and removing the eyepiece.
"I'll buy it from you. ₽5000. This seems to be a very fine sample."
My eyes widened in astonishment at the request, but she nodded to me in confirmation that this was serious. She handed over some cash and then took the rock to a storeroom in the back of the shop.
"Is there anything else you'd like to buy now that your bag has more room?"
I thought for a moment before remembering what Lt. Surge said the previous day, and asked, "Do you have Repels here?"
"Ah, yes. We just got some new stock yesterday. What strength would you like?" The clerk produced three aerosol cans from some boxes behind the counter. "They come in different strengths, Normal, Super, and Max. The names are just measures of their efficacy. Max Repel will last up to 24 hours, Super Repel will last up to 12 hours, and a Normal Repel will last up to 3 hours. Here, it even says on the can."
She turned the cans around so I could see the labels. Sure enough, each one had their estimated time limits baked into the rather flashy logo.
"I'll take one of each please," I said, and began to hand over the money.
I carefully placed the cans in my bag, along with the other supplies I bought: food, water, and Poké Balls for when I would encounter more wild Pokémon. The additional money I had obtained the other day, along with the money from the nugget just now really helped me out, but I would still need to find a way to get more in the future. I left the Poké Mart with a heavier bag than that which I entered with, and set off to board the S.S. Anne.

***

The S.S. Anne loomed up ahead. The brick path turned to wood at the water's edge. A few small rowing boats lined the pier. Far to my left I could see a truck on a floating concrete platform. I assumed it was for bringing stock to and from the docked ships, but the platform did not appear to be connected to the landmass. I tried not to think about it and continued down the pier, following the bends in the path.

"Your ticket, miss," a man in a sailor's uniform said to me as I approached the ramp to access the S.S. Anne.
"Ah, one moment," I replied, and began digging around in my bag for the ticket Bill had given me a few days prior.
I pulled the crumpled paper ticket out of my bag and waved it towards the ticket checker. He took the ticket from me, looked me up and down, then at Amber beside me, before punching a hole in the ticket and passing it back to me.
"Come aboard, miss," he said, stepping to the side and beckoning me forward.
I stashed the paper back into my bag and walked up the ramp and into the S.S. Anne.

When I reached the top, I found myself in a long hallway lined with doors. There were no signs indicating where anything was, so I decided to go left down the hallway and see where that took me. The scenery of doors was quite monotonous, only broken up by the occasional painting of a Pokémon or some famous landmark in Kanto. The first few paintings I stopped to look at, but after the first few, I realised they all showed the same two Pokémon, Charizard or Pikachu, or they were various depictions of the S.S. Anne superimposed onto Kanto landmarks. It was as if the person who set up the interior decoration had a bias for these two Pokémon. I admired the first Charizard, imagining how Amber's golden colour will darken to an orange when he eventually evolves. As my thoughts evolved with each successive painting I saw, the hallway of doors rounded a corner and I found myself at the top of a long staircase. On one side was a wooden handrail, and the other was some sort of rail. There was no way this staircase was as long as the one leading into the Underground Path, and so I began the descent.

Not long into my descent, I saw a platform rising on my right. Riding it was a plump man in a chef's uniform pushing a trolley laden with food. Atop his head sat a comically large chef's hat. The platform began to slow as it neared me, before coming to a complete stop next to me.
"A Pokémon Trainer eh?" he chuckled a bit as he saw Amber beside me. "I don't know why, but you trainers always come down this way, only to have to walk all the way back up."
He chuckled again. I just stared at him wondering what he meant.
"It's just the kitchen down here," he said, possibly in response to my quizzical expression. "And unless you have an employee keycard, you can't get in."
He produced a small yellow card from a pocket on his hat and waved it in front of me before putting it back.
"Another trainer just passed through here not so long ago. I saw him at the bottom trying to get into the chef's quarters. He even demanded a battle after I told him he couldn't get in. The gall of that kid! He did eventually leave, and so must I now too. I have to deliver this food to Room 2. Here, get on, it'll save you having to walk back up."
I obliged and hopped on to the platform, and with the press of a button on the trolley, it began to rise again. The whole journey up, the chef told of how he had requested elevators to be installed, but the captain had always said no, citing the platform was still in perfect working order, and the cost of renovations, among other gripes about life on a cruise ship.

When we reached the top of the stairs, the chef stepped off, and with the trolley before him, bid me farewell and marched off to his destination. I stepped off the platform and retraced my steps down the hallway in search of the captain's quarters.

***

Shortly after passing a staircase leading to the ship's deck, I could see the end of the hallway. As I approached the end, I saw someone coming my way. They were spinning a disk on their finger, but stopped when they noticed me.
"Oh ho ho," he spoke. "I didn't expect to see you here."
Their tone of voice was undeniably smug and their hair was an unmistakable blood red colour. There was only one person it could be.
"I got the Hidden Machine Cut!" Crimson boasted. "But the captain was lame, he didn't want to battle me. You. Let's battle. I'll show you how strong my Pokémon have become now!"
"Why are you here?" I exclaimed. "Did you get a ticket form Bill too?"
"Bill? Who's that? I just saw this scrap paper on a table and decided to take it with me."
Crimson held up a crinkled paper that was undeniably an S.S. Anne ticket."
"But didn't you see Bill? He was doing research in a house north of Cerulean City."
"Oh, that place? That house was empty, but I saw a button on a table so I pushed it, but no one responded, so I took this paper next to it and left."
He scrunched the paper up and stashed it back in his pocket. His hand re-emerged holding a Poké Ball, which he threw into the air between us. In a flash of red light, a large mouse Pokémon appeared before us. It had brown fur with a white underbelly, and front teeth that were so long they almost touched the floor.
"This is my Raticate. I've been training it hard and it evolved yesterday."
Upon hearing this, I came to the realisation that none of my Pokémon had evolved yet. I'm sure it would happen soon, but I haven't done enough training with them to gain experience.
The Raticate's teeth looked dangerous, so I told Amber to stay back. I reached into my jacket and pulled out a Poké Ball, which I threw in front of me. In a flash of red light, a small purple Pokémon appeared, sporting a large horn on its head. It was my hope that the horn would defend against a bite from Crimson's Raticate. This would be a defensive battle for me.
"Hyper Fang!" commanded Crimson, extending his arm and pointing towards Spike.
"Defence Curl!" I shouted out to Spike in response.
In a flash of white light, Spike curled up into a small ball, his big horn sticking out the top, and the smaller spikes on his body began to glow a dull purple. The Raticate rushed in and opened its mouth as wide as it could, before bringing its fangs down onto Spike. The fangs were just long enough that they grazed Spike's skin, but it seemed my plan was working. Spike's horn was the sole reason he wasn't seriously injured although now he couldn't move due to Raticate's overbearing position. Similarly, Raticate couldn't move or it might take damage from the horn, or be poisoned by the smaller spikes.
The two Pokémon stayed in this position for a few moments as I wondered what would be the best action to take next.
"Spike, use Poison Pin Needle! Into Raticate's mouth!" I commanded after a few moments of deliberation.
Before Crimson had a chance to respond, and before Raticate itself had a chance to act, Spike uncurled and hurled himself into Raticate. Raticate has no choice but to take the force of Spike's momentum and the two Pokémon crashed into a wall. Spike's spikes were now oozing a gooey purple liquid which was dripping down his body onto the Raticate. It seemed like the horn hadn't managed to deal much damage, but Raticate was now radiating faint purple clouds from its body. Raticate was poisoned!
"Damn it," growled Crimson, as he returned Raticate to its Poké Ball. "I was hoping to show you my other evolved Pokémon, but now I have to treat this damned poison status."
He stashed his Poké Ball away and walked past me.
"I haven't lost yet. Next time, I'll show you the true power of my Pokémon," he half whispered as he passed me.
Before long, he disappeared around the end of the hallway and was out of sight.
I looked down at Spike, who was lying on his side, panting from the battle. I walked over and knelt down beside him and reached out to pat him, but quickly retracted my hand.
"Is it safe to touch you?" I asked Spike, looking at the purple ooze, hoping he would have enough energy to respond.
He let out a little whine and rolled over, exposing his belly to me. I took this as a sign it would be fine, and scratched his belly. The experience reminded me of those I had seen with small dog Pokémon when I was a child. The purple ooze was slightly sticky, but evaporated completely after a few seconds of contact. I inspected my fingers but they seemed to be fine. Maybe it was only bad if came into contact with Pokémon?
After a short congratulatory playtime, I returned Spike to his Poké Ball and walked the rest of the length of the hallway, reaching a door at the end. There was a plaque on the door that read: "Captain's Cabin." I knocked on the door, and heard a voice from the other side telling me to come in.

***

I pushed open he door to the captain's cabin and stepped in. I was immediately greeted by a short stout man in a tight white sailor uniform.
"Hello! I'm the captain of th-" He trailed off as he looked me up and down, then shifting his attention to Amber beside me. "Uh... don't tell me you want a Pokémon battle too?!"
"No no," I shook my head. "I was told to come find you."
"Oh... Well then, hello! I'm the captain of the S.S. Anne. I wasn't expecting another trainer straight away... He just left a few minutes ago."
I nodded in response.
"And he kept demanding to battle me," the captain continued. He spoke with mild enthusiasm as he waltzed around the room. He briefly looked up at me standing in the doorway, and stopped in his tracks.
"So you really don't want to battle? That's good, I'm not much of a Trainer myself. Since you're here, I suppose you're after HM Cut then? I should have another disc somewhere here."
I watched on as he walked over the a desk in the centre of the room and began rummaging through all the drawers before finally pulling out a shiny white disc. The whole time he was mumbling to himself, but I couldn't catch any of what was spoken.
"Found it!" he exclaimed as he extracted the disc from the desk. He ran over to me and presented the disc. "This is HM Cut, the first Hidden Machine ever created. Here you go!"
I took the large disc from him and stowed it in my bag.
He continued taking as I did so, "Hidden Machines differ to their counterparts, Technical Machines, in two major ways. Firstly, they can be used an unlimited amount of times, so don't worry about choosing which Pokémon to teach it to. You can teach it to every Pokémon you have that is compatible. Oh and secondly! Once you teach the move to a Pokémon, it's very difficult to overwrite that move. Something something about the way the data is written into the Pokémon, or at least that's what I was told! There is someone who can overwrite these moves, but I don't know where they could be, let alone remember who they are..."
He trailed off and scrunched his face up in apparent concentration.
"Uh, thank you for this, but how do I use it?"
"Oh right!" He ran back to the desk and pulled a small pamphlet from the middle of a stack of papers. The pile teetered but somehow regained balance, losing only the top two pieces of paper to the captain's carefree attitude. He ran back over and handed me the pamphlet.
"This is the instruction manual. Give it a read over and you'll be teaching all your Pokémon the move Cut in no time! Haha, but don't actually do that, you might be stuck with the move forever!"
He bellowed a hearty laugh that echoed throughout the room.
"Alright," he said after his laughter died down. "I better get this ship turned around soon or I won't make it back to port in time for the next cruise! Feel free to take a look at all the ship's facilities. There's still plenty of time left so enjoy yourself!"
He turned around and climbed up a short ladder in the back of the room and disappeared into the ceiling. I left the room and decided to spend the rest of my time in the outdoor area I had passed earlier.

There were a few other trainers on the deck as I reached the top of the stairs leading outside. Most of the people up here appeared to be tourists. I walked over to an empty deck chair and sat down. A pool lay out before me, with a few water Pokémon swimming around in it. I pulled out my Poké Balls and let out my Pokémon.
"Hey guys, take some time to play in the water! I'm gonna sit here and have a rest. And don't get into any battles okay?"
My Pokémon bounded off to the water, except Fin, who was already swimming around aimlessly, and Amber, who did not want to be near the water at all. He pushed another chair beside mine and curled up on it, making sure to shield his tail flame from any splashes with his body. I lay back in the chair and closed my eyes, soaking in the warmth of the afternoon sun.

***

I awoke with a start.
"...port soon." A voice rang out across the deck of the ship. "I repeat, this is your captain speaking. We will be arriving at Vermilion City and making port soon.
I stretched and sat up in the chair. All my Pokémon were sleeping around me, with a few other Trainers' Pokémon among them. I got up and walked over to Amber and roused him from his sleep. Together we roused Swift, Pierce, Spike, and Button. Fin was still swimming around in the pool, but came to the pool's edge when I approached. I suppose the fish isn't as dumb as it looks, and its golden scales do look quite pretty. Wth all my Pokémon gathered, I returned them to their Poké Balls, and with Amber by my side, went to the edge of the deck to look out at Vermilion City as the ship closed its distance to the port.

***

The city was bustling with activity as I gazed over the edge of the railing. Every building shone with a brilliant light, the shadows of the people dancing to the rhythm of their movement. As I descended the ramp and walked up the pier, the sounds of the city grew louder. I passed a long line of people who I assumed were waiting to board the ship for the night cruise the captain had mentioned. I double checked I knew how to get to the Pokémon Gym before heading to the Pokémon Centre for the night. Inside, there was a short queue of Trainers waiting to get their Pokémon healed. After a short wait, I got my Pokémon healed, and after getting my Poké Balls back, I went downstairs into the dormitory where I entered the room I had booked. I hastily let my Pokémon out and inspected Spike but saw no visible damage. Spike also seemed full of energy now. Such was the magic of Kanto's healthcare. Satisfied with Spike, I bid my team goodnight and ducked under the bed covers in anticipation of tomorrow's battle with Lt. Surge.



Part XI coming soon!