Session 27

The battle royale and badge awarding over, the crowd begins to disperse. Diablo has left the party with another sort of challenge.
This definitely seemed to have been the social event of the day. The usually-serious villagers are talking in small groups, though a few have already trudged off to resume practicing. The tomboy trainer walks by, smiling almost to her ears; her pancham accompanies her, not smiling as widely but still apparently pleased.
Max Thorn: "Well, no time like the present…"
Jack Layfield: "Wha bro?"
Jack Layfield: "What'd ya mean by that."
Anna Tommize: "Eh?"
Anna Tommize: "T-time for what…?"
Max Thorn: "Gotta talk to people, find out what's stopping their journeys short."
Jack Layfield: "Probably rhymes with Beam Snegger."
Sam Spade: "Yeah, but…"
Max Thorn: "Don't think they've got anything to do with it, so much."
Sam Spade: "I have to admit that the TJ's haven't done much to drive me home. Could be because we lucked out on assignment, but…"
Jack Layfield: "Well who then? It can't be team dumbcloud."
Sam Spade: "No…"
Sam Spade: "But I think it's something more along the lines of the rules the TJs laid down."
Sam Spade: "I mean, if the trainers aren't having fun - or collecting a wide variety of pokemon…why keep going?"
Sam Spade: "But best we don't get locked into a theory this early, anyway."
Sam Spade: "We should go gather some evidence."
Sam Spade runs over to the tomboy trainer.
Sam Spade: "Hey, miss, what's your name?"
Anna Tommize nervously follows looking over Sam's shoulder.
Max Thorn: "Quite. Reasoning in advance of the data is a good way to be out on your derriere."
Esme yawns. "Well you all collect, and I'll note it down."
Max Thorn looks 'round…
Barb: "Barbara, but everyone just calls me 'Barb'." The tomboy lazily turns to face Sam and sighs. "It's a wonderful day, isn't it~?"
Jack Layfield: "It's pretty radical."
Anna Tommize: "Are you…OK?"
Anna Tommize: "Y-you look really happy…"
Barb: "Hee~. Maybe I didn't get the badge, but I can get it next time."
Anna Tommize: "???"
Barb GRINS at Anna. "I finally got him to agree to a date! And he sealed it, with a kiss!"
Anna Tommize flinches.
Anna Tommize: "A-A date!?"
Anna Tommize: "S-scandalous!"
Anna Tommize blushes furiously.
Anna Tommize: "I-I hope it goes well…"
Barb: "Hehee! It's our first, but I've been stal-err, *STUDYING* him for a while! Never give up, right? Fighting spirit?"
Anna Tommize raises a fist meekly. Meeps barks in assent.
Sam Spade: "Sounds…good? I think?"
Barb: "So I just know he's the one for me! He even went with me on my journey - or, well, he'd say I went with him, which is technically true…"
Jack Layfield: "Well good for you! I hope you have an extreme romance."
Sam Spade: "Oh, nice!"
Sam Spade: "So…how did the journey go?"
Sam Spade: "Did you get to spend a lot of time with him?"
Sam Spade looks like she's just interested in romance, but she's watching for any tics and telltale responses.
Barb's smile falters for a bit. "W-well…yeah…yeah, I did, for how long it lasted. I even saved his life! But we came back home after that."
While Jack pretends to be interested, Sandy has started to look for trouble again.
Sam Spade: "Aww, that's too bad."
Max Thorn goes wandering around… He's looking for the fellow with the tyrogue.
Sam Spade: "How'd you save his life, though? That sounds really impressive."
Esme: "…How long was it?"
Max easily finds said fellow by looking where Barb walked from just now.
Sandy finds the mankey from earlier, already healed up, bouncing from its trainer to a banner to the ground right in front of Sandy and back, like a parkour dance.
Max Thorn: "Hey, man. Mind if I ask a few questions?"
Barb huffs. "We barely spent a day in Sky City. I mean, it took longer to head to Metro Beach, and back here, than it actually lasted!"
Sandy starts darting underneath the manky while it's in the air.
Esme blinks.
Jack Layfield: "Weiiiiird."
The tyrouge's trainer is curled in a fetal position, his pokemon giving him apparently-intended-to-comfort shoulder pats. He shakily looks up at Max. "…y-yes-s?"
Esme: "That was the whole journey?"
Barb: "So there's this part of the path to the gym that our minder pointed us to. Way up high, no rails, I suppose it's supposed to be scary? He fell off. I dove and caught him."
Barb nods. "Metro Beach, got the badge, Sky City, he wanted to go home, we did."
Jack Layfield: "Needs more of a sense of adventure."
Barb: "Well, I mean, he wanted to survive. I can understand that!"
Max Thorn: "…Well, first…" He takes a seat next to the kid. "…Want to tell me about it?"
Barb gets stars in her eyes. "I just like a man who'll be around to help raise our kids!"
Esme: "I guess that is a thing yes… Did you see any other trainers on your trip?"
Sam Spade: "Sounds reasonable!"
The tyrogue's trainer takes a deep breath. "B-Barb…made me promise to d-date her…later. I'm doomed. Though, the kiss wasn't too bad."
Anna Tommize: "L-love is scary!"
[OOC] Sam Spade: Is Anna with Max, then?
[OOC] Anna Tommize: Is she?
[OOC] Sam Spade: Because that sounds like a response to the Tyrogue trainer.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Who Max went to go talk to.
[OOC] WC GM: Your call. That could be a response to either.
[OOC] Anna Tommize: Let's stay consistent, she's with Barb.
[OOC] Sam Spade: In that case~
Finished bothering the mankey, Sandy now looks for a new victim. She starts to sneak up on the nervous trainer with the tyrogue.
Barb: "A few others? Mostly young kids; we'd…well, I'd waited until he was ready. A lot of them wanted their mommies when they went up high and looked down."
Sam Spade: "You think love is scary, Anna? Because of having kids?"
Max Thorn tilts his head. A few seconds later, Nootaikok pads up and starts licking the fellow's face. "Aw, c'mon, Nook…" The little fox chirps, but doesn't let up until the boy reacts.
Anna Tommize flinches.
Anna Tommize: "Kids're…"
Anna Tommize: "H-having kids is…"
Anna Tommize looks down and bites her lip.
Sam Spade: "Well, there are alternatives…"
Anna Tommize: "I don't think I'm ready…"
Jack Layfield: "Whoa, that's further into the future than I think."
Anna Tommize looks up at Sam.
The tyrogue trainer stops shivering and chuckles it. "…heh. Thanks, I needed that. Name's Nook. What's yours?"
Sam Spade is gazing thoughtfully into the sky. She's probably not blushing.
Sandile leaps onto the nervous trainer's back
[OOC] Sam Spade: Haha, Nook licking Nook~
[OOC] Jack Layfield: Weird
Max Thorn: "I'm Max, and this here's Nootaikok, but 'Nook' for short. Do you like her?"
The tyrogue grabs Sandy out of mid-air just before she could land.
[OOC] Max Thorn: 'her' being Barb, for clarity.
Nook: "Err…w-well…she's been my friend for a while. She saved my hide on our journey! But I never thought she'd *like* me, like that."
Nootaikok wags at Nook and decides to nuzzle at the boy's hand.
Sandy flails pathetically. FOILED AGAIN
Esme coughs. "I don't think any of us are, Anna… But ah, just some other kids, huh?"
Sam Spade: "Barb, those little kids…did they cross, or did they back down, too?"
Max Thorn: "Journey, huh? What was that like?"
Barb shrugs. "I…maaay have been a bit, erm, focused." She blushes. "So I didn't learn their names in the short time we were together."
Barb: "They all backed down. Most of them never even made it to the gap."
Nook: "Way, waaay too short. I mean, c'mon, not even second badge and I almost blew it? I…couldn't put Barb through that."
Max Thorn: "I dunno, I think together you two could make a formidable team. But how'd you 'blow it'?"
Nook hangs his head. "Stumbled and almost fell off. If it hadn't been for Barb I'd be ground floor pizza."
Max Thorn: "Eh, well. Everyone makes mistakes, it's not the end of the world. So after that you two just came back to Dojoholm, then?"
Nook nods. "Yeah, our minder said if we couldn't do it we had to quit. So I did."
Nook: "And Barb came with me."
[OOC] Sam Spade: Boom. And there's the difference.
[OOC] WC GM: There's part of it.
Max Thorn: "So, what's 'it' here? A chasm with an invisible bridge or something?"
[OOC] Sam Spade: I can see two things: first, we don't know if Sky Gym can protect any trainers who fall. In a traditional journey there'd be fliers who could catch them, land them, and sneer at them.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Second, the minders. In a traditional journey, the trainers could back off, try a different route, attempt a few more gyms, come back later. But with a minder, that minder has other jobs to do as well, and so there's not that option.
[OOC] WC GM: Correct but incomplete.
Max Thorn: "I mean, I'm not gonna laugh at you or anything, since *I'm* going to have to go through Sky City at some point, too…"
Nook: "No bridge. Well…there's a winding pathway, going up and up, then there's this gap in it."
[OOC] Sam Spade: Yeah, but we still have one more trainer who we HAVE to face…mostly…
Max Thorn: "And so you have to find a way across the gap? Yeah, that'd fit. I'm going to guess your minder wouldn't let you take another route, find a challenge you *could* overcome?"
Nook: "I thought I could jump it. I couldn't. Neither could Barb, but she caught me and got me onto a lower part of the path. If she hadn't…"
Nook blinks. "Eh? He said that was the only way to the gym."
Max Thorn shakes his head. "Nah, I meant as in going to another city and trying the gym *there*."
Max Thorn: "No reason you *had* to tackle that gym first, right?"
Nook: "Oh! Er…heh…I never asked, but I got the impression…"
Nook: "Well, we did Metro Beach first. Then we had to choose between the three next to it. We chose Sky City."
Nook: "I mean, almost everyone chose Sky City or Petro Swamp."
Sam Spade looks around the town a bit. Any other trainers still lurking around?
Nook: "I heard one group went to Ice Cove, but our minder said they'd probably freeze before they made it to town."
Max Thorn nods. "Heh. That was probably us."
A few trainers are still about. Sam easily sees Max interrogating Nook.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Yeah, but I think Sam's gonna assume that Max'll share what Nook told him.
Nook blinks. "You? No offense, but you don't look frozen."
Max Thorn: "Not only am I not frozen…but I found Nook, too. Isn't he a sweetie?"
Nootaikok is very insistently nuzzling Nook's hand. Probably wants pettings or something.
Nook: "You f-oh, your pokemon." He smiles and pets the vulpix.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Right now…Sam knows that Barb went to Sky City, Nook almost died, they came back. She'll find about the TJ insisting that later, but more facts needed!
Sandy is still struggling in the tyrogue's hands
Sandy: "Sandile sand sand! SANDILE!"
Esme: "Maybe we can ask Lucario-girl when Anna shows up for her duel?"
The tyrogue is sitting on Sandy's legs, until she stops squirming or gets away.
Nootaikok wags, then rolls over and looks adorable.
Max Thorn: "…Mind letting Sandy go, please?"
Max Thorn: "Sandy's not mine, but rather one of my companions'."
Sam Spade: "Oh, that's a given."
Nook: "The sandile? Oh, alright. Shade, you heard him."
Sam Spade: "In the meantime…"
Shade sighs and lets Sandy go.
Sam Spade heads over to the mankey trainer.
Sam Spade: "Hey there!"
Sandile takes advantage of the chance and barrels at Max
The mankey trainer seems not to notice Sam for a few seconds, and does not face her when he finally replies. "'Sup? 'Grats on the badge."
Sam Spade: "Thanks. Um. Something up?"
Barb looks over Anna. "So. Do you have someone you like?"
[OOC] Sam Spade: Esme please tell me you are listening to this, SAM MUST KNOW
Max Thorn: "But…yeah, we went through the cave to Ice Cove, then were lucky enough to encounter a weather station just outside of it; got a few loaner parkas, then went down the mountainside and helped relieve the slopes. Got our own coats in Ice Cove proper, got badges for helping with the slopes, and then went to Foundry Town from there…"
Max Thorn deflects the 'dile. "C'mon, Sandy. I know you're bored, but surely there's something constructive you could do with that energy…"
The mankey trainer points up, to where his pokemon is dancing on a roof. "Yeah. Beats won't get down again."
Esme is following along with Sam, tallying up notes. Max and Jack seem to have the other fellow covered.
[OOC] Esme: SAM CAN NEVER KNOW
Sam Spade: "Oh, dear."
Sam Spade: "Hey, Malta, wanna go say hi to Beats?"
Malta flutters off Sam's shoulder and up to the mankey. She cheeps.
Jack, if anything, is more bored than Sandy.
The slightly-feral-looking mankey trainer smiles. "I was about to ask. Thanks! They call me Groove."
[OOC] Sam Spade: Poor Sam…
Jack Layfield: "GROOVE! DID I HEAR SOMEONE HAS AN AMAZING NAME?"
Beats swirls to a rhythm only Beats can hear, seemingly brushing off Malta.
Malta tilts her head at Beats, cheeping once more.
Sam Spade: "Is this normal for Beats?"
Beats claps to Malta's cheep, as if incorporating that into the song.
[OOC] Max Thorn: inb4 * Malta pecks Beats on the head, squawking angrily.
Groove: "Third time this week." He looks up at Jack's exclamation. "Hey there. It's Jack, right? Layfield? Saw you on the slopes, man."
Nook continues to pet the other Nook. "I heard Foundry Town had some trouble. Good thing we took the inner routes."
Sandy: "Sand sandile dile!" Sandy seems proud of her involvement in the trouble.
Jack Layfield: "It was some wicked powder up there brah."
Max Thorn: "A bit. Nothing we couldn't handle, though."
Beats begins to dance back and forth in a semicircle around Malta, barely staying on the roof at times.
Groove: "So you're a coordinator, right? Cool moves; I look forward to seeing your next contest."
Malta begins to bob her head to the rhythm, a twitch of her tail marking the occasional beat.
Beats thumbs-up, as best a mankey can, and dances a more complex rhythm.
Jack Layfield: "Not really man, I'm an extreme athlete and trainer."
Jack Layfield: "The coordination is just a side gig."
Max Thorn: "Trouble does seem to follow us, though. Anyway. If you had a different minder, d'you think you'd start your journey over?"
Groove: "Whatever, man. You got your own vibe and you're flowing with it, I can tell."
Nook: "Start…over?" He blinks.
Malta sticks with the original beat, popping wings out in time with Beats.
Nook: "Once you've given up, you've given up…right?"
Max Thorn: "I mean, unless you want to go back to Sky City and try to reach the gym again. Think you'd need a pokemon that can neutralize the gap, though."
Beats tries to hold his own beat, but soon transitions to dancing to Malta's tune.
Max Thorn: "Hah. No. There's always time to pick it up again and move on."
Malta is not as good a dancer as Beats, but now adds in hopping from side to side, landing on one leg, then the other.
Max Thorn: "Just because you weren't ready then doesn't mean you'll never be ready, nor that you'll never be able to complete the journey."
Beats starts adding occasional "man" s and "key" s in an unusually (for a mankey) bass tone.
Malta throws in a spin and a cheep to the rhythm.
Max Thorn: "You want to know the real secret to success? It's outsmarting the brick wall. If you can't go through it, go over it, go around it, find a way to knock that wall down. But the only way to never overcome the brick wall is by never trying in the first place."
Anna Tommize lazily sways back and forth to the beat
Jack nods his head to the tune and tries to look cool
Groove looks up. "Whoa. I was hoping you'd get Beats down but this works too."
Sam Spade: "I guess Malta's having fun?"
Sam Spade: "I know she's been…tense lately."
Malta: "Cheep cheep! Cheep."
Barb looks up at the dancing pokemon. "Heh. Should've known this was coming."
Beats: "Man, man-man." He claps twice. "Keyman, man!"
Nook: "But…they took my trainer's license, and my pokedex."
Anna Tommize starts tapping her feet, and chirping along with…very strange sounds.
Max Thorn: "Hmmm."
[OOC] Sam Spade: WHAM LINE.
[OOC] Anna Tommize: 56k modem music
Barb looks at Anna and backs off a bit. "I'll…be…over there, yeah."
Anna Tommize pauses, looks back
Max Thorn taps a note into his pokedex. Is there a procedure for applying for a new license?
Anna Tommize: "E-eh? S-sorry!"
Anna Tommize: "I-I didn't mean to!"
Malta flutters down to Anna, and as soon as she lands, she starts dancing to the tune that Anna was chirping.
Anna Tommize sighs, looks up at the bird on her head, and carries on.
Beats stays on the roof but dances to it.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Was meant to be in front of you, but this is funnier.
Anna Tommize keeps chirping along
Jack Layfield: "Gotta love the music."
Max finds the procedure is not as well documented as it seems it should be…
[OOC] Anna Tommize: Hey can I…Can I use reflect? Without realizing it?
[OOC] Anna Tommize: On beat?
[OOC] WC GM: Max: General Ed check, or something else for on-the-spot legal research.
[OOC] WC GM: Sure.
[OOC] Max Thorn: I'm gonna go with Tech Ed, because technology is such a useful tool for overcoming these kinds of issues sometimes. <.<
Anna Tommize keeps tapping her foot along chirping to the tune, before getting particular boisterous on the final repetition of a note and going slightly off-key, causing a shimmering field to materialize in front of beat.
Max Thorn rolled up 5d6: 13 (13) (Tech Ed)
Beats stops for a moment, looking at the field.
Anna Tommize pauses and looks up.
Anna Tommize: "Eh? Wuss wrong?"
Anna Tommize tilts her head.
Max finds where the procedure was, but those files are no longer there.
Esme stares at Anna, slowly squinting her eyes.
Anna Tommize squints, notices the field, and goes pale as a ghost.
Anna Tommize: "Eep!"
Beats pokes the field, then hops up and leaps off the roof-
Max Thorn: "…There *was* a procedure for situations like yours, but they seem to have lost the files. Well. Rest assured, I'll be doing my best to remedy that situation."
Anna Tommize: "I-I did it again…"
Groove: "BEATS!" He charges forward to catch.
Anna Tommize: "I-I'm sorry!"
Max Thorn: "Do you mind if I talk to Diablo about it?"
Anna Tommize stretches her hand out to try and catch him.
Beats lands on the ground, completely safe but in a small crater, apparently having reflected the impact.
Anna Tommize: "Ohgodohgod are you OK!?"
Nook shrugs. "Do what you will."
Anna Tommize: "I-I didn't mean to…"
Anna Tommize: "I-I mean, I'm not allowed to, so…."
Beats energetically thumbs-up. "MANKEY!"
Groove: "Whoa. You one o' them psychers?"
Anna Tommize: "N-no!"
Anna Tommize: "I-I'm not!"
Sam Spade: "Hey, he liked it, so don't worry about it!"
Anna Tommize takes a step back.
Max Thorn: "Thanks. If I have to, I'll help you out on your journey myself, once I have the time for it."
Malta flutters over to Sam's shoulder.
Esme: "A-ah!" She shakes her head, apparently didn't realize she was staring. "You're fine, Anna, nothing bad."
Nook: "That's if I'm there for it."
Nook: "But thanks for the thought."
Max Thorn taps a note to Esme in. "Jaegers confiscate trainer IDs and pokedexes of trainers who cut their journeys short, and their minders don't seem to want to deal with changing paths if a trainer proves unable to push on the path they've chosen."
[OOC] Sam Spade: First thought was really bad. Second thought: does he really expect not to survive the date with Barb?
Max Thorn: "Eh, I'm sure your date with Barb'll be fine."
Sandy: "Dile!"
Esme perks at the message receipt tone, giving it a lookover. "Oh, that'd do it." She motions for Sam to take a look.
Nook just hangs his head.
Sam Spade looks, then blinks, then looks again.
Sam Spade: "They're doing what?"
Esme points, presses on the screen to zoom in, then points again.
Esme: "They're doing that."
[OOC] WC GM: For the record, Nook's just being melodramatic. His longtime childhood friend wants to push up to "love interest", and he's got no idea what to make of it.
Sam Spade sighs. "Not what I meant, Esme."
Sam Spade: "But thank you anyway."
Sam Spade: "Hey, Tim?"
Sam Spade looks around for Tim, hoping that he's not in hiding.
Max Thorn hmms, taps another note in, this one to Sam: "Nook could use a pep talk. I'm not really the one to do it, though. You mind?" He follows the note with a precis on the conversation vis-a-vis Barb.
Tim walks up, having been talking with the mankey and timburr trainers. He looks concerned. "Hey, Sam."
Sam Spade blinks as her pokedex beeps at her.
Sam Spade: "Oh, this thing can…? Oh, right, that's how Esme- Oh, um….this button here…? I think?"
Malta flutters down to Sam's arm, pecks the CORRECT button, and the menu pops up.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Don't ask why Malta has better Tech Ed than Sam.
[OOC] Sam Spade: The answer is just gonna be 'cuz it's funny.'
Tim blinks. "…how does Malta know how to use your pokedex better than you?"
[OOC] WC GM: :P
[OOC] Max Thorn: *punt*
Sam Spade: "That's…a very, very, very worrying question."
Sam Spade: "But one that can wait."
[OOC] Max Thorn: Malta is secretly part-crow. *nod*
Sam Spade: "Um. So, is it Team Jaeger policy to take the trainer's license from any trainer that won't challenge a given gym?"
[OOC] Jack Layfield: Part Murcrow you mean
[OOC] Max Thorn: Hush.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Gotta figure she got those egg moves somewhere?
Tim tilts his head. "Huh?"
Sam Spade: "Well, we were talking to a couple trainers. They went to Metro Beach, and got their badge."
Sam Spade: "Then they went to Sky City, but when they tried to enter the gym, they couldn't get in."
Tim: "Was the gym leader out?"
Sam Spade: "And their escort said if they were turning back, then they had to go back home, and took their licenses and pokedexes."
Sam Spade: "No, but the bridge was."
Sam Spade: "Which, Sky City, might be by design."
Tim blinks. "Eh? I mean, if the trainers gave up their whole journey, then yeah."
Tim: "But you only need nine badges. You can totally skip gyms if you really want."
Sam Spade: "Huh."
Tim smiles. "Not that you guys would, I'm sure."
Sam Spade: "Well, I gotta go talk to one of the trainers, anyway. I think?"
Sam Spade: "Pfft. No. Leaving a gym without a badge would stick in my craw. I'd do it…but only until I was strong enough that we'd win. Ya know?"
Sam Spade: "Anyway."
Sam Spade: "Malta, were you having fun with Beats and Anna?"
Malta: "Cheep!"
Tim nods. "Alright. Though…hey, Esme? What's Petro Swamp like? Or rather, what's Route 12 like?"
Sam Spade: "Well, you can keep playing if you want…"
Malta does, indeed, flutter back over to Beats and Anna.
Sam Spade instead heads over to Max and Nook.
Beats seems to be waiting for the tune to resume.
Anna Tommize shivers under the attention from being called a psyker.
Malta stares up at Anna. She cheeps imperiously.
Anna Tommize looks back down.
Anna Tommize clicks once.
[OOC] WC GM: Imperial cheep! XD
[OOC] Anna Tommize: Cuuute <3
[OOC] WC GM: …should Malta get a crown or something eventually?
[OOC] Anna Tommize: Yes
Esme: "Ah, I got a ride, and was asleep for most of it. I only caught where the swamp starts to phase out near the river…"
[OOC] WC GM: This can be arranged - though not for a few cities yet. Brooktale Village probably has them if this is still a thing by then.
Tim: "Hmm. Well if you were in a ride…" He shakes his head.
[OOC] Sam Spade: To be fair, my plan is to evolve Malta in 2 XP.
Esme shrugs. "Family was willing to drop me off to get me started. Rest would be up to me!"
[OOC] WC GM: Thus why I say.
[OOC] Sam Spade: But Malta does what Malta wants.
Max Thorn: "Well, anyway. I've asked a friend to come talk to you-she's the one with the fletchling."
Tim: "But you're from there. I mean, Route 12 is normally supposed to be passable on foot, right?"
Sam Spade: "Hey there! What's up, Max?"
Sam Spade: "Oh, sorry. I'm Sam. And you are?"
Nook: "Nook. And so's this one." Nook continues to pet Nook.
Sam Spade: "Hey Nook! Also, hey Nook. Which pokemon is yours?"
Nook: "Shade." With his free hand he gestures to the tyrogue, who is now leaning his back and head against a wall.
Sam Spade: "Hey, Shade."
Sam Spade: "I'm Malta's trainer. She's the fletchling over there with Beats."
Malta is now moving to an inaudible beat…but still staring impatiently at Anna.
Shade nods ever so slightly.
Max Thorn: "Hey, Sam." He stands, then whispers into her ear, quietly enough that the human Nook can't hear: "He has a date with a close friend and isn't sure what to make of it. Figured you'd be better able to handle that than me."
Sam Spade blinks and blushes.
Sam Spade: "I…have…no idea why you would think a thing like that!"
Nook: "So, you're his girlfriend or something, come to lecture me about love?"
Sam Spade: "That…is crazy…and…yeah."
Esme: "I mean, it's probably passable. Probably."
Sam Spade: "Hahaha probably not."
Jack Layfield: "How about I do the lecturing!"
Sam Spade: "I have never heard you give a lecture, Jack."
Sam Spade: "This should be good."
Jack Layfield: "SIEZE THE INITIATIVE! BE BOLD, BE YOURSELF, BE BRAVE! SOMETHING SOMETHING ROMANCE!"
Jack Layfield: "…That's all I got."
Nook looks a bit scared now.
Sam Spade: "…That…"
Sam Spade: "…Um."
Anna Tommize crumples under Malta's glare and goes back to clicking for the bird.
Beats claps to Anna's beat.
Malta starts moving to the beat. She trills out a brief melody.
Jack Layfield: "Also buy sunglasses. They help hide the sheer terror in your eyes."
Tim: "Hmm. Because…well…I heard trainers going to Petro Swamp felt really, really bad, until they wanted to turn back."
Nook: "…I can do that."
Tim: "They didn't even get to town."
Esme ponders.
Sam Spade waggles her own sunglasses.
Jack Layfield: "See, I'm already better at this than you Sam."
Sam Spade: "They do a good job of that."
Tim: "I know it's a swamp, and it's a poison-type gym, but…"
Esme: "Well I mean, there is a swamp. And all the refinery fumes. And the wildlife…"
Esme: "But all that stuff is great!"
Sam Spade: "I'm sure you are, Jack. I respect your skills a great deal."
Tim nods. "Just wondering if you'd heard of it getting worse, recently."
Max Thorn: "…Because I'm an academic, and I'm sure I don't have to repeat the tired old stereotypes about nerds."
Sam Spade: "And really I don't think that I'm the right person to talk to you about romance, anyway. Romance is big, and it's scary."
Nook crooks the corner of his mouth. "You're right about that."
Sam Spade: "But at the same time…"
Sam Spade plops down on the ground, looking up into the sky.
Sam Spade: "The fact that it's big means that it's worth it, right?"
Nook: "Eh?"
Sam Spade: "And it's worth trying, even if you don't know if it'll end well."
Sam Spade: "And if things don't work out…then you can try again."
Sam Spade: "Or maybe try something different."
Esme: "Mmm. I was going to send a letter of my progress soon anyway. I'll ask about it then, yes?"
Tim nods. "Alright."
Tim: "What have you found out?"
Sam Spade: "Oh, right, there was a question I wanted to ask you."
Sam Spade: "Did your escort tell you that you HAD to go to Sky Gym?"
Nook: "Hmm…no, not really? But we were there, it just made sense."
Sam Spade: "Huh."
Sam Spade: "Because our own minder told us that there are eighteen gyms…and you only have to conquer nine."
Nook: "I mean, we were free to choose: Sky City, Petro Swamp, or Ice Cove. And even once we were in Sky City - well, you're on a journey, you challenge the gym, right? It's what you do."
Nook: "Well yeah. Everyone knows there are eighteen gyms, one for each city."
Sam Spade: "Sure. But if your escort told you that you had to beat the one you went to, right then…? And couldn't come back?"
Sam Spade: "Well, that's just crap."
Nook shakes his head. "He didn't…*say* that."
Nook: "But I mean, that's just how it is, right?"
Esme: "I found out… a number of things."
Nook: "You go to a city, you challenge the gym."
Sam Spade: "Sure. But what about when you don't win?"
Max Thorn: "Not necessarily. You don't have to challenge them all, and you can always come back to try again."
Nook: "If you don't win, you try again."
Sam Spade: "But just throwing yourself right back into the fight - that doesn't accomplish anything. You back off for a bit, right?"
Sam Spade: "You get stronger."
Sam Spade: "Then, when you get stronger, you come back to test yourself again."
Nook: "Sure. You train more. But that's if you can even get to the gym. I couldn't."
Sam Spade punches Nook lightly in the shoulder.
Sam Spade: "Because that was part of the gym challenge. You couldn't beat it."
Sam Spade: "So you train, and when you're stronger, you come back and challenge it again."
Sam Spade: "Right?"
Sam Spade: "Do you think you could get over that bridge if you tried again?"
Nook: "…it was? The minder said this was just the path to the gym; the gym's challenge wasn't until the gym itself."
Nook shakes his head. "No way. It's way too far to jump."
Max Thorn: "So find another way to cross. I'm sure Nook-" He gestures to his vulpix. "-could form an ice bridge. Eventually, anyway."
Nook: "I mean, have you ever been to Sky City?"
Sam Spade: "Not yet."
Sam Spade: "But…at this point, I don't think nine badges is gonna be enough for me."
Nook shakes his head. "Here, let me draw it for you." He scribbles in the dirt with a finger.
He draws a tower, with lines - apparently the winding bridge - slanted across it. Near the top, somewhere between a third and a half turn is missing.
Sam Spade: "…Huh. That would be tricky to manage, yeah."
Nook: "Something like this."
Sam Spade: "I think…that looks familiar. I might have seen it once, though I wasn't going to Sky City and never actually got that close."
Nook: "I mean, getting up to the gap - well, just don't look down. A lot of kids did and…you have?"
Sam Spade: "Yeah, well, I was looking for something in the airport."
Sam Spade: "And the something found me but that's another story for another time."
Nook: "Ah, right, yeah I remember seeing the airport from up there. The gap was on the far side."
Nook: "So yeah. The gym leader probably just rides flying pokemon up there."
Nook: "The rest of us, walk."
Sam Spade: "Funny…I thought I saw an elevator…"
Sam Spade: "But I didn't really get a good look."
Nook just stares.
Nook: "…elevator…?"
Sam Spade: "And of course the Jaggies wouldn't have told you about it."
Sam Spade: "They're much happier weeding out anyone who doesn't meet their standards…"
Nook: "I…but…"
Sam Spade doesn't seem to respond to Nook, snarling angrily to herself.
Nook: "I mean…now that I think about it, the gap did seem more cut out than rusted out…"
Sam Spade: "Ya know, back before the MewTwo wars, you might have given up. Walked away. Maybe made a few friends in the area at the business end of a pokeball. Then come back when you had a pokemon that could carry you over that gap."
Sam Spade: "But now there's a Jaggie with you saying 'oh, poor little baby, this is too hard for you? I guess you're not cut out to be a big tough Jaggie like me! Go home and cry about it!'"
Nook: "And…there was this line where the path would have been, along the wall…like it'd been cut out recently, and the dust hadn't had a chance to coat it yet…"
Sam Spade stops, and grins viciously, turning to look at Nook.
Sam Spade: "But even if they said go home, you didn't let that stop you, did you?"
Sam Spade: "Because if you had, you wouldn't have been here, today, trying to win your Break Badge."
Sam Spade: "Am I right?"
Sam Spade holds a fist out to Nook.
Nook shakes his head. "No. I just…I knew I had to live to get my badges…and if I couldn't do it that way…"
Sam Spade: "Then why were you here today?"
Nook holds out a fist to Sam, smiling. "Thank you. You're right."
Sam Spade bumps the fist.
Sam Spade: "It's okay to be scared. It's okay to take a step back."
Nook: "And I know what I need to do on my date tonight."
Nook: "I need to propose to Barb."
[OOC] Sam Spade: "Yup! Run like the wind."
Sam Spade: "Ah."
Sam Spade: "That. Ah."
Max Thorn gives Sam the "I told you so" look.
Sam Spade: "Are…you sure…that's…"
Nook: "That we restart our journey. Here, and now."
Sam Spade: "Yes! Yes. Yes, absolutely."
Max Thorn grins fiercely. "I'll be riiiight back."
Max Thorn vanishes in the direction of the gym.
Nootaikok takes off after him after giving Nook a parting lick on the hand.
Nook: "Maybe south. After we get our Break Badges, go to Wirehold."
Diablo is just inside the gym, dramatically doing paperwork. Forms swirl around him, swept up by his motions, and he fills them out with a pen in each hand.
Sam Spade: "Sounds good. Wirehold is an…interesting place."
Diablo's display only lasts half a minute after Max enters, before the forms settle down, conquered. Diablo turns to face Max, twirling the pens in his hand. "How can I help you?" , he nearly shouts.
Max Thorn: "Need to reinstate a license for one of the trainers who turned back early. And we seem to be getting at the bottom of the lack-of-trainers mystery. Whether we can do anything about it, however…"
Diablo: "That is a power I lack, but fear not, for you may yet accomplish your task. Seek the aid of Nurse Joy!"
Max Thorn: "I will, but first…" He relates what he and the group've learned.
Diablo stops posing midway through Max's explanation. By the time Max is done, genuine anger etches Diablo's face, and Max is aware of a spiky, fiery red aura that has slowly grown into being around the gym leader.
Diablo: "This. Is. An. Outrage."
Max Thorn: "I quite agree."
Diablo: "I shall assist these trainers, as I wish to investigate these claims for myself."
Diablo: "If they are true…"
Diablo's aura flares. "I swear, this shall not stand."
Max Thorn: "I think Metro Beach may have set them up for failure, in some respects, but we, and Cheri, have already resolved that aspect. Anyhow, I must go help Nook reacquire a license."
Diablo's aura disappears. "Cheri? The Bay Island gym leader?"
Max Thorn: "Indeed."
Diablo: "What's she doing on this side of Amoda?"
Max Thorn: "That's an interesting question. I'll let you know what I discover when I find out."
Max Thorn bows, then departs for the Center.
Sam Spade stands up, dusts herself off, then wanders back over to where Anna and Malta are.
The two sets of twins are just leaving as Max enters the pokemon center. There is no line; apparently the social event interrupted the usual flow of people and pokemon injuring each other.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Actually, Sam would presumably have seen Max heading for the pokemon center.
[OOC] Sam Spade: That means shipping is afoot!
[OOC] Sam Spade: Sam would have gone there.
[OOC] WC GM: NP: Sam sees Max and adjusts course?
Nurse Joy, her apron a bit bloodstained and her pose a bit stiff, looks at Max as he enters. "Hello. Will this be pokemon treatment, human treatment, or both?"
Max Thorn: "Hey, Nurse Joy. I need paperwork to reinstate a trainer's license, please. Two licenses, rather."
Esme figures now's as good a time as any to get started on that letter…
Nurse Joy: "One moment." She reaches under the desk, pulls out a data pad, and sets it on the counter. "Please fill out this form to apply for a trainer's license."
Sam Spade: "Well, well, well. It was that easy, was it?"
Sam Spade: "Can we take this out, or if someone else wants to apply, do they need to come here?"
Nurse Joy: "Applications should be filled out by the prospective trainer."
The data pad is attached to the desk by a cord.
Max Thorn scoops up the pad, and pauses. "I'm not actually sure it'll be that easy, actually…" He checks the pad. Is this a new trainer application?
Sam Spade: "Well, obviously…but I suppose you're currently very heavily medicated, aren't you."
This is indeed a new trainer application.
Max Thorn sets it back down once he notices the cable.
Max Thorn: "I don't need a /new/ trainer application, I need to help a former trainer regain their license…" He pauses.
Nurse Joy tilts her head. "Duplicate licenses are not permitted."
Max Thorn: "Chansey, are you available?" he calls out.
Chansey: "Chan," she calls out, poking her head out from the back.
Sam Spade: "If a trainer's license is taken away, how do they get it back?"
Max Thorn: "Could you help us out, please? We need to reinstate two trainers' licenses, and Nurse Joy seems to be, ah…confused."
Nurse Joy tilts her head the other way. "Trainer's licenses are permanent. They only expire upon irreversible death of the trainer."
Max Thorn: "…"
Chansey takes the data pad, taps it for a bit, then presents it again. It now displays a search form for licensed trainers.
Max Thorn: "And what happens if the license is lost or stolen?"
Sam Spade: "What if someone loses their license? Say, because it gets taken away."
Sam Spade taps in Nook's name.
Max Thorn inputs what data he has on Nook.
[OOC] Max Thorn: oh, look at that Jynx… :V
Nurse Joy: "Replacement licenses are 10 pokeyen."
Sure enough, Nook's trainer data comes up.
Sam Spade: "I imagine pokedexes are a lot harder to get, though, huh."
Nurse Joy: "Replacement pokedexes are not available at this center."
Nook's status is listed as "RETIRED" .
Sam Spade: "How can you 'unretire' a trainer?"
Max Thorn fishes out two ten-yen coins. "I need replacement licenses for Nook and Barb, please."
Nurse Joy stares blankly at Sam's question, then looks at the coins. Without touching them, she takes the data pad and taps away.
Before long, after a few beeps, two small plastic cards come forth: temporary trainer ID cards for Nook and Barb.
Sam Spade: "Thank you, Nurse Joy! You've been very helpful!"
Nurse Joy: "We hope to see you again." She still has not actually touched Max's coins.
Sam Spade: "Has Monica been by today?"
Nurse Joy: "…"
Max Thorn scoops up the IDs and leaves the coins there.
Max Thorn: "Much appreciated. I mean it."
Sam perceives a bit of a shake in Joy.
Nurse Joy: "Hello. Will this be pokemon treatment, human treatment, or both?"
Max Thorn bows, then departs to look for Nook.
Chansey puts the data pad away and takes the coins.
Sam Spade sighs and steps out.
As Sam leaves, she hears Nurse Joy's breathing get a bit harder. "HELLO. WILL THIS BE POKEMON TREATMENT, HUMAN TREATMENT, OR BOTH?" , Joy asks to Sam's retreating back.
Esme is sitting, propped up by Lucrece, typing up a letter and notes, half-explaining them to Nook while they wait for things to get sorted out.
Sam Spade: "Right, right, right…"
Sam Spade collapses next to the door, outside.
Sam Spade pulls out her pokedex and dials a number.
Sam Spade: "Hey, Monica? Could you help me with something? I'm in the Pokecenter…"
Sam Spade vacates immediately.
PokemartVM: "Hi hi hi~, this is the Dojoholm Pokemart, please leave a message! *beep*"
Esme: "-and that's why you're all fisty-essenced. You follow?"
Max Thorn: "Hey, Nook." He holds up the IDs. "Your minder is a complete and utter asshole."
Max Thorn: "Or was, rather."
Esme: "Oh! That was quick."
Nook nods - then looks up and Max, and nods. "Yeah, he wa-" He blinks. "Is…that…?"
Max Thorn: "Temporary IDs; I don't know what you'd need to do to get permanent replacements, but regardless, I have one for you and one for Barb." He hands them over.
Nook takes them with a look of awe. "This…this is…"
Tim: "Just get new pokedexes - if you're heading south, you can get them in Metro Beach - and upload the cards."
Tim: "Ahem, I mean, if you were planning to go on a journey without a minder, which is illegal."
Sam Spade: "Crap."
Sam Spade hangs up.
Max Thorn: "But basically, what he said about losing your licenses? Total baloney. Licenses expire when you do. As for the pokedex…" He pulls two 1,000-yen coins and a 500-yen coin out of his pocket and deposits 'em in Nook's hand. "I can't afford to replace it wholesale, but this should help."
Nook takes them, gaping.
Sam Spade bites her lip. Now she's worried.
Sam Spade: "…Well, I'm pretty sure I can lie to a psychic to her face. Let me give that a shot if necessary."
Sam Spade heads to the pokemart, then!
Tim: "I mean, there are only two available minders that I know of in this town, and I'm spoken for."
Max Thorn: "…Who's the other, Tim?"
Esme: "Maybe that girl from earlier?"
Tim: "The gym leader. So unless you've talked him into going somewhere sometime soon…?" He looks at Max.
Esme: "Or that."
The pokemart is a little busy, as if the line from the center earlier that morning had now reformed at the pokemart.
Max Thorn: "Well…I do know he's quite irritated with the Team in general at the moment. I talked to him before I went over to the Center-which, by the way, trainer ID replacements can be had at the center for 10 p'yen an ID."
Sam Spade: "Well, rats."
Monica is busy ringing up sales, but glances worriedly at her desk, until she spies Sam. She points at her and beckons. "Next customer, please."
Max Thorn: "Anyway, Nook, I'd suggest talking to Diablo and letting him know you're still willing to go on your journey and all that."
Nook: "Will do."
Sam Spade: "Hey, Monica- is something wrong?"
Monica's voice drops to a whisper. "You tell me. That was you trying to call earlier, wasn't it?"
Sam Spade: "Yeah…"
Monica: "So what's up?"
Sam Spade: "Something's a bit more off with Nurse Joy. Maybe I haven't seen it before and it's normal, but…"
Monica winces. "And I can't get out of here for a few more hours."
Sam Spade: "Can…is there someone who can cover for you?"
Monica: "Hmm…how are you with retail?"
Sam Spade: "I…"
Sam Spade: "…I can fake it?"
Max Thorn: "You, ah…don't have to mention my generosity, though. The way you can repay me is not by scraping together the funds once you're journeying again, but rather by helping other trainers, same as my comrades and I are doing."
Sam Spade: "Gimme one second please."
Sam Spade: "Esme, I need your help please!"
[OOC] Sam Spade: That into the pokedex.
Sam Spade: "Okay, I think we might be able to handle it from here. You go take care of Nurse Joy, okay?"
Tim clasps his hands behind his head and smiles.
Nook: "I can do that."
Monica: "Actually, I have something that'll help."
Monica: "Quick, get behind the counter."
Sam Spade does so.
Esme perks, and gets them details. "Hmm. Lemme go help out Sam. Luc, come on!" She makes a hustle for the mart.
Max Thorn: "See you later, then, Esme."
Monica looks left, looks right…and in a moment when no customers are looking, quickly dresses up Sam in an identical-looking store uniform. Esme spies the end of this.
Sam Spade looks out at the customers.
Monica: "Perfect, they'll never know the difference." She shoves Sam in front of the register, hops the counter, and runs past Esme outside.
Sam Spade rolled up 5d6: 18 (18) (Guile)
Esme: "Pfft. Talented!"
Sam Spade: "Next customer!"
If the customers have noticed anything, they show no sign of it.
Nook: "In fact…I think I'll talk to him now. If you'll excuse me." Nook bows to Max and heads for the gym.
[OOC] WC GM: Anything else or logend here?
[OOC] Sam Spade: I think…I have nothing.

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