From: TheRunt ( Subject: [PW!][Repost] On the road again... Newsgroups: Date: 2000/05/20 (This is a compilation repost of the "On the road again..." thread. For your convenience, a summary of this episode appears at the bottom.) Outside, Dr. Eckert was trying to fit all of the backpacks and suitcases into the back of the van he'd brought from Rosetta. "Good thing this is a 9 passenger van," remarks Julia as she puts her backpack in. "I figured everyone would want to come to Rosetta for a break, and the distance isn't far enough to warrant riding Pidgeots," explains Dr. Eckert. "It's only a 2 hour drive from here." "That's good. We can All use a break." Jon says as he slides into one of the seats. Mari and Kat walk up to the van. "Are we ready?" asks Kat. "Just waiting for Mrs. Eckert and Sarah Jane," replies Damian as he climbs into the van, followed by Julia. Suddenly, the hotel doors burst open. Spunky dashes out at full speed, with Cuddles close behind. The two leap through the open door of the van. "GAH!" Damian shouts in surprise as Cuddles lands in his lap. Shields exits the hotel, shaking his head in exasperation. Lillian and Sarah Jane soon follow. As Sarah Jane enters the van, he notices a far off look in her eyes. "We have to talk to her once we get back to Rosetta," Lillian whispers to her husband. "It's really bothering her...and I don't mean the loss." Xavier Eckert nods. As soon as everyone is reasonably settled, Dr. Eckert starts the van and begins the 2 hour drive along the well known (to him) road between Indigo Plateau and Rosetta. The first hour of the drive is somewhat uneventful -- except, perhaps, for Jon and Damian, who were sit with a pair of Nidorans on their laps. Bored with the ride, Spunky decides to take a swipe at his dozing sister's tail, sparking a brief scratching match and ending with a lot of growling. As the van rolls on, Sarah Jane stares off into space. Damian tries to strike up a conversation, but Sarah Jane's responses are few and far between. "Man, she must really be bummed out about losing," Jon whispers to Damian. Damian shrugs, feeling that more was bothering her but not comfortable enough to ask her out in the open. Quickly, another round of snarling comes from the Nidoran on his lap. "Stop it you two," says Sarah Jane sharply. The two back down, but continue to glare at each other. "You know, right now would probably be a good time for a rest break," suggests Mrs. Eckert. "I could go for a cold drink." "Sounds great," responds Kat. Everyone else is quick to agree, except for Sarah Jane, who has resumed staring out the window. Dr. Eckert pulls off the main road to a small Brock's Diner. Everyone gets out of the van and stretches. Sarah Jane attaches Cuddles and Spunky's leashes, then hands Cuddles' leash to Shields. Saluting, the Mr. Mime accepts the leash. The group then heads inside. <Meanwhile, inside the Diner> Since we last left him, Runt and crew have found a small Brock's Diner off the main road. After ordering his food, Runt called his mother. Unfortunately, the video phone was busted so he had to use the spare normal one. We now join Runt's conversation with his mother, already in progress. "I know you were worried," says Runt, talking to his mother on the spare, videoless, phone. "Yes Mom. I told you, I called as soon as I could. Yes Mom. I'm sorry — Mom? Mom? Mom, I have to go, my food it's getting cold. I love you too. I'll talk to you later, bye." Runt hangs up the phone and rubs his sore ear. "'Bout damn time," comments the man behind him. As Runt walks back to his booth, the man picks up the phone and puts it to his ear. "OW!" he yelps, pulling it away, "Excuse me, miss? Can I get some ice for this thing?" Runt sits down to eat his food, but soon realizes that it's all room temperature. He stops a passing waitress and asks her to reheat it. "Shwew san shwew-san." "San, shwew san shwew-san." Runt looks over at Rolly and Polly. Gazing lovingly into eachother's eyes, the two Sandshrews hold paws and occasionally nuzzle noses. "San, shwew san shwew-san," coos Rolly. "San, shwew san shwew-san," returns Polly. "Guys, could you give it rest for a bit," asks Runt, "you're making me ill." The love shrews, however, seem oblivious to his request. "Well, at least they haven't woken up Roo," he says patting the Kangaskhan's tiny head. As the waitress returns with his food, he sees the door open and a helpless looking Mr. Mime come sliding through. Looking down, Runt spots a feisty Nidoran on a leash. As the familiar Mr. Mime bangs his head against an imaginary wall, the rest of his friends enter the establishment. "Hey guys, over here!" shouts Runt in a controlled tone, careful not to wake Roo. He waves one of his arms to get their attention, and they make their way over to his booth. "So, what are you doing here? Besides the obvious, I mean." Damian asks in a friendly way. Runt almost laughs, "Let's just say it's short story that's taken a long time." A look of mild confusion spreads across his friend's face. "Why doesn't everybody sit down so we share what's been going on over some food?" "My stomach agrees with that idea," replies Jon, rubbing his belly. In the meantime, Dr. Eckert had been looking to accomplish what Runt had suggested before the trainer had suggested it. He finally manages to talk to the waitress so she could help in moving a couple of tables over, allowing everyone to finally sit down together. Introductions were quickly made for those who hadn't met before. "By the way, where are you headed?" Runt inquires. Lillian Eckert answers, "The Games are over, so we were all driving back to Rosetta Town for a break. Since you're a friend of Sarah Jane's I think we can make some room if you want to come along." "I've never been to Rosetta Town. Going for a visit sounds like a good idea, especially since I wasn't sure exactly where I was going to be heading just yet." "Now that that's taken care of," Jon says as he puts down his menu, "there's something on my mind…" Jon, halfway done with his sentence, realized that it probably wasn't the time to talk about what he wanted to -- the last match, and how it smelled a bit fishy. Everyone stares at Jon, whose mouth had remained hanging open. "...I think that after we're finished in Rosetta, we should get our 8th badges. Where's the last official gym again, Viridian?" Damian and the others nod. "It's supposedly the hardest gym, led by one of the toughest trainers in the Pokémon world. I haven't heard what type the leader uses, though." Dr. Eckert chimes in, "Ground types. Probably the most versatile of all types, in that they encompass some of the weakest defensive Pokémon. Like Dugtrio, with the absolute power of a fully swords-danced Dig or Earthquake. You're also going to deal with Nidokings, Nidoqueens, and Tauros." Sarah Jane then speaks up, "At Viridian we'll have come full-circle around the Pokémon world. The next town would be Pewter, if we wanted to go there." "You'll be qualified to go against the Elite Four after Viridian, you know..." puts in Lillian. "Does it count if you've already faced some of them in competition?" queries Damian. "Afraid not," replies Dr. Eckert. "You have to return to the Indigo Plateau, take the path along Victory Road, show your badges to the posted guards, then you will be admitted to face the Elite Four." "What if you don't have all the badges, but just want to watch?" asks Kat. "Yeah, like a cheerleader," adds Julia. "That's up to the discretion of the guards," Dr. Eckert replies. "While your in Rosetta, it would be a good time to train," suggests Mrs. Eckert. "Many trainers send their extra Pokémon to us and don't mind if we use them for training purposes. That serves a dual purpose. Younger, inexperienced children get to see more varieties of Pokémon, and Pokémon that are left in storage for extended periods of time still get some sort of training." "Sounds like a good way of handling things," remarks Damian. "Better than letting the Pokémon languish in some sort of storage box. When we get to Rosetta, I'll show you how our recall system works," says Dr. Eckert. "Its a modified version of Bill's original system, which he's been working on in conjunction with researchers at the University." "Sounds interesting," says Runt. "I'd like to see it." Suddenly, Runt feels something against his leg. Spunky was on his hind legs, resting his forelegs against Runt, looking up at him hopefully, "Ni do?" "Huh?" "He's asking if Roo's here," Sarah Jane translates. "Roo's sleeping right now," replies Runt. Spunky sit down rather sullenly, "do..." "Cuddles has been spending more time playing with Pteryx lately, so he's been feeling a bit left out," explains Sarah Jane. "I guess he's hoping Roo will pay with him." As soon as the food arrives, the talking dies down. Sarah Jane sets down two plates of Pokéchow for Cuddles and Spunky, then concentrates on breaking up soft Pokéchow nuggets (carnivore formula) for Pteryx. Lunch goes on, fairly uneventful, at least until Spunky finishes wolfing down his meal. The little Nidoran then decides to help his sister finish off her food. Another snarling and scratching match erupts under the table. "Sorry," apologizes Sarah Jane. "I guess I need to feed them separately." She picks up Cuddles and her plate and moves them to an empty chair. "They're gonna to have to learn to live with it," Runt quips, "children can't stay children forever. Eventually, everything has to grow up." "True, but I hope I can teach them that lesson before it's too late," sighs Sarah Jane with a look of concern. "Well, enough chewing the fat, it's time we get moving," yawns Dr. Eckert. The group rises to their feet and makes its way to the van. The rest of ride to Rosetta is short and quiet, as everyone lets themselves become immersed in the scenery or their thoughts. Julia looks at the cherry trees that boarder the road, full of spring blossoms. The bright pink petals flutter downwards, spiraling to the ground to be trampled by man or beast. Julia sighs, feeling somewhat that she would see this place again, whether she liked it or not. Rosetta soon comes into view, the small village like campus growing larger and larger as the group approaches. Soon they're inside and unpacking the stuff from the van. "That was longer than I expected," says Kat as she stretched her arms. "Well, we're finally here, you guys can settle down," mentions Dr. Eckert. "Your sleeping quarters are over in that building. If you have anything else to ask, please come and see me." "Well this should be interesting," says Julia as the everyone picks up their belongings and make their way to their rooms. <To Be Continued...> Summary: The group heads for Rosetta Town. Along the way, they stop at a Brock's Diner and meet up with Runt and his Pokémon. After eating and catching up, everyone gets into the van and finishes the journey to Rosetta. The Runt