From: Adrian Tymes ( Subject: [PW!] It's Academic! ("AC-A-DEM-IC") Newsgroups: Date: 2001-05-12 22:53:08 PST Earl's smile continues as he and his double walk inside. "So, Mimic, what did Oak send you here for? If you were a trainer, I would assume you wish to take my classes like the rest of my visitors, but of course you probably have other desires..." "Actually, Mimic here learn too." "Hmm. Hmm!" The instructor's eyes close as he summons a memory to his mind's eye. "Ah, yes, yes, this is unusual but hardly unprecedented. Other pokemon have sought to understand themselves as trainers have. Learn you shall, though I will have to test you to find out what level to start you at. Most people I insist on starting at the lowest level: a refresher of the basics is usually a good idea, and you never know what someone may have missed. But perhaps I should make an exception in your case, for you have lived the lessons, and a lesson lived is not easily forgotten. Let us start you off in the battle arena." Earl grabs his twin's arm and casually directs him towards a door to one side. "Err...Mimic need battle?" "It is the easiest way to ascertain whether you fo indeed posess the knowledge that Professor Oak says you do. I must admit, I was slightly jealous when he said he just downloaded a pokedex into your mind. Imagine how easy my job would become if I could just download my teachings into my students." "You mean like using psionic machines Silph Co. researched many years ago? Upload knowledge using telepathy during hypnosis." "Say WHAAT?!?" Mimic courteously does not wince. "Silph Co. never bring to market after research 'dissapear'. No question was stolen, only question who. Though Mimic wonder why Silph Co. never bother redo research; surely profit more likely since is known possible now." "Ah, yes, yes. Thank you, I shall make a note to investigate. Anyway, here we are." Earl gestures to the cleared-out room, apparently converted to a "temporary" indoor arena quite some time ago, judging by all the damage without the reinforcements one normally finds in gyms. Around the room, seven trainers lounge around, studying with great intent. "This is my best beginner's class. Think of them as a League into themselves." "Mimic just beat trainers? No seem prove anything." "Ah, but it's not just if you win, but how you win. Win the correct way, using type and other advantages, and you pass. But battle without thinking, and win or lose, you lose." "Hmm..." Mimic shrugs, returning to his normal form, then nods. "Ok, Mimic go along with that." "Hey, Earl!" one of the trainers calls. "Mind if I go first? I just got my computer back online, and I'd like to get some more data while it's up." Earl looks at Mimic, reflecting the question in his expression. Mimic shrugs again and steps forward. "Thanks. My name's Melvin. I'm trying to learn about the weaknesses of fire types." Mimic nearly facefaults. " know, people keep doing that. I wonder why." "Why battle find out? Most trainers know weaknesses of fire types: rock, ground, water. Just memorize. No difficult." "But they *change*. Psychics used to dominate ghosts, and now it's the other way around." Mimic shrugs. "Fire weaknesses no change. Besides, change only once in many years. Relearn if necessary." "But...but...ooh, this is so confusing. Let's just fight, alright?" Mimic frowns. Melvin is, by appearances, a classic super nerd...but part of the stereotype is intelligence, which includes an ability to learn. And why is the trainer at the academy if not to learn? Silently dismissing the matter, Mimic steps towards the ring. Earl coughs politely. "Aren't you forgetting something?" He holds up six pokeballs. "Umm...if alright with Earl, Mimic prefer fight own fights. Mimic *is* pokemon, after all." Hoping that Earl does not catch the note of worry on his voice, left over from his recent reminder of why he prefers not to fight at all if possible, Mimic morphs into a nidoking. "Very well, if you really think you can win one-on-three. Remember, though, that every attack must exploit a weakness. Begin!" Melvin quickly palms and tosses his first pokeball, producing a magmar...who wobbles on its feet as soon as it comes out, soon collapsing. Mimic waits to see if this is some new attack, but when his opponent fails to move, he cautiously walks up to it. "Mag?" "...maaag..." "Magmar mag." From Mimic's gestures, Melvin and Earl quickly deduce that he is trying to tell the magmar about the battle supposedly in progess. "Mag...marrrmag..." The magmar takes in an obviously stressed breath. "Magmar mar mar mag marmagmar." Mimic frowns, looking now at Melvin. "Your magmar say no recover from last matches. Say Melvin refuse take center, give potion, even let eat." Mimic glances at the pokemon again, then back at Melvin. "Mimic no think scars look too healthy, either." Earl blinks. "Scars? On my pokemon?" Mimic nods, tracing a claw along the immobile magmar. "See here? And here? Mimic guess Earl work mainly with captured pokemon, no in wild much." "Well, umm, that is to say..." "No worry, no blame. If Earl live in city most of life, maybe never see fire pokemon self-cauterize wounds. Is very common in wild, but most healing machines and items make scars like that go away, if small like these scars. In fact, Mimic say appearance of this many scars sign of neglect. Is painful for pokemon no previously used to it but forced to heal self that way." "You call it 'neglect'," Melvin sneers, "I call it getting my data. This magmar's been..." "Melvin say," Mimic interrupts, the magmar's fire reflected and amplified in his eyes, "do this on PURPOSE?!?" "Of course." "MELVIN HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT MELVIN DOING!?!?! HOW MAGMAR FEEL!?!?!?!?!" Earl chooses that moment to demonstrate that he does, indeed, have at least some of the requisite intelligence to run an academy, by backstepping quickly towards the door and motioning the other trainers to head for the exits. "Like I said, getting my data. So long as that happens, I don't care-" "GET THIS DATA!" Mimic shoots out a powerful jet of water, blasting Melvin off his feet. "FEEL IT!" He stomps the ground, sending an earthquake that explodes just underneath Melvin, catching him and juggling him back into the air just as he was about to land. "FEEL IT!" Mimic picks up a small boulder, overbalancing himself to let the weight of the boulder pull him forward as his feet flail to maintain his charge at Melvin. "FEEL IT!" "ENOUGH!" Earl runs forward, with speed much higher than one would expect given his girth. Mimic lets the boulder fall. He and the boulder skid to a halt just short of Melvin's head. Seeing disaster averted, Earl slows down to a trot, eventually clapping one hand on Mimic's shoulder. "Aha...umm, yes, well, you certainly demonstrated that you know fire's weaknesses. Let's call that a win, shall we?" Mimic takes several deep breaths, visibly trying to control his anger. Earl turns his voice towards the exits. "Ahem. Class? Kindly relieve Melvin of the pokemon this institution loaned to him, under the now- suspect promise that he would take good care of them. If you would, please, take them all to the pokemon center for treatment? Thank you." That said, he faces Melvin, and lets negative emotion enter his voice for the first time that Mimic has heard. "As for *you*, I'll talk with you later. At best, you're on academic probation. At worst...there are other Melvins, ones that actually take care of academy property when they say they will." He grabs Mimic's arm as he says that, then gently pulls Mimic towards the door. The ditto allows himself to be guided away, melting back into his normal human form. "How anyone fail learn weaknesses of single type for long? Mimic no get." Once outside the room, and visually confirming that the rest of the battle class is doing as requested, Earl closes the door and lowers his voice, happiness and calm once again setting the tone of his words. "Yes, well, there are certain trainers who insist on the superiority of this or that pokemon type. I was not kidding when I said there were other Melvins who could take that place; I can think of two off the top of my head who are almost twins of his, *and* have the same bias towards fire pokemon. I assign trainers like that to this class to try to break them of that habit. It usually works, eventually, but sometimes there are failures. But even the failures heal their pokemon between battles. This...this is an outrage, Mimic, and I thank you for exposing it." Only in the last sentence does anger return to his voice and body language, and they again dissapear like a mirage. Mimic turns a cautious look towards Earl. "Earl not saying that simply please Mimic, Mimic hope." Earl smiles. "I'd say I wasn't even if I was, you know. That having been said, I'm not. I agree with how you feel." "Hmm. Phrasing familiar. If Mimic no know better, Mimic say Earl learned it from brother." "Well, as a matter of fact, my brother *was*..." "No, mean Mimic brother, Doppler." Earl freezes on the spot. "You're *that* Mimic? Doppler's long-lost sibling?" Mimic stops too, trying to read Earl's suddenly masked emotional state. "Earl speak as if know Doppler." "KNOW him?" Earl pauses, then smiles, his normal joy magnified threefold. "Come to my office, quickly." Two possibilities race through Mimic's mind as he jogs behind the abruptly sprinting Earl, and a quick psychic scan indicates that the person in front of him is almost definitely not Doppler himself. ****** Earl pants and dabs his forehead with a hankerchief. Various grey robed figures, revealed only by light shining through the door Earl entered through, look up, radiating annoyance even though their faces are masked. "This had better be important," one speaks. "Gentlemen, ladies, and neuter, I give you Mimic." "...a training machine?" "Huh?" Earl looks behind himself, reaches through the door, and pulls in the one who stopped outside to let Earl fetch whatever he was going to fetch. "No, *Mimic*. The one related to your prophet?" The robed speaker shifts slightly, facing Mimic. "Are you really, now?" "Well...yes. Mimic is Mimic." All five robed ones look at each other, nod, then stand up and face him. Mimic barely has time to notice Earl panic and dive away. "HY" "PER" "GAT" "LING" "GUN!" Hyper beams pour from the group, one after another after another after another after another, each firer recovering during the other four attacks, leaving Mimic no time to do anything but dodge and defend. The cycle rate is slow enough that Mimic somehow manages to dodge most of them, though a few do bash him into the walls and ceiling. And then it stops, just as Mimic finds himself with nowhere to run to and certain that one more hit would knock him out. "What...that...for?" he pants. "That was for confusing our prophet, the Doppler." " Mimic...try Doppler dead." The five look at each other, saying nothing, though Mimic can feel a few of the energies indicating their telepathic debate. Eventually the speaker continues, "Perhaps you do not fully understand what you have wrought. Five years ago, at a concert you gave, the Doppler was in the audience." "Mimic remember. That where Mimic lose Doppler's chance." "We do not know exactly *what* you did, Mimic, but the Doppler walked out of there just as alive as he walked in. Moreso, even...but changed. He no longer trusted us as much, even as he worked to develop new tactics." "Like what just used?" "Yes, like the team tactics. He saw the limitations of what one single pokemon could achieve, so he taught us to combine our attacks, to cover one another during our moments of weakness. The Doppler sought out ways for us to triumph over the League and the Team. He felt that their usual practice of on one-on-one combat was particularly exploitable, even if that does mean we must now forego our strongest techniques when we wish not to arouse suspicion as to our identities." "So what happen? Sound to Mimic like everything go well." "Like we said, the Doppler no longer trusted us as much. He withdrew, became more secretive...and eventually dissapeared, about the time we got sponsorship from Silph." Mimic cocks his head, then addresses Earl. "Mimic no know who bozos are, but Mimic positive no work for Doppler. Silph mortal enemy of what Doppler work for." "You'd think so," the speaker continues, "but we actually managed to come to terms with them. We stop blowing up their facilities and slaughtering their workers, and they pay us to put a stop to the worst abuses of their equipment. Kind of a Pokemon Ethics Awareness Squad." "P.E.A.S.?" The speaker shrugs. "Hey, it lends itself to all kinds of catchy logos. Like, 'Give P.E.A.S. a chance.' Or, 'Say yes to world P.E.A.S.' We use that last one when opening up offices in new territories." "So, Doppler left about time you sell out." "..." "Mimic understand. Mimic believe, actually." "It's not like that. We had some disagreements, and..." "Forgive. Mimic no like dishonor brother with falsehoods and platitudes. Mimic remember brother how was, and probably how still is if what say is true. Call spade spade. You call what want; Doppler, and Mimic, call 'sell out'." "So, I guess there's no chance you'll join us?" "Mimic no say that. On other hand, understand, Mimic necessarily suspicious of corporate-backed 'ethics'. Corporate mean money above all, and Mimic seen where that lead: Team Rocket." "Feh. Those fools only want to better themselves. We want power enough to improve the fate of all mankind and pokemon. We're sorry, Mimic, but we can't let someone as powerful as you run around loose if we can help it." "Excuse? Mimic make own decisions." "Like we said, sorry. Our hands are tied. HY-" Mimic is gone before the next syllable comes out, the beams harmlessly passing through the blue afterlight of his teleport. ****** "Well," Mimic mutters. "Karmic balance in action, suppose. Get friend one day, get enemy next day." He glances at the academy. "One thing sure, no going back *there* again soon." Knowing that he has to meet Sarah somewhere, he decides to hit the pokemon center to heal up, then trot to the gym to try to catch Sarah before she leaves. "At least know Doppler alive...probably. Mimic hope." TBC?