From: "Rob" <robfrompw@yahoo.com> Subject: [PW!] [SST] Let The Pokemon Games Begin! Date: Sunday, February 01, 2004 7:00 AM On the Main Deck of the S.S. Tidal, a young woman with long dark green hair was relaxing in a prone position on one of the lounge chairs set up by the pool, her hands behind her head. She only wore a skimpy black bikini, black shades over her eyes, and black polish on her nails that fine afternoon. Wanting to prevent sunburn and keep ultraviolet rays off her skin, she had applied some tanning lotion right before she lay down. Used to the hustle and bustle of city life, not to mention always being on the go, the young woman had a serene smile on her face as she basked in the warm glow of the sun high above... Until a particular blonde Smoochum hopped onto her toned abdomen and screamed, "Roxie, get up off your lazy ass! You didn't have the decency to put me in the Talent Show last night - nooo, you HAD to cram me in my Pokeball and go to sleep early - the LEAST you can do for me is sign me up for all five of the Pokemon Games being held up here! I'm MUCH cooler, prettier, cuter, smarter, and tougher than all the jerks waiting to participate!" No longer sporting a serene smile, but rather an annoyed glare, Roxie reached up to her own face and pulled down her shades for a moment to look at her Smoochum eye to eye, "If you want to participate so much, sign yourself up. I'm not in the mood to get up right now, Diva. And if I hear one more word from you, I'm sending you back to your Pokeball. Now scram." Diva the Smoochum glowered at the woman who captured her, holding back the multitude of profane words that came to her mind. She hopped off Roxie's abdomen and wandered up to the registration desk, where a Mawile with a huge jaw protruding from her head had just finished signing herself up. Diva leapt up onto the desk, grabbed the shirt collar of the man taking registrations, and pulled him forward to say, "I'm the amazing Diva, one of the most talented Pokemon in the world! I even had my own show in GOLDENROD CITY, the entertainment capitol of Johto! I'm here to sign MYSELF up for all five games. Yeah, that's right - MYSELF. I'm not some slave to some Pokemon Trainer. I answer to me, myself, and I. Got a problem with that?!" Captain Stern, the man taking registrations, sweatdropped, "No, Miss Diva! In fact, that Mawile just signed herself up too." "Good." Diva pushed Captain Stern away with her small arms, then as the man wrote down her name in all five categories on the list he was compiling, she took her place beside the Mawile who signed up before her. Eyeing the Pokemon's giant maw, Diva scoffed at her and commented, "Sheesh, I hope you didn't sign up for the Cuteness game with that hideous demformity. Freak." Though she would've liked to Bite the Smoochum's head off right then and there with her 'deformity', the Mawile restrained herself since she didn't want to be disqualified from the Cool Game she entered herself in. Having finalized the list of participants, Captain Stern walked over to the table set up by a small stage erected next to the pool and sat down in the empty judge's chair set up between the two filled ones. Addressing the crowd gathered around the pool on the Main Deck, Captain Stern decided to introduce himself and the two people that were sitting beside him, "Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the S.S. Tidal's Pokemon Games! Your applause will influence who wins each game, but the final decisions will be made by myself, the lovely woman to my left, and the distinguished gentleman to my right! As you all probably know by now, I'm Captain Stern, your cruise director. The woman to my left is DJ Mary, host of Goldenrod City's Pokemon-themed Radio Shows, who wanted to check out Hoenn for the first time!" DJ Mary waved to the crowd, saying, "Hiii!" The crowd cheered for the bespectacled red-haired woman who was wearing a green bikini top and brown skirt, then Captain Stern continued, "And the man to my right is Professor Elm, who wishes to pay Littleroot Town's Professor Birch a visit!" The third of the bespectacled judges, a middle-aged man with receding brown hair who wore a white shirt and blue swimming trunks, nodded to the crowd and said, "Hello." The crowd applauded for Professor Elm, who put on an awkward smile. "The Cool Game will now commence!" Captain Stern spoke into the middle of the three microphones on the table, "When they walk onto the blue mat set up in front of the table, Pokemon will have thirty seconds to appeal to the crowd by performing a Cool ability. Derek Fisher's Heracross, please approach the mat and show us your cool trick!" With a nod and a thumbs up, Derek let Heracross go to face the crowds. She approached a table that was placed on the mat. On the table were a platter and a watermelon, per Derek's request. Strapped to Heracross' back was her large twisted spoon. Around her waist was an apron with "Kiss the Cook", with a pair of sharp knives in holsters at the sides. Once in front of the crowd, Heracross bowed. With her horn, the Fighting Bug heaved the watermelon into the air. With almost deceptive agility, Heracross unholstered the knives and lept into the air. Using Double Team and all the agility she had, her arms almost blurred as she hacked and cleaved the watermelon, seemingly to gooey bits. Where once there was one whole watermelon being lofted in the air, now there were 8 well-cut pieces of watermelon. While gravity was starting to take hold on each of the individal slices, Heracross was already on the ground grabbing the platter. As the slices fell, they separated ever so slightly. Heracross timed her jump so that when the slices of the watermelon hit the plate, they spread out in just the right fashion. The whole display was done in 10-15 seconds and was done with such speed that nobody in the audience got splattered with juice. The apron however, had a couple of squirt marks, as no matter how much you try, there will always be a stray juice squirt. Heracross bowed again to the audience and just to fill the last few seconds, tossed the knives into the air, letting them fall into the sheathes on the apron. With the last little side show over and the 30 seconds filled, Heracross bowed one last time and walked off the stage. A few kids definitely liked the show enough to clap... or maybe they wanted a piece of watermelon. "Good show, Heracross!" Captain Stern noted as many audience members applauded, "Next up is Metrix, Ben Algam's Magneton!" Ben said, "Right Metrix, we're up. Just do what we... practiced, OK?" The Magneton's three eyes looked at its trainer, as the call from Captain Stern showed that it was Ben's Pokemon's turn to perform. It took its place on the mat, and all eyes turned to it as it started to ascend about 10 meters above the ship. Energy from the air slowly pulsed into the Pokemon's magnets, as he shut his eyes and charged his power. After about 10 seconds or so, he had charged enough power. Not enough for a full fledged Thunderbolt or Shock Wave, but enough for what he needed. The crowd gasped as the pokemon sudenly let loose a barrage of brightly coloured sparks, most of which faded in the air, but some fell onto the deck and danced around before fading out. Metrix strained and let out a couple more waves of the sparks, that behaved in the same way, but had different colours. When the performance was obviously over, the crowd politely applauded, as the Pokemon discharged its surplus energy and floated down to its Trainer. With a smile on his face since he liked the beautiful fireworks show very much, Captain Stern announced, "Now it's time for Diva, a Smoochum from Goldenrod City, to perform a cool trick!" "Hah, food preparation and fireworks - those lame-o 'acts' should be easy to beat." Diva the Smoochum waved her small arm in dismissal of the previous two performances. She walked onto the mat and extended her tongue out as if she were performing a Lick attack, but she stopped short when ten inches of her tongue had been exposed. She moved the tip of her tongue backwards and in a circle around the back of her tongue, eventually tying her tongue into a knot. She waved to the crowd and said, "Da-da! Mbressee, uh?" Many people in the crowd had no idea what the Smoochum said, but she received applause anyway. Diva untied her tongue with the tips of her arms then she walked back to where she was standing before. Her her big lips upturned into a smug smirk, Diva told the Mawile standing next to her, "Hah, let's see YOU beat THAT, freak." The Mawile walked to the center of the mat, dragging her giant maw behind her. She opened the maw wide and placed the tips of her upper jaw and the lower jaw on the mat so that they formed an arch. She then started running in circles around the vertically placed maw, the flexible metallic strand connecting her head to the maw being wound up like a fishing reel. She continued to run until the strand was so taught that it slowed her down and she had to put effort into walking further. When she had stored up as much potential energy as she could, she put her arms on her sides and hopped up into the air... The very second that the Mawile hopped up, her metallic strand started to unwind rapidly, causing her outstretched body to revolve around the maw at very high speeds four feet off the ground! She continued to spin even after the strand had straightened out, propelled by inertia! After twenty seconds of revolving around her own maw at high speeds, she extended her arms outward to control her trajectory and passed through the arch her maw formed! The opened maw flipped off the mat and landed closed on the mat behind her, anchoring her so she wouldn't fall over due to dizziness. "That was amazing!" Captain Stern declared as the Mawile bowed to the crowd. Once the Mawile walked off the mat, Captain Stern looked down at his list and said, "And now, welcome the final Cool Game entry - Slimer, Lisa Yintil's Slugma!" Lisa stepped out to the mat wearing a yellow swimsuit, orange shorts, and orange flip-flops, followed closely by Slimer, her Slugma. She looked at all the people in the audience and immediately felt sick to her stomach. She wasn't so sure suddenly if this was really a good idea or not. She stood there for a moment, frozen in place by nervousness. Someone in the audience coughed and Slimer glanced up at her. "Slugma? Slug!" Slimer realized that Lisa was nervous for some reason. He curled up into a little ball and bounced in place. The audience seemed to enjoy that and started clapping for him. Hearing the applause, Lisa snapped out of her fright-induced coma and started giving commands to Slimer. "OK, Slimer, let's see you do a ... um .... flame thrower!" Slimer shot a stream of flames out over the audience, which clapped half-heartedly. As Slimer's stream of flames died down, Lisa said, "Slimer, do a Defense Curl." Again, the audience applauded loudly at this move. Slimer was bouncing in place proudly. Lisa thought to herself, "So... different moves get the audience more excited than others... " She thought for a few seconds about this before she said, "OK, Slimer. Let's show them what you can do! Rock Throw!" Slimer stopped bouncing in place and ejected rocks from his mouth and hurled them over the audience. The audience went wild when they saw this. Many of them were just impressed that a Pokemon could make rocks in the middle of the ocean. Lisa blushed slightly. She had never throught that having that move would prove to be any good. "It's never done any good for me in battle. I guess I'm lucky that I never had Slimer forget it," she thought to herself. Lisa had Slimer do many different tricks in between his 'attacks' so that he wouldn't use up all of his energy and strength early on. She wasn't sure if there would be a rematch or anything after all the Pokemon were judged. She juggled her PokeBalls while Slimer bounced in place. She had Slimer roll from one side of the stage to the other while she ran and jumped over him. They did this a few more times and someone in the audience said, "This is a cool contest, not gymnastics! Get on with the show!" Lisa took in a deep breath and said, "Alright. This is the last one, Slimer. Let's make it count. Defense Curl!" This time, when Slimer curled up into a ball, his fiery sheen sparkled brighter than ever before. As he bounced in place, the sparkles he was emitting started shooting off into the audience. The audience stood up and hollered wildly (mostly because the sparkles from the Slugma were hitting people and they were getting very, very minor burns.) Lisa took a deep bow and said "Thank you. And thank you, Slimer. You did great!" She recalled Slimer into his Pokeball and walked off the mat. She looked back out at the crowd still standing up and yelling and hollering and she felt proud... she still didn't realize that Slimer's sparkles had caused all of that. "Thank you, Lisa and Slimer! Please wait a moment while we determine the winner." Captain Stern said, then he spent a moment discussing the five entries with DJ Mary and Professor Elm. DJ Mary leaned forward to speak into her microphone and said, "I liked the show that Slimer put on, but he treated this game like a traditional Pokemon Contest instead of just performing one cool trick. That Heracross' use of knives was very impressive and she followed the rules of the Game, so I'm placing my vote for Derek Fisher's Heracross!" "I do agree that the Heracross' performance was very... cool," Professor Elm said, not used to using that particular word, "But the way that Mawile appeared to defy the laws of physics was simply phenomenal! I vote for Mawile." Captain Stern spoke next, "Personally, I found Metrix's fireworks display beautiful, but since this is a Cool Game and not a Beauty Game, I'm going to vote for the Pokemon whose trick I thought was the coolest - Mawile. Congratulations, Mawile, you just won the Cool Game!" The Mawile lifted her arms high in celebration as a pretty blonde woman wearing a yellow bikini walked over to her and handed her a black Luxury Ball with a golden button on it and a commemorative plastic trophy shaped like the S.S. Tidal. Diva the Smoochum glared at the winner, "WHAT?! My tongue trick was MUCH cooler than your stupid top trick! I deserve those prizes, not you, you no-talent, weird-lookin' hack!" Diva stuck her tongue out at the Mawile then stomped away in a huff. The Mawile shrugged off the insult, too happy that she won the Cool Game to care about it. She looked for a good place near the mat to watch the rest of the Pokemon Games and sat down. "We will now be holding the Beauty Game in the pool," Captain Stern informed the crowd as he and the other two judges turned their chairs around to look towards the pool, "In this game, Pokemon will take turns swimming across the pool as beautifully as they can. Please save your applause until all the Pokemon have finished their performances. First up, we have... Wait, am I reading this right? Magby? Who in their right mind would send a Magby into a swimming contest?!" "Deri! Delibird!" Magby the Delibird waved one wing to Captain Stern from her place by the pool, informing him that she's the one called Magby, then she flew up to the pool's diving board. Magby hopped up and down on the diving board a few times, testing its springiness, then folded her wings tightly against her body, and dove into the pool. Keeping her wings tucked, and her eyes forward, Magby allowed her momentum to carry her through the water, performing a series of underwater flips before surfacing. Without losing any speed, Magby began to swim a lap around the pool, propelling herself with her webbed feet. Once she's finished, she climbed out of the pool and takes a bow for the crowd. Captain Stern then announced, "Next up - the tongue twister from the Cool Game, Diva the Smoochum!" Diva the Smoochum climbed up onto the diving board. She managed to hop on it once before slipping on some water that splashed up onto it from Magby's previous dive and falling gracelessly into the pool. She swam up to the surface, flailing her arms and legs wildly to keep her head above the water, "DAMN DELIBIRD!" Diva shouted as she worked her way to the edge of the pool, climbed out of the water, and started to ring out her blonde hair in a vain attempt to have it dry for the Cute Game. "Ladies and gentlemen, our next entry in the Games for the Beauty Category is Ariel the Azumarill, trained by Cassandra Gale of Lilycove City," Captain Stern declared as Cass stepped forward, clad in a modest deep red bikini and sandals, Ariel at her side. From the sidelines, Alexandria Masters (clad in a more modest green one-piece swimsuit) and her two free-roaming Pokemon clapped, actively supporting the nervous Cass. “C'mon, Cass! You can do it!” Cass smiled nervously, then mustered her courage and said to her aquatic compatriot, "Okay, Ariel, go for it." "Zumarill!" Ariel replied happily, lacking any of Cass's nervousness. The energetic Water Rabbit then rushed to the nearby diving board, bounced on the end a few times, and dived into the empty pool before her. A few short seconds later, Ariel surfaced, and began performing a gentle backstroke in the pool, singing along in her native tongue to the 'Blue Danube Waltz'. After a minute of gentle swimming, Ariel dove into the pool for a few short seconds, then leaped out and landed on one foot just beyond the pool's boundary and finished, "Ah-zu-zu-marill! Ma-rill!" The audience applauded, some chuckling slightly at the Azumarill's dramatic flourish at the end, as Ariel returned to her trainer's side. The two bowed slightly, and returned to their position with the other contestants. "Please save your applause for the end, folks!" Captain Stern said, holding back his own urge to applaud for the beautiful Azumarill's performance, "We have one more entry to the Beauty Game - one of Karl Weiser's two ducks!" Karl approached the pool. "Alright, Iceduck," he said. "This is your forté. You're my Water type, and..." "Fetchar! FARF!" exclaimed Nomak, excited to the point of waffling. "You what?" said Karl. "You can't swim! You're not even a Water type!" "Feh!" "Who says all ducks can swim anyway?" "..." "See, I don't think that's a silly question at all." Karl turned back to Iceduck. "Alright, here's the..." "Far." "Nomak, I can only enter ONE Pokemon, and I want to make sure I have a decent chance of winning. Now, Iceduck, when you're halfway, I want you to shoot an Ice Beam into the..." "FREE!" "What the- You've never made THAT sound before!" Nomak had the decency to look bashful. "Alright, this means that much to you? You can take Iceduck's place." Nomak leapt up into the air gracefully, flapping his wings in appreciation. Nomak then jumped higher into the air and glided down into the water on its wings. His claws entered the water. His legs followed. Nomak's feathers subtly changed position to make his body as streamlined as possible. He tilted his head down so that half his head was underwater. He glided through the water like a du... "Far! FAR! Feh-feh-feh! Farfetch'd! ETCH! FETCH!" Nomak was suddenly going mad. His wings were going everywhere and his head was constantly in danger of dipping back into the water. "Nomak!" cried Karl. Iceduck, upon seeing this, hopped into the pool. With vastly more grace than Nomak, he shot through the water like a bullet. Barely slowing down, Iceduck grabbed Nomak's leg with his beak. In seconds, both Pokemon were safe on the other side of the pool. Ashamed, Karl apologised on behalf of his Farfetch'd. Captain Stern then informed, "The four Pokemon who participated in the Beauty Game should now line up by the side of the pool for judging!" After Magby the Delibird, Diva the Smoochum, Ariel the Azumarill, and Nomak the Farfetch'd have lined up by the pool, the bikini-clad blonde woman who gave Mawile her prizes walked over to the group lined up by the pool holding a black Luxury Ball in one hand and a commemorative plastic trophy under her arm. Captain Stern instructed the crowd, "Now it's time for you to applaud for the Pokemon you think swam most beautifully when the lovely Alina puts her hand over him or her!" Alina first placed her free hand over Magby and a good number of the members of the audience applauded. She then moved her hand to where Diva was standing and very few people clapped for the Smoochum - the ones who clapped only doing so because they pitied her poor performance. Diva glared at the Delibird standing next to her, wanting to hit her with Powder Snow but not doing so because that would disqualify her from the next three games. Alina stepped over to Ariel the Azumarill and the very moment she placed her hand over the Water Rabbit, the crowd went wild, cheering and hooting! When Alina then moved her hand to where Nomak the Farfetch'd stood, the crowd's loud cheering died down to light applause. After five seconds of consulting with each other, the judges agreed on a winner. Captain Stern announced, "Congratulations, Ariel, you've won the Beauty Game! Your Azumarill is very beautiful, Cassandra Gale - and you're not so bad yourself!" Alina handed Ariel the Luxury Ball and the trophy, then the Azumarill happily skipped over to where Cassandra was standing and handed the two objects to her, saying, "Azu! Azumarill, azu!" The three judges turned their chairs back towards the table between the pool and the blue mat. Captain Stern announced, "The next three games will be held on the mat. Now it's time for the Cute Game! In this Game, Pokemon have 30 seconds to show the audience how cute they are. First up is... hmm, Karl Weiser indicated that he wanted to enter one of his Pokemon into the Cute Game, but he didn't specify which Pokemon he was going to send out..." "Right," said Karl. "Either of you want a go at this one?" "Fah!" "Most optimistic of you, Nomak, but no." He turned to Iceduck. "You fancy a..." "I?" "You're right. Course not. Nothing cute about a fat duck." He sighed. "Don't suppose we'll be getting a prize, then." Karl put on a show of moping and sighing. "Unless!" Iceduck and Nomak turned to face him, eagerly. "Can either of you two lift dumbbells?" The ducks turned away, conveying merely "..." as an answer. "Don't suppose we... hmm. Hang on a second." Karl faced the judges. "Hello," he said. "I'd like to introduce my Pokemon. It's... not exactly cute in the conventional sense, but... well, I wanted to give it a chance." And the alternative was a pair of ducks lying at both extremes of the humility scale, he added silently. He sent out his Pokemon. It was Ess, his Unown. It had once been shaped like an S, but was now deformed to look like a squiggle. This was because a bully of a Farfetch'd had used it for fencing practice. Ess now looked as though it was in a constant state of sadness, and was certainly no good for battle. There was nothing that could be done as things stood, but its trainer had taken Ess on the ferry with a sight to restore Ess's original shape. This gave Ess great hope, and made it happy to know that its trainer - against all odds - had actually given Ess the gift of friendship. A gift that a Pokemon shaped like a letter - and a deformed letter at that - could rarely find. People seeked the Unown for alterior motives. Whether for their strange, telekinetic powers, or for their wide range of shapes, or for their uniqueness in a world of Pokemon - the list was endless. Few Unown could ever hope for the kind of friendship that Ess had been given, and for that, it cares not that it's been twisted out of shape. If that's the price to pay, then Ess was happy to pay it. This entire situation had somehow embeded itself in the minds of all watching. It took onlookers a few moments to realize that Ess was communicating with them via feelings, thoughts and images. Karl, however, was completely unaware that any of this was happening. He just hoped an injured Unown would earn a sympathy vote. As his watch ticked off the thirtieth second of Ess's "performance", Karl returned to take it away. "That wasn't cute at all!" Diva commented from the sidelines, *I'M* cute, that thing was just an Unown - and an UGLY one at that!" She then heard Captain Stern call out her name and she walked onto the mat. She started blowing Sweet Kisses to the people in the crowd, thinking she looked cutest when she performed that particular move. However, the Sweet Kisses confused members of the audience into thinking she was hideous and before the thirty seconds were over, she was booed off the mat. "C'mon, folks, she's not THAT ugly," Captain Stern remarked, not having been confused by the Smoochum, then he looked down at his list before saying, "The third and final entry to the Cute Game is Anubis, Tsunade of Cianwood's Houndour!" Anubis trotted out onto the blue mat, wagging his tail brightly. Strictly speaking, Houndours can't learn the Tail Whip technique, but the audience didn't care, and Anubis' cuteness went over great. Nori decided to test her theory that, whenever she orders her Houndour to attack, he will instead choose to do something embarrassingly endearing. She snapped her fingers to get Anubis' attention, and offered a command that she suspected would elicit a charming response. "Anubis, kill." Anubis rolled over on his back, and waited for a tummy rub. "Anubis, maim." Anubis stood on his hind legs, and begged for a biscuit. Nori tossed a handful of confetti into the air. Knowing the Houndour would disobey her command, she suggested, "Anubis, leave it." Anubis spit a ball of fire at the fluttering bits of paper, creating a sparkler effect. Many people in the audience cheered! "Thank you, thank you!" Nori took a bow, "We'll be here all week... well, not really." She clapped her hand against her thigh, commanding her Houndour to return, "Anubis, come." Anubis responded by bolting in the opposite direction. Nori sighed, as she began to give chase, "This isn't cute anymore." The three judges huddled momentarily to talk amongst themselves, then Captain Stern leaned up to his microphone and declared, "It's unanimous - we all agree that Anubis is the cutest Houndour we've ever seen and the winner of the Cute Game! Congratulations, Anubis and Tsunade!" Anubis darted past Alina, then when Nori was running past her after her Houndour, the blonde woman took the opportunity to hand her a commemorative plastic trophy and a black Luxury Ball. "The next game is a little different than the last three," Captain Stern informed the crowd, "Alina and other volunteers will be setting up five different 50-piece Pokemon jigsaw puzzles on different areas of the mat. Each of the five Pokemon who are participating in the Smart Game must approach a puzzle then start working on it the moment Alina blows a whistle. The first Pokemon who successfully finishes his or her puzzle must jump up and shout the name of his or her species as loud as possible! If no Pokemon has finished a puzzle in five minutes, the one whose puzzle is most complete will win!" Seeing that the volunteers placed the pieces of five different puzzles in five different piles on the blue mat in the time it took him to describe the Smart Game, Captain Stern said, "Kitsu the Ninetales, Set the Natu, Surtur the Combusken, Diva the Smoochum, and Terph the Seviper - approach a puzzle now! Do NOT start working on the puzzle until you hear a whistle." When instructed to, the five Pokemon approached different puzzles, Diva aruguing with Kitsu the Ninetales for a moment before backing down and taking a puzzle far away from hers, figuring that she should not mess with Fire Pokemon being an Ice Type. Kitsu had taken on full Pokemon form before the contest as to not arouse suspicion from the humans who weren't "in the know." However, the fact that a Ninetales arrived at the contest without its trainer had caused some concern. More curious, even to Kitsu, was the arrival of another Pokemon without its Trainer: A Seviper named Terph that had coincidently taken the puzzle right next to her. Terph had been giving her a suspicious look since taking her mark and Kitsu was trying her best to ignore it, figuring she was trying to unsettle her. Just before the time keeper made the signal to start, Terph turned to Kitsu and whispered, "Besssst of luck, princessss." Kitsu was so stunned she almost didn't notice when Alina blew her whistle. As much as she wanted to question the talking Seviper about what she knew, she decided it could wait until after the contest. She hurriedly put a paw on the nearest puzzle piece and failed to lift it. 'Right, no thumbs,' Kitsu thought to herself. She glanced over at Terph, who was busily scooping up pieces with the blade on her tail and moving them around. Kitsu turned back to her puzzle and attempted to pick up the pieces with her mouth. Meanwhile, Set the Natu used telekinesis to lift all of his puzzle pieces into the air. He sorted through them psychically, then dropped them onto the mat one at a time, maneuvering them into their proper places. The Natu worked very quickly, since he knew that Magby the Delibird participated in an earlier contest, and he thought that winning his own contest would be an excellent way to show her up. Surtur the Combusken looked to the collection of puzzle pieces in front of him. _Around one hundred pieces,_ Surtur noted. The fiery chicken then began what appeared to him to be common puzzle sense; find the corners and work your way in. Finding her stubby arms were imparing her ability to put the puzzle before her together, Diva the Smoochum stuck her tongue out and started manipulating the puzzle pieces with it instead, not familiar with the Hoenn Pokemon she was working to put together but using common sense to guess which piece went where. With his eyes closed, and a satisfied smile on his beak, Set picked the very last of his puzzle pieces up in his claws, and used it to fill the one remaining gap in the picture. Unfortunately, instead of hearing the telltale click of a puzzle piece sliding into place, he hears the sound of mismatched bits of cardboard colliding with each other. Annoyed, Set opened his eyes. He balled his talons into a fist, and began pounding on the stubborn puzzle piece, determined to make it fit! When that didn't work, he started jumping up and down on top of the puzzle, throwing his whole weight onto the discordant piece in an effort to force it into place. When that yielded no results, he reached into telekinetic hammer space, withdrew one of the iron broadswords that he'd been carrying for Nori, while she searched for a buyer; and began to hammer the obstinate puzzle piece with the flat side of the blade. This action did cause the puzzle piece to snap into place. "NATU!" Set called out, hopping up and down on the puzzle he put together, "NATU!" The other Pokemon looked up, startled that the Natu has finished his puzzle so quickly. When Alina came around to check the puzzle for accuracy, she noticed that Set's Sableye had its head on upside-down. Alina shook her head and called out, "False alarm! Keep working on your puzzles, Pokemon!" Deciding that the game was unfair since the woman did not declare him the winner and smartest Pokemon in the world, Set hopped away from the mat and set out to find Nori, figuring that she was still chasing Anubis around. Noticing the Combusken next to her appeared to be almost done with his puzzle, Diva decided to spook him to make him lose his concentration. When she closed her mouth to shout "Boo", however, she bit down on her tongue! Hissing in pain, she decided to give up on trying to startle the competition and went back to trying to put the puzzle together with her arms. Taking a lesson from the Seviper, Kitsu decided to employ the help of her nine tails to put the puzzle together in addition to her mouth. With all those tails and her mouth at work, she quickly finished her Zigzagoon puzzle and yelled, "NINETALES!" When Alina went over to where Kitsu was standing to verify the puzzle, she gave the judges a thumbs up with one hand and put a Luxury Ball and a trophy shaped like the S.S. Tidal on the mat in front of Kitsu. Kitsu grabbed the prizes with her tail and turned to face the Seviper named Terph, but the Poison Pokemon was gone, her Cacnea puzzle half-complete. Captain Stern announced, "Congratulations to Kitsu, the Trainerless Ninetales, who has just won the Smart Game!" Mere seconds after Kitsu finished her puzzle, Surtur placed the last of his puzzle pieces within its place, and noted with satisfaction, “<There we are, a Flygon.>” Her Lotad puzzle not even a quarter complete, partly because she had never seen a Lotad before in her life and partly because the puzzle pieces were all either blue or green with few designs on them, Diva glared at Kitsu for winning. "That was supposed to be MY puzzle! I saw it first!" When she marched over to Kitsu's finished puzzle and saw a Zigzagoon, she became furious and added Kitsu to her mental Enemies list, right under Magby the Delibird, saying, "I've actually SEEN one of those before!" Enraged, but feeling she stood no chance against Kitsu, Diva marched off the mat, planning to win the last Game. "Finally in the Tough Game, we have a wide variety of competitors," Captain Stern noted, "These competitors include Jason Cassidy's Tyranitar, Keaton the Tauros, Serph the Walrein, Nails - Ben Algam's Aggron, Savage - John Scriebb's Primeape, and..." Captain Stern suppressed a laugh before adding, "Diva the Smoochum. In this final game, the participants will approach barbells that will be set up on the mat by Hariyama and lift them high when Alina blows her whistle. The Pokemon will have ten seconds to lift the barbell off the mat using just their bodies. Any Pokemon that isn't able to lift the barbell in that time will be disqualified. The Pokemon must keep their barbells high until they can't hold them anymore and have to put them down. The last Pokemon holding up a barbell will win the Tough Game. Pokemon, approach the mat!" Very little applause came to the Dark-type trainer and his massive beast as Jason stepped into position, his Tyranitar fully healed and by his side. Rather disgruntled after having lost his chance at a Shiny Unown, Jason tapped his foot impatiently, waiting for the contest to start. Unlike Alex and Cass, Jason remained in his usual grim attire. After the other competitors took their places on the mat, three Hariyama stepped into position carrying several dumbbells. The bulky Fighting Types set one down in front of each competitor, then walked off to a far corner and waited. When Nails the Aggron took his place on the padded mat it sank under his weight. The Pokemon inspected the barbell before him with interest as he had never done weight training before, but he was his Trainer's physically strongest Pokemon, so Ben had chosen him for this event. Although the competion was tough, Nails didn't want to let his Trainer down. "And, begin!" Captain Stern declared. Without needing to be told otherwise, the large Tyranitar took hold of the dumbbell and lifted it over his head. When he was given the signal, Nails wrapped his large arms around the barbell and attempted to lift it, before dropping it. A few seconds later, he tensed his body then wedged the barbell between his horns and lifted it, suporting it with his hands. Keaton hadn't given much thought to the Trainerless Walrein named Serph who had also entered the weightlifting contest. He focused more on figuring out how he was going to lift a barbell without the use of his arms in full Pokemon mode. His solution was to let the barbell rest on his forehead while he let his neck muscles take care of the lifting. Serph appeared to have a similar notion, but instead held the weight in his jaw. Savage stepped up to the massive barbell in front of him. He rubbed his glove-like paws together then grasped the bar at either end. With a strained grunt he lifted the weight to chest level, then with a heave lifted the dumbell as far above his head as he could reach. Diva the Smoochum, meanwhile, grunted as she tried to lift the heavy barbell off the ground. She looked around, annoyed that the other competitors had gotten their barbells up so quickly. "C'mon, Diva, this is your last chance," the Smoochum told herself as she put her tiny arms on the bar of the barbell once again and heaved with all her might. She heaved and heaved so much that she passed out from exhaustion one second before Alina formally disqualified her. While most of his competition kept their dumbbells above them, Tyranitar was one of the few to keep a steady hold on his dumbbell. Jason smiled slightly to himself; he had this in the bag. One audience member, however, wasn't thrilled with the display; one with a Blastoise. "Hey you!" Nori cried out, pointing a finger towards Jason. She had just returned to the mat, having finally recalled Anubis, "What gives you the right to force that Tyranitar to perform like this?" "Butt out, kid," Jason growled. Nori, however, held her ground. "That isn't some Ursaring on a unicycle, you freak! That's a Tyranitar! They deserve respect!" Jason growled audibly, then pointed to Nori and said, "Tyranitar, Strength attack!" The massive Tyranitar quickly took a step back, then chucked the dumbbell at Nori. Mere seconds before it would hit, however, a large, clawed hand took hold of the dumbbell. "If anyone around here is going to tear her apart, it's going to be me," Rubix the Blastoise reasoned, setting the dumbbell down on the floor and rising to his full height. "Anything else?" Jason growled, then declared, "Tyranitar, Crunch that Blastoise!" Tyranitar roared, then rushed off the stage towards Rubix. The large Blastoise simply sidestepped the attack as Nori moved out of range, and grabbed Tyranitar in a Submission hold before slamming it down into the floor. The powerful attack, combined with a dual weakness on Tyranitar's part, knocked the large beast unconscious. Jason stood in surprise as Rubix simply brushed his large hands off, then turned to Nori and said, "You owe me." Before Jason could react further to the display, Captain Stern declared, "Jason Cassidy and Tyranitar are disqualified! Security!" "What?" Jason cried out, mere seconds before two guards took hold of him by the shoulders and took away his Pokeballs. After one guard recalled his Tyranitar, both guards started dragging Jason away as he protested, "You can't do this to me!" As Jason was dragged away, Alex smiled in spite of herself. "I knew today would be a good day." Seconds later, Nails the Aggron let his barbell slam down. He turned to his Trainer, feeling he let him down. Savage grinned happily. The same muscle and bone structure that allowed Mankeys and Primeapes to hang effortlessly from trees meant that he could easily hold him arms like this for a very long time. After a little while savage felt a small itch on the side of his leg. At first he tried to ignore it but it persisted. With an aggravated sigh Savage shifted the grip of his left hand to the center of the bar. Then he let go with his right hand so he could scratch the itch, when he was finished he went back to the way he had been lifting it. "There's no need to show off." John called from the sidelines. Minutes felt like hours as Keaton the Tauros and Serph the Wailrein struggled under the weight of their respective burdens. Although Keaton wasn't accustomed to using his neck in such a manner, he felt as if he were doing a lot better than his opponents. Serph eventually let his barbell drop and rubbed his sore jaw muscles. Having clearly lost, the Walrein decided make his exit. On his way out, he lumbered by Keaton and said, "Daus veights be heavy, my lord, yah?" "Damn straight," Keaton replied before realizing what the Walrein had said. The Tauros prince lost his focus and found his head crashing to the floor with his legs in the air. By the time he had righted himself, Serph had disappeared. Seeing that all of his opponents had dropped their barbells, Savage the Primeape pumped the barbell in his glove-like paws up and down in celebration, cheering, "Prime Primeape! PRIMEAPE!" Savage only dropped the heavy barbell after Alina approached him to declare him the winner. The blonde in the yellow bikini raised Savage's arm high, saying, "The winner!" She then gave him a commemorative S.S. Tidal plastic trophy and a black Luxury Ball with a golden button on it. The Pokemon Games over, Captain Stern spoke into the microphone before him one more time, saying, "This concludes the Pokemon Games! Many thanks to all the Pokemon who participated for putting on a great show! Remember, the Captain's Gala will be held tonight at 6 PM in the Milotic Bistro on the Restaurant Deck. If you don't have formalwear, consider shopping at Gorebyss Fashions on the Mall Deck beforehand. They have a wide selection of beautiful outfits that can be worn to the gala dinner. I hope to see you there! Have a fun-filled afternoon, everyone!" With that, Captain Stern headed off to another part of the ship, leaving DJ Mary and Professor Elm behind to mingle with the crowd and enjoy the S.S. Tidal's pool. --- Once the Pokemon Games are over, the Mawile who won the Cool Game decides to go check up on her Trainer. Holding the Luxury Ball she won in one hand and her plastic trophy in the other, she walks to the elevator room and decides to take the stairs leading down into the Whiscash Casino. She finds her Trainer, a middle-aged, brown-haired man wearing blue trunks and a red cape, still sitting at the slot machine he was sitting at when she left to go watch the Games - "Golden Rods In Goldenrod". The Mawile tugs on his red cape to get his attention. When he continues to deposit coins into the slot machine and pull the lever like a zombie, saying, "Not now, Famifax, I was up by over 800 coins and now I'm down to 342! I need to at least make up what I lost before I stop," the Mawile decides that she must get his attention another way. She Bites the man's leg with the giant maw coming out of her head and drags him away from the slot machine. "OUCH!" Marvin complains, snapping out of his trance. Noticing that the Mawile clamped to his leg is holding a black Pokeball he doesn't recognize and a trophy, Marvin asks, "Did I miss something?" The Mawile facefaults. "Well, whatever I missed, it looks like you saved me the trouble of buying you a new home!" Marvin takes the Luxury Ball from the Mawile's hand and drops it on her head. The Steel Pokemon turns into red energy as the Luxury Ball pops open and she gets sucked into the device, much to the relief of Marvin's leg. After the Luxury Ball snaps shut, the black sphere with the golden button on it shakes for three seconds before announcing a successful capture with a regal chime. He puts the Luxury Ball in the pocket of his swimming trunks and turns to face a neon clock on the wall, "Yikes, I'd better go get these coins exchanged for money and go buy clothing for the Gala Dinner!" Tempted to continue playing "Golden Rods In Goldenrod", but knowing that if he does he'll lose track of time again, Marvin grabs his Coin Case and heads for the casino's exchange desk. -Marvin