Subject: [PW!] Power Surge
Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 7:49 PM
Enter Espio the Charmeleon (I promise: one of these days, when I figure
out how, I'll get some character interaction goin'!)...
As Kyle was on his way to Vermilion City, he noticed that his
Aerodactyl was panting heavily and gradually losing altitude. "Just
land by that pond over there, Grendel," said Kyle. "Once we're done in
Vermilion I promise we'll visit home for food and supplies."
So Grendel started a quick descent. He landed on the bank of a
small pond, and started drinking a lot of water (he only hated water
when he was being hit with it). Torrasque the Scyther landed next,
still carrying his nervous pet Pikachu, Cathode. Thanatos the Gengar
did not land at all; he simply stopped descending and hovered four feet
above the ground.
"Where are we now?" Torrasque asked.
"We're just a few miles away from Vermilion City. We can walk the
rest of the way there," Kyle answered.
So when Grendel was finished rehydrating, Kyle put him back into
his Pokéball and the team started the two-mile walk through tall,
grassy fields to Vermilion. On the way Torrasque asked Kyle a question
which had been bugging him for some time.
"Hey, Kyle, how was it you won a Soulbadge? I remember staying
outside the Fuchsia City Gym because I was such a wuss back then, and I
remember you coming out with a badge. But you never told me what
happened inside the gym."
"Not much to tell, really," said Kyle. "It was a two-on-two match
against Koga. First he summoned a Beedrill, and I summoned Fenris.
Fenris had a clear advantage, but the Beedrill was just too quick for
him. The Beedrill beat Fenris with a long series of Fury Attacks.
Then I sent out Grendel, who didn't really want to fight Koga's
Pokémon. You know how Grendel is...he gets frightened if an unfamiliar
human is even in the same room as him. But he got over his fear -
well, temporarily at least - and took down Beedrill with a Fly attack.
"Then Koga tossed out a Weezing, who tried to bring Grendel down
with a combination of Toxic and Sludge. The attacks didn't quite get
through Grendel's armored hide, though. Grendel whooped Weezing with
some Wing Attacks and a well-placed Hyper Beam. That's how I got the
Soulbadge." Kyle then reached into one of the pockets of his denim
jacket as something dawned on him. "Hey, that reminds me: I still have
the TM for Toxic that Koga gave me. He was the only Gym Leader I
defeated who remembered to give me a TM. You know, after we pick up
some supplies back home, I'm going to revisit Blaine, Brock, and Lily
and see if I can collect the TMs they owe me." Kyle removed the Toxic
TM from his pocket. "Here, Torrasque. You want this? Toxic is the
only special attack a Scyther like you can learn, after all."
"Cool!" Torrasque quipped. He took the TM, put it on the ground,
and started it up, just like he did with the Hyper Beam TM that he had
acquired from Kyle on Cinnabar Island during the whole Moltres ordeal.
The TM went through a typical TM ritual - announcing which Technical
Machine it was, asking if Torrasque wanted to teach Toxic to a Pokémon,
and prompting Torrasque's identification number. When Torrasque keyed
in 123, a beam of energy containing various information went straight
into Torrasque's brain and taught him Toxic. The beam also altered
Torrasque's genetic code slightly to give him venom glands in his mouth
and at the bases of his scythes with which he could produce the toxins
necessary for the attack. The beam removed Quick Attack from his
memory to make room for the new technique. "Awesome! I'm poisonous!"
Torrasque noted. "Those idiots who work at McDonald's won't forget to
give me napkins and fancy ketchup ever again..."
As the group continued walking and waiting periodically for Kyle
to catch up (the two broken ribs he had gained in Cerulean City were of
course still bothering him), eventually the tall grass parted and
revealed a dirt road, which eventually led to an empty asphalt road,
which was heading right into the city. As the group was walking
alongside the asphalt road, Thanatos, who still had the language
translator given to him by Bill, made a rather curious observation.
"Check that out!" Thanatos announced, pointing to a small wooden
booth set up near the road. "That lizard in there's got a bleedin'
So the group stopped at the booth, and inside the booth was a large
keyboard and a chair. Sitting in the chair was a rather apathetic-
looking Charmeleon. His scales were clean white, and his tail-flame
was deep blue. He was wearing sunglasses with small, elliptical
lenses, and a black New York Yankees cap. He sat with his chair
leaning against the back wall of the booth, just drinking a liter of
Pepsi. Kyle was a little surprised by the whole thing, and just sort
of looked on blankly.
The reptile stopped drinking his Pepsi, noticing Kyle staring at
him undividedly. Very plainly, the lizard said to Kyle, "I don't mean
to tell you what to do, but burning holes in people is *my* job."
Torrasque whispered to Kyle that the Charmeleon's voice bore an uncanny
similarity to Matt Damon's.
"You speak English?" Kyle realized.
The lizard looked at Kyle, then half-closed his eyes and
sardonically grunted, "Why are the pretty ones always so dumb?" He
then sighed and answered, "Yes, evidently I do speak English. I picked
it up after raiding a Poké-poacher encampment near my old home on
Pokémon Island. I stole their television, their beer, their
cigarettes, and their guns. However, I nearly blew my own foot off
when I found out just how much kick an Uzi has. So I ditched the
guns. But all in all, it was a rewarding experience." He stopped and
noticed that Kyle and crew were actually taking him seriously. The
Charmeleon decided to change the subject. He filled up a small incense
burner that stood next to him and asked, "Hey, any of you got a light?"
Kyle, as well as Torrasque and Thanatos, continued to give the
Charmeleon blank stares.
"Heh, heh..." the Charmeleon snickered, lighting the incense with
his tail-flame. "I always get blank stares with that one." There was
a pause as the lizard took a whiff of the burning incense. "Yeah,
that's the stuff. So, do you need something? If you're here to get
some Budweiser, I'm fresh out. They don't sell alcohol to Pokémon
under experience level twenty-one."
Again there were blank stares.
"Is it a tough crowd, or just a stupid one?" the Charmeleon
snorted. "But seriously, folks, I don't drink, I'm wayyyyy past level
twenty-one, and you just missed my two-fifteen keyboard demo. Come
back at three, and we'll talk."
"Who in bloody hell are you?" Thanatos finally asked.
"Well, the loser trainer who took me away from Pokémon Island and
ditched me here called me Surtur. The guy read a lot of Norse myths.
He was also a complete whacko. He taught me Dig with one of his TMs,
treating me like a lousy ground Pokémon or something. But now that
that jerk's gone, I call myself Espio."
Torrasque queried, "Why?"
"It means 'spy.' If you've ever wondered why they call us
Charmeleons, it's 'cause it used to be that all of us were born with
chromatophores, which let us change color, blend in with the
environment, and spy on people, just like chameleons. Of course, over
the years, our species lost that skill, because, well, we really didn't
need it any more. We made up for the loss by evolving the little bit
of intelligence necessary to simply turn any would-be predators into
charbroil. It's too bad, really. The ability to change color would've
made us a real hit at parties here in the present." He paused again to
blow a smoke ring, wondering why he was being asked so many questions.
"Jeez, I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition..."
Torrasque was tempted to finish that Monty Python quote, but he
"Now get a move on," Espio snapped. "As much as your inability to
get my jokes amuses me, a reptile can only take so much excitement."
"You don't look terribly busy, Espio," Kyle pointed out, walking
right up to the booth. "Why don't you go with us? It's gotta be
better than sitting around on your ass and playing keyboard for people
The Charmeleon frowned. "I would join you, but...you strike me as
one of those guys who'd try to make me evolve. People have been trying
to force me to evolve for several years now. Even my family has. But
I'm not going to do it. Wouldn't be prudent. The way I figure, once
you sprout wings and turn into a Charizard, your life turns into a
nonstop suck-fest. You all of a sudden develop a weakness against
electric, ice, and, well, rock attacks...but don't get me started on
"Hey, relax," Torrasque broke in. "Kyle here's already got a fire
Pokémon *and* a dragon Pokémon. Having a Charizard would just be sort
"You really want me to come along?" Espio brushed a fake tear
away from his right eye and looked at Kyle. "You're the only trainer
I've met with the common courtesy to just *ask* me to go with them.
Jeez, guys, I'm touched. If I weren't cold-blooded, I'd be feeling all
warm and squishy right now." He thought deeply for a second, then
chugged his remaining Pepsi. "Fine, I'll do it." He leaped out of the
booth with his keyboard and his incense burner. Then he turned and
torched the booth with a Flamethrower attack, which he fired not from
his mouth like typical Charmeleons, but from his index finger. "Now
*that* was therapeutic." He carried his possessions over to
Kyle. "So, ummm...you got some place to put these?"
"Not yet, but once I buy a spare Pokéball in Vermilion City, I
will," Kyle replied.
Espio thought about how he would have to carry the giant keyboard
all the way to Vermilion, which was about a half-mile away. "Damn," he
groaned. "Maybe I should've stuck with the saxophone like Dad wanted
Torrasque then piped up, "Hey, wait a minute, Kyle. Cathode
doesn't count as one of your Pokémon, but now you still have me,
Thanatos, Ares, Grendel, Leviathan, and Fenris. With Espio joining the
crew, that makes seven Pokémon. That means one of your Pokéballs has
to go into cyber-storage..."
"'Fenris?' 'Grendel?'" Espio noted, his eyes widening. "Another
trainer who's a Norse myth fanatic! Holy crap, it's happening again!"
"Yeah, you're right, Torrasque," Kyle said, ignoring Espio's
comment. "I guess I'll send Fenris off for the time being. I might as
well get the new fire Pokémon habituated." Kyle removed his Pokédex,
went to Arcanine, and hit a button. Fenris's Pokéball suddenly
vanished in a flash of white light. The Pokéball had been digitized
and sent off to cyberspace, where Fenris would wait to be reclaimed by
Eventually the team was within Vermilion City limits. The port
city was bustling with seagoing folk and their water Pokémon. Espio
scowled at each and every one of the water Pokémon as he passed by.
The first stop the group made was at the PokéMart, where Kyle bought
two Pokéballs as a sort of safety measure in case of fainting...one
Pokéball for Thanatos, one for Espio. Espio teleported his keyboard
and incense burner into his new Pokéball and heaved a sigh of relief.
He removed his hat and started fanning himself with it. "Jeez, even my
hernias have hernias."
The team wandered to the southeast side of the city, where the
seemingly weather-beaten Vermilion City Gym stood. They walked up to
the entrance and slowly headed in, not knowing exactly what to expect.
In the middle of the gym's main lobby there was just a filthy main
desk, and on the walls of the room were several broken windows. The
tile floor was dirt-encrusted and cracked. A muscular woman in a red
bandanna was lying down on the main desk, pumping iron.
"Lieutenant Surge is in the back room," she grunted very
automatically, as if it were something she said all too often.
So Kyle and his team headed down a relatively short hallway into
the arena part of the gym, which was twice as long as it was wide. The
tile floors were still cracked, and the walls were covered with what
looked like black burn marks. The ceiling, which was about thirty feet
from the floor, had shattered windows everywhere. Sitting in a chair
at the end of the room was a musclebound man in his late thirties with
shocking yellow hair, wearing camouflage pants, army boots, and what
looked like a brown bulletproof jacket. He was telling war stories to
two of his female associates, periodically laughing deep, guttural
laughs. Eventually the man noticed Kyle entering the arena and got up
from his chair. He opened up his bulletproof jacket, and underneath he
was wearing a bandoleer with four Pokéballs attached to it.
"Heh! Another scrawny li'l wuss t' stomp!" the man snorted at
Kyle overconfidently. "What's yer name, baby?"
A greatly insulted Kyle shot back, "That's Kyle Richter to you..."
"Hah! Hah! What sorta wussy name is that?" Lieutenant Surge
guffawed. "...But anyway, what the hell are ya doin' here? We don't
sell diapers." He started laughing at his own joke.
Kyle just gritted his teeth. "That's *very* unprofessional," he
"This could be your chance to redeem yourself after your defeat at
the hands of that black-haired kid with the Farfetch'd," said one of
"Electra, keep yer mouth shut," Surge angrily grunted. He then
turned to Kyle. "All right, ya li'l piss-ant, I'm gonna give ya a real
treat today. An endurance match. If ya want th' Thunderbadge, one o'
your Pokémon...has t' beat two o' mine."
"What the hell...? You can't do that!" Kyle shrieked.
"This is *my* gym, ya whiner," the Lieutenant chortled. "I can do
whatever th' hell I want!"
Kyle gritted his teeth again, then suddenly gave a diabolical
grin. "You're on."
Kyle ruminated for several seconds, then started whispering to
Espio: "Originally I was just going to send in my level one hundred
Scyther to beat the hell out of Surge's Pokémon, but I think I'm going
to send you into this battle instead and see how you do. First tell me
what moves you know."
"Hmmm...let's see. I can do Slash, Flamethrower, Fire Spin, and,
as I said earlier, Dig."
"Dig!" exclaimed Kyle, remembering Espio's earlier mention of it
and suddenly being happy about it. "Ground attacks crush electric
Pokémon. You're gonna do great, Espio. Now get in there and just
imagine that both of Surge's Pokémon are your old trainer." Kyle's
saying that suddenly made Espio extremely enraged. He stomped into the
center of the battleground. "I choose Charmeleon," Kyle announced.
"Hah! C'mon, why don't'cha give my Pokémon a *challenge*? That
is, if ya *can*...for my first Pokémon, I choose Raichu!" The
Lieutenant then unleashed a massive Raichu, who simply stood pounding
her hands together, swishing her tail from side to side, and giving
Espio an evil grin.
"You won't be smiling for long, you fat blob of voltage," Espio
"Let's get right down t' it! Raichu, squash th' little firebug
with a Body Slam!"
Raichu sounded its battle cry of "Raiiiii..." then leaped high
into the air with its rabbity legs. She splashed down right on top of
Espio, creating a resounding THUD and nearly grinding Espio into the
"Espio, Slash!" Kyle called. Espio freed one hand from underneath
Raichu's impressive bulk, then hit Raichu in the face with a backhand
Slash. Raichu, now with three bloody claw marks across its face, let
out an agonized cry and rolled away. Espio struggled to his feet,
hearing a *pop* from his spine.
"Raichu, Thunder Wave!" the Lieutenant ordered. Raichu righted
herself and fired off a rebounding bolt of electricity from the tip of
her tail. It bounced off the walls a few times, then struck Espio.
There was a bright flash of light as the bolt hit. After the blast
cleared, Espio was still standing in the same place, trying desperately
to move but to no avail. "Y' got 'im now, Raichu! Give 'im yer Mega
Kick!" Raichu walked over to the mostly paralyzed Espio, leaned back
on her tail briefly, and started kicking Espio repeatedly in the face
like a kangaroo. Espio fell backwards, wondering how he was supposed
to win if he could not move.
Then he remembered Kyle's advice. Espio looked up at Raichu, and
started to imagine that Raichu was his former trainer. That did it.
Espio became so angry at the imaginary sight of his old trainer that he
started moving again, and slowly got back up. "Espio, Flamethrower!"
shouted Kyle, taking advantage of the opportunity.
Like a wild beast, Espio let out a roar of "CHAAAAARRR!" He
pointed both index fingers/claws at Raichu and burned the stymied
electric Pokémon with twin streams of flame. Raichu tried to get out
of the way, but everywhere she went, the flames followed her. She had
no choice but to take the damage.
Eventually Espio stopped his attack, but even though all of
Raichu's fur was charred black and she was panting heavily, she was
still standing. The grin had long since left her face. "Chuuu..."
she piteously whimpered.
"Raichu! Finish 'im off with Thunderbolt!" Surge commanded,
ignoring the fact that Raichu's will to fight was dwindling. Raichu
slowly started gathering power, not really caring at that point whether
she won or not.
"Now's your chance! Espio, Dig attack!" Kyle called out. Espio
starting rotating at extremely high speed like a turbine, then leaped
into the air and dived headfirst back to the ground, still spinning.
He drilled a large hole in the ground and disappeared underneath the
floor of the building.
"Rai?" queried Raichu, realizing her target had vanished.
"He's gotta be 'round here somewhere! Raichu, where's that
Thunderbolt?" Surge bellowed. So Raichu unleashed the energy she had
collected and started firing Thunderbolt after Thunderbolt at the tile
floor, hoping one of her blasts would penetrate the floor and find
Espio. There was no such luck. Eventually Raichu ran out of power and
stopped firing. She looked too tired to go on.
"Now, Espio!" yelled Kyle. Suddenly Espio burst up out of the
floor right in front of Raichu and gave her a huge uppercut which sent
her flying straight up at the ceiling. She hung in the air for about
three seconds, then crashed to the floor with a BOOM that sent tremors
through the whole gym. Raichu was down for the count.
Surge recalled Raichu. "Y' jus' got lucky, ya baby," Surge
snapped at Kyle. "But this next Pokémon - one I jus' got last week, in
fact - is gonna send your wussy li'l Charmeleon t' a world o' hurt!
Electabuzz, go!!!" Surge then released the yellow, black-striped, ape-
like Electabuzz, who pounded his chest for several seconds before
taking a ready stance.
Electabuzz then noticed Espio stumbling over to Kyle to say
something. "Electaaaaa...*buzz*!" he grunted, annoyed by the delay.
He threw a few practice punches at the air.
"Y'think we could just call it quits and try again later?" Espio
asked Kyle. "Maybe when Lieutenant Surge is in a better mood? There's
no way I can beat two electric Pokémon in a row."
"Judging by the stories my dad told me, this is about as nice as
the Lieutenant gets," Kyle answered. "It's now or never, Espio."
Espio took a deep breath and shook off what remained of his
paralysis. "That's always good to hear," he sighed. "All right, let's
get on with it then..." He marched back into the battlefield.
"Electabuzz! Thunder Punch!" Surge shouted, wasting no time.
Electabuzz grinned and charged at Espio like a raging bull. He brought
one fist back, sent an electric current through it, and gave Espio a
heavy jab to the stomach. Espio's eyes bulged as the wind was knocked
out of him and high voltage entered his body. He fell backwards,
shaking uncontrollably and gasping for air.
Kyle figured Espio's only hope would be to knock Electabuzz out in
one hit. "Espio, Dig again!" Espio quickly scrambled back to the hole
he had previously drilled in the floor and went inside. But the swift
Electabuzz grabbed Espio by the tail and lifted him out of the hole
before he could get fully underground. Kyle, without much thought,
shouted, "Espio, Slash!" Espio, as quickly as his weakened body would
allow, gave another backhand Slash, this time cutting across the
enemy's corpulent chest. The damage done was minimal, but Electabuzz
growled in pain and reeled backwards, letting go of Espio. Espio ran
into the hole as fast as he could and again was safely underground.
"Be ready to block, Electabuzz," warned Surge. Electabuzz put his
muscular arms up in front of his face to guard against the inevitable
Dig attack. But instead of coming up in front of the opponent, Espio
sprang up from behind, and his uppercut nailed the astonished
Electabuzz in the spine. Electabuzz flipped over and landed on his
face. "How does that lizard do that?!" cried Surge. "Oh well, it
doesn't matter...Electabuzz, Thunderbolt!" Electabuzz's health had
been knocked down to nearly nothing by Espio's ground attack, but he
got up and started gathering energy quickly nonetheless.
"Counter with Flamethrower!" Kyle commanded. Espio, who was
looking worse for wear, lit the "pilot light" on his index finger and
pointed it at Electabuzz. He then tried to dredge up enough strength
to fire off a Flamethrower. For several seconds the two combatants
just glared at each other, gathering power.
Then, in the same second, the two Pokémon fired. A flame blast
streaked toward Electabuzz; a lightning bolt flew at Espio. Both
blasts scored direct hits on their intended targets, and the whole
building shook with the double impact. Espio was knocked head over
heels, and Electabuzz just sort of collapsed to the floor. Both of
them were unconscious.
There was a deathly silence. Lieutenant Surge was looking quite
shocked, even for a master of electricity. "Unbelievable..." He held
out a Pokéball and recalled Electabuzz.
Kyle rushed out to Espio and tried to wake him up, but he was out
cold. Eventually Kyle put Espio into one of the spare Pokéballs he had
bought and stared down at the floor. "I'm sorry, Espio," he said
quietly, with a look that said "I admit defeat" on his face.
"Damn..." Surge remarked, putting away the two Pokéballs
containing Raichu and Electabuzz. "Now *that* was electric." He
reached into a pocket on his camouflage pants, then tossed a
Thunderbadge to Kyle. "Think fast, kid," he added, and also threw Kyle
"What's with this display of generosity, Lieutenant?" Kyle
asked. "I was always told that if an official gym battle ends in a
draw, it becomes an automatic victory for the Gym Leader."
"Screw that," Surge said. "This wasn't what I'd call an official
gym battle. It was one-on-two. And your Pokémon knocked out both o'
mine. So the rules were a li'l different here, kid." Surge went and
sat back down in his chair. "I swear, if ya put on a performance like
that in the Army, ya could make Lieutenant easy..."
"Ummm...thanks," said Kyle, rather surprised. He got up and
headed back out of the building, followed by Torrasque, Cathode and
"Three badges left," Torrasque pointed out, as he noticed Kyle
admiring the Thunderbadge before putting it in his jacket with his
other badges. "So, where are we going next?"
Kyle answered, "First we're going to make a stop at the Pokécenter
to get Espio back on his feet. Then we're going on a long flight back
home to Cinnabar Island to restock on supplies and get that TM Blaine
owes me. Then after that, well, it's a secret."
"A secret?! Come on, you can tell me," said Torrasque.
"You really want to know? It has nothing to do with badges. It's
nothing but a little side trip."
"Oh." Torrasque commented, remembering Kyle's earlier side trips:
the one that led to a battle against Moltres, the one to the Viridian
City Gym, and the one to Lavender Town. "In that case, I really don't
want to know."
Kyle grinned. "Well, I'll at least give you a hint this time.
Let's just say we're going to visit Espio's home turf..."
Whoa, are you still reading this thing?
--K * A * R * N * I * V * A * X--
"Awesome! I'm poisonous! Those idiots who work
at McDonald's won't forget to give me napkins and
fancy ketchup ever again..." --Torrasque
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