The Agent: Training Program

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  1. #1
    Registered User Razzmatazz's Avatar
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    Default The Agent: Training Program

    The Agent: Training Program


    International Police File Folder # 405
    Name: Jason Hart
    Age: 18
    Sex: Male
    Hometown: Castelia City, Unova
    Classification: Trainee, Field Ops Program

    The idea of becoming an agent for the International Police kind of came out of the blue. I didn’t grow up wanting to become a cop, and it wasn’t the family business. It really just happened on a whim, when my buddy Frank and I noticed a recruiting stall set up outside our school one day. Neither of us had given much thought to what we’d do in the future, and it was almost time to graduate. All it took was the recruiter’s smooth sales pitch, and we were on the hook. I thought we’d be a couple of badasses, rappelling off a building and firing off a machine gun with one hand, detonating a blast charge with the other, and breaking some guy’s neck with my legs as I swoop through a window. That’s probably what their recruiters were banking on when they go out and find kids to sign up for their program.

    When we signed up, we got to pick from a list of specialties. To my surprise, a lot of them were bureaucratic pencil-pushing jobs, far from the adrenaline rush I expected. The only entry level program that struck me as being remotely exciting – as well as the only one promising field work - was the Handler Program, which was basically the International Police’s version of a Pokémon Trainer. The difference being that while a Pokémon Trainer raises Pokémon to battle for contest and sport, a Handler sees a Pokémon as just another tool in their arsenal. I had never set out on any grand adventures as a ten year old, and grew up in a house where nobody ever owned a Pokémon, so I had zero experience with the creatures. But unless I wanted to be stuck at a desk filing reports, I had to become a Handler.

    The buddy I signed up with, Frank Pomello, knew a little bit about training Pokémon. He opted for the same program, and he tried to teach me what he knew in the days leading up to the training course. Either I was thick headed or Frank just had no knack for teaching, but I couldn’t get anything right. He knew a guy that owned dozens of Pidoves; I think he used them to deliver messages. He borrowed two, one for each of us, and we would fight them on the roof of our apartment building. Frank’s Pokémon would obediently follow every command, while mine would just ignore me. After trying to convince Frank that my Pidove was deaf, we traded. And suddenly, the bird that would not pay any attention to me snapped alertly to Frank’s words, striking with Quick Attacks and Roosting off the damage anytime my Pokémon managed to get a hit in.

    “This is hopeless,” I said. “I’m giving these commands in the same exact pitch you are, but it doesn’t listen.”

    “That’s the thing with Pokémon, Jay,” Frank replied. “They can tell if their owner is any good. I don’t know how they do it, but they can just tell. I hear Pokémon you didn’t catch yourself are especially judgmental, which might explain why your Pidove totally ignores you.”

    “Let’s go again. I saw it turn its head to me last time I talked to it; I think we’re starting to get a vibe going.”

    So there we were again, two identical Pidoves staring each other down with intent to kill, with two not-so-identical guys doing the same. I took the first move, yelling at my bird to stir up a Gust. I don’t know why, but I actually expected something this time around. I shouldn’t have, though, as all the Pokémon did was idly peck the ground, almost mockingly given the extreme context of my command.

    “So much for the vibe, man,” said Frank.

    “Shut up.”

    “Go get him Pidove, Quick Attack!”

    “Pidove, cooperation!” I barked, clapping my hands. “Detect, now!”

    In response, my Pidove dodged the incoming attack with precision, a glimmer in its eye revealing that it had successfully Detected the move. I don’t know if I was finally getting through to it, or if it acted on its own to avoid getting hit. Either way, I actually had a shot at winning this battle.

    “About time you got in the fighting spirit,” I said to Pidove. “Use Gust now!”

    As my Pidove began flapping its wings to muster up some wind, I could see Frank’s Pokémon glowing an odd orange color. Just as my intrepid bird had finally prepared its Gust attack, it was hit head on by a glowing missile that was Frank’s Pidove. The force of its Sky Attack sent both birds over the edge of the roof.

    “Damn it,” I muttered.

    “You did better that time, it kind of listened to you.”

    “Yeah thanks. We better get down to the street and find those Pidoves. Actually, you better, you borrowed them anyway. I’ve had enough for today.”

  2. #2
    Registered User Razzmatazz's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Agent: Training Program

    The first two weeks of training didn’t actually involve working with Pokémon. First they wanted to weed out the physically weak, I guess. It might as well have been boot camp. The International Police had a little compound set up on the outskirts of Castelia, which was basically a big field with two bunk houses, a mess hall, and a fenced in area containing a few purposely abandoned buildings used for conducting realistic mock operations. We started with 25 recruits, but some quit already. Sixteen remained, including me and Frank.

    We were in the middle of standard morning procedure, lining up outside our bunk house waiting for our Instructor. The Instructor was a real hardass. I don’t know if he was a retired International Police Agent, or if they hired him just for the training program, because he carried himself in a military-like way that didn’t seem learned from a mostly bureaucratic global police force. Sure enough, he emerged from the staff bunk house, and addressed us.

    “Mornin’ recruits,” he snapped.

    I was always disappointed he didn’t call us ‘maggots’. He reached into the pocket of his camouflage pants and revealed a Pokeball.

    “You’re here to become Handlers. Now you get to learn to Handle. Some of you may know a thing or two about Pokémon, some of you may even be accomplished Trainers in your personal lives. But don’t think that puts you a cut above the rest. Handling is not Training. This will be new to all of you.”

    It was a relief to hear him say that. After utterly failing to battle that Pidove with Frank, I wasn’t feeling very confident. At least this is something everyone will have to learn from the ground up. The Instructor continued his lecture.

    “You will have to set compassion aside, and that may be hard for some of you. You are the Agent, and the Pokémon is your tool, not the other way around. You may very well be in a situation where you must condemn your Pokémon to certain death just to cause a distraction that will buy you some time to escape a tight spot. Things like that happen all the time in field work. If you’re not prepared to exist under those conditions, you will not become a Handler.”

    Glancing to my right and left, it was easy to tell which recruits had grown up raising Pokémon. You could see it in their eyes, their reactions to the Instructor’s cold reality check. The Instructor tossed up the Pokeball into the air. With a flash of light, a creature emerged. I instantly recognized the Pokémon as a Herdier. It’s quite common to see a stray wandering the streets, since while a Lillipup fits snuggly inside a socialite’s purse or on an old lady’s lap, a Herdier is less compact.

    “This is my Herdier. He’s worked with me on this training program for years. He is the most valuable teaching tool I’ve got. He’s been trained to suppress instinct, and do only as commanded. Today you will practice working with this Herdier, and tomorrow, you will each be tested. Pass the test, and you will advance to the next stage of the training program.”

    The Instructor didn’t say what the test would be, but it clearly would have to do with our ability to command the Herdier. For the rest of the day, we watched demonstrations of the Instructor and Herdier performing maneuvers, as well as getting hands on time with the Pokémon. Unlike the Pidove, this was a creature of discipline. Whether or not he saw me as a worthy master did not matter. He knew his purpose was to obey us, and carried out that duty to the letter.


    At the end of the day, we were once again formed up in front of our bunk house. Nobody knew what we would be tested on, and we were all anxious to know. The Instructor stood before us, with Herdier sitting at his side.

    “Tomorrow, each of you will enter the training area with Herdier. We will release a wild Pokémon into the area. You will not know which species it is. You will enter with only one Pokeball. You must use Herdier to find, subdue, and capture the wild Pokémon. If it tries to run, chase it down like you would a fleeing criminal. If it tries to fight, treat it as you would a criminal resisting arrest. Oh, and don’t forget what I told you about Herdier this morning. He has been trained to suppress instinct. You won’t get away with sitting back and letting him do all the work. Any questions?”

    “Is there a time limit?” asked a recruit.

    “If you catch the Pokémon, you pass the test. However, if I find you are taking too long and have not made any progress in the hunt, I’ll pull you out.”

    A vague answer. He went on to say we would draw straws to determine what order we would go in.

    I got first place.

    Inside the bunk house, everyone else seems relieved that they didn’t have to go first. They could see I was nervous, and Frank did his best to reassure me.

    “You know, going first might be for the best. After doing it a bunch of times, Herdier might be tired. He’d probably be less alert to you if fatigued, and you get to use him at the peak of his energy.”

    “I guess,” I said, unenthusiastically. “Do you have any idea what kind of Pokémon they’ll have for us to catch?”

    “Well, over the bridge is the forest, that’s probably the closest place where wild Pokémon can be found in abundance,” said Frank. “I’d bet on something from there.”

    “What kinds of Pokémon live in the forest?”

    “I’m not positive, mostly Grass and Bug types though, nothing too intimidating. I know for a fact that Pidove group there, but they’re all over the place anyway. This is the first time they’re asking us to catch something as a ‘Handler’, so I really doubt they’d put us up against something too difficult, you know man?”

    “I hope.”

  3. #3
    Registered User Razzmatazz's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Agent: Training Program

    I didn’t sleep much, mostly drifting in and out. I was too worked up on the test, and having to go first. And now here we were, standing outside the house once again, as the morning sun rose. It was almost frustrating, knowing that I had to go play Pokémon Trainer just for a chance to work for the International Police. But it’s not like I had a choice. As long as Herdier listened, this should be easy. I mean, I’m only going to have one Pokeball, so it’s not like I can make any mistakes. Damn, pressure. Calm down.

    Before long, the Instructor met us, and he didn’t want to waste any time. He motioned for me to approach him.

    “Hart, you’re up first. The Pokémon you will be seeking has already been let loose in the training area. Here is your Pokeball, and here is Herdier’s Pokeball. Let’s not dillydally, get in there now.”

    And with that, I was ushered through the gate to the fenced in training area. I had at least expected some words of encouragement. The area wasn’t that big, only about one acre, with three buildings spread out. The buildings had seen some wear, likely from years of being used for training operations. There was a one story shack modeled like an average house, and two larger five story buildings.

    “Well, where do I start?”

    Since this was a test of my ability to Handle Pokémon, I went ahead and released Herdier from his Pokeball. The loyal dog seemed set to its purpose, and stood obediently at my side waiting for me to give an order.

    “Ok Herdier, I bet you already know where the target is. But you’re going to make me do the work. Pick up a trail, use Odor Sleuth.”

    First the creature made eye contact with me, and if I didn’t know better, it was a look of approval, like I made the right move. Pressing his nose to the ground, Herdier started sniffing. He moved forward slightly, his head swaying from left to right. He was moving so slowly, I doubt he had a scent to go on. Five minutes had already passed. I don’t know how long I have, but I did know that if all I do is stand around here then the Instructor is going to fail me.

    “Think about it, if the Pokémon is going to hide, the only place it could go is one of the buildings. That makes sense. Herdier! Let’s go, we’re going to breach the one story building.”

    I figured the small building would be easiest to search, making it a fine place to start. I jogged toward it, with Herdier matching my pace. The wooden door to the house was shut, and the windows were mostly boarded up.

    “Herdier, Odor Sleuth on the door.”

    He sniffed intently on the door, much more vigorously than before. I impressed myself with how much I sounded like a cop, ordering around Herdier like I knew what I was doing. The way he examined the door made me feel pretty sure our target lay within. I put my hand on the knob, preparing to turn it.

    “Go.”

    I swung the door open, and Herdier swooped inside. From the outside this building looked like an average house, so I expected the interior to match. Though inside it was nothing more than a one room shack, dusty and ridden with cobwebs. After running to the center of the room, Herdier looked back at me, as if reminding me he wasn’t going to do everything himself.

    He didn’t have to. Before I could assess the room, Herdier was struck by a thrown piece of debris. Looking up, I could see a small figure scurrying around the ceiling beams. It picked up another piece of debris and proceeded to Fling it at Herdier. It was a weak attack, and Herdier was unfazed. The attacking creature knew it was safe as long as it held the elevated position, and sat still for a moment staring at Herdier, and at me.

    It was a peculiar blue monkey, with cream colored accents. It had a… pleasant expression, as if it were cheerful about us being there. But its body language suggested something different. For a moment, the Pokémon’s face traded its smile for a scowl, giving Herdier a Leer to unnerve him.

    “Panpour…” it muttered, before resuming its happy-go-lucky smile, what appeared to be its default expression.

    “That’s one of those elemental monkeys… I was expecting a Bug or something from the forest. Herdier, it knows you can’t reach him up there. Try to scare it, make it lose its nerve. Roar it away from there!”

    Herdier let out a deep, prolonged Roar, and Panpour reacted by running back and forth across the wooden beam, but did not descend.

    “Damn it, stop thinking about this like a Trainer,” I spoke aloud.

    I bent down and picked up some debris, the same piece that had struck Herdier. It was a piece off of one of the boards covering the window, though it was unclear if it was already broken or if Panpour deliberately smashed the board apart to arm itself. I waited a moment for Panpour to sit still, and threw the small chunk of wood at it. Direct hit. Letting out a startled shriek, Panpour lost its balance and fell down to the floor.

    “Get it Herdier, Bite!”

    The dog pounced, pinning the blue monkey down and wrapping his jaws around its head. Panpour shrieked and squirmed, trapped under the weight of the predatory dog. But suddenly, in the span of only a few seconds, it wriggled free and smacked Herdier before bouncing away, in a stunning display of Acrobatics. It could have easily climbed back up to its perch, but instead the Panpour turned to face its attacker. It puckered its lips, and let loose a stream of water with the force of a fire hose. The Water Gun drenched Herdier, who shook his body rapidly to dry off. Panpour bounced onto Herdier’s back, raking its claws into him with Fury Swipes.

    “Tackle it, get it on the ground again,” I ordered.

    Herdier bucked repeatedly, as if he were a bull and Panpour a cowboy. For a moment I wondered how the Instructor expected Herdier to do this another fifteen times. I still couldn’t grasp the key of the lesson. I was relying on Herdier to subdue the Panpour for me to catch. I had to learn to rely on myself; I had to be the Agent. I won’t always have something like Herdier in the field, and the kind of people I’d be going after are bound to be a lot more lethal than a Panpour.

    Frustrated by my own ignorance, I walked over to the battling Pokémon, grabbed Panpour myself, and threw it up against a wall. I readied my only Pokeball, getting ready to nail the little monkey in the head and complete my test. Rearing back my right hand to toss the ball, I noticed Panpour pantomiming with its fists, like it wanted to fight. Something came over me and prevented me from throwing the ball. I dropped it to the ground and rushed the Taunting monster. Panpour darted forward, running between my legs and preparing to nimbly run up the wall back to the ceiling beam.

    “Herdier! Take Down!”

    Herdier launched himself at the climbing monkey, breaking its grip of the wall and causing it to fall to the floor.

    “Bite it!”

    Just as before, Herdier had the little monkey pinned, and sunk his teeth deep in. With my bloodlust subsiding and clear thought returning, I picked up the Pokeball. Ordering Herdier to back off, I readied my throwing arm. I thought for a second about saying something like ‘you’re under arrest’ as I threw the ball, but it seemed corny and didn’t fit in with the heat of the moment. Uttering only a grunt, I chucked the ball, which struck Panpour square in its face.

    The ball popped open, and light engulfed the weakened Pokémon as it was pulled into the ball. I stared as the ball wiggled back and forth, knowing I would not have another chance should it escape…

    One… Two…

    Target: Panpour
    Characters: 14.5k
    Ready for Grading

  4. #4
    The Hyacinth Girl Alaskapigeon's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Agent: Training Program

    Hi, bro, I got this. Give me a couple days ;D
    I speak four languages, help me practice please
    Hablas conmigo en español, por favor
    Vous parlez avec moi en français, s'il vous plaît
    我正在学中文

  5. #5
    The Hyacinth Girl Alaskapigeon's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Agent: Training Program

    ....OR A MONTH IN A HALF... SORRY.

    Intro/Plot/Characters: Alright, uh, sorry again this took so danged long. :X Stuff came up and... yeah...

    Anyways, the first thing I noticed about your story, before setting or anything, was that your character has an awesome voice. Not only is it cool, funny, interesting (all that good stuff), but it felt very real and I think that's a major accomplishment as an author. I was impressed by how strong his voice was in the works of such a new writer. I can't speak for anyone else, but personally, it's my belief that that realism is what makes stories great and it shows that you have a lot of potential.

    The rest of your story is also pretty good. I like that you went beyond the character of a Pokemon trainer (which so many people use) and went with the profession of a police officer, something most people don't consider when thinking about the Pokemon universe. Originality makes graders happy. It ended up leading to a well paced story that I found a fun, short read (even though it took me a while to grade ;-; Forgiiiiive me). Your prose is also smooth and well developed, which is also impressive. Battle was well done, not boring. The Panpour riding Herdier like a cowboy was a fun image.

    Overall, the only thing I have to say is that in later stories where you go for more difficult Pokemon, try to make the plot more complex, though for a Medium level Pokemon what you have now is fine. Plus, I can sort of see where you might be going for a chapter story here. I get that the first chapter might not exactly be an epic saga of good and evil. So yeah, awesomesauce.

    Grammar:

    I didn’t grow up wanting to become a cop, and it wasn’t the family business.
    You don't need a comma before 'and'.

    Neither of us had given much thought to what we’d do in the future, and it was almost time to graduate.
    Same as above.

    Actually, you better, you borrowed them anyway
    'You' should be 'You'd' since it needs to be past tense.

    First the creature made eye contact with me, and if I didn’t know better, it was a look of approval, like I made the right move.
    There's some comma splicing here so I'd break this up into a couple of sentences.

    Other than those couple comma problems, your grammar is impeccable (and commas are tricky beasts anyways). Good job ^_^

    Details:

    Detail was another place you did pretty well in. All of the Pokemon and scenes were well described. I would have liked more description of the human characters. I know it's difficult to insert a description of your main character if the story is in second person, but considering his personality, it wouldn't be too off for him to talk about his "good looks" (whether he's being sarcastic or not is up to you ;D). Just something brief like that.

    Delving more into senses other than sight would be good too. What things sound like, smell like, how they feel, etc. As far as emotional responses to stuff go, you're good. I particularly like the scene where the trainers react to the Instructor's suggestion that Pokemon might be killed.

    Length: Yeah, you're fine.

    Outcome: Panpour... captured.



    Not a tough decision at all ^_^ Keep up the good work.
    I speak four languages, help me practice please
    Hablas conmigo en español, por favor
    Vous parlez avec moi en français, s'il vous plaît
    我正在学中文

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