Target Pokemon: Frillish (Hard)
Target Length: 20k - 30k
Actual Length: About 33.5k
Time Period / Setting: Alternate Universe
Characters: Human Main
There is a slight discussion about how my rolls pertain to my story below, in a spoiler. Oh, and probably an M rating on this I guess, semi-frequent coarse language.
Biography of Allen Kristoffson
We all know of Allen Kristoffson, the man who led the charge against the scourge of the world – the deadly supernatural Pokemon beasts. He is widely credited as one of the most important and well-known individuals to ever walk the Earth, often put on par with the like of Albert Einstein, Princess Diana and Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, there is little information on this most enigmatic of people. Due to the strife into which he was born, there was precious little communication between nations, and most of the paperwork of which the bureaucrats are so fond has been lost or destroyed. What follows is some of what I have managed to piece together from my travels around the globe, and hopefully enough of Kristoffson's tale is captured so that we might forever remember the man who put an end to the Pokemon hordes.
Birth Certificate, circa 1977, eastern Romania
One of the few pieces of official documentation regarding Allen Kristoffson that remains intact is his birth certificate. Allen Kristoffson was born Allen Antai Vladmir in the port town of Magadan, on the eastern fringe of what was the Soviet Union (Russia) on the seventh of October, 1977. His father was named Kristoff Suvkhun Vladmir and his mother was named Anna Vraikou Vladmir. His birth certificate claims that he was nine pounds and seven ounces at the time of delivery, as well as one foot and 9 inches in length. This would mean that he was slightly above the average size, although not enough to be of note.
It is interesting to note that Kristoff Vladmir listed his occupation on the birth certificate as a “scientist”. Kristoff did not let his occupation be widely known, for good reasons that we will explore shortly.
The birth certificate was kept in the Magadan General Hospital file room. It would be left untouched for years in a file cabinet. The filing room was one of the few that survived the initial Pokemon attack on Magadan. Years later, a group of scavengers would find the room and stumble upon the birth certificate. The year of this event is unknown, but it was late enough for Kristoffson to be world-famous, because the certificate was taken as a trophy and traded between scavenger groups for food and tools. Eventually the birth certificate was bought by a warlord in eastern Romania for the price of two ruby rings and it remains in his treasure room to this day.
Interview with Alexei Cvkrai, present day (translated from Russian), New Magadan.
Greetings, Mr Cvkrai.
Come in out of the cold now, young one. The village is quite safe, but let us not push our luck, yes? Especially in the dark.
[Cvkrai ushers me inside and we take a seat at his table. He lights a match and looks at me expectantly.]
You claim to have known Allen Kristoffson in his youth, correct?
Indeed! Many claim I am lying, but I assure you I am not. I was living three houses down from the Vladmirs when they brought young Allen home from the hospital. It had not been an easy birth. Indeed, the doctors had feared that Anna might lose her life giving birth to the child.
And yet she did not.
No, and everyone was happy to hear it. Anna Vladmir was a pillar of the community. She was always happy and smiling and willing to listen to anyone's grievances. Her blonde hair was always particularly beautiful, I thought...
[Cvkrai seems to stare off into space.]
What kind of child was Allen Kristoffson?
Much like any other child, I suppose. He cried a lot to begin with. If Anna hadn't been so beloved I imagine there would have been quite a few more complaints than there were. It only got worse for poor Anna from there – when young Allen learned to crawl and walk he never stayed still. He was always climbing the furniture or walking out onto the street!
Did you ever have any direct contact with Kristoffson?
The first time I met him was when he found his way into my front garden. It was snowing, I remember, and he was wrapped up in a thick jumper as well as a hat with a bauble on top. Allen was a cheeky one – he picked up handfuls of snow and threw them at my house, just to hear the sound they made. Each time I would hear a crash and then a piercing giggle. I watched him from the window for a time, and even from inside I could see the piercing blue colour of his eyes.
Did anything ever strike you as strange about him?
Not at all. He was very much the average child. No one along the street would have guessed what he would grow up to become.
What did you hear about the Vladmirs moving?
Precious little. I had been close to the Vladmirs – closer than most of the community – and so one day they came to my door. They told me that they were going away and would not be coming back. I asked them why, and none would say. Anna looked like she had been crying. Kristoff said that he would try to warn me if the United States ever planned to attack Magadan and then left without another word. The community decided that Kristoff had gotten tired of living in the snow, but I always thought that something more was at stake.
And you never heard from any of them again.
Indeed. I heard of Allen Kristoffson, like the whole world did, but it was not until I saw a photograph that I recognised this legendary figure as little Allen Vladmir, the boy who lived down the road.
Thank you for your time, Mr Cvkrai.
My pleasure. Do not tarry on your way home, young one – there are still some Pikachu in the area.
Interview with Ben Anthony, present day, Cadillac, Michigan.
[Anthony sees me approach from his front porch. He immediately grabs a shotgun off of his table.]
You aint one of them Pokemon-loving freaks, are ya?
No sir, I am not. I'm the researcher who spoke to you over the phone.
Ah, that's right. Wanting to learn all about that Kristoffson feller. Well, ye've come to the right place. I'm the guy who gave the go-ahead on Vladmir's defection.
Kristoff's father, right? What's the story behind that?
That ain't any of yer business, yung'un. All you need to know is that Kristoff Vladmir was high in the Soviet R&D department and he offered to switch sides in exchange for amnesty for him and his family. We brought him over on secret in a small boat, and the tech advancements he gave us kept the US ahead for the rest of the Cold War.
Did you ever have contact with Allen?
I was at the dock to greet the family when they arrived. He seemed like any other defectee child – tired, confused and scared. I put them in a taxi and that was the last I ever saw of them. I only handled defectee transport – when they stepped onto land they were someone else's problem. The next time I heard of Allen Vladmir he'd changed his name to Allen Kristoffson and was causin' all kinds of trouble for those fuckin' beasts.
Thank you for your time, sir.
Yer welcome. Now get going, I ain't got time to shoot the breeze with ya.
Year 7 report card, circa 1990, PHO Head Office, California
The year 7 report card given to Kristoffson's family was found in their house after the Pokemon Crisis. It survived being destroyed or looted because it had slipped behind a cabinet in the study room. It is slightly charred and ripped but has survived relatively intact. It can be found today at the head office of the Pokemon History Organisation. Below is a transcript of the report card.
English: B. For a second-language English speaker, Allen is first-rate. He can conjugate verbs and use punctuation correctly nine-tenths of the time. His accent can occasionally get in the way but he has made great progress.
Mathematics: A. Allen shows great proficiency in the field of mathematics. He has mastered the use of the quadratic formula and advanced algebra, way above the required standard. I am recommending him for the advanced class next year.
Science: A. I am pleased with Allen's quick understanding of the many different fields of science. He particularly enjoyed physics, although he did almost as well in biology and was very much above a pass-grade in chemistry. He has an analytical mind that allows him to observe and deduce much about his subjects of study.
Physical Education: B. Allen is in top physical shape and enjoys all kinds of sports, fueled by his competitive nature. His only flaw in this regard is that he will go against the orders of team captains if he doesn't agree with them. At this level, this is not a problem, but he will need to learn to respect authority in high school.
Art: C. Allen does what is required in this course but no more. His paintings are all very strange and they feature Russian writing prominently. For his final project he sculpted a large erect penis and refused to submit anything else.
History: B. Allen is knowledgeable on world history, especially modern European history. He was fascinated by the subject of World War II in particular.
Technology Systems: B. Despite some initial reluctance to use the woodworking facilities, Allen has developed into a capable young youth. He crafted an impressive looking wooden sword during the first term. In the second term, he quickly mastered the use of the school computer, although he says he prefers to work on paper.
Comments: Allen is a model student, marred only by occasional stubborn streaks. He appears to have no close friends, although he is quite well-liked by most of the children and is welcome in the schoolyard games that they play.
Interview with Ellen Cooper, present day.
Greeting, ma'am. I'm the one who spoke to you over the phone.
Oh that's right, the reporter working on the Allen Vladmir book. Come in, come in.
[She ushers me inside.]
Mrs. Cooper, you just called him by his birth name, Allen Vladmir. Is there a reason you don't refer to him as Allen Kristoffson?
Not really, I suppose. Whenever I think of the hero that saved us all, I don't think of a smart young man in a lab or a soldier fighting on a battlefield, I think of him in the way I first met him – a young teenager in a hospital waiting room. Scared and with red eyes, like he'd just finished crying. He and his father were waiting on the results of Anna's surgery. I was one of the attending nurses, and I was there when the surgeon told them that she didn't make it.
Why was Anna Vladmir having surgery?
According to Kristoff they had been having dinner when Anna suddenly collapsed. They rushed her to our hospital and we took her into the emergency surgery at once. We soon found out that a blood clot had moved up into her brain. Sadly, there was nothing we could do to save her, it's just one of those things. I'm not sure why a young woman like her had a blood clot – just bad luck, I guess.
What was Allen's reaction?
It was one I didn't see very often. Initially he refused to believe us, despite his father breaking down into racking sobs. He thought it was some kind of trick or that she was just faking. Allen refused to go anywhere until he saw his mother. He sat down cross-legged on the floor and did not budge. His father tried everything from bribing him with candy to yelling at him to forcibly pulling on his arm. In the end we escorted him into the surgery. His mother was covered by a white cloth that exposed nothing except her face. Kristoff started crying again but Allen did not. He walked over and touched her face gently, like a child would caress a puppy. Allen turned to us and apologised for the way he had acted and then walked calmly out of the room. We were considering sending for psychiatric help but Kristoff said that it wasn't necessary.
Did you ever see Allen again?
I didn't, no. We sent a therapist around to their house a week later. I talked with him afterwards and he said that Allen seemed within acceptable standard deviations. He did note that the young man seemed driven, focused on something although he could not find out what.
Some people claim that Allen was mentally ill, and that this was in fact the reason why he persevered despite long odds. Do you agree with this?
Not at all. It was a strange reaction but one that I understood. Allen was one of those people who need to see everything for themselves. They try to control what they can and don't worry about what they can't. Maybe that was what helped him become the man he was – his personality, I mean. He definitely wasn't sick in the head or anything.
Do you think this event helped Allen become who he did?
I don't know if I'd go that far. What he did required bravery and commitment, sure, but the death of a mother doesn't really inspire that. Maybe this was the first time he ever had to stomach something and keep on going, but if anyone who had to live through a parent's death gained the strength Allen had, we would have ended the Pokemon Crisis a lot sooner than we did.
There is no more evidence of Allen's existence until after the beginning of the Pokemon crisis. Rather predictably, almost as soon as it began, communications went dead. The Internet was not widespread in the public sector and telephone connections were not nearly as robust as they should have been. People remained woefully ignorant as the Pokemon attacks spread across the entire world in a matter of days. Chronologically, the next sign we have of Allen's continued survival is a scribbled-in textbook.
Used copy of Fundamentals of Physics Extended, Seventh Edition (Halliday, Resnick, Walker) circa 1997, Pokemon Museum, Kentucky
The initial chapters of this textbook are quite normal, if slightly dog-eared. However, in the chapter on Thermodynamics, there are some scribbles in the margins. Initially, they are nothing more than vague shapes, but as the book progresses they resolve into very familiar shapes. Some feature squat quadrupeds with plants on their backs. Others were similar to birds but with long flowing tails. At the time, people would call them the drawings of a bored student, but now we recognise them as Ivysaur and Pidgeot and other Pokemon. It's not quite sure when exactly these drawings were done, but as the chapters progress into Electromagnetism and Optics the drawings become less than sketches and more like diagrams. A few of the sketches feature things like locations of innards, weak spots, and points of interest. At one point he notes that smashing a Staryu's gem blinds it. A couple of pages later he details how spraying a Magcargo with a hose will temporarily incapacitate it.
In the final chapter on Spatial Relativity, the sketches stop and Allen starts writing notes about something called “the K Project”. Unfortunately, the final pages have been ripped out, apparently in a hurry.
The textbook was apparently carried around with Allen almost wherever he went. It was found in a rucksack in a United States Air Force base, in the washroom. The backpack itself was charred but the contents were in fair condition. The textbook itself remains property of the United States Air Force, but it is on permanent loan to Pokemon History Organisation's main museum.
It is interesting to note that Allen's handwriting frequently slips into entirely capital letters, and he writes his capital Rs backwards.
Security camera footage from a food store in Anaheim, California
The following is a transcript of a video tape recorded by a security camera inside a 7/11. The camera was left running when Anaheim was evacuated and it captured the following scene towards the end of its recording session. The tape itself was automatically ejected into a safety bin, where it stayed for years until the original owner of the store returned. He quickly recognized Kristoffson (having met him a year previously) and auctioned off the tape to the highest bidder, which turned out to be the Pokemon History Organisation. The clipping of the tape showing Kristoffson can be reviewed at their main museum upon request to those aged fifteen years or older, due to its adult content.
00:00 - The store is in slight disrepair. A few items are strewn on the ground and one of the windows looking onto the street has been smashed. A half-consumed pastie lays on the microwave station, obviously discarded in haste. The camera is a still one, and apparently mounted over the cashier station. The tape is coloured but with no audio.
00:08 - Two people stumble in through the broken window. Both are men, although one is clearly older. The older male is wearing an old doctor's lab coat and carrying a pistol of some sort. The other is wearing a university jumper and jeans and carrying a fire axe. Both are wearing backpacks and seem very quiet. They quickly check the store over before moving to the refridgerators.
00:13 - The young man finds the half-eaten pastie and sniffs at it. He is promptly scolded by the older man.
01:58 - Both of the men have consumed a bottle of water and multiple packets of biscuits. They begin to stash more bottles and food packages into the bags along with bandages, batteries and matches.
02:17 - A small purple orb suddenly begins to grow in the centre of the store. It appears to have physical attributes as it knocks over shelves as it expands. The older man sees it first and gives a shout of alarm. Both men grab their bags and attempt to edge around the walls of the store, heading for the exit.
02:38 - The orb stops growing. Both men are about halfway to the exit.
02:43 - Three Pokemon emerge from the orb. Two are dog-sized bees and the other is a purple jellyfish that appears to be floating in mid-air. The older man immediately begins firing at the Pokemon, hitting one of the bees and causing it to explode into a purple mess. The younger man pushes a line of shelves over, causing a chain reaction and pinning the jellyfish temporarily.
02:55 - The younger man is attempting to ward off the bee by swinging his fire axe dangerously. The older man is firing shots at the jellyfish, which is squirming underneath the shelf and lashing out with its tendrils. The bullets appear to have minimal effect.
03:03 - The bee is knocked into a wall by a lucky hit from the axe. The jellyfish sprays a blast of water from its mouth towards the old man. He is knocked over and loses the grip on his gun.
03:06 - The bee is decapitated by the young man with his fire axe. Purple blood is now staining the edge of the axe blade.
03:08 - A huge wave of packets scatters throughout the store as the jellyfish finally throws the shelf off. It hovers into the air and grabs the older man with two of its tentacles. The younger man slashes at the tentacles, chopping them off. This causes the Pokemon to rear back in pain and drop the older man. He points towards the microwave station and they both make a run for it.
03:12 - Both of the men reach the microwave station. The old man starts fiddling with it and the younger man turns back to face the jellyfish. It looks angry now, and is approaching the pair threateningly.
03:31 - The young man is hacking at the jellyfish's tentacles, but it is moving too fast. Finally the jellyfish spits a stream of water, and it hits the axe, sending it flying away. The young man attempts to tackle the jellyfish, but strangely, he passes right through it and lands on the ground.
03:38 - The older man smashes the microwave's screen with a knife and points it at the jellyfish. He presses the ON button. This causes sparks to fly at the Pokemon, who shrieks and backs up towards the orb. It flails out with its tenacles and grabs the old man, dragging him close.
03:42 - Sparks continue to emit from the microwave, which remains in the old man's hands.The young man is stirring on the floor but appears unable to get up. The old man says something to him before stabbing the jellyfish tentacle with his knife. The jellyfish recoils back into the orb, taking the old man with it. Upon making contact with the orb, the microwave starts emitting triple the amount of sparks, which travel all over the orb. They appear to forcibly contract the orb, making it shrink.
03:56 - The sparks have shrunk the orb into the size of a marble. Over the next two seconds, the orb disappears entirely and the sparks fizzle out. The young man stares at the centre of the store and begins to cry.
05:40 - The young man gets up starts scrounging around on the floor. He picks up the bags and the gun and goes over to the microwave station. There is a scrap of paper that he picks up and reads before shoving it into his jacket pocket. He then leaves the store, his shoulders still shaking.
Interview with Cindy-lou Sharee, present day, New York City
Hey soldier, what can I interest ya in?
I'm not a client, ma'am. We talked over the phone, remember? I'm writing the book on Allen Kristoffson.
Oh, that's right. 'ang on, we'll go sit down. JAKE, I'M TAKIN' A BREAK!
[She leads us to an empty table.]
So, when did you meet Allen?
It seems like so long ago. I was in a supamahket, tryin' ta find some mornin'-after pills. I knocked some onta the ground and I immediately heard one of them red fire-breathers growl nearby. My first instinct was to freeze up but instead I dropped to the ground an' started crawlin' for the exit. Bad move, though – the beast was smart, it was waitin' at the exit. It's eyes were soul-less, what I imagined a murderer's looked like, except I guess that murderers are killin' their own kind. For all I know, these Pokemon look on us as vermin, just like we see them.
Anyway, there I was, lookin' straight at this killin' machine and it was lookin' at me. I could kinda see the fire in its eyes flare. It opened its mouth and I knew I was about ta die. I closed my eyes and heard a sound, and I thought it was all over. After a coupla seconds, though, I realised I didnae feel like fried chicken. When I opened my eyes I saw the Pokemon on the ground. Its head was completely gone, almost like it had been chopped right off. Red blood pooled out of its neck onto the ground. I gasped, looked up, and saw him there. 'E was dressed in Army fatigues and holding some sort of rifle. It didn't look like any of Daddy's hunting guns, there was some kind of bar on top of it, and a fancy-lookin' scope. 'E looked at me with these beautiful blue eyes and asked me if I was okay.
Did he introduce himself?
Of course 'e did. 'E said 'is name was Allen Kristoffson.
Not Allen Vladmir?
[She looks at me with a confused expression.]
No, Allen Kristoffson. Look, honey, I was ready to drop my skirt for this guy faster than a deer can shit 'imself. I'm pretty sure I can remember 'is name.
So what happened next?
Not what I expected. Once 'e saw I was unhurt 'e led me out of the town. We didn't see many more Pokemon, just a couple small viney things. 'E clued me in on 'ow to fight them on the way in a hushed whisper, things like shoot for the eyes, move slowly and only fight in the light. Pretty much the secon' we got to the forest 'e wished me luck and got ready to leave. Now, I didn' wannae let 'im leave - 'e was the first capable person I'd met since one of them electric zebras killed Daddy - so I invited 'im back to my farm with the same look that got me all of my boyfriends. You know, lowered face, heaving chest, big eyes, the whole deal. It didn' work on 'im, though - 'e just smiled sadly and said that 'e might look me up after 'is job was done. It kinda hurt to be turned down, so I demanded to know what was so important he couldn't waste a single night on some wild fuckin'. I didn' expect an answer, but 'e gave me one. 'E told me that 'e knew 'ow to close the holes that opened up inta whatever hellish place the Pokemon came from. That stunned me so much that when I realised I wasn't home and safe yet, 'e was gone. I called out 'is name but he didn't respond, so I just went home. Thankfully I had slipped the pills into my pocket, or else I wouldn' be workin' here today.
Did you ever see him again?
Nah, I never did. Of course, I heard about him later on, but I still think about what a pity it was that he never came back to visit me. He looked like a fantastic bang.
Interview with Andrew Scholl, present day, South Dakota
Did you ever meet Allen Kristoffson?
Oh no, I never had the privilege. Sometimes it kinda seems like half of the USA was saved by the guy and I'm the only one out. I know quite a few people who met him, if you're interested in talking to them. I don't know how much I can help you, sorry.
Actually, I'm hoping to talk with someone who knew about Kristoffson but never actually met him.
Then you're talking to the right man! I remember the first time I heard about Allen Kristoffson. Our town was very left-wing in that we didn't approve of firearms. Because of this, the Pokemon attacks hit us really hard. We called for help from the military, but so did every other town, and we were told that someone would call the mayor within the week to organise an evacuation. Two days later, a group of those flying scorpion things took out the phone lines in the area. We waited for two weeks but no one ever showed up - I figured that they tried ringing back but decided that we were probably dead when there was no tone.
Well, we weren't. We took shelter in the community centre and only went out for supplies when there were few Pokemon in the area. Slowly but surely the police ran out of ammunition and we were forced to defend ourselves with baseball bats and shields made from garbage bins. We were frequently attacked by both the flying scorpions and big grey rhinocerouses that fired huge rocks from their mouths. The town was just considering making a run for it when we got word from the next town over. Turns out that this guy called Allen Kristoffson had passed through and taught them some tricks when it came to fighting Pokemon. They told us that the rock-firing Pokemon were incredibly averse to water. The very next day we sent our best fighters to the fire station, where they found an intact fire truck. Within five hours all of the Pokemon had been driven from the down by pressured blasts from the truck's hoses. Even the huge bees and possessed eagles didn't like being sprayed. Once they were gone, we were able to repair the phone lines and spread the information.
Even though Kristoffson never visited our town, it's pretty safe to say that without him, we'd all be dead. Either from starvation or being crushed to death.
How quickly did the information spread?
I don't exactly know. Even though we could fight back now, every day was still a struggle. It wasn't until the warp holes began closing and the Pokemon attacks lessened that we had time for idle chatter again. However, once the phone lines started going back up all over the country, advice from and stories about Kristoffson were popping up all over the place. One group said he taught them to use fire against the plant-kind Pokemon. Another of the more common rumours was how he took down a whole flock of bird Pokemon with a standard police taser. The most unbelievable one was about how he took down a huge leafy dinosaur beast by luring it into a giant meat freezer and then locking it in.
What I can tell you is that the entire United States knew of him. They all told stories of how this one, brave man fought back against the menace that others could just barely resist. In some he appeared from darkness, wielding a large machine gun which which he gunned down hordes of Pokemon. In others, he used a single pistol, firing only into the beasts' weak spots. Some rare few even spoke of a fire axe that Kristoffson used as a last resort, covered in blood of all different colours.
Word of Kristoffson and his almost clinical knowledge of Pokemon and their weaknesses even spread overseas. Russia, Australia, England - lots of countries began waging war against the Pokemon using the very methods that Kristoffson taught us despite him never actually leaving the US.
So would you call him a folk hero?
He's more than that. Kristoffson is a hero of the entire world. No matter your religion, your ethnicity or your politicial beliefs, you can see Allen Kristoffson as a brave young man who refused to be cowed by the Pokemon Scourge.
Interview with Boush Kahnifer, present day, Texas
Greetings, Mr Kahnifer.
That's Sargeant Kahnifer, buddy. I'll have you know I was on the team that closed the Chicago Hole.
I know, sir. That's what I was hoping to talk to you about.
Oh right, you're that little reporter bitch. I'm being paid for this, right?
If by paid you mean I'm picking up the tab, then yes.
That'll do, princess.
[He finishes off his pint and orders another.]
I assume you want to hear about the assault. That's what everyone wants to hear about. Not how I saved an entire town single-handedly, or how I fought my way from Seattle to Chicago. But whatever, it was Kristoffson's finest moment, and I can't blame all you pacifist pukes for wanting to hear about your idol.
One day he rocks up at the military encampment just outside Chicago and demands to be let in. Of course, initially he was laughed at and told to get lost. We weren't supposed to let anyone in, because the civvies had a bad habit of trying to lift our fuel and ammunition reserves. However, he didn't let up, and once he started hollering about knowing how to close those fuckin' holes the brass let him in. No one had ever been able to close the Pokemon holes - whenever one opened, Pokemon periodically emerged from them and started fuckin' up whatever was nearby.
He went into the officers' hall and stayed there for a good four hours. I have no idea what went on in there, but when they were finally done yammering the General came out. He wasn't actually a General, but he was in charge, so that's what we called 'im.
He said to us, "We have a plan to close the huge portal in downtown Chicago. Most of you have probably heard of Allen Kristoffson. He'll be joining our assault, which will be tomorrow at 0700. Get a good sleep tonight, ladies, because tomorrow there'll be some serious fucking-up to do."
Of course, we were pleased to hear that, and there wasn't much sleeping that night. The next day, we were still quite rowdy, but of course that died down out in the field. Even on the outskirts of the city there were roaming Pokemon. Those little yellow electric fucks were always huge ass-pains to kill - they were fast and their shocks hurt like my crack-whore wife's alimony cheques. They were only the tip of the 'berg, though. We got into the city, still in formation, and the big bastards started comin' out. Those huge ones with flowers on their backs, and the rock-snakes, and huge moths that spat fire.
One thing I will say about Kristoffson is he knew how to fight. He was up in the front lines like me, wielding a big M400 tac rifle and spraying bullets at everything that moved. When he ran out of ammo, he jacked open a fire hydrant and sprayed the rock-snakes, which they didn't like because they fled in terror. He even pried apart a few bug bastards with his fire axe. The entire time he never flinched, even when he was being burnt or sliced at or even the time a big dinosaur thing tried to eat him. He simply jumped to the side and threw a grenade into the fucker's mouth.
When we finally reached the portal, there was a huge army of 'em waiting for us. The sky was almost blotted out with dragons and birds and huge insects. If we had air support, they wouldn't have been a problem, but none of our jets were operational, and helicopters were too slow. The tanks at the rear of the column opened fire, and explosions started flaring in the sky. Kristoffson roared, and all of us did too, and we ran straight towards the big glowing thing. Pretty idiotic move, huh?
[He stops to drink.]
How big was the portal?
This was one of the biggest ones, pretty sure. I can't remember exactly, but it was at least four stories tall, and lit up purple like a huge neon light. Thank God they weren't all that big.
Anyway, we slowly made our way towards the portal. The air fight was going pretty well - the Pokemon had a hard time getting near our tanks, thanks to the 50cal gunners - but we were getting savaged on the ground. Most of the beasts were too fast, or too dangerous. There were some that ran around under the concrete, shaking our footing. Others breathed poisonous gas clouds, obscuring our vision. And I will never forget the human-like ones with the red helmets and the blades on their wrists - they danced through entire squads like it was a fuckin' luau. Still, through sheer firepower, we made it within ten metres of the portal. Pokemon were continually pouring out now, and sooner or later the tide was going to turn. Kristoffson pulled this basketball-sized device out of his backpack, and ran towards the portal. He ducked under a scythe, dodged a stream of fire, and then disappeared inside.
Most of the army stopped. They couldn't believe what they had just saw. Almost immediately, though, the ground started rumbling. Electric sparks pooled out of the portal and started to force it shut. The Pokemon all panicked and started to run away, and we couldn't gun all of 'em down. We kept waiting for Kristoffson to emerge and lead us onto the next portal, but he never came out. The glow shrank and shrank until eventually it disappeared.
Did you ever learn how he did it?
Yeah, the brass told us a couple days later. It was something to do with an EMP effect, some kind of electrical surge that the Russians had been experimenting with during some Cold War "K Project" thing. Apparently what's been declassified is all on the Internet, go Wiki it or something.
Was that the end of Allen Kristoffson?
Dunno. I know for sure that he hasn't been seen since, but I hear tales every now and again that he was lookin' for something (or someone) on the Pokemon side. And if there's one fuckin' bastard who can survive the hell-hole those beasts spawn in, it's Allen Kristoffson.
Okay, so just before I go into the roll discussion, I'd like to say that this story is heavily inspired by (and partially modeled on) World War Z by Max Brooks.
The first genre I noticed missing from the big list was Alternate History. Of course, I immediately went to the standard: how would World War II have been different if there were Pokemon? I decided that was a little bit too cliche for my liking, so I thought about it a bit more. I realised that another missing genre was that of a biography. Obviously I couldn't write an entire biography for a fictional character, but I decided that I could write a stripped-down version, and after pondering it for a while I decided to model it after World War Z, except with a little bit more mystery. Well, maybe mystery is the wrong word - in this story, readers are supposed to try and draw lines between each of the little excerpts as opposed to all the facts being laid out straight.
Anyway, I think this story fits the "Other" Genre because it's a stripped down Biography, with undertones of Alternate History (if alternate history starting in the late 1990s counts).
Time Period / Setting: Alternate Universe
This one is a little harder to justify, but I suppose it is an alternate universe in two ways. Firstly, the whole Pokemon invading our world thing - that's pretty different to any existing Pokemon universe, or in fact, our own. Very different, in fact - there are very few canon Pokemon universes in which Pokemon and humans aren't allies, let alone downright enemies. The only exception I can think of is the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. Secondly, EMPs closing down interdimensional wormholes: yeah, I only slightly pulled that out of my arse.
Characters: Human Main
Well, this one is pretty obvious. You can say the main character is either Allen Kristoffson or the biography author - either way, they're both human.
I hope you enjoyed my story! ^^
19th May 2013, 07:18 AM
Re: Biography of Allen Kristoffson [WaR]
Okay, (checks watch that marks many weeks of not doing anything) I should probably grade something.
19th May 2013, 07:31 PM
Re: Biography of Allen Kristoffson [WaR]
“Biography of Allen Krisoffson” grade. I feel so rusty it is ridiculous. Let's see if I remember how to do this!
Intro: Your intro is pretty interesting. Right away readers are introduced to this mystery of a man who apparently helped solve a conflict with Pokemon, who are also revealed to be antagonists to this world. You establish that the story is told within the real world as we know it, combined with Pokemon. Some dude is trying to piece together this guy's story, since so little is known about him.
Your beginning does pretty much everything its supposed to do as far as establishing setting and tone the tale is going to take. I do like it. However, I am going to dig a little deeper, since I know you're an experienced writer and I want to help you improve as well as because you're targeting a Hard-ranked mon.
“Some dude” goes back to my first point. Who exactly is trying to write this book? What is the author's name? Does he have any credentials or is he researching for the fun of it? Why is he trying to find this out? Is he a long-lost relative or something? Are the Pokemon still semi dangerous (since you mentioned them in passing later on in real time)? Do you get what I'm saying? The readers know that some guy is trying to create this story about this Kristoffson hero, but other than that, we don't really know anything about him at all. While this creates a little bit of mystery, some hints as to why he underwent this daunting task would've been nice (and also could've created a twist! Depending on the reason). Short comments could've gone in your brackets, or even in small summaries at the beginning of the sections if you wanted to go into how he arrived at his next destination, etc. His qualifications could've also been added to the beginning paragraph (ex: As a researcher of _____ for _____ long, I've decided to...).
Other than the lack of information about the author, I liked your intro. It did what it was supposed to do by highlighting key points while not spoiling anything. I think it definitely draws readers in.
Plot: This is definitely an interesting concept you've got going on here. You're right when you say that most stories don't depict Pokemon as the bad guys. I've only seen a few other URPG fics that do that (mainly Jess's “Continuum”, but there could be others I missed), so I'm glad you went outside the box with this one. I liked the consequences that went with Pokemon actually being more animal-demon-like than friendly.
I will say that the Frillish probably could've gone into the story a little more. Not everywhere, mind you, since that would've made it seemed forced, but the end could've been a nice place for it. I say this because Kristoffson presumably disappeared into the portal to look for the guy that had disappeared on the store tape, and they had been fighting a Frillish too. I think that putting another one there that Krisoffson had to face would've made it symbolic and established that connection even more than the army guy saying Kristoffson was looking for someone. That being said, I do think the Pokemon was in the fic an acceptable amount because of those later events.
I did wonder, though: nobody else thought of how they could fight back? Nobody tried burning the plants or washing away the ground and rock monsters? That Kristoffson was the only person in the entire world that figured this out kinda seems a little farfetched, especially when people are desperate. Even if he was the most notable one, it probably coudl've been mentioned that others had tried, but he had just been most effective. I will buy that he and the other man were the only ones that thought of closing the wormholes, since that's Science-major stuff he specialized in, but nobody figuring out some of the basic common sense techniques seems a little silly without a good reason.
I did like the scheme of this story a lot, though. Vignette collections are among my favorite types of books, since they're short and sweet, and it's up to the reader to piece most of the events together. I think that this one flowed pretty nicely, from snippets about Kristoffson's past to what became of him. It definitely made me interested in reading more stories like this, or even writing some my self. I know you said you thought it was on the long side already, but I think it could've been even longer if you wanted to. I would've kept reading. It was that interesting.
Detail/Description: The type of story you chose to write doesn't really cater to long descriptions, and keeping that in mind, I think you did a good job of including what detail and description that you could. It was mostly in the little things that I enjoyed the most—such as Kristoffson writing his Rs backwards. The bit with the convenience store tape was also well done, as that gave you a little more wiggle room to describe the shop too.
I think you could have included more if you had expanded on your brackets, though. I liked the ones you included, but most of them were brief, and they were far and few between. I do wish there had been a few more of them, like perhaps joining a majority of the segments, or that they had been longer.
I think these brackets might've been a good place for the author to reflect on his findings and make connections to other segments of the story, too. While leaving that entirely up to the reader is mostly good, some people need things spelled out for them a little more clearly for them to enjoy it fully. Not everyone wants to do deep thinking about it (which is a shame), since a lot of them read to be entertained. A little exposition here and there could help paint the picture of the settings and other characters the author is visiting as well.
Now I want to get into one of the only problems I had with your story, and that is some of your characters. In particular, I'm referring to the guy from Cadillac (which I laughed at), the lady in New York City, and the military man at the very end. The main problem with these were the stereotypes reinforced by them, and that was mostly through accents.
Now, don't get me wrong, I think accents can add a lot of flavor to a story, and since yours lacked a lot of opportunity for it because of all the dialogue, they did work somewhat. I think that some of them were a little heavy, however.
Accents are very tricky. This is just my opinion, but less is more when it comes to them. If a character slurs a bit and say doesn't pronounce the g at the end of an -ing word, it's not always necessary to end the word with -in'. As long as you do it a couple times, the brain usually kicks in and creates and inner voice for that character, so that you can still spell some of them normally. Too many corrections for accents can make text frustrating to read, and you don't want to do that to readers.
That wasn't the big thing, though. I may be being too nitpicky, but be very very careful how you portray certain people, especially when you signaled out regions like this. You don't want to offend anyone. I wills ay, since I live in Cadillac, that probably only 3% of the people here speak with a southern drawl, which is the type of accent you gave that guy. You live in AUS, so you don't necessarily know that, but it kinda seems to be that a common misconception is that all Americans speak like that, which isn't true. I was going to ignore it and let it slide, but it happened two other times, with the other two characters I mentioned above as well.
From the first line, I knew the lady was going to be described as a whore. The army guy was pretty stereotypical as well. I'm not saying that these are bad, because they are definitely true in some cases, but when you can, its usually good to avoid using cliché character types like that, unless you're trying to make a point with it. This is mostly because they are a little flat and predictable, and you want readers to be interested in your characters. You also avoid insulting anyone if they happen to be from that area/have that mannerism. Also, as a side note, the lady was given a southern drawl, hood language, and a Scottish tint. 2/3 of those aren't very common in New York City, either. They have their own inflections.
While there wasn't anything too bad about it, just be careful. I wouldn't go around portraying Australians all as Crocodile Dundee types with snakeskin hats and machetes. That would alienate a lot of readers, and nobody wants that.
Other than that I liked what you did within your story constraints. It's definitely not easy making a story like this that actually flows and seems like a complete story, which I think you did accomplish.
Grammar/Mechanics: No real complaints on grammar or anything here, which is always nice. That lets me focus on the main story without getting distracted.
I will mention your formatting a little, though. I think that putting the reporter's questions in bold is a little distracting because your main headings are also in bold. I think perhaps the author's words might've been best left in plain text, and the other people answering him in italics, while leaving the bolded section breaks as are. The same thing goes for the bolded brackets—those could've been in plain text as well because the brackets already set them apart from the rest of the story.
It wasn't a super big issue, but my eyes were definitely distracted by all the bold, and it made me skip lines, causing me to have to go back in read when I hadn't meant to skip in the first place. I know that the type of story you wrote played into this set-up, and I think it works for the most part—it's just a little bit of formatting. Some other type of page break, like a line of hyphens (---) or something could've sufficed to space the sections apart as well. Just a tip for next time if you ever decide to do a story similar in style (which I highly recommend because this was pretty cool).
One other thing I'll note that's sort of on the mechanics side—be careful of repeating words. While it's not a big deal, there were a few places where you used the same words in close proximity to each other. It makes you sound like you're repeating yourself a bit, so just be careful of that. These were words that were in the same or immediate following sentences. I'm a bit OCD about that in my own stories, so I thought I would point it out.
Length: Frillish is Hard-ranked, giving you a target range of 20-30k. I counted 33,849 so all is well.
Reality/Miscellaneous: Nothing really to note here, other than some minor things. I covered the rest of everything above, I think. These are random and had no impact on my decision about your story, either, just some things to know for future reference.
Your hypens should actually be dashes instead, physically connected to both letters that it bridges. Instead of – like – this, they should've looked—like—this. Hypens are actually shorter than EM dashes (which are the correct way to format it), and serve different purposes. Most word processors will automatically create an EM dash for you—all you need to do is type two hyphens right after the last letter, and then with no spaces, keep typing. The processor will merge the two.
Also, as a reminder, book titles go in italics. You mentioned one without punctuation. Short stories like this are in quotations.
/random typography powers go!
Overall, I think this story was very well done. I felt all areas were strong, especially considering the format and style you were limited to by your story prompts. I also had a lot of fun guessing what Pokemon were appearing from the descriptions you gave, like Bisharp. I enjoyed it immensely.
I've been out of grading for a little bit, so if something I said didn't quite make sense or you want to dispute it, hit me up.
Prompts: Now onto the part you really wanted to see.
Genre: Other. I felt a little sorry for you when I saw you got this one, since thinking of a new category isn't easy. However, I think it worked out quite well. Biography is definitely something different than the other genres, even if it was a watered-down version. I think you fulfilled this prompt neatly.
Setting: Alternate Universe. This one, pertaining to your story, could be seen as an alternate of our real world or an alternate of the Pokemon's world because of their nature. Either way, I think it fits what the prompt was asking for. Things are not as they are normally, but it's not a pure crossover with another fandom either.
Character: Human Main. Like you mentioned, this could either be the author of the story or Kristoffson. It fits the requirements.
This means that you can claim a Hard-ranked Pokemon as your Write-a-Roll prize! However, you cannot claim this additional Pokemon until the contest is over, on the 31st.