The grumble of a dying diesel engine perforated the still calm of the golden sunrise. A battered white van wearily backed up the edge of the beach and as the rear tyres brushed the sand, the engine fell silent. The doors clattered open and a pair of men clambered out and heading for the back of the van, slammed the doors behind them. Opening the back of the van with a grunt, the taller of the two, a well built bearded gentleman in his early 40s, motioned to his accomplice to head onto the beach itself. As the larger of the pair reached into the van, a silver saloon car pulled up next to the van.
A short blonde man sat at the wheel, sunglasses protecting his eyes from the glare of the low sun, a short sleeved white shirt and khaki shorts swamping his slender frame and basic pumps on his feet. His name was Curtis Wilde and he was the biggest name in nature television shows. He was here to record footage of the mysterious Great White Sharpedo that supposedly lurked in the waters beneath the Cliffs of Lilycove City. He reached into the glove compartment and retrieved a packet of cigarettes and a lighter, the sun catching the metal edges and refracting light around the car. He placed one in his mouth and lit it, inhaling the smoke deeply and closing his eyes.
“Oh great,” sighed the young man on the beach, “He's smoking again Robert.”
“Just means we've got to make sure this goes off without a hitch,” his senior colleague gruffly responded, heaving the last of the cases out of the van. The cases contained the camera and audio equipment required to film the morning's work and weighed well over 100 Kilograms each. He slammed the last one onto the sand, narrowly missing a dozing Corphish. The vibrations woke the crab with a jolt, it took one look at the men and scampered away.
After a few moments, Curtis opened the door to his car and stepped out onto the tarmac, flicking the stub of his cigarette onto the sand, he swiftly closed the door behind him, locking it as he did so, and walked across to his co-workers who had now set up the equipment. He removed his sunglasses and surveyed the ocean ahead of him.
“This thing better be out there,” he snapped, “We're on the verge of being cancelled because our ratings have been pathetic lately. Naturally that's all your fault for the terrible editing Vince.” He glared at the younger man who meekly looked down at his feet, trying to avoid the piercing gaze of his arrogant employer.
“Nevertheless,” he continued, “If we pull this off, then you two can expect a considerable bonus in your next wage packets. Even if I am doing all the work, I suppose I can be persuaded to be kind enough to allow you both a share of my profits. Now stop your loafing around and get in positions.”
With a snap of his fingers, Curtis walked out to the edge of the ocean, where the sands lay damp from the tide and turned to face the camera, removing his sunglasses, he paused.
“3, 2, 1, Action!” called Vince.
“Hello, and welcome to the Wilde Wayfarer, I'm your host Curtis Wilde and this morning I'm here beneath the cliffs of Lilycove City to bring you a special edition,” he stopped and smiled. In front of the camera he was a charming charismatic gentleman, capable of smooth talking his way out of any situation, a stark contrast to his usual aloof self.
“I've received word that the Great White Sharpedo has been spotted in these very waters, and we're going to go and meet the big guy, and show him just who's greater. Now,” he said, bending down to one knee, scooping sand up with his right hand, “What you can see here is wet sand, that's because the tide has just gone out. That's nothing special, but what is special is this.”
The camera zoomed in to show a sparkling dust amongst the sand in his palm, panned to Curtis' smiling face then return to the dust.
“This is Sharpedo skin, and as you can see it is a much paler colour than your standard Sharpedo. Obviously the big guy has been shedding lately and isn't exactly careful about where he leaves his mark. Now... Aaagh!”
Curtis screamed out in pain, his mouth releasing a stream of expletives. The camera panned down to his leg, which was now the victim of Corphish's Vice Grip. The nearly crushed crustacean had decided to exact a measure of revenge on the crew that had so rudely awoken it only moments before. You could almost see the smirk on the small Pokémon's face as it revelled in the pain it was causing.
Curtis batted the air above Corphish with his palm, trying to knock some sense into the Pokémon, growing more frantic by the second in his efforts to free himself. He finally caught the back of it's skull with his hand, forcing the creature to release him. He turned to grab the crab but was too slow, watching as it scuttled away into the ocean.
“You idiots! You let this happen to me! You better cut that out in the edit!” Curtis screamed at his staff, slowly rising back to his feet. His calf was red and swollen where it had been gripped, and he was incapable of putting his full body weight on it. His new found limp was not helping his mood, however it did arouse a slight chuckle from Vince and Robert.
Hobbling towards the ocean, Curtis called behind him,
“Now, time to get back to why we're here. I'm going to go into the ocean and see about finding the big guy. We'll be back after commercial folks.”
“Cut!” remarked an exasperated Vince, he needed to get control of the situation. “Mr Wilde, why don't you have another smoke before you head in? To calm your nerves after that?”
“That just may be the best idea you've had all year knucklehead,” retorted Curtis, “Throw me some down, and bring that breathing gear with you. I'm going under and don't really feel like suffocating today.”
Robert walked down the beach, carrying the aforementioned cigarettes and breathing equipment. He set down the oxygen tanks, hose and mask by Curtis' side and handed him the smokes and lighter.
“I suppose you'll be wanting the other camera now as well?” Robert enquired, knowing the answer he was about to receive before the words had even left his mouth.
“No, I thought I'd let you film me from on the beach with a magical x-ray camera while I'm 20 metres beneath the surface, of course I want the other damn camera,” Curtis snapped, lighting the cigarette and bringing it to his lips, “I swear, you two are the worst staff I have ever had to work with...”
Robert turned to go back to the van, muttering under his breath “We're the only staff who have put up with you for more than 1 episode. I'm glad that Corphish got you, Karma's a...”
“Camera?” asked Vince, cutting Robert's inner monologue off.
“Camera.” came the response. The two men lifted the submersible camera from it's crate and carried it down to the ocean's edge. They waded into the cool water to where it covered them almost to their knees and carefully laid it to rest on the surface.
Curtis had stripped off the shirt leaving his skinny, undefined chest bare, he had removed his footwear also, leaving only his shorts. He leapt into the water, lit cigarette still in his mouth, spitting it out as it extinguished under the waves. Coming back up to the surface, he demanded his breathing equipment. Vince set the main camera rolling once more as Robert assisted Curtis with putting the heavy oxygen tank onto his back. Checking that the oxygen was flowing, Curtis turned to the camera for a final time.
“Welcome back guys, I'm ready to go under and find Sharpedo's lair. There's bound to be all sorts of beautiful Pokemon and scenery underwater, so I've got my man here to bring this other camera that will be tied to my foot, so that it follows me at all times, letting you see everything that I witness,” he paused for a moment as Robert secured the camera to Curtis' foot, “It won't be easy for me to talk now, but you all know that a picture says a thousand words.”
Having secured the all clear, Curtis waded further out until the water was up to his chest height. He put on the breathing mask, checked that it was secured and dove beneath the surface of the ocean. The sand here was a brilliant golden colour, almost to the point of being white, the deeper he swam, the brighter the surrounding plants became. He could feel the currents washing over his body as schools of Remoraid rushed past him, one brushing against his calf and causing him to wince, it was still sore from the Corphish's cowardly clamping.
There it was. He saw a white shape below. He turned to the camera and motioned towards the white mass on the seabed. This was it, the pinnacle of his career. He slowly descended towards it, reaching out to touch it...
An eye opened. But not where Curtis was expecting it. It was a lot nearer to the middle than it should have been. Curtis realised his mistake. This was no Sharpedo. It was a Mantine laying on its back. He'd been fooled. He put his face into his hand and turned around to the camera. He froze still.
Back above surface, Robert & Vince were half watching the coverage from the camera, their minds wandered, preoccupied by their worries of losing their jobs. If they had been paying attention to the screen, they would have noticed that the camera was rising up through the water, out of control. Not that there was anything they could particularly do to assist Curtis now, the current had dragged him over a kilometre away and there was no radio contact.
There was no camera in front of Curtis, just a Corphish. It had cut the line while Curtis had been preoccupied, and now was the time for revenge. The small crustacean grinned and darted past the bewildered and furious human. Curtis reached to grab it, he missed. Corphish placed his pincer around the oxygen line and waited to make eye contact. Curtis' green eyes welled up with fear, the first genuine emotion he had shown towards another life, that didn't consist of hatred or indifference, for a very long time. Corphish cut the line.
Curtis choked, water was rushing into his mouth from the cut line, he had to rise quickly. He kicked his legs as hard as he could to return to the surface. He held his breath, the oxygen in his lungs expanding. He needed to breath out or the pressure would kill him, but then there would be nothing to keep him going. Approximately halfway to the surface he had to release, he tilted his head down towards the ocean floor and exhaled as hard as he could, hoping to gain that extra bit of speed required. The world started to go black, his head was fuzzy and he was losing consciousness.
“Hey Carys, isn't that the guy off the television?” A young boy's voice called.
“Holy Arceus. It is!” came the female response, “He's been missing for a week. Quick! Matthew! Call for help.”
Curtis slowly came round, he was on a gravel beach. The sun was beating down on his battered limp body which was covered in stings from a school of Tentacool he had passed through. A teenage girl stood ahead of him, her attire indicated he wasn't on the mainland any more.
“Where?” he croaked.
“You're on the outskirts of Mossdeep City now Mr. Wilde.” the girl responded, “You went missing filming for your show last week. They broadcast what footage they had last night of you meeting the Sharpedo and being attacked by something. Everyone thought you were dead.”
Curtis smiled a weak smile, if they thought he had been killed, then it would have produced record ratings. And his triumphant return from beyond would make for great television as well. Hey, he could probably even score a book deal out of this. That little Corphish just may have been the best thing to have happened to him.