A Hero's Heart [SWC][Graded]
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  1. #1

    Default A Hero's Heart [SWC][Graded]

    A Hero's Heart

    Blinding lights illuminated a neutral hallway that stretched down a long corridor with large windows. People with long white coats and blue surgical masks walked the matching white, tiled floor. Sterile rubber, methanol, liquid medications, and faintly blood were mixed in the frigid pool of air that filled the hallway. Behind one of the large windows a busy scene unfolded; two patients were lying down on operating tables while the multitude of surgeons, nurses, techs, and anesthesiologists chaotically bustled around the room, working frantically. In the middle of the slurry of medical equipment, blood, and personnel a taller surgeon stood between the two patients. Their chests were open wide; one was bloody, body twitching, lungs inflating and deflating, and the other was clean, but still.

    The calm surgeon cut the last vein from the still body and held it. Other surgeons and techs snipped the live heart out of the convulsing chest quickly as the calm surgeon buried their hands in the patients empty chest. They placed the heart in the right position and the medical team dove in to staple and reattach the heart. Commands were shouted, medical machines beeped and shrieked, but the main surgeon remained calm. The team succeeded in reattaching the heart and they surged it with some electricity while eying the monitor as if it had hypnotized them. A pulse beeped... then another... finally a steady heart rhythm was restored and the team relaxed in a simultaneous sigh.

    They continued to close the chest of the living patient, while a nurse covered the still body next to them with a surgical blanket. They finally finished suturing the patient, gave them a shot of morphine, and took them off of the anesthesia as some of the personnel started to disrobe their surgical attire. A tech looked up through the main surgeons glasses at their sea green eyes and said,

    “Good job, Dr. Duszasky. Another heart transplanted, another life saved. That child will grow up and be something, be someone someday because of what you did here today.” The tech glanced over at the body of the other child, still covered and waiting to be taken to the morgue. “Too bad that other kid got hit by that car and died, but lucky for this other kid his parents were generous and allowed us to use his heart.” Dr. Duszasky looked back at the deceased child while taking off bloodied gloves.

    “Yea, Jeffery, it's a shame,” Dr. Duszasky said while taking the hair net off revealing long, curly blond hair, “but we saved a child's life today, one who would be dead like that one over there if it weren't for us.” As she turned back, her long cheeks rose around her sharp, pointed nose and the recognizable muscle change behind her mask made it obvious to Jeffery that she was smiling.

    “Well, you're a hero Helen; Helen, a hero of hearts!” Jeffery chuckled at his bad alliteration. He turned and left still huffing from the poor pun leaving Helen alone in the operating room. She turned back and looked at the still, silhouetted body and then at her hands. They were a little larger than average, which made them perfect for heart surgeries, but they carried a sense of weight with them. They've made changes in so many lives; they've saved lives, help improve lives, and all within a few decades of school, training, and shadowing.

    “I held a heart today...” she thought to herself, “... a heart that belonged to a human child, but God decided to return that child to His kingdom... maybe to save this other child. These hands... held a heart.-” Helen snapped from her trance. She turned and went to the body of the dead child and lifted the blanket. She looked at his face, broken from the accident, and his mangled chest.

    She was about to leave when something slightly rustled from the child's waist. She looked down and found three Pokeballs attached to the waist of the child; he was a Pokemon trainer. One of the balls shook a bit, stopped, then shook again. Helen looked around to find no one there, no one to witness her pulling the blanket over the child and leaving without taking the Pokemon. The room was still with silence, only bothered seldomly by the sound of something rocking back and fourth in a Pokeball.

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    Helen walked home from the hospital. She didn't live too far away and the weather was warm with few clouds mirroring the climate of her homeland: Poland. While walking the cracked sidewalks of the old neighborhood, Helen noticed a few homeless children begging for money. The impoverished children wore ragged clothes, were not bathed, and held a tin can with “help us please” written poorly on it. One of the children reminded her of her youngest son. She smiled sweetly, reached into her pocket, and gave the patchy children some dollars. Their faces lit up with joy and they ran off to spend their new fortune. Helen kept walking, but now with a small skip in her gait; she felt charitable, lively, and her soul warmed by selfless bliss.

    She was almost halfway to her house when she passed another group of unfortunate youths, expect these were Pokemon youths. A Combusken, Tyrogue, and a Scraggy looked up at Helen. They too had a tin can, however instead of writing, it had scribbles. The Scraggy's eyes gleamed with hope as Helen studied it. It looked almost familiar, resembling a person she knows and loves, but she couldn't quite think who. Helen's face turned to disgust as she looked at the Pokemon. They held the tin can out to her, politely pushing for a charitable donation. She scoffed and quickly walked around them, feeling no pity for the starving Pokemon, but did have a sense of wrong in her.

    “They're only Pokemon,” Helen justified to herself, “they're not like people. They can't speak, or write, or save people like I do. They are pets and are used for tournaments by professionals. That's it, that's all they are.” She gave out a large sigh, as if all of the wrong she had just done escaped her body through her nostrils. She continued her stroll and reached a large brick apartment complex.

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    Helen sat sipping tea from a mug in a clean, white kitchen dressed with stainless steel appliances. A Large window in the loft let the sun beams pour onto the beige carpet of the living room. Her loft screamed wealth and importance, cleanliness and sterilization; it had little color, but was bright, smooth, and warm. Helen's loft reflected her personality even though she didn't plan it. The door to her loft opened and two little boys walked in with backpacks. Both children had the same curly, blond hair and sea green eyes like Helen.

    “Kids! How was school today?” She asked, turning to see the two most important things in her life. The taller, eldest child spoke first,

    “It was good, we learned more multiplication and had pancakes for lunch today.”

    “Yup!” The smaller child chimed. “We had pancakes, and they were awesome!” Helen listened intently with a smile as he continued, “Then, uh then we had a visitor!”

    “Oh really? Who?”

    “It was that one guy, who challenged the Elite 4 last year, but didn't win. He got to like, Lance and then was CRUSHED!”

    “It was Brian Jameson, mom.” The eldest clarified. Helen nodded and looked back at her youngest.

    “So what did he do, Liam?” She asked, interested.

    “It was so cool mom! He showed us his Venusaur and then his Kabutops, and then he showed us his Beartic! He talked about how he got them, what they had been through, like their adventures training and stuff, and THEN he showed us some cool Pokemon moves he taught them! Like Aqua Jet and Night Slash, a Razor Leaf attack, it was awesome!” Liam ran around making whooshing, and explosion sounds reenacting what he saw at the school assembly that day. Helen giggled as she watched enthusiasticly. Liam sat his backpack down and started to unzip it as he continued, "Then afterwards, he asked us some questions about Pokemon, and I was the only one who got all the answers right so he gave me this!" Liam reached in his backpack and pulled out a small, white and blue bear Pokemon. The baby cub Pokemon had some frozen snot hanging from its nose and it scratched its eye with its paw.

    "It's a Cubchoo mommy!" Liam exclaimed enthusiastically, holding the snow bear Pokemon in the air proudly. Helen's eyes widened and her smile disappeared. She wasn't sure how she felt about Liam owning a Pokemon. She didn't truly like them, and she new that; it wasn't because something had happened to her, she just felt uneasy around them and it was obvious.

    "They just, gave you this Pokemon?" Helen questioned. She couldn't believe the school would just give her son a free Pokemon like that.

    "Yea!" Liam said as he pulled in the Cubchoo, hugging it. Helen looked down and rubbed her forehead. She looked back up at her son and said,

    "Well, honey, you're only seven years old. I'm not sure if your responsible enough to have a Pokemon yet. I don't know why your school would just give you a free Pokemon, but maybe we should return it." She looked in Liam's eyes as his excitement dissipated. He looked at the Cubchoo, still embracing it, and started to refute his mother's wishes, but Helen continued her plea, "I just don't think it's time yet honey, maybe in a few years. Does he have a Pokeball?" Liam nodded and pulled a Pokeball from his backpack. He gave it to his mom and she studied it momentarily. She wasn't quite sure how it worked; she had never owned a Pokemon before.

    She pointed it at the Cubchoo and said, "Return Cubchoo." A streak of red light beamed from the Pokeball to the Cubchoo and the polar bear Pokemon faded into a red silhouette. It sucked the Pokemon into the ball and Helen pushed the button, returning the ball to a small pocket size. Liam looked disappointed and it made Helen feel awful. She only wanted the best for her son, only to make him happy, but she didn't think owning a Pokemon at his age was a bright idea.

    “Alright, alright. Go do any homework you have, then wash up for dinner. We'll review your work after that, then free time until bedtime, okay?” Liam nodded swiftly and ran off to his room saying, “Yes mom.” as he shut the door. Helen looked at her eldest as he rolled his eyes.

    “You too, Bradly.” She commanded as Bradly smiled and walked to his room as well. Helen watched in motherly love as the door shut and thought to herself, “I have no idea what I would do without these boys...” She solemnly turned to a picture frame with a photo of her, her two kids, and a tall man.

    “I miss you so much, Charles...” She whispered out loud, “I can't believe that cancer took you so fast... I miss you everyday, and I know the boys do too...” She looked in the eyes of her husband; he was tall, had black hair, blue eyes, a pointed chin, and best of all, great with the kids. He was everything Helen wanted for a husband; she remembered this and her eyes started to gleam with tears. She huffed and swallowed the lump in her throat as she wiped her eyes. Then she stood, placed the Pokeball on the counter, and got ready for dinner.

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    As Helen finished preparing the dinner, she watched the local news on a flat screen TV propped up in the kitchen. She continued to cook stir-fry and set the island as she listened to the newscasters.

    “In other news, by the Lincoln Memorial today, another group of protesters marched acclaiming the individual rights of Pokemon to be equals to people.” Helen raised an eyebrow and scoffed.

    “These people must be daft to think that Pokemon are equal to us. That's like saying a cow is equal to us.” She exclaimed herself out loud. “I bet all of those people are strict, vegan, wanna-be hippies”

    “This new group has been protesting for a few months and has grown quick in popularity.” The newscaster continued. “Over five thousand people joined the protesters today while approximately one thousand five hundred Pokemon protested with their trainers. It was estimated that two hundred fifty of the people protesting were Pokemon trainers. We now send you live to our very own Chet Everstein with an exclusive report with one of the protester.”

    “Thank you Diane.” The screen cut from the pale woman with perfect hair, to a tan, toned man with perfect hair. “I'm standing here with John Aldridge, a group leader and Pokemon Rights Activist. Tell us, John, why do you believe Pokemon should have the same rights as people?” Chet moved the microphone he was holding toward a lanky, rugged man with a dirty beard.

    “I new they were wanna-be hippies” Helen snarked at the television when she saw John.

    “Pokemon are our equals,” John started, “just because they are different doesn't mean they are lesser than us. We learned this through the ages in the woman's rights movement and the black rights movement. Some of these Pokemon are even smarter than some of us people! They're compassionate and only live to make a living, just like everyone else here in this country. This is the land of the free!” People behind John cheered out when he shouted the patriotic phrase. John nodded his head and continued, “These creatures live on the same planet, share our water and breathe our air, they have the same anatomy and bleed red like we do. We must share this life and world in order to live well. As a wise Pokemon once said: 'the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.' ”

    Helen stood in her kitchen watching the TV and thought, “maybe this hippie isn't as dumb as he appears to be...”. She glanced over at the Pokeball and wondered if the Cubchoo could hear her. She shook her head and whispered to herself, “Pokemon are still not our equals. That I know.” She turned off the television, and continued making dinner.

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    Helen served the rice, broccoli, onion, and carrot stir-fry as she called for her children to come eat. Both boys ran into the kitchen and sat on black stools by the island. Helen smiled as she served her kids, but noticed Liam's socks were a bit binding to his calves.

    “Honey, are you feeling alright?” She asked now realizing it wasn't that the socks were too tight, his calves were swollen.

    “Yea... just a little tired that's all mommy.” Liam sounded almost out of breath; Helen worried momentarily, but then decided she was probably overreacting to the situation.

    “You're frightening yourself Helen.” She thought to herself “He's probably fine. Most likely some edema from a long day on his feet and maybe too much salt in his diet. Yea, nothing to worry about, don't be that overprotective medical parent that sends their kid into the E.R. with the sniffles because you think it's pneumonia.” And with that thought cleared from her mind, she continued with dinner and the rest of her evening.
    Last edited by Ace Trainer Liam; 24th December 2014 at 02:22 AM.
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    Éirinn go Brách

  2. #2

    Default Re: A Hero's Heart [SWC][Incomplete]

    BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! Helen's pager when off vigorously on her bedside table. Her eyes shot opened, surged with adrenaline and sat up from her bed, ready and awake. She jumped out of her queen mattress and hurried every movement she made. Green scrubs lay waiting on the floor for just a moment, illuminated only by the glow of the pager and the moon from the large open window. Helen could hear sirens ringing in the distance; a few different ones were going off, which was strange. Usually only one ambulance would be dispatched unless there were massive casualties, like a pile-up, or a bombing. Helen made quite a bit of noise as she hurried to get out the door. As she was dashing out of her room ready to leave, Bradly stood in the hallway rubbing his eye.

    “Mommy? Do you have to go?”

    “Yes mommy has to go Bradly, look after your brother and make sure you get on the bus in time. I'll be home when I can.” And with that, Helen was out of the door.

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    When Helen reached the hospital she was greeted with a scene of mass chaos. Tons of injured people waited to be looked at while crying, bleeding, and holding their injuries with Kleenexes and their clothes. Doctors, nurses, and techs ran about trying to treat the next patient as they came. Some of the people had Pokemon with them and they were just as injured as the people were.

    “Dr. Duszasky!” A male tech came running through the sea of injured people. He waved at Helen as he called her. “Dr. Duszasky! You're needed immediately in the O.R. for emergency surgeries. We have multiple shrapnel in people's bodies; hearts need to be harvested, transplanted, and saved; people are dying; and we've only saved about half of the injured so far... these injuries are bad Dr. Duszasky.”

    “What happened to them Jeffery?” Helen asked as she fast-walked with him to scrub up for the O.R. Jeffery looked at the people, then down at the ground as he said solemnly,

    “It was a terrorist attack on the protesters outside of the Lincoln Memorial. They were camping out for the night, then around twenty minutes ago, at 2 A.M., a man stood from the crowd with a bomb strapped to an Electrode, proclaimed Pokemon were lesser than people, then blew himself and the Electrode up...” Jeffery looked around, but not toward Helen so he wouldn't show his watered eyes. “These people... and these Pokemon are just innocence looking for peace. None of them deserved this.”

    Helen was lost in thought about the incident while continuing scrubbing for surgery. She didn't agree that Pokemon were equals to people, but they shouldn't be slaughtered, terrorized, or even harmed. She went into the O.R. and performed surgeries to the best of her extent. After a few hours, Helen had saved around three lives, while helping four others rid their bodies of metal, wood, and various other shrapnel from the attack. She even found slivers of the Electrode in some of the people.

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    Helen waited for the next patient to be brought in after scrubbing down another time. Unexpectedly the nurses brought in a Pokemon on an O.R. table, ready to be operated on.

    “What's this? We don't perform on Pokemon here.” Helen questioned. She looked down at the Pokemon; it was the Scraggy she saw on the street the previous day. It had a slab of metal sticking out from its chest, right lateral to its lung. The Sraggy's breathing was sharp and raspy.

    “This Pokemon will die without surgery, Doctor.” Exclaimed the nurse who bought him in. “It's lung is punctured and if we do not take it out and drain its lung in time, it will drown in its own blood.”

    “I don't care,” retorted Helen, “I don't agree with what the terrorist did, but I'm here to help people.” That didn't sit right with another tech assisting in the surgeries as they said,

    “Dr. Duszasky, we are medical professionals, we are here to save-”

    “People.” Helen interrupted, now irritated with her team. “We are here to save people. This is a Pokemon, a creature that is captured, trained, and battled in tournaments by people.”

    “But,” the nurse continued to debate, “there have been researches done by doctors and scientist who believe that some Pokemon's anatomy is almost identical, even some have the same blood type as people. This Pokemon right here has O+, the universal blood donor type. We can take its blood- we could harvest its organs if you're going to just let it die!” The tech pleaded to Helen. However, Helen's face was stern, hard, and even cold.

    “No.” Helen said slowly. She stared deeply into the tech's eyes to emphasize her opinion on the matter. The tech backed down with remorse. “Now then,” Helen continued, “Bring me the next human patient so we can continue saving lives.”

    The surgical nurse left the room to get the new patient, but as she opened the door Jeffery crashed into the O.R. and said,

    “Dr. Duszasky- Helen... there's a child who has Congestive Heart Failure and needs to be operated on stat.” Jeffery paused for a moment to catch his breath. “And Doctor... this is a special case...” Helen looked at him with a puzzled look. He rarely called her 'Helen' in the O.R. and he seemed to be panicked, or troubled by the ensuing patient.

    “Why is this case so important and different than the-” Helen stopped mid-sentence when the O.R. table wheeled in with Liam lying on it. They rushed him in; he had extremely swollen ankles and calves and his breathing was sporadic and quick. “What... happened?” She said slowly, trying to perceive the situation without her motherly will taking control and throwing her emotional self into a hysteria. Jeffery scrubbed up as quick as he could while explaining,

    “Bradly said that when they got up this morning Liam was breathing heavily and felt excessively weak.” The techs and nurses did an ultrasound of the heart to get a better look at it while Jeffery continued, “His edema is terrible, shallow breathing, then syncope, he fainted in the loft apartment. Bradly called 911 and they brought him here. It became a quick priority on the transplant/surgery list, even without you being the on-call surgeon.” Jeffery had finished scrubbing up while Helen stood dazed by the news. The techs stopped moving the ultrasound picture around and one of them said,

    “There, that's the problem. Ventricular septal defect; he has a hole between his right and left ventricles causing blood to not be pulsed well throughout the body creating fatigue, shallow breathing, edema, and syncope. The hole has been exacerbated recently by something, some stress. If we don't perform soon he will die. Doctor, will you be able to perform?” Before Helen was able to answer one of the nurses chimed in,

    “How can we? We only have adult hearts to transplant with, none child size and we need one now if we want him to... well live.” Helen looked at her child, lying on the O.R. table and loosing a fight with unconsciousness. His eyes fluttered and his voice moaned and huffed between breaths. She glanced over at the Scraggy body that was still in the room and looked at the surgical nurse.

    “You said earlier that this Scraggy has type O+ blood, and that scientists have thought that some Pokemon are anatomically identical and we could harvest their organs?” Helen had a serious pain in her eyes; she and everyone else in the room new that either her child was going to die, bleed out during the surgery, or possibly reject the organ if Helen even attempted a transplant.

    “Yes,” the nurse replied, looking at Helen for a clue of what she was on to, “some believe it would be possible to do a Pokemon to human transplant... but, no one has ever attempted, or trialed this concept before, it was just a concept I was throwing out to save the Pokemon's life.” The nurse tried to talk Helen out of what she and the staff were thinking about doing, but Helen sharply turned toward Jeffery and said,

    “Prep the Pokemon to harvest its heart, if it's identical to a human's, we operate and wait later for an actual child's heart to replace it, if it's even necessary.” Helen scrubbed up quickly; washing her hands and forearms, putting a surgical hairnet and mask on, and pulling long rubber gloves over her large hands. Her surgical team looked at each other to see if the either were accepting the unconventional operation they were contemplating. They seemingly all agreed simultaneously as the broke into surgery mode; the nurses prepped both patients while the techs assisted with the instruments and tools. The anesthesiologist put a mask on Liam while a nurse set up medicine in his I.V. Helen wiped the glassy veil from her eyes with her biceps and calmed herself; she took a deep breath to focus herself for the surgery. Helen knew it was either this potentially malpractice and taboo operation, or to watch her youngest son parish.

    Helen worked on the Scraggy first; the nurses, tech, and the anesthesiologist worked on keeping Liam alive as his heart started to decline. Helen knew she had a time limit, but didn't want to lacerate an important artery or vein; the anatomy of the Scraggy was surprisingly extremely similar to a human child, but she wasn't going to take chances and cut anything important. Helen cut the last of the vena cava, the last appendage attaching the heart to the body. She cupped the heart in her large hands and transferred it to her son on the neighboring table. The team working on Liam was not quite complete opening his chest and removing his heart, so Helen waited, staring at the Scraggy's heart in her hands.

    She noticed how the superior and inferior vena cava were in the same place, same size even. The aorta was the same, all four chambers were the same, the visceral sac, the capillaries, the groves and trenches in the heart. She stood there holding this heart realizing it looked, felt, and was the same as every other heart she had ever held and transplanted. Nothing was different; if she had been handed that heart a few days prior with no knowledge that it was a Pokemon's heart, she would have thought it was just another poor child's organ. Life seemed different somehow, but Helen wasn't sure why. She was too enthralled that she was holding a heart in her hands, a biological machine that pumped with electricity and oxygenated fluid to nourish the body and vessel it served. Astonishing was the fact that she was completely convinced the surgery would be a complete success now. She had no doubt; confidence swooned her over and she was prepared to save her child's life.

    The team had been successful in taking the heart out of Liam. Helen quickly worked and placed the new heart into her child. They all worked quickly, efficiently, profusely, and executed the surgery completely. They surged the heart, and like many times before it pulsated; beating and pushing the vital blood through the body of Helen's son. They closed Liam's chest and gave him morphine. The team took him away to recover and left Helen in the O.R. alone with Jeffery.

    “It was wonderfully successful. It's working and his body seems to be okay with the new heart for now. You performed beautifully today Dr. Duszasky. Like I said before,” Jeffery paused to come closer to Helen, he placed his hand on her shoulder, “you're a hero Dr. Duszasky.”

    “No.” She said sternly, yet calm and still. “I only did my job. That thing-... that Pokemon over there is the real hero.” She was looking at the maimed body of the deceased Scraggy. “He unwillingly, unknowingly saved my son's life today. He was unlucky to live in a bad time for Pokemon, was in the wrong area, yet somehow seemed to have been meant to be here. That Pokemon was the true hero of today; an unknown hero, unrecognized, unforgettable.”

    Helen walked over and covered the Scraggy's body with a blanket. She placed a hand on the head, closed her eyes, and let a tear streak down her face. Jeffery was about to say something to her, but she snapped her gloves off and left the O.R. She knew that her opinion on Pokemon and their rights would be changed; she wasn't sure what her view was going to change to, but she knew nothing Pokemon related would be perceived the same to her again. “Maybe, they do deserve some rights, and maybe, just maybe they were equals. That Scraggy shared the same air, the same planet, the same city, and the same anatomy as her son, so why should it be treated as poorly as it had been.”

    Helen thought of the Cubchoo she had taken from her son. She had no idea if she should keep it, give it to her son, or simply give it away. Before she really didn't care what happened to it, but suddenly she started to care for the baby snow bear Pokemon. Her mind was jumbled, thoughts of 'what ifs' and 'what would happen if' raced in her head. It was almost too much, her world felt so large and uncontainable, but at the same time small and insignificant. Helen knew she would contemplate these thoughts for a long time, but decided at that moment to go and care for her son in recovery. That was her main interest and blocked the rest out of her mind for the time being; however, little snags of the issues kept creeping and slipping into her head. She continued to walk toward the recovery ward. "I know this isn't the end of all of this." Helen thought to herself as she entered the room where her son lay on the table; I.V. tubing and monitors beeping kept the room alive as he lay still. "If anything, it's only the beginning."

    Ready for Grading
    Pokemon: Scraggy, Cubchoo
    Level: Medium, Medium
    MCR: 20k
    Characters: Approx. 28.689k

    Last edited by Ace Trainer Liam; 20th December 2014 at 12:10 AM.
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    Éirinn go Brách

  3. #3
    Virbank Gym Leader WinterVines's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: A Hero's Heart [SWC][Not Graded]

    I said I was going to claim this, and then my net died for the majority of today and I forgot D: Sorry about that, and about how late it is. I'll have it done in a few days.
    ChainReaction 6:09 pm
    I quickly slammed the palm of my hand onto a butt
    Ranger | Grader | Ref | Curator
    AIM: WinterVines
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  4. #4
    Virbank Gym Leader WinterVines's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: A Hero's Heart [SWC][Not Graded]

    @Ace Trainer Liam; Sorry this took so long! I apologize if anything is worded strangely—it’s been a while since I’ve done a grade. Be sure to contact me if I was unclear!

    A Hero’s Heart Grade



    Intro: This was quite an interesting concept. I don’t see many medical fics in general, so this was definitely a nice change of pace.

    On the whole, I mostly liked the effect of your introduction. You set up the theme, around the medical procedure and this doctor, and even hinted at Duszasky’s disdain of Pokemon early on by showing her leaving the Pokeballs as a bad omen. There are only a couple things that I feel took away from that effect.

    One was the opening two paragraphs. You definitely get into the crazy details in the second paragraph with the actual transplant of the heart. The first paragraph does a great job setting up the location, but it’s a little standard and dry until the last sentence about the bodies with their chests open. That’s not to say that this is bad, because it’s not. Creating a setting is very important for readers; it’s just overly interesting to hook readers in. There will always be places like this in stories, but beginning with it isn’t the only option.

    I think in this case, and for future stories like this, it might be better to begin at the high point. You definitely portrayed a stressful situation going on, so milk that! What if the story began by showing two bodies with their chests gaping open and blood spurting up (like it said in the video)? Even beginning with a piece of dialogue while this is going on might make readers curious as to what is going on, and they may want to read more.

    For me, the first few lines of a story determines whether I will read it or not. I imagine other readers are like that as well, but if I don’t think the first paragraph is very interesting, I generally put the book down unless I have nothing else to do. A strong beginning is the first step in getting readers to stay and read the good story you told.

    There were a few miscellaneous things I noticed too, but they didn’t really impact the intro so much. First, it was a little confusing at first which heart was going to where. Since this is fiction, at first I maybe thought that the live person’s heart was being put into the dead person—after all, this could’ve easily been sci-fi/horror. I think just a few words for clarification would’ve been good to insert, mostly in this area:
    The calm surgeon cut the last vein from the still body and held it. Other surgeons and techs snipped the live heart out of the convulsing chest quickly as the calm surgeon buried their hands in the patients empty chest. They placed the heart in the right position and the medical team dove in to staple and reattach the heart.
    This is a very little thing, but in the bolded section, it’s been established that a heart has been cut out of each body. But because the readers don’t know who the “patient” is yet, it’s a little unclear which heart is good and which body is good, for lack of better terms. It’s my understanding that they put the still heart in the living person and have to jump start it. I think the wording just confused me a little. People in general associate live heart with live person. It also made me reread the beginning section just to make sure it wasn’t some sci-fi thing, which would’ve been cool but misleading as far as the rest of the story content goes. It’s not a major thing, but just be aware how sometimes wording can send off the wrong message—especially in something like the medical field, in which many readers won’t know much of the technical information unless it’s explained.

    The other question I had was if it was intentional to hide the doctor’s gender. This was also not a major thing, but I was just curious if there was a reason for it. While it’s true there are stereotypes and all that about successful women in important jobs, I don’t really feel it serves a big purpose as the reveal isn’t really grand or anything. If anything, it jarred how I imagined the scene and made me reread it while envisioning a different person in the surgeon’s role.

    You certainly can keep gender hidden if that was your point, but in that case, I think it could’ve been emphasized a little more—maybe a line or two about how she was that hospital’s first successful woman surgeon or something along those lines to establish that obscuring her on purpose had a point (particularly since you used details like “looking into their eyes” as a gender neutral pronoun). This also would’ve fit in with your later plot about protests and mentioning women’s rights. If you wanted her gender to be important, it could’ve definitely been fluffed up a little—I think most readers will gloss over this as it is.

    Overall, I think your intro did what it needed to do for Medium rank. Just be careful about wording and keep in mind using high-energy details to hook readers into your stories right away.

    Plot: The underlying theme of blending the Pokemon lifestyle with regular, “real life” jobs was very interesting. It provided a nice contrast, since us fans don’t really think about what non-Trainers do with their lives much. You set up this world mirrored after real life as well by implying they were in America in the “land of the free” and name dropping the Lincoln Memorial. The story was really less Pokemon-like and more realistic, which is also a nice change.

    That being said, there were a couple places in which that world you set up was broken for me. The first was right away in the introduction when Helen sees the Pokeballs still on the kid’s belt. Would that be realistic standard procedure? I’m not a medical expert, but I do have a few family members in it, and they always stress how clean and such things need to be because of health hazards. Would the body not have been prepped a little, considering he was already dead, at least with garments and things removed and germs cleaned? It just struck me as a little odd that they would just wheel someone into the OR like that. And this one wasn’t so bad, as I know the entire point of the scene was just to hint at Helen’s later disdain—but it was still jarring, regardless.

    The second one was a little more brow-furrowing, and that was when Helen operated on her own son. Again, I am not an expert, but it was to my understanding that surgeons are not allowed to operate on their own family because they are too close, liability, bias, and all that. Naturally, as this is fiction, we have some creative liberties and can get away with more than normal. However, because the world you set up so closely mirror’s our own, I think some explanation would’ve been handy to explain both of these events. It’s one thing to have Helen operate just for the story plot convenience and another if it makes logical sense. Was she the only surgeon there? I think I needed just a little more detail/reason in order to believe this one.

    But I did appreciate what you tried to show with the doctor’s inner turmoil, since that involved character growth, and for me personally, that’s what really drives a story. While an action-filled plot is certainly entertaining, I tend to care more about the ones with characters who learn and grow.

    On the whole, I think you did show how Helen was stuck in her beliefs and then started to change them after the traumatic event regarding her son. I did think that her end change was a little too unrealistic, however, especially because the story ends right after. Her hero comments about the Scraggy just didn’t really seem to fit, being perhaps too sudden and concrete for what must’ve been a ground-shattering revelation for her. Something like that doesn’t just connect and then carry on business as usual for most people.

    The change may have seemed abrupt because we readers didn’t see much of why her attitude was so against Pokemon in the first place. Why was she so against Pokemon? At times she almost seemed to flip-flop, like when she was listening to the TV and thought that maybe the hippie had a point. Why did she believe that?

    Did her attitude have to do with her husband? It was mentioned that he died of cancer, but were Pokemon involved in his life somehow? Why didn’t she ever own one? Was it her childhood upbringing? Did her parents tell her no? Did she have to operate on many people who were attacked by Pokemon?

    I think a few more details embedded throughout the story would’ve made her opinion more clear, and then showing those key moments that changed her mind would’ve really shined. I greatly enjoyed when she held the Scraggy’s heart in the end and realized it was just like the one she held in the beginning. That was very well-done. I think a couple other moments or details like that would’ve helped solidify her attitude beginning to change. The hero comments were just too strong for me to believe her character at the point where we left her.

    I also sort of expected the Cubchoo to make some sort of return near the end, too. I was waiting for it and was slightly saddened when it didn’t happen. The Scraggy definitely had a place in the story, but the Cubchoo sort of seemed out of place—like it could’ve been replaced with any other Pokemon and not changed the story at all. This is a common thing in a lot of stories, and at Medium rank, it’s not really a big deal, but it’s just something to think about. How else could the Cubchoo have impacted the story?

    Was there more story to tell? Did her other son bring the Pokemon with him when he went with his brother in the ambulance? Would it have added to Helen’s character growth?

    On the other hand, I do like where the story ended, with Helen in a sort of confused, in-between state. I think this is mostly why the hero comment bothered me—at the end, she doesn’t seem exactly sure where she stands because her opinion is just now only starting to be shifted. I think that’s pretty descriptive of how a lot of people feel after they learn something startling and it was a believable place to leave the story off. Just be careful of how your target Pokemon impacts the story in the future. For higher ranks, this is key.

    Detail/Description: I feel there was sufficient detail for this rank of story. I saw a lot of character descriptions—like eye and hair color—as well as some Pokemon details, like the snot hanging out of Cubchoo’s nose.

    The places were a little hit and miss for me. Some were done very well, like the opening hospital scene and Helen’s apartment. However, after the first block-description introduction, the majority of the time it was never brought up again. On the whole it was okay, but a couple details here and there to remind readers where the characters are in relation to the environment they’re in might help with envisioning the scene in a reader’s mind. This also goes for character descriptions.

    One of my favorite authors uses a method that involves assigning a couple key details to his characters, and then whenever he brings them on the scene or has them does something, he mentions one of the details in order to create a key word memory link for readers. Whenever they see that detail, they can instantly conjure what that character looks like. While this might not see a ton of use in a shorter story, I don’t see why the same theory can’t be applied to rooms too—say if a room had a big bay window or really ugly wallpaper. This is just a helper for readers who can’t always keep every detail in their heads at once (as I am one of those who cannot).

    I think maybe I would’ve liked to see a location for the setting mentioned a little earlier too. It’s established later by the TV where Helen lives, but at first, I missed that the station was a local one—I didn’t know they were so close to the protest so the emergency at the hospital was surprising at first. Perhaps mentioning where her hospital was while she was walking home, or even hinting at the protests to come (if there had been more previously), would give a couple nice clues and help make connections for readers who need those spatial details to picture things.

    Grammar/Mechanics: There was nothing in this category really too eye-catching. There were a few run-on sentences where you tried to join independent thoughts with just a comma, but it didn’t happen often enough to really highlight in-depth. Just remember to separate those separate sentences with periods—or semi-colons, since you used a few of those too.

    A couple places you also slipped into present tense and had a few typos (like knew was always new, parish/perish), but these were also very minor. A careful read-through before posting will probably catch most of these.

    Also be careful of your dialogue tags. I couldn’t tell if some were mistakes or if the rule was unclear, so I’ll just remind you: any time you have a dialogue tag (he said, she said), remember that it’s not capitalized if it’s not a proper noun. Also, if the speech in the quotes doesn’t end with ? or !, it needs a comma. Like so:
    “I don’t like fish,” he said.
    There were a couple instances where you had a period instead of the comma and capitalized the He (or whatever pronoun was applicable).

    Length: Cubchoo and Scraggy are both Medium rank and call for around 20k combined. I counted around 28,673, including the multitude of page break lines, but that’s more than enough.

    Reality/Miscellaneous: Nothing too much to mention here that I didn’t discuss elsewhere. It was mostly the medical things that bothered me, but not enough that I didn’t enjoy the story.

    Additionally, I smiled at the Mewtwo quote because he’s my favorite Legend, regardless if normal people probably don’t know what he said (due to the amnesia and all that other anime stuff).

    ChainReaction 6:09 pm
    I quickly slammed the palm of my hand onto a butt
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