Psychics For Science!

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  1. #1
    Everyone Likes Bacon BuckBacon's Avatar
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    Default Psychics For Science!

    From the notes of Buck Bacon:

    February 8th, 2010
    Despite initial setbacks, the new prototypes P1d07 (Codename Psyball) are complete. If I'm correct, these new Pokeballs should give the user an edge on capturing Psychic-Type Pokemon. The flaws from previous models (such as migraines caused by prolonged exposure to P0d02, or P1d05's tendency to burst into flame for no particular reason) have (hopefully) been addressed. I believe we are ready to begin Stage 1 of field tests.

    February 9th, 2010
    Hamsters. Hamsters abound in Cupcake City. The toasters have taken our bread and our liberty. These injustices will not stand. We shall stand and fight, once we receive the quickening!

    February 10th, 2010
    Please disregard my last entry, as it was nothing more than a harmless delusion, brought on by cracks in the mental shielding of P1d07. Had to quarantine my lab, and the neighbor's Skitty. Research and Development will be delayed until the authorities declare my lab safe for humans, or until the neighbors drop charges.

    April 16th, 2010
    Despite being kept from my lab, I have completed P1d08, using nothing but my wits and spare parts from scrapped Pokeballs, tinfoil, and duct tape. Today we begin our first field test. Both myself and my assistant Nikola have already set up surveillance equipment in key points along Route 11. We have confirmed that Drowzee, a low-level Psychic Pokemon, inhabit the area in large numbers.


    VIDEOLOG: 04/16/2010
    The setting is a grassy clearing with two berry trees, around mid-day. There is nothing in view for several seconds, before the tape visibly begins to fast-forward. A few moments later, the tape resumes at normal speed. A bipedal brown-and yellow creature with a short trunk, commonly known as the Psychic Pokemon Drowzee, slowly enters the frame.

    As the Pokemon begins to graze on the berries, a voice off-screen shouts "Nikola! Thunderwave!" An unseen assailant fires charges of electricity at the Drowzee, as it slumps over, its muscles wracked with paralysis.

    The disembodied voice cries out again, "Nikola, use Spark!" At this point, the paralyzed Drowzee pulls itself up to make a mental attack of its own. Speeding in from the left is a charging Magnemite, but rather than hitting the Drowzee, it instead hits the tree, forcefully enough to shake loose several berries. As the Magnemite falls to the ground, a young man enters the frame from the right.

    "Blast your eye, Nikola! You let yourself get hypnotized again! Wake up, you mechanical moron!"

    The young man runs over to the Magnemite, picking it up and shaking it in a desperate attempt to wake his assistant. Despite the young man's encouragement, the Magnemite seems unable to wake. While the Drowzee struggles, the young man unceremoniously drops the Magnemite. He grabs an unusually colored pokeball from his belt, and hurls it at the wild Pokemon.

    "Ball one!"

    The pokeball connects with the Drowzee, but bounces off without opening. After a moment, we can hear muffled swearing from the young man. He grabs another ball from his belt, and throws it at his previous target.

    "Ball t-"

    An explosion erupts from the pokeball, momentarily blinding the camera. When the smoke clears, the camera has been knocked over on its left side. Both the Drowzee and the young man are lying on the ground. After a few moments, the Magnemite wakes, hovering over the head of its fallen master. With a static discharge, the Magnemite rouses the young man back to consciousness.

    "Oh, bloody hell..."

    The Magnemite looks at its master quizically.

    "No, Nikola, I don't know why it exploded, but I'm sure it's your fault."

    The Magnemite's magnet appendages visibly sag with dejection.

    The young man stands up, brushing the dirt and debris from the explosion off of his clothes. He limps over to the fallen Drowzee, swearing under his breath. "The test subject has been rendered inviable! Catching it will prove nothing!"

    The Magnemite quickly flutters up and down.

    "I don't care who made the pokeball explode!"

    The Magnemite spins in the air.

    "Don't you get smart with me. Now come on. We need to find another subject."

    The Magnemite turns around, motioning off-camera.

    "Yes, I know there's other Psychic Pokemon here. But I'm not going to debase myself by going after Slowpokes."


    From the Saffron City Herald: October 21, 2009:

    A professor at Saffron City University is listed in critical condition after a pokeball-related incident with his students.

    During his Dimensional Mechanics class, Professor Hubert Ashwood was injured after being pulled into one of his student's pokeballs. The class was assigned to modify an existing pokeball design, where one of his students allegedly created a ball "specifically designed for creatures with little to no organic tissues," according to the police report. The design would supposedly have had applications in catching Ghost-type Pokemon.

    Witnesses state that while inspecting the project, the ball opened, and "captured" Ashwood. Due to the nature of the ball, Ashwood was left in an airlocked vacuum for several moments before other students could break the ball and free their professor.

    The student responsible for the accident has been identified, but because of the ongoing investigation, the student's name will not be released. SCU has released a statement, saying that "the responsible party will face severe repercussions, pending an investigation.


    From the notes of Buck Bacon:

    April 17, 2010:
    Nikola and myself have already spent 24 hours attempting to use the pokeball model P1d08 to catch Drowzee, with little success. There have been several issues with latch malfunction, as well as with spontaneous combustion. In another odd occasion, one of the balls began to make a high-pitched whistling noise with no discernible cause, scaring away the Drowzee before we could even engage them. Nikola's spirits are still high, but Magnemites are not known for their intelligence. I believe that we may have started field testing too soon.


    VIDEOLOG: 04/17/2010
    This time, the camera is set up in a different section of Route 11, overlooking a sparkling creek. Again, for several moments, nothing too interesting happens. After fast-forwarding a bit, a Magnemite can be seen slowing peering up out from behind a nearby bush. A disembodied voice calls out from off screen, muffled but harsh.

    "Nikola, get down! You're scaring them away!"

    The Magnemite quickly ducks back down into the bush.

    After a few more moments of nothing interesting happens, the video begins to fast-forward... again. As the video resumes normal playback, a Rattata wanders into the shot. It sniffs a nearby berry on the ground. It begins to push the berry around, as if it is playing with its food. Slowly, the Magnemite peers out from the bush again, watching the Rattata. The Rattata pushes the berry off screen, and the Magnemite leaves the bush to follow it.

    A few moments later, the Rattata and the Magnemite return onscreen, playing with each other merrily. They leave the camera's view again.

    A moment later, they return to view. The Magnemite has cheekily stolen the berry, and the Rattata gleefully chases after him.

    "WILL YOU TWO STOP IT ALREADY!"

    The Rattata runs away terrified. Magnemite drops the berry as the young man stomps into view. "Are we here to play?"

    The Magnemite pivots back and forth horizontally.

    "Are we here for fun and games? To have picnics?"

    The Magnemite pivots back and forth horizontally.

    "Are we here to play grabass with Rattata while I wait until my last pokeball explodes for no apparent reason!?"

    The Magnemite violently pivots back and forth horizontally.

    "That's right! No! No we're not! We're here for important scientific research! Now get your act together and be a good little lab assistant before I chuck you out into the wild, break your pokeball, and catch myself a Pokemon who can follow bloody commands from time to time!"

    The Magnemite flies away, crying. After a moment, the young man sighs, cradling his head in his palm. As he bends down to pick up his equipment, he feels a presence behind him. Watching him. He turns around to find a Pokemon staring a hole into him. A bipedal brown-and yellow creature with a short trunk, commonly known as the Psychic Pokemon Drowzee.

    Time passes. For what seems like minutes, the two stand completely silent and still, staring each other down. Slowly, the young man reaches for his pokeball. Just as slowly, the Drowzee lifts his finger towards the young man.

    The young man pulls back to fling the pokeball, but the Drowzee is quicker on the draw. The young man falls to the ground, obviously hypnotized. The pokeball drops from his sleeping grasp and rolls across the ground.

    The Drowzee starts to shuffle over to the unconscious man, sniffing his head with his short trunk. As the Drowzee thinks about dinner, we can hear a high-pitched wail from off-screen. A moment later, a Magnemite flies across the screen and tackles the Drowzee hard. The wild Pokemon, realizing that this meal is going to be much tougher to earn than it expected, tries to flee from battle. All the while, the Magnemite furiously delivers Thundershock after Thundershock to its master's attacker.

    The young man finally wakes at the noise of the intense battle happening near him. He sees the pokeball on the ground, just a few feet from the battle, and dives for it...

    Just in time to be hit by a stray spark from the Magnemite.

    The pokeball rolls further away from the young man, falling into the water. It floats for a few moments before sinking like a stone.

    While the Magnemite is distracted by its wounded master, the Drowzee takes its opportunity. With a quick mental blast, Magnemite becomes confused. The frazzled Drowzee flees from the area, while the confused Magnemite flies in random haphazard serpentine patterns before crashing into the water. A shower of sparks erupt from the surface as the Magnemite's body electrifies the water. Knocked out Goldeen and Seaking float to the surface of the electrified creek. As the Magnemite's body starts to sink into the water, a hand reaches into the blue and pulls the Steel Pokemon out. The young man sets the wounded Pokemon down gingerly on the bank, and pats it on the head.

    "Good job, Nikola."

    The Magnemite opens its eye weakly.

    "Don't worry, Nikola. We'll get them next time."

    The Magnemite chirps happily.

    "Now, stay here while I get that pokeball. That was my last one."


    Meanwhile, out of sight from the video camera, the last P1d08 (Psyball) floats down through the waters, past the shocked Goldeen and the knocked-out Krabby. After several feet, the ball comes to rest against a stunned Slowpoke, which had been sitting at the bottom of the creek. The ball springs open, and the water flashes red with neon light. A moment later, the Slowpoke is gone, and the pokeball rocks back and forth on the muddy creek bed.
    Last edited by BuckBacon; 18th April 2010 at 12:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Prince of All Blazikens! Magikchicken's Avatar
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    Default Psychics For Science!

    Introduction, Characters, Backstory: I like the use of lab reports to introduce the premise and the identity of the human character as something of a failed scientist. Buck Bacon's personality is well portrayed and consistent throughout the story, and there are even signs of character development near the end. Even his Pokémon, which can't talk or even use more than basic body language, is given a personality. Overall, this is a strong point in your story.


    Plot Content, Plot Flow: I liked this. Rather than use the generic 'Trainer searches for Pokémon to capture' plot, or even follow a linear sequence of events, you present backstory and current occurrences equally, a method justified by using the format of 'reports' and 'videos.' This meets, and even exceeds, the standards set by the introduction.


    Grammar, Sentence Flow: Good all the way through. Your sentences are fluid and easy to understand, and despite the quibbles below, your story's grammar is near-impeccable.
    The differences in format-- 'reports,' followed by present-tense description during a video, and even a news report-- are unorthodox but effective and your grammar and understandability don't suffer for it. Great job.

    Grammatical Quibbles: This is random minor stuff that's so small it doesn't really detract, I'm just mentioning it for future reference. xD
    Quote Originally Posted by BuckBacon
    The disembodied voice cries out again, "Nikola, use Spark!" At this point, the paralyzed Drowzee pulls itself up to make a mental attack of its own.
    There needs to be a line break (paragraph change) after the quotation, because the speaker and the entity that's doing the action are not the same.
    If an action by Buck were following the speech, then no line break would be needed, but as it's the Drowzee acting you need to create a new paragraph.
    On a related note, the reference to the Drowzee making 'a mental attack of its own' implies that a mental attack has already taken place, which isn't the case (unless you consider Thunder Wave a mental attack...?)

    Anyhow, just those few nitpicks. Couldn't see any other paragraph that leapt out at me as at all jarring, which is a very good sign.


    Detail, Description: Sort of okay. Description is not much required except in the videos. In those, the area itself, as well as most of the Pokémon involved, is described well enough that the reader isn't left wondering what this place is supposed to look like. The main problem is that, on the instances when Buck Bacon enters the video, he's not described at all, only referred to as 'the young man.' That's a slip-up; it would be okay for him to remain a giant question mark in the reader's mind if he didn't appear 'on camera,' but since he does appear, you need to describe him at least once. =P


    Battles: Battle descriptions are good, but very protracted. The battles are perhaps too short, but that is likely justified in that the battles are unrelated to the actual capture of the story's target Pokémon.


    Overall: Despite a slip-up in the area of descriptions, and a lower-than-average emphasis on battling, the story was engaging and made more interesting by its unorthodox format and well-thought-out characters. Almost flawless grammar and spelling prevented any impact to actual readability, and overall this story was simply an enjoyable read.
    At 10934 characters, it's at the very bottom end of the required characters for a Medium-difficulty capture, but again, the different way of telling the story put a lot more interesting stuff in that number of characters so shortness didn't detract from content.


    Result:
    Slowpoke: CAUGHT.
    As a Grader, I would also like to make an official recommendation that Buck Bacon travel to Azalea Town in Johto and study under a man named Kurt. I am convinced that he will benefit greatly from the tutelage of the aforementioned.
    Last edited by Magikchicken; 25th April 2010 at 01:34 PM.
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