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 The Makings of a Mercenary 
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Bug Catcher
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:38 am
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This started off with little beginnings, just a character I dreamt up for an RP, but one thing led to another and I came up with a pretty cool background for him. Anyway, here's the first part of the background story I've got. Rest of it is on its way.

The crisp doors to the Pokemon Centre slid open smoothly and Claudio Smith walked through, removing his jacket and taking a seat on a cushioned bench. Slipping the strap of his satchel over his head, he unclipped it and took out a bottle of water, taking a generous swig before putting it back. He then wiped his forehead with a handkerchief he procured from the same bag, soaking up the sweat that had accumulated from the walking and uncharacteristically hot weather.
Seeing that the man at the healing station had left, Claudio picked up his jacket and bag and moved quickly, unloading his Pokeballs as he walked. He dropped them all with a clatter on the table, placed his effects onto the same table and then proceeded to hand the Pokeballs to the attending nurse. She took them all, placed them into the machine and pressed a button, causing a whirring and a faint blue glow. Turning back, the nurse noticed the sweat once again pooling on Claudio's head and smiled.
"Weather's taking its toll, isn't it?" she said.
Claudio looked up and responded. "Didn't know it got this hot down South," he said with a chuckle.
"It doesn't normally, the temperature's causing a bit of a stir around town." said the nurse. "We've got a Professor about, and he seems to think it mightn't be natural."
Claudio's interest was piqued. "Not natural?"
She nodded. "You know, Pokemon caused. The temperature just changed too fast and too drastically for it to be a natural change, he says."
"But this area's hardly known for Fire-types."
"That's why its so odd, but there's no other type that could be causing it. Worrying, though, its starting to damage the ecosystem. You know the Glacial Divide?"
Claudio nodded, of course he did. It was an amazing sight to see, a 100-foot deep ravine formed entirely of ice, pockmarked with caves. It was well known for its high population of Ice-types.
"Well, it isn't faring well," said the nurse, "and the Prof's getting concerned. Not much else brings people down this way, so it'd be bad for our economy, not to mention the Pokemon, the poor things. He reckons they'll start dying after another few days of this."
"Sad times, huh?" said Claudio.
"You bet," replied the nurse with a shake of her head, just as the machine to her rear powered down and hissed open. She took the three Pokeballs out of their recesses and handed them over.
"Well if you want to know more about it, I'd suggest going to see Professor Moss, he'd know more about it than I do. It was a pleasure talking, err..."
"Claudio," he said, "Claudio Smith."
"Claudio, the nurse parroted, "Just pop back in if you need them fixed up again. I'm Leanne, by the way."
"Thank you, Leanne," said Claudio with a smile, and popping the last Pokeball back into its slot, he walked out into the searing heat.
The town was large and spread out over the foothill of a mountain, spanning almost a quarter of the way around. At this time of the year it would usually be covered in a light falling of snow, however, due to the unexplained heat the roads were covered in a thin layer of water from the melted ice originating higher up the mountain.
Claudio began to head back to his inn, but then a sign caught his attention. It was a direction sign, reading "PROF. MOSS'S LABORATORY" in large bold letters. Remembering back to what Nurse Leanne had said earlier, he instead set his course for the large metal building he could see at the end of the long straight road.


Mon May 30, 2011 4:35 pm
Bug Catcher
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:38 am
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Claudio was welcomed by an aide the moment he walked in through the double doors into the cool, air-conditioned lab.
"Welcome to Professor Moss's Laboratory, how may I help?" he said in a cheery tone.
"Hi, I was wondering if it might be possible for me to see the Professor?"
The aide replied, "please hold on for a moment while I run upstairs and see if he is available," and he was gone, up the aforementioned stairs. Claudio looked around at the bookshelves stacked with research papers and science-ey articles, and noticed a pair of armchairs next to a wall. Sitting down on one, he heard a crinkle, and extracted a newspaper from underneath him.
Flipping it open, he scanned the front page. It was today's issue of The Daily Southern, a paper delivered to towns in the Southern area of the reigon that covered major issues. Of course, the main headline was on the heatwave striking towns across the Ice Belt, an area of towns with heavy snowfall that spanned a group of mountains. If the paper was to be believed, the melted ice would flow down the mountains and into Starcove Bay, which was great news for the Aquatic Olympiad, but horrible news for the prime Pokemon habitat the icy ranges provided.
Hearing of Starcove Bay, Claudio turned the paper over to the back page. Sure enough, a picture of a sandy-haired man standing proud upon a Lapras took the spotlight. This was Cam Broghan, star player of Glendale Glory and commonly believed to be the best player in Hydroball.
Hydroball was a heavy-contact sport played atop Laprases, that involved players passing a ball and attempting to score by throwing it through the opposing team's hoop. It had a heavy strategic base, as freezing the water wasn't banned, and also had an avid following. Claudio was a part of this following, and the sport was the whole reason he was travelling from his home town of Glendale.
His daydreaming of seeing his team victorious was interrupted by an "excuse me!" from the other side of the lab. Placing the paper on the other armchair and looking up, Claudio saw the aide beckoning from the base of the stairs.
"Professor Moss will see you now," called the aide, and Claudio walked over, ascending the stairs and pushing open a glass door that led to the office of the Professor. The room was sparsely decorated, save the wall behind the desk, which was covered with pictures of Slowpoke, Slowbro and Slowking. It was at this desk that Professor Moss sat, old but still in shape, toned musculature visible beneath his white lab coat. He stood and offered his hand to Claudio.
"My name is Professor Moss, as you probably know," he said, "but please, call me Gordon."
Claudio grasped the outstretched hand and shook it firmly. "Claudio Smith, pleasure to meet you."
Moss grinned and broke the grip, sitting back down. "So, what is it that I can do for you?"
Claudio took a seat on the small chair facing the desk and gathered himself. "I was chatting to Nurse Leanne down at the Pokemon Centre, and she mentioned that you know a little more than the rest of us about this peculiar heatwave."
"Ahh, of course, the heatwave," said Moss. "Now as I'm sure you're aware, this isn't our usual weather."
Claudio nodded, and the Professor continued. "Now as I'm sure the Nurse mentioned, we suspect Pokemon being the cause. The change in temperature was too drastic, and too fast for it to be natural."
"But why could this be happening?" asked Claudio.
Moss shook his head. "I haven't the foggiest, although," his tone darkened, "I don't doubt for a second there are Trainers involved."
Trainers? thought Claudio. "Why on Earth would Trainers want to do something like this?"
"Once again, not a clue. But they'd be doing something horrible, that's for sure. So many Pokemon will lose their homes if this behaviour continues."
"Are there any leads?" Claudio asked.
"Fortunately, yes." Moss said. "I had some of my aides conduct a flow pattern analysis, which simply looks at the way the melted ice is flowing to see if we can establish a source. After a while, we came up with a location around a kilometre up the mountain."
"Well that's good then, you can fix it, surely?"
"It isn't as easy as that," explained Moss. "We aren't under a Gym Leader, so we don't have anybody who we can rely on to solve problems like these, and due to our isolation, the Trainers we sent for from Starcove will not arrive in time. I'd go up there, but a mission into the mountains alone is perilous, and should anything happen...". He trailed off, leaving the message unsaid. Silence filled the room for a second before a thought struck Claudio.
"Can't you ask the PHPS?"
"Pokemon Habitat Preservation Service? Hell no, I wouldn't turn to them extremists if my life depended on it!"
Claudio was taken aback by this vehement response, and Moss sought to explain. "Last time they came in, they caused way more harm than good, damn near burnt down half the town."
"What happened?" asked Claudio, well and truly into it.
"It was only a few years ago," said Moss, "we were having trouble with Cryogonals, they kept on coming into the village from the Divide, freezing up houses and the such. Thinking they'd be able to do something, I got in touch and they flew in the next day. At first, it seemed like a dream, until I saw what they'd planned."
"The bastards had brought a whole damn team of Magmars and before I could do anything, set to burning down the frozen houses!"
"What?! How could they possibly justify that?" exclaimed Claudio, and then added, "and why didn't we hear anything about this?"
"First question," said Moss. "They seemed to think that the Cryogonal's movement was a migration pattern that could possibly damage their population. Seems that their answer was to scare them back into the Divide for good. Second question, unfortunately the PHPS have ties in the media. They want something out, it'll be pasted over the headlines, but if they want something kept quiet then you won't hear a word of it. Its a shame, but that's the sad situation our town's in."
Claudio was reeling from this revalation. The PHPS? Surely not...
He was about to ask another question when Moss stood up again, smoothing his lab coat. "Now sorry, son, but I've gotta be going. Me and the team are going to head up the way a little with my Slowkings, try freeze up some of the water." He paused for a second, thinking. "Hey, you're a Trainer, right?"
"Of sorts, why?" asked Claudio.
"Well if you're staying in town for a while, we sure could use some help. You have Ice Pokemon?"
"Nope, but Baal does Ice."
"Hmm..." thought Moss. "Well if you feel like lending a hand, come see one of my aides. We'll pay, of course."
Claudio's eyes lit up. If there was one thing he enjoyed, it was money in his pocket. He was a little strapped at the time, and after all, why not? After all, its just freezing water, nothing Baal wasn't capable of, and for a good cause, too.
"I'll consider it, certainly," he answered, smiling, standing and extending his hand. Moss took it, shook and walked around to the door, holding it open. Claudio had just walked out when he heard Moss again.
"Just quickly, where's your accent from? I couldn't pick it."
Claudio grinned. "I'm from Glendale."
"Ahhh," said Moss, hearing it clearly now. "The Olympiad bringing you down here?"
Nodding, Claudio explained, "Yep. Wouldn't miss Glendale win for the world."
Moss laughed heartily. "You'll be hard pushed to beat Starcove though. Three championships in a row isn't gonna be easy to brush off!"
"Oh, we'll wait and see," chuckled Claudio, and bidding the Professor farewell. He walked down the stairs and out into the heat again, walking down the street towards his inn. He checked in and ascended the stairs into his room.
The remainder of his day consisted of familiarising himself with the rest of the town, and grabbing dinner in the bar below the inn. After he ate he returned to his cool room and collapsed on the bed, his energy sapped by the heat. Switching on the T.V, a show about the Olympiad was on, and Claudio sat up, paying attention. The reporter was talking away about the state of Starcove bay, and how it would affect play.
"...due to the heatwave striking the Ice Belt, the bay is as full as its ever been, providing an exciting environment on which play will be conducted. It has particular importance for the Hydroball, where players will be able to conduct all sorts of submerged moves, adding an element of unpredictability. This is especially good news for the man to watch, Cam Broghan, who is famed for his diving shots. Onto other news now, the..."
Claudio flicked the screen off and lay back, thinking about the events of the day. His monetary situation was not as good as he had hoped, and Starcove was only another two days journey away. With the Hydroball not starting for another week, he could easily afford to spend a few days working for Moss. Nodding to himself, Claudio made up his mind. Tomorrow, he would go see Moss, work for a couple of days, then be on his way.
His decision made, he rolled over and shut his eyes, falling asleep almost immediately.


Mon May 30, 2011 9:36 pm
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