The Pokenomicon (15th century text, author unknown)
(Property of Mr. E. R. Juniper)
I have come to realise over the years that the slow march of progress in the physical sciences is a set of stairs of sorts. Many morphologists in the past have left behind records of the creatures they found, the things they have discovered-in essence, their lives’ work. At first, when I saw these musty tomes, I assumed that they were a record of their writer’s vanity-of how they claimed superiority over those who came before them, and the others of their time. Now, they are the only resources on morphology ever since the burning of the great city of Alph.
Now, every heartbeat I take brings me one moment closer to death. So I have decided, like those who came before me, to leave behind my memories, that they may form my legacy. I shall chronicle everything I have experienced and learned in my time, such that future men of science shall benefit from my knowledge. And I hope that my readers choose to as well-it is the utmost importance to prevent the world from falling back into the Dark Ages of such few decades ago.
The only way to protect the peasants of the world is to ensure that their lieges are enlightened. Savagery and ignorance is good for only the men in power, and their right hands. I myself was blessed as the naturalist for a small kingdom in the land of Kanto, which gave me wonderful license to roam the fields and woods of my liege’s dominion conducting my research. I pray that such attachments will not be necessary for you, my student-the natural studies has seldom been the main pursuit of any man, but perhaps the world will have readied itself for exploration and learning in the future.
Do not be afraid of change. Embrace it, as you would a lover or a frightened child. Nurture the seed of intelligence in your mind, and raise it until it becomes a mighty tree of enlightenment. When Giratina comes knocking at your door...make certain you leave something behind.
October 22, 1822
Nuvema Province-Unovan Confederacy
“Jonathan! The professor is calling! Come down!” His mother didn’t take no for an answer. Jonathan rolled off the bundle of furs that he slept on and climbed down the ladder from the loft.
“I’m her, Mother. What does the professor want?”
“He wants to know whether you’re ready to travel the world for his research. But...” her voice dropped to a whisper,”I fear your father’s leg is not fully recovered, and I ask that you restrain your adventurous side for at least another fortnight.”
“Mother, that’s what you said the fortnight before, as well as the one before that.”
“I know, I know...but if he can’t walk on it we won’t have meat. Please do us the courtesy of waiting until he recovers fully to leave.”
“Yes, Mother...” Jonathan stepped outside and ran straight into the Professor.
“Oh! Good morning, Jonathan. Did you sleep well?”
“I slept fine, I slept fine...Has your mother already told you that I won’t be going?”
“What? She hasn’t said anything of the sort!”
“My mother was afraid that my father isn’t fully recovered, and I can’t just leave them without someone to hunt.”
“No matter. We can still prepare for your journey here in town, but I fear there will not be much more for us to prepare for following today. Someday, you MUST take your first step into the wider world! You simply must!”
“What do you have to show me, Professor, sir?”
“Before we start, I must retrieve your friend Connor, as well as Sarah if her father will allow it. This is one lesson it would be best not to teach separately. You can come with me if you desire, or you can meet me at my home.”
“I’ll come along, if you don’t mind.”
“Excellent, excellent.” The pair made their way across the town-just a dozen log cabins around a central square, to be honest-to Connor’s house, which sat under a oak tree most certainly showing its age.
The professor knocked on the door.
“Connor, are you awake?”
Connor came around the corner of the house, carrying a bundle of firewood. “Are you looking for me?”
“Why, yes! Would you mind coming with us for one last session before you set out tomorrow.”
“I would love to. Just one moment!” Connor slid inside the door of the house and set down his wood before he came with us.
“Do you think Sarah will be coming with us?”
“I find it unlikely. Sarah’s father may be in another drunken stupor, and I doubt she has the faculties required to take care of herself on the road.”
“She won’t be alone. She’ll have us.”
“I doubt you three will want to spend your entire journeys together. Eventually you’ll want to split up and enjoy your own journey. You’d be surprised how tired of each other three people can get if they’re trapped together for weeks on end.”
“Don’t you think all of your talk about Bianca is a wee bit unnecessary?” Jonathon asked. “You seem to be writing her off before we’ve even embarked.”
“Women are simply not equipped to handle perilous situations, which I’m sure you’ll run into at some point on your journey.”
“Sarah is hardly your typical young woman. She can handle herself.” The group arrived at Sarah’s house, an unkempt cabin at the bottom of a hill.
“Get out! GET OUT!” The door slammed open, and Sarah dashed out in a simple brown dress. “And don’t come back without that cup or sugar!”
“Oh, hello! What brings you to our...lovely...home today?”
“Actually, Sarah, we were wondering if you would mind...dropping in at my home today for one last lesson.” The professor glanced at Jonathan pointedly. “If, of course, your father approves.”
“Too many drinks last night to care, I think. He thinks I’m Mother getting ready to bake him a batch of cookies.”
“Let us be off, then.” The professor smiled, but his eyes spoke differently.
The Professor’s cabin wasn’t far away-just a little bit outside of town.
“So...what are you going to teach us today?” Sarah asked.
“My dear, I thought we would cover traps. You see, if you can’t capture Pokemon, you can hardly befriend them. Most of them tend not to stick around if you give them food. Bloody opportunists...”
“When did you set out these traps?” Connor asked. “They must be close by, but I didn’t see them yesterday when I was hunting...”
“The traps aren’t actually set. I thought it more prudent to examine their workings at my home, to avoid any unfortunate occurences.” The professor swung open the door to his cabin. “Come in, come in, don’t make me wait all day.”
“So, allow me to explain-be careful with that!”-the Professor yanked Jonathan’s hand away from a rather lethal looking implement on the wall-,”As I was ABOUT to say before Master Jonathan over here-”
“I’m not a child, Professor.”
“A man would remain silent and,”-the Professor pulled a pin out of a trap, causing it to snap shut where Jonathan’s hand was a second ago,”KEEP HIS HANDS WHERE THEY BELONG!”
“Now...where was I? Ah, yes, traps. If you intend to bring along the pokemon you find for further study, you are going to need to have some means of first capturing them, then restraining them until they adapt to your prescence. That’s what I made these for.”
“I made five for each of you, plus one to protect you from wild pokemon who are too large to deal with with a pistol or musket.”
“How are they operated?”
“Let us begin with this trap.” The professor lifted the circular metal contraption that had almost removed Jonathan’s hand seconds earlier. “The trigger is this plate in the center. Stay back...” Juniper poked the trap with a long branch, and the jaws snapped shut, turning the branch to sawdust. “It’s quite powerful-make sure not to wind it too much or leave it somewhere where you can’t set it off safely.”
“How do you set the trap?” Sarah asked.
“It’s rather ingenious, if I do say so myself. Simply insert this pin, wind the spring thrice, and then set it down somewhere, remove the pin and hope for the best. Make sure the pin is in when you wind the contraption, or it could get a wee bit bloody.”
“And what about these other ones?” Jonathan asked, reaching for one sitting on the far corner of the professor’s table.
“Look out!” Juniper shoved Jonathan away from the table.
“What was that for?”
“That’s the most dangerous one of the bunch! It’s no wonder your parents let you come with me-imagine you near a wood stove!” The professor sighed and turned away. “That one is better demonstrated outdoors. If you give me your word that you will not touch ANYTHING without my permission, I promise to demonstrate that trap to you before you return home today.”
“I swear I won’t touch any more of your dangerous contraptions.”
“Right, then...Ah, this one. You must trigger this one yourself-yank the rope, and the nets will fold in on themselves, trapping any pokemon unfortunate to find itself inside.”
“Excuse me, Professor...but how do we keep the pokemon after we capture them?” Connor asked.
“Oh, it’s simple. You’ll have to fashion a crude collar of some sorts at the beginning. Eventually, the pokemon will realize that you are an excellent source of food and water, and follow you willingly. In theory.”
“In theory?” the trio asked.
“Well....I haven’t actually attempted to capture a pokemon yet. That’s the reason you’re going on this journey around Unova, isn’t it?”
“WHAT?” Jonathan exclaimed. “Were you ever planning to tell us of your lack of experience?”
Sarah chimed in as well. “Yes, it does seem a little...odd that we’ll be traipsing all over Unova doing your work for you.”
“You three have an opportunity to change everything we know of the world around us, and you’re wasting time on who’s traveling Unova? Age has caught up to me, I fear, and I think that in this particular endeavor my skills would be better suited archiving your results and developing better traps and tools for you to use in fieldwork.” The professor gingerly picked up the trap that he had ordered Jonathan away from, and headed for the door. “Now, I think it best for us to go our separate ways for today. I will give you each a set of traps to capture a pokemon to start with before you set off.”
“Wait, sir....you promised to show us the last trap!”
“Come outdoors with me, and I will demonstrate it.”
Outside, the Professor set down the trap in a clear patch of ground, and poured in a mixture of fine musket powder and balls.
“It took me a long while to engineer this trap-the last time I saw one in effect was in the Revolution when I was a drummer boy. Blew my father to bits, right in front of my eyes.”
“Arceus!” Sarah gasped. “I’m so sorry, Professor!”
“My father was much like your father, Sarah-a drinker, adulterer, and scoundrel. I doubt a man out there missed him.” Juniper grabbed a stick from his firewood pile and knelt down around a corner from the trap.
“What are you doing?”
“I would advise you to cover your ears and avert your eyes. Wouldn’t want any of you to become half blind!”
The four of them huddled behind the wall of Juniper’s house. Juniper slapped the top of the trap with the stick, and an earsplitting bang filled the air.
“Arceus....” the three said in awe. The trap had vanished, replaced by a patch of scorched earth. Several pellets had buried themselves in the walls of Juniper’s house, but he didn’t seem to mind.
“When a wild pokemon steps on this...it presses the primer from a musket against the powder, igniting it. Obviously, there won’t be much left of any pokemon you use this on-so only use it against pokemon like Beartic, who will run straight through your bullets to maul you to death.”
“I think it would be best if you kept that one, Professor.” Connor said. “Wouldn’t want Jonathan putting the bloody thing together wrong and blowing off his fingers.”
“Yes, I do think that would be the best course of action.” Juniper handed a bag to each of them. “Set them out and check them daily. When you catch a pokemon, bring them to me so we can have one more talk before you set out.”
“Sarah, if you give me your traps, I shall place them for you. You need not venture into the woods alone.” Connor said, chivalrous as always.
“Oh, that would be perfect, Connor. Thank you.”
The three all set out for home on their own. Connor and Jonathan cut through the woods, placing their traps.
Their journey would have to wait just a few more days...