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In Memoriam

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Writer4fun, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. Writer4fun

    Jan 15, 2017
    Writer4fun here with the first story that I will post on Lake Valor. This work is something I did this past Memorial Day and I'll have all that information in my author notes, which will be in bold. If you feel like saying something, I encourage you to offer feedback of any kind on here by replying to this post since it's a one-shot, via message on here, or go to Fanfiction (dot) net and leave a review there or PM me there. Whatever you're comfortable with, I want to hear you if you have something to say :). I also encourage you to check me out on Fanficiton as well for my other works; my username here is the same as on there and it is case sensitive. This is a one-shot under 3,000 words so it'll be a quick read. Rated T. Enjoy.

    Summary: Lieutenant Surge a.k.a "The Lightning American" has been chosen to serve a second tour of duty. A very heavyhearted Memorial Day related one-shot. Dedicated to those who have had or currently have family in the military.

    With Memorial Day coming up I felt the need to write this and pay homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I'll be honest: I've never seen a family member in the military because they had been honorably discharged or have died when I was really young. However, I furiously did research on the Army ranks and proper military protocol when it comes to certain things. Another point I want to make is that I cried multiple times while writing this because I don't handle death well. As a result, I just couldn't add the details in certain spots. I honestly just wanted to show my support to families who have lost a loved one and I hope you find comfort in this story. Yes, it's labeled "angst/tragedy" but I want to show I understand what you are going through to the best of my writing ability. If I messed up any Army information (except the length of events occurring) then please tell me; the least I can do is get all of that correct. Have a great Memorial Day.


    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.

    In Memoriam

    Gym leader life is far from luxurious in the Kanto region despite the notoriety that comes with the job. No two days are the same for a gym leader as they either battle dozens of trainers or they may not even touch their Poké Balls. Sometimes they have to represent their city in some kind of PR stunt while other times they have to attend formal Indigo League meetings. The worse part of it all is that they have to walk a fine line between being challenging and easy when battling opponents. Too many sweeps and trainers complain to the league office whereas too many losses result in some kind of punishment handed down through the disciplinary committee. Lieutenant Surge was a gym leader who was a skilled battler in addition to handling the other responsibilities associated with the position. Battling was still his favorite part of the job.

    "Thunderbolt, Raichu!" His strongest Pokémon delivered the knockout blow to an opponent's Arbok earning him the victory. League officials had been present to observe the battle while filling out evaluation forms that would be brought to headquarters. Surge had been on the league's good side by providing tough battles to hopeful trainers and his victories kept out weaker trainers. The most interesting thing about Surge was that any of his losses were 1-0, meaning that it always came down to the challenger's Pokémon; he was a tough out.

    His challenger sulked as Arbok was called back. "Man he's tough" the challenger muttered before walking out of the gym without saying another word.

    Clapping came from the four league officials in the bleachers. "Good job Lieutenant. Excellent battling. Way to keep that challenger honest" a woman said with encouragement.

    "Thanks I guess" he said in a confused tone. "Is there a reason that the top four executives of the Indigo League are here in my gym today? You all show up if something big is going on so spill it."

    The same woman stepped forward. "We were doing a surprise evaluation as the Indigo Championships are coming up. We can't afford to let in those who are not good enough. Don't worry though, your evaluation was better than average." A long pause followed as Surge replayed the battle in his mind. His mental replay was eventually interrupted by an elderly man in a blue baseball cap.

    "As the President of the Pokémon League, I am here to give you this." An envelope was handed to Surge with no markings on it whatsoever.

    "Mr. Goodshow" Surge said in a low voice while keeping a serious tone. "What will happen to this gym? I love this gym too much to give it to just anybody."

    He took a deep breath and smiled. "Vermillion City will still be your home when you return including the gym. Have you found a suitable replacement or will the league have to step in? It's okay if you didn't because there was no way that you could expect this so soon."

    Surge pointed to a doorway. "Talk to Greg about taking the reins. He's my second in command around here. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go."

    Mr. Goodshow stopped him before he left. "We have always supported your decision to do this and all of us working within the league wish you the best."

    Surge had his back facing them and waved as he made his way out of the arena. "Thank you for everything you've done." He exited the gym through the glass door and walked in front of his gym assistants. "Liam... Gretchen... cancel all gym battles in my name for the next 10 months."

    Both of their eyes went wide. "Sir, that means..."

    "Yup, it's time. I entrusted the gym to Greg and I know the three of you get along. The gym better be in top shape when I get back" he said with a faint smile. "Two fifteen-year-olds should be responsible enough to handle the gym."

    "SIR YES SIR" both of them shouted after they stood up. He walked past his office and ended up going out a door adjacent to his office.

    The backyard of the gym was almost as big as a suburban backyard despite being right on the oceanfront. Out of all the space, the best was a patch of dirt on a cliff overlooking the ocean; Surge made his way there. "Well dad... my time to serve again is now. I won't let you down." He finally opened the envelope to see the letter from the Kanto government with all of the important information regarding his deployment along with a list of essentials needed.

    Now Surge had served a tour of duty before, but that was as a Private. His work during his previous extended tour got him famous within his class in addition to his honing his leadership skills. His father had served long ago and told him the tricks of the trade when it comes to being a soldier which inspired him to sign up. Unfortunately his father was buried at sea with full military privileges after his platoon was wiped out by an ambush on a coastline overseas; Surge understood that it was better to bury him where no enemy could deface the body. Those tricks led Surge's platoon to execute missions flawlessly to the point of him getting promoted to Lieutenant as his previous superiors put in a good word for a promotion. A long process was complete when Raichu and him crossed the finish line after conquering a grueling 12-hour field course. His nickname of The Lightning American made sense due to how well he used Raichu on the battlefield and it stuck when he returned to civilian life in the Kanto region.

    "Better start packing again" he thought to himself while holding the dog tags for himself and his father. "They want me doing more special operations work compared to last time." Raichu's ball was in his hands at eye level for a minute before he released his partner. "Looks like we're needed again buddy. It's been nice ever since we've been stationed here but we have to answer the call. Just know that you'll always be the best damn Pokémon on the battlefield." They sat as the ocean waves rocked against the small beach below just counting down the hours until deployment.
    "Uh huh... yes... I understand. Thank you very much General." *click* Liam! Gretchen! Come here please!"

    "What is it General Greg?" Liam asked.

    The elderly man ran his hand across his chin in thought. "It's been quite some time and you keep addressing me as General. I know that he likes to be called Lieutenant Surge but I've always said you can call me Greg."

    Gretchen was eager to get back to maintaining the gym. "Greg, why did you call us here?"

    "Come take a seat in my office and I'll explain it all. Lock the gym first." He led them to his personal office since Surge's office was left untouched out of respect. "Sit." Liam looked uneasy as he tried to settle into a leather office chair. "You both know how much I respect you since I took over as the official leader so I will be straightforward with this talk." A long pause came before a deep breath. "Lieutenant Surge has been killed in battle."

    Silence. Just absolute silence echoed in the small office for two whole minutes as the assistants looked at Greg.

    "No..." Gretchen whispered.

    "Lieutenant Surge was killed in a firefight after his platoon was ambushed. There was only one survivor."

    Liam looked down at the floor. "Killed the same way as..."

    "His father. Ironic isn't it?" Greg said in a calm tone so that he wouldn't trigger an emotional response from either assistant. "Someone from the military will come over to the gym later. You are welcome to sit in on our discussion because you both have earned the right to do so. My former Private taught you two well and you learned all that you could from him. I want you to know that it is alright to show emotion or cry. However, I do not want you to hurt yourself or take it out on your Pokémon." Tears started to fall from both of their eyes. "I will take care of everything for the remainder of the day. You are dismissed." They both quietly sobbed as they exited the office but Greg knew that some soft object was going to get a beating and that screams would be heard from somewhere in Vermillion if not at their homes.

    A military officer in uniform made his way to the front door of the gym clenching his fist while his entire arm was in a sling. Greg had spotted him walking around aimlessly and ushered him into his office. He seated the man as he pushed the intercom button.

    "Liam. Gretchen. You may come to my office if you wish" echoed throughout the facility. He then turned to the messenger and started to chat. "Give it about five minutes or so please." It took four minutes for the two teenagers to enter the room with their heads down; Greg immediately started the conversation. "This is Staff Sergeant Tucker."

    Both of them looked up to address the only ambush survivor. "Hello Staff Sergeant Tucker" they said in a quiet voice.

    "Hello you two, General Greg as well. I am here to give these back to the next of kin that was listed." Dog tags were dropped on Greg's desk; Tucker spoke sternly. "I can say that Lieutenant Surge's skills allowed us to complete the mission despite an ambush. Do not be dismayed because I am the only survivor. Raichu bought us time so that we could call in reinforcements in the firefight. The truth is that they had an arsenal of grenades at their disposal so everyone's Pokémon did not survive including my own; I owe my life to him and Raichu. Medics did all they could to keep him alive but too much damage was done. He requested on his stretcher that I bring..."

    "FUCK!" Liam slammed the mahogany wooden wall repeatedly. "WHY. DID. THIS. HAVE. TO. HAPPEN!?" Gretchen couldn't hold it in any longer as she wailed while curled up in a ball.

    "They have my sincerest apologies. I take it that they don't know?" Tucker whispered.

    Greg whispered back. "I told them already; my guess is that they were in denial at first. I'm sorry for this."

    Tucker immediately threw up his hands. "Oh don't be. I'm impressed that they stayed strong after the initial announcement. Unfortunately reality eventually sets in when the tags are handed over." Liam and Gretchen eventually regrouped themselves and sat back down.

    "His Poké Balls were to return here along with his casket" Tucker continued. "Apparently he requested to be buried next to his father's memorial. Would you know where that is?" A nod came from all three of them. "Good. The casket should arrive back in two hours along with a minister of some sort to have a short funeral service. Lieutenant Surge was an honorable soldier and he will be receiving full military privileges. I apologize for the short notice but he wanted everything to be over quickly so you all could move on. I will be attending the small service so I will walk around town for two hours to see the things he loved so much. Shall I ask for anyone else to come? He did not specify if anyone else should come."

    Greg shook his head. "No. The city can hear about it tomorrow. I believe he would want just us to attend the private funeral. I will see you in two hours." Tucker saluted to the former General before exiting the room. Liam and Gretchen left in a mix of denial, anger, depression, and acceptance to presumably go change into formal attire. Greg just sat in his office where he too shed tears knowing the greatest soldier he worked with was now dead.

    Funeral arrangements were a little difficult to deal with due to the small margin for error when digging the grave. Somehow there was six feet of earth near the cliff edge to properly bury "The Lightning American". Color guard members led the way from the gym as a few people in town followed out of curiosity. Everyone knew that Surge left but nobody believed that he actually died. There was ample space for some higher-ups in the military plus the quartet of buglers. A chaplain did a service before the quartet played Taps and the flag covered casket was buried for good along with the ball. Everyone left the scene in silence with the thought of finding a way to move forward.
    A set of old dog tags were being worn by Greg as he stood in front of two homemade headstones. It had been one year since the public funeral service and everyone was living their normal lives except the three gym caretakers. Some older trainers wanted to volunteer in the gym but Greg politely sent them away each time feeling conflicted about moving on. Gretchen had moved on for the most part; she only got upset whenever she actually stood in front of the headstone. Liam was given Surge's tags since he saw him as his father more than his real father; he managed to curb his emotions whenever he had to talk about the former gym leader. Greg still took challenges after temporarily giving up control to the league. However, there were days where he did not have the motivation to battle.

    The trainer approached the front desk of the gym where Gretchen was working. "Excuse me, I have a battle scheduled against Greg. Is he ready?"

    She paged the leader only to get static on the other end. "I'm sorry but he's not mentally 100% today. You'll have to come back tomorrow otherwise your victory today may not count if you do manage to battle."

    "Can I see him at least? Maybe I can get him to 100%."

    Gretchen was shocked at the response. Nobody had offered to help Greg when he was depressed. "Umm... he should be out back. Just go through the door adjacent to the office. We'll help you."

    "Thank you." The challenger made it outside to find the former General staring down at a headstone; a quick peek down made the situation much more understandable. "How are you doing sir?"

    He was snapped out of his trance. "Let me guess, a battle for the Thunder Badge?"

    "Whenever you're ready." Something made the trainer keep going. "I know the feeling. My uncle didn't die in a war but cancer got him. It was nice of the military to give him a full funeral. I also dread the day my grandfather passes as well. Even though he served a long time ago, he does not want a full military funeral. Modesty is a rare trait so I try to absorb much of that as possible. Have a good day."

    "Wait!" Greg turned to look at the challenger. "Let's have an official battle now. You're the first challenger who knows the feeling. I don't think I'll be depressed anymore knowing that there is someone out there I can relate to. Meet me inside and we'll get started."

    A smile formed on both of their faces. "Yes sir."
    ​Greg is actually a name of an older gym trainer in a game, so I slipped in that allusion. Gretchen & Liam? No backstory behind them.

    Last note if you care: the trainer at the end is me. I've thought about redoing this story now that I've gotten better with my writing but I can't bring myself to do it. Again, shoutout to those who's family member(s) are in the military. The next story will be more uplifting. I promise :)
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