Thread: Rough Skin
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:48 PM   #8
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Relicanth These are the Voyages...

It had been a few months now, time enough. It was the same whenever he got anything new - he didn't want to use it in case it got ruined, was no longer pristine. 'But it's a submarine. It's starting to rust just by being in the water' he told himself. Water was the ultimate solvent - no matter the material, water would dissolve it eventually. Water always won.

Nodding to himself, he strode up the gangplank, boarding the Rough Skin for far from the first time. He'd been living in the vessel since the day that he acquired her, but this time was different. "Everyone aboard who wants to be?" he asked, receiving a chorus of cries from around the living area. Plenty had opted to stay ashore, usually those who liked open spaces and solid ground beneath their feet, but just as many were here for the ride, along with yet more in the water alongside. Waving a temporary goodbye to the Pokémon still ashore, Dave flicked a couple of switches inside the door, one of them causing the metal door to slam shut, while the other retracted the gangplank into the hull.

Inside, he shimmied up a ladder, taking him from the living quarters to the Wheelhouse, a relatively Spartan room. Two huge, reinforced windows took up both port and starboard sides, giving a great view of the lagoon on one side and the land on the other, while in the centre stood a scale model of the ship herself. Despite looking like a statue, this was actually a highly-sophisticated control interface. As the fisherman walked up to it, he gently stroked two panels by the door on the port side of the ship, just where he'd been on the real deal. Twin clunks sounded from outside as the mooring lines were reeled in, and there was a gentle jolt as the submarine began to drift out from the shore of the bay.

Looking around, he saw most of his most trusted friends looking out of the windows. A Houndour and Luxio sat together, tails wagging and swishing respectively as they looked over the water, while a Skiploom twirled through the air as she smiled at her friends chilling out on the land. Meanwhile, in the corner, a Croagunk sat stoically, not interested by what was happening outside. Dave smirked, he could always count on Jason to know what was really important, and what was just showing off. Reaching down, he tapped the rear of the control model, a juddering sensation suddenly gripping the vessel as the engines fired up, propellers at the stern starting to turn. "Right then, here we go..." he muttered, mostly to himself as he lightly pushed the model forward. The vessel lurched slightly, before transitioning into a smooth glide as it began to move forward, heading for the mouth of the lagoon. The Pokémon around him cheered as they noticed the outsides moving, and he afforded himself a grin. Next stop: The Open Ocean.


After about half an hour, things were going pretty good. They'd steamed out of the entrance to the lagoon into the vast sea that surrounded the Sapphire Islands. Changing course, he brought the Rough Skin along the coast at a decent distance out, before deciding to test out the ship's other abilities. "Alright, let's take her down." he said, pressing the model downwards. Immediately an odd gurgling sensation echoed around the hull as the ship took on water. Smoothly, while still heading forward, it began to slip below the surface. This was the real test. He'd wanted a ship capable of showing him the wonders beneath the sea, and while so many of his Pokémon could use Dive, there was nothing like observing it from a comfortable platform like this. Within seconds, the water was up to the huge windows either side of the top deck, which continued to slide beneath the surface, which rolled up the sides until the last of the sub dipped beneath.

The fisherman sighed. Being underwater always felt good, but this was a new experience. As the sub continued to descend, he levelled her out so that she glided a ways off the seabed, and set the autopilot. Walking to the starboard window, he joined Gytha in staring out as the underwater scenery rolled past. The Skiploom perched on his shoulder as the beautiful sight of a coral reef swept into view, Water-type Pokémon of all kinds flitting about - a shoal of Luvdisc skimmed along the rocky outcrops where Corsola sat, filter-feeding. He smiled, watching the scenery flit by. Coral heads were broken up by sandy flats, but habitats were mostly the same. Aside from making the odd course-correction, he could have stood watching the natural wonders for hours.

In fact, it began to feel like hours. He only realised just how mesmerised he was when he heard a hiss behind him. Certain facts began to make themselves painfully obvious in his mind. Firstly, he had nothing that regularly hissed on deck - Rhys was back on land and Bolas was down in the living quarters. The only Pokémon up here who hissed was Carrot, and the Luxio only hissed when he felt threatened. And Carrot never felt threatened. An icy chill crawling down his spine, he slowly turned to face port.

The first thing he noticed was Carrot facing the window, his adolescent mane sticking on end, along with his tail. Angua cowered behind him, the Houndour not exactly one to scare easy herself. The reason soon became clear. Beyond the window, the side facing the offshore depths, a huge, angry Gyarados regarded the submarine, easily keeping pace. "Shit." he muttered. Gyarados weren't used to such large incursions into their territories, especially from things so... unfamiliar. The Rough Skin's Sharpedo-like colouration couldn't be helping either. Ordinarily this shouldn't be a problem, Carrot could probably take the leviathan out of commission with a well-placed Thunder attack, but they were in here, and it was out there, no way to attack it.

But this wasn't a problem for the Gyarados. An orange orb began to grow within its gaping maw, and within seconds a ferocious Hyper Beam tore through the water. The aim was off as it streaked toward the sub, but that made it no less terrifying as it glanced the front of the ship, a warning shot across the bows. The ship rocked violently, warning sirens blaring and red lights flashing, almost throwing Dave to the floor as he staggered back to the controls, bringing the vessel to an all-stop. But what now? He had no idea how long they'd been travelling through its territory, turning back could be as risky as continuing. He could surface, but then they'd be vulnerable to attack from below, with no way to see it coming. The serpent seemed surprised that its target had stopped, but quickly figured that this just made it easier to hit. Another Hyper Beam began to grow within the Water-type's mouth. Why hadn't he installed defence shields on this boat again?

As he closed his eyes and braced for the inevitable, another noise echoed around the vessel, a deep, booming, yet oddly-haunting call. Soundwaves slammed into the Gyarados, throwing off its aim and causing its next attack to go wide, missing the sub by miles. Dave blinked, that had looked like a Hyper Voice attack. Both the Gyarados and the sub's occupants looked around wildly for the interloper, but they didn't have to wait long. A rotund creature swam into view, fins flapping like wings as it wobbled through the water. A softer call echoed from its wide mouth as it placed itself between the Rough Skin and the Gyarados. Dave couldn't believe it. "Tethys?"

The Wailmer turned, smiling at his trainer for a moment before turning back the recovered sea serpent. Recovered, but still incensed. The Gyarados' eyes narrowed at the Ball Whale, causing Dave to gulp. Despite Tethys being one of the largest Pokémon on his team, he was still dwarfed by the pseudo-dragon. But the fact that he'd gotten involved showed something was different... he knew the Wailmer had been getting stronger, but this was showing something else entirely. The Gyarados went on the offensive again, this time swirling its tail around to generate a vortex, casting a Twister through the water toward all targets of its aggression. Dave and everyone else aboard braced for impact, but Tethys had other plans, swimming rapidly in a circle to generate a cyclone of his own, releasing a Whirlpool in response. The two vortices clashed, wind and water fighting against each other before cancelling out.

The fisherman breathed a sigh of relief. This was incredible... Tethys just stopped a powerful attack from a likely high-level Pokémon, a Gyarados no less! The serpent roared in frustration as its plans were scuppered, its body undulating as it swam forward. The end of its great length glowed light blue as it approached, before swinging it forward, the Aqua Tail aiming to swat away the smaller Pokémon and likely dent the sub too! But the plucky Wailmer was nowhere near done just yet, charging forward too, head lowered before ramming into the oncoming tail with all his Strength. Level imbalance met type effectiveness, and both bounced away, somewhat literally in Tethys' case, their attacks again cancelling out. The leviathan hissed, now getting extremely riled up, swimming forward with jaws agape, intent on getting rid of the pesky Wailmer by just swallowing him whole! But not even this seemed to bother Tethys, who simply hung in the water in his normal good-natured way... and began to glow.

"...well that explain a lot." Dave muttered, watching as the Gyarados slid to a halt in the water, watching the relatively tiny ball of light start to grow... and grow... and grow. The centre of Tethys' being was bloated and stretched to many times its original size, pumping up almost like a balloon. Soon it was equal in size to the Gyarados, but quickly outstripped it, inflating like a Zeppelin, soon about as large as the Rough Skin herself. At this point, the glow faded, revealing a creature fairly similar - a rotund body, the blue lighter, the cream changed to white. Two more pairs of fins had sprouted from his body along his increased length, which was now ended in a wide, powerful tail fluke, designed to heft one of the largest bodies on the planet through the water. The opened his gaping maw, releasing a song even louder, deeper and more hauntingly beautiful than ever before, sure to echo off the ocean basin for thousands of miles.

The Gyarados was still displeased, but from a vastly different angle. Now it was the small-fry, facing down an opponent over double its not-inconsiderable length. Adrenaline surging from the Evolution process, Tethys wasted no time in releasing another soundwave, a second Hyper Voice slamming into the Gyarados to send it reeling like a concentrated sonar blast. Hissing in pain, the prideful serpent charged forward, fangs bared in a bid to Crunch the blubbery hide of its huge foe, but Wailord are masters of controlling their depth. Tethys sank with almost no effort, the Gyarados charging over him with its teeth clashing together on nothing but water.

But that wasn't even the worst of it. Its momentum had left it hanging straight over a unique part of Wailord anatomy. Dave couldn't help but grin, giving a small wave to the Gyarados as he noticed what the cetacean had planned. The mammal's blowhole noticeably increased in size below the serpent, before an enormous torrent of water erupted upward, catching the Atrocious Pokémon completely unawares with Tethys' most powerful attack! The Water Spout pushed the Gyarados upward, hitting the surface and beyond. Quickly, Dave dashed to the front of the wheelhouse, pulling down a viewport and raising the sub's periscope, spinning it around. Sure enough, the Gyarados was sent flying into the distance, landing with a splash several hundred yards away. He grinned to himself. Worth it.

Walking back to the side, he saw the huge creature turn, floating over to the other side of the window. He placed one hand on the glass, smiling. "Excellent work, Tethys. It only seems like yesterday that I hatched you, and from my first ever egg no less! You've come a long way, and grown so much... especially today." The vibrations of his voice carried through the glass and into the water, somehow, causing the Wailord to beam with pride. "Guess I won't need this bucket of bolts so much if I've got you to ride the waves on, huh? C'mon, let's head back to base. I think this has been enough of a maiden voyage."

As he stepped back to the controls, Gytha on his shoulder and Carrot and Angua rubbing against his shins, he smiled. He was getting there, slowly but surely. He was helping his friends, and they were helping him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jason open a yellow eye and give an approving nod. As he turned the Rough Skin about, the haunting noise of Wailord-song echoed around the entire hull, and into the ocean beyond. He'd heard a saying once, back in Pastoria: Little ripples had a habit of turning into big waves...
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