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Pokémon Journey Fic: Camaraderie: The Prologue


Bug Catcher


Palmer is beaten by his dad when he stands up for his sister, Halyna. A few years later, Palmer takes Halyna to visit Lenin's Mausoleum. He explains how Lenin inspires him and vows to become the champion of a region in the future so that they won't have to live in poverty anymore. He promises that no matter what happens, he will fulfill his goal. This is made possible through his determination and their unbreakable bond.
WARNING: Their dad is clearly in a drunken state of mind in his short appearance in the prologue. Also in one scene, Halyna observes that her mother may be a prostitute. Palmer also admits he had a bad habit of snorting glue. All of these were common in countries affected by shock therapy after the collapse of the USSR since it forced millions into poverty.

Reader discretion is advised.

Viktor is actually Palmer's German version name. Palmer-Makar is his hyphenated last name. Therefore his full name is Viktor Palmer-Makar.


Bug Catcher

The Reason For My Journey​

December 23, 1999, Stoneshield City, Bolkamen, Oriena

“Papa, PAPA — please don’t hurt Mr. Fluffy!” Halyna begged while trying to grab her shiny Zorua doll from my father’s hands.

“Mr. Fluffy DIES now!” he screeched while unsteady and unable to stand straight. “You’re a godforsaken piece of trash, Halyna! DO YOU UNDERSTAND? You should have never been born!”

After a long struggle, Halyna couldn’t hold on any longer, as my father pushed her away. He grabbed a pair of scissors nearby and violently stabbed the doll, cutting it apart!

Halyna collapsed on the ground, bawling her eyes out. My father took a few steps back, wobbling along the way, and sat on a chair. He had closed his eyes and looked like he was about to pass out, thus posing no danger to Halyna.

Still, I couldn’t remove the image of what just happened from my head. I started to sweat profusely, and my entire body felt so hot that I had to take off and throw my sweater on the ground. I clenched my fists to the point where my palms began to bleed. I lunged toward my father and punched him in his teeth.

“How dare you destroy Halyna’s gift!” I interrogated with my face red hot. “I don’t care what you do to me! B-but to hurt Halyna like that?”

I tilted my head down and tried to hold back my tears. Unfortunately, I couldn’t contain them any longer and burst out crying.

“She did nothing wrong — and still y-you — " My sobbing made me unable to finish the sentence.

Suddenly, a burning and sharp pain transmitted to my cheek, and I lost my balance. Wheezing, I found myself on the ground, using my right hand to feel the stinging pain on my face. My hand sensed something warm and wet. As I retracted it and focused on my fingers, I saw a red sticky fluid on them. This wasn’t the first time it happened.

I focused on my dad’s belt in his hands. When I lost focus, I noticed he was shaking on his knees, and it looked like he was about to lose consciousness. Suddenly he started to move, and before I knew it, he crowded me. The worst part was him heavily breathing down on me, as I could smell his foul vinegar-like breath. He used his belt to whip me a few times, forcing me to close my eyes. Even with Halyna’s constant begging, he would not stop.

“Viktor, or should I say LOSER! You’re pathetic!” he insulted while whipping me with his belt. “ How dare YOU spend all that money to get your sister a present! She’s not a baby anymore!”

I expected more spewed profanities and more pain, but to my surprise — he just stopped then and there and began to cry.

“All of us, we’re all wor-worthless!” he stuttered while weeping. “My home, my country, please come back! I lost everything that day, EVERYTHING!”

April 22, 2002, Red Square

We had just finished school on that peaceful sunny, yet chilly day. Nothing made me happier than to be with Halyna. I wore a white T-Shirt, blue shorts, and black sneakers with short white socks. Halyna wore a red dress jacket, black earmuffs, black tights, and warm brown boots.

We walked directly from school to the centre of the Red Square. Thousands of people and hundreds of Pokémon filled up the area. Many marvelled at the views of the Cathedral and Kremlin. Others were shopping at the multiple vendors that set their shops across the district. Plenty of people were walking their Pokémon. I saw Yampers, Growlithes, Lillipups, and other Pokémon I wasn’t familiar with. Swarms of Pidoves littered the zone as well.

Suddenly, Halyna abruptly stops in the middle of our walk with her hands on her tummy. Her stomach grumbled and growled.

“Looks like someone’s hungry!” I chuckled while tickling her tummy.

“Ahahaha, stop it, Viktor!” she cheered.

“Na-ah, here comes the tickle monster!” I exclaimed while chasing her around the area.

Halyna and I ran like idiots and acted like we didn’t have a care in the world. I don’t even remember the last time she was happy. When I finally caught up to her, we both lay down on a patch of grass inside the Red Square, just chuckling and relaxing.

“Come on, Halyna,” I said. “Let’s get you something to eat. I don’t want to see you hungry.”

“Only if you also get something, big bro,” she requested.

I slowly got up from the grass, reached into my pocket, and counted the money.

“We only have 100 Orienan Roubles,” I told her with a frown. “That’s only enough to get food for one person. It’s yours.”

She abruptly jumped up and hugged me tight. At first, she murmured a bit, and I couldn’t quite make out what she said. Finally, I heard her loud and clear.

“No, big brother, I won’t let you!” she complained while embracing me. “You always work so hard and look so tired. You deserve it more than I do.”

I slowly released her from my grasp, my tears threatening to fall. But I couldn't hold them in and began to cry harshly.

“Big brother, please don’t cry!” she begged as she patted my back. “Please, you need your nutrients as well. I don’t want to see you sick or hungry!”

It was torturous having to argue with such a sweet girl. Her innocent big blue eyes and faint frown were so precious.

“Haly, please understand why you need to eat,” I pleaded. “Big brother has already grown up. You’re still a young girl and need more food.”

She tilted her head a bit and shook it slowly a few times. Finally, she grabbed my hand and made a pinky promise.

“Let’s share a meal then, big brother,” she said. “See, we pinky promised. That means you need to keep your end of the promise. Please understand that we are both in this struggle together. We need to help each other whenever we can.”

I grinned and gave her a pat on the head.

“Hehe, you’re such a cutie,” I awed. “Can we compromise?”

“Hmm, why, big bro? We both pinky promised. We must share half and half.”

“Pretty please, Haly? You get the bigger half, and I get the smaller half. Please plea —”

“Alright, big bro, deal,” she chuckled. “Let’s go get some shawarma! Race ya!”

I gave her a headstart and sprinted to chase her. Shortly, we both arrived at a shawarma stand.

“One regular shawarma, please,” I told the worker.

She quickly prepared our shawarma with the toppings; lettuce, tomato, hummus, garlic sauce, pickles, and turnips.

“100 Roubles, please,” the worker said.

I took the money out of my pocket and gave it to him. He handed the shawarma to Halyna.

“Thank you, mister!” she said in the sweetest voice. “Have a great day!”

The worker waved us goodbye as we went to find a bench to sit on. As soon as we both sat down, Halyna ripped apart the shawarma into an uneven half and passed the larger half to me.

“Haly…” I said in a faint voice. “I told you to take the larger half…”

She frowned at me and sat — still and silent.

“Please, Haly…” I begged.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before letting out a huge sigh. Without a word, she passed me the smaller half and slowly ate the larger half.

“Thank you for understanding, Haly,” I uttered. “I promise it’s for the best,” I said as I kissed her cheek.

She giggled while still chewing her food.

“That was so yummy,” she exclaimed. “Did you like it?”

I nodded my head as I got up to stretch.

“What should we do now?” she asked.

In a split second, I held her hand and began to walk toward Lenin’s Mausoleum.

“Hey, where are we going, big bro?” she questioned.

“Hey, Haly, remember when I told you I wanted to bring you to a special place today?”

She looked at the sky for a moment before she nodded.

“He’s one of my idols,” I explained. “He’s one of the most selfless people in history. I’m taking you to his resting place.”

While it’s true that the person I admired for putting the people first — had long been dead, it’s painful to know that the morals I commended may have died with him.

“What’s wrong, big bro?” she asked while panicking. “ Are you okay?

“Hey, sorry, Haly,” I replied with a nervous chuckle. “I just wish that historical figure was somehow still with us today. Father wouldn’t have become a monster if someone like him was in power today.”

She stared at me with a drooped face while trying to keep up with my pace.

“I know you’re probably confused,” I said. “I’ll explain more about it later when we’re inside the place, alright?”

She suddenly stopped and looked at her shoes. I heard her whimper a bit as well. Before I could ask her what was wrong, she faced me again. This time she grinned confidently with a thumbs up.

“Whew, I’m glad you’re alright. Remember, you can always tell big brother what’s on your mind.”

“Don’t worry about me, big bro!” she declared with a light dance. “I’m just as excited as you are.”

I nodded and chuckled as we held hands yet again. Shortly after, we arrived near Lenin’s Mausoleum.

Outside we saw the graves and head busts of all former Tovarich leaders. Besides them was a wall where the names of famous people that lived in the Tovarich Union were plastered. One of them was Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Halyna stopped and got dazed by the famous names of famous people everywhere.

“Woah, this is so cool!” she cheered. “We learned about most of these people in school, but when you’re here in person, it’s much more memorable!”

“I’m glad you find this interesting, Haly. But if we don’t move, we’ll lose our place in line!”

She giggled, blushing as we quickly got to the back of the line. After five minutes or so, we finally entered Lenin’s Mausoleum.

Lenin’s Mausoleum

The inside was rather dim. The entire room, including the floor, was made from a smooth black rock that I was unfamiliar with. There were red tiles on the ground and walls too. The room was also packed. It made perfect sense, especially today.

As we stood in line, waiting for our turn to get close to his coffin, Halyna nudged my arm.

“Wait, isn’t this Vladimir Lenin’s tomb?” she asked. “I learned all about Lenin in school and how he was one of the key people in creating the Tovarich Union. ”

“My my, you’re a smart one,” I applauded.

“Yeah, big bro! You should have just told me. I’m not a dumb kid, you know?”

“Aha, sorry about that,” I snickered while scratching my head.

“So, big brother, I have this hunch. You brought me here because it’s his birthday, and you want to reminisce?”

It’s marvellous that she was wise beyond her age. She was just ten years old and already spoke like an adult. Not just that, but her critical thinking skills surpassed many adults I knew.

“That is one reason, yes. However, there’s more to it, Haly. You may not remember what the Tovarich Union was like since you were born after it fell. I mean, I also don’t remember. I was only three when it fell. One of the reasons why I’m here is because I need a jolt of inspiration. I just wanna see Lenin’s tomb in person and offer my respect.”

My conversation was interrupted when the line started to move. The anticipation was killing me, though. I was so close to seeing his tomb up close!

“I shouldn’t have cut off,” I apologized. “But yeah, I was taught that Lenin and his comrades overthrew an oppressive leadership and established a country run by ordinary working-class folks. Thanks to him, millions were lifted out of poverty. I won’t be able to do the same thing, but I want to improve the lives of our family at the bare minimum. I’d be ecstatic if I could help even more people.”

Halyna slowly smiled and embraced me. She whispered, “I’m so proud of you, big bro.”

I’m used to her hugs, but that hug felt more special. I couldn’t explain it. I think it’s because I’ve never been able to protect her from my father’s wrath. Yet, at that moment, I was able to make her happy.

“Thank you, Haly. I love you so much! I do need to break some news, though.”

She stared at me with her mouth partially open as we moved forward in the line again.

“So, as you know, next week is my 14th birthday. From the people at school, I was able to find a job at a metallurgy factory further north from here. Once I turn fourteen, I will be working there. It’s right at the border of the Hjarta region and Oriena. They offered me free lodging, food, and good pay. The best part is once I turn sixteen, I’ll be allowed to travel through Hjarta and take on their Pokémon League. That’s where my real goal comes in. I will become the champion . That’s a promise. ”

That entire time, she stared at me with her mouth wide open, not saying a single word. However, her eyes slowly began to water up. I put my finger on her lips to prevent her from crying.

“Hey, Haly, I’m sorry. I know it’s a lot to take in. It was a difficult decision for me to make. However, I can’t bare to see us living in poverty, especially not you and Mother. I also want a life where I’m doing something I enjoy — becoming a Pokémon champion. Besides, this will increase the chances of Mother and Father loving each other again and for us to all be a family again.”

She continued to stare blankly at me, this time expressionless. She refused to say a word, no matter how much I tried to get her attention by waving my hands.

Suddenly, the line moved again, and finally, we got to stand next to his tomb. It felt like I was standing next to Lenin himself. Adrenaline pumped throughout my body as I stood silent and dazed.

While I remained in my trance, I felt something nudge me. I turned to face Halyna, realizing it was her.

“Hey, big bro. I’m sorry for getting so worked up. It’s just I’m worried. What if something awful happens to you? Most days of the week, some creepy old man brings Mommy home. It’s scary already. But, when you’re go-gone!”

She started to build up her tears but was able to restrain herself.

“Sorry, big bro,” she sniffled. “I should support you the entire way. Just please write back as much as you can. Despite my selfish desires, I want you to succeed. You have a heart of gold, big bro!”

A single tear ran down my face, but before I could burst out, two human guards and two Machoke guards crowded us. The human guards informed us that we needed to leave. Our time was up seeing Lenin’s tomb up close. It was painful to have to depart. I’ll never forget that day. It was such a treasure to be able to visit him.

Red Square

It was getting dark, and the wind blew fiercely toward us. I shivered a bit, which Halyna took note of. She lent me her jacket, only for me to push it aside.

“You’re so sweet, but you need your jacket more, Haly.”

“Hmm…” she complained. “Alright, big bro, I’ll keep it on.”

Seeing her in an unsettled mood, I rested my left arm around her shoulders. She laid her head down on my arm, giggled, and sighed.

“Hey, Haly, I just want to thank you for supporting me. I really didn’t want to do this either. However, we don’t have a future in this dump. I gotta put in the hard work now, so you and Mother can have a better life. Besides, it’ll help me break my glue-snorting addiction. Finding the light at the end of the tunnel does wonders, ya know?”

Halyna turned her face to look me in the eyes and smiled.

“I’m just ecstatic that you realize the harm. Promise you won’t repeat your bad habits , big bro?”

I grabbed her right hand with mines and made a pinky promise.

“Yes, absolutely, Haly!”

“Hehe, you returned the favour. I love you so much, big bro! But — I need to be honest about something.”

She stopped walking for a bit and took in a few breaths before she resumed speaking.

“I’m just scared of being alone with Mommy and having to see weird old men bring her home. B-but every time she comes home alone — we’re forced to go hungry for the night! She even told me she hates being around those men, but there’s no choice!”

Halyna covered her eyes, and I could tell she wept a few tears. Thankfully, she was able to control her emotions.

“Listen, Haly,” I comforted by gently hugging her. “Tell Mother to stop what she’s doing. I’ll be able to support both of you now. I promise I will send every penny I make back. I just need to work my ass off for two years, and then I’ll be able to move to Hjarta and start my journey.”

Halyna glanced at me with her bright blue eyes and smiled.

“I believe in you, big bro. Just remember that we’re both in this together. We’re not just siblings — we’re comrades. No matter our distance, we’ll be connected and lift one another. That’s what seeing Lenin’s tomb up close taught me.”

So that’s why she went from hesitant to accepting in an instant back then! I absolutely cannot let such a sweet and intelligent young girl down. I must fulfill my goals. I will become the champion of a region — I just know I will!
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