"Two Pokéballs!" yells Talon.
"Got it!" agrees Thundara just as loudly, as apparently they've both become very deaf overnight.
"I'll start with....... GEODUUUUUUUDE! GOOOOOOOO!!!!" cries Talon, sending out Geodude.
Geodude is yet another Rock Pokémon, this one a floating head with muscular arms coming out where it's ears should be. Ash shows how serious he is by turning his cap backwards, then rolls around in some delightful stock footage against a green energy background before choosing his Pokémon... Pidgeotto!
"Go Pidgeotto, Gust Attack!" cries Thundara, and the feisty bird swoops up a dust storm, zipping around and around in circles as Geodude watches on. A whirlwind of dust obscures them from view as Ash watches on intently, Misty watching from a railing high overhead. The dust clears and to Ash's surprise but nobody else's, Geodude is perfectly fine and taking swipes and swings at a retreating Pidgeotto.
"Bad strategy," notes Talon deadpan, "Don't you know that Flying Pokémon are weak against Rock Types?"
"Uhhh, I guess I forgot," lies the terrifyingly simple Thundara.
"Come on Ash, use your head," sighs Misty, then looks about as Brock's siblings rush about on either side of her to watch 'Momma Brock' kick another challengers butt. And things are going their way at the moment, as Pidgeotto is slammed down and knocked out, forcing Ash to call it back while Geodude floats smugly above the ground.
"Are you giving up again?" asks Talon with a smirk.
But Thundara ain't done yet, and he sends out Pikachu to show Brock the benefits that a little Pokémon training can bring about.
"The Pikachu again," grins Talon, "I feel sorry for it, being raised by such a weak Pokémon Trainer."
"Pikachu," grins Thundara, "Now's our chance to show him how weak we are."
What follows defies the laws of physics to such a degree as to be almost unbelievable, as a short sharp burst of electricity on a rock-based Pokémon sends it crashing to the ground, burnt to a crisp. Shocked, Brock stands with mouth agape and eyes squinted, while all around Misty the Brocklings murmur uncomfortably.... is Momma Brock gonna take a hiding from an emotionally crippled, 10 year old bastard child? But Brock quickly recovers, knowing that while Pikachu may have gained in strength rather quickly, there is no way it can defeat his Onix!
*Both Talon and Thundara have 1 pokemon left*
*Onix vs Pikachu*
Calling out the massive stone snake, it Ga-Rooooars with a fury that shakes poor widdle Pikachu to it's core, remembering the beating it took just the day before. Reacting instinctively, Pikachu lets loose with a random blast of electricity that smashes rocks, almost takes out Ash, shocks a startled Onix and sets small fires in the lights hanging from the roof. "Hey Pikachu, watch where you're aiming, huh!" cries Thundara, distracting Pikachu enough to let Onix wrap it's tail around the little electric rodent and squeeze it in another Bind Attack. Ash screams for Pikachu to use it's Thunderbolt, and this time the attack actually hurts Onix, which Ga-Rooars in pain but keeps on gripping as Brock calls for it to keep on keeping on with it's Bind Attack. Pikachu shocks, Onix binds, and both are hurting bad as their respective Trainers watch on. But Rock is always going to beat electricity, and Pikachu's soft little body begins to give out, the Thunderbolt wearing off as Onix continues to Bind, squeezing it and squeezing it until Brock suddenly, unexpectedly orders it to let go. Pikachu drops to the ground, eyes spinning dizzily in Confusion as Onix looks down expectedly, waiting for it's Master's next command.
"No Brock!" cries Thundara, fearing that Brock is going to call the match at an end,"I want to play this match to the end!"
"There's no point in going on," retorts Talon, "I really don't want to hurt your Pokémon."
"Grrr," grrr's Ash, then lowers his head, preparing to give in to the inevitable. And then the fires in the lights overhead set off the sprinklers, making Onix Ga-Roooar in agony.
"ASH!" screams Misty as the water jerks Pikachu back into awareness, "Rock Pokémon are weak against water!"
"Pikachu!" cries Thundara, but his rodent is well ahead of him, letting loose with another electrical attack that blasts Onix right to it's very core, sending it careening over and smashing into the ground.
"ONIX!" cries Talon in shock as the mighty Stone Snake twitches and jerks on the ground, water pooling around it's massive body. "Pikachu!" demands Thundara, throwing his arm high, "Finish it off..."
And then he stops in place, his arm frozen.
"My conscience is holding me back!" Thundara sobs, "I can't bring myself to beat Brock! I'm imagining his brothers and sisters holding me back from beating the one person they love!"
"Ash," sighs Misty from her place in the railing, "I think you better open your eyes."
Ash does so, and discovers that he wasn't being held back by his conscience at all, but by 9 of Brock's siblings who are wrapped about his legs, arms, waist and neck.
"Leave Onix alone," sobs one of the Brocklings, "My brother worked hard at raising it you big bully!"
"Believe me kid, I'm no bully," stammers the boy who spent all of last night electrocuting his best friend.
"Stop it, get off, all of you," growls Momma Brock angrily at his widdle Brocklings, "This is an official match, and we're going to finish it no matter what."
"But Brock," sobs a female Brockling, "We know that you love your Pokémon so much."
"That's why we can't watch Onix suffer from another attack!" rasps yet another Brockling. As Ash listens, he remembers that when his Pikachu looked to be out of it, Brock called for Onix to stop it's attack. Blinking as he struggles to form coherent sentences to express the concept he just realised, he calls back his Pikachu.
"What do you think you're doing?" growls Talon as a confused Pikachu returns to Ash's side while he sets the Brocklings down, "This match isn't over yet, Ash."
"Those sprinklers going off was just an accident," acknowledges Thundara,"Winning the match because of that wouldn't have proved anything, next time we meet I'll beat you my way, fair and square."
"Hmmm," hmmms Brock in a familiar fashion.
"Huuuh," sighs Misty in consternation, "Just when he gets a lucky break he decides to be a nice guy too."
Outside The Gym, Ash and Pikachu head off towards wherever it is losers who can't win Badges go, taking full advantage of the dramatic shot.
"I'm sorry if I was too tough on you, Pikachu," Thundara apologises, "But you really did a great job."
"Piika-chu?" asks Pikachu.
"Sounds like you feel just the way I do," agrees Ash, having realised that noble defeat may make you look good in front of the ladies, but it sure looks silly.
"Hey! Hey! Wait up, Ash!" cries a voice, stopping him. Turning around, Ash stares in surprise as a breathless Brock runs up behind him and stops to pant. Standing up straight, Brock holds out his hand and says,"Ash, you forgot this."
In his hand is a shiny, sparkly, boulder-shaped Badge, named appropriately enough, a Boulder-Badge.
"A badge, for defeating a Gym Trainer? I can't accept that, I didn't beat you, I gave up."
"Naah," retorts Talon eloquently, "I lost to you, you beat me in battle, and in being kind to all Pokémon."
"But..." Thundara continues to plead, desperate to avoid getting a Pokémon Badge at all costs.
"To tell you the truth, I get more pleasure from raising Pokémon than from making them battle."
He turns to stare dramatically at the sun setting over the nearby lake, "I don't care about being a great Pokémon Trainer, I want to become the World's Best Breeder."
"But I can't leave here," Talon sighs, "Because I have to look after my brothers and sisters."
He turns about and holds out his palm with the Boulder-Badge set into it, "Ash, I want you to take this and fulfil my dream, will you do that for me?"
"I will," nods Thundara, "And I'll do my best to deserve this, too!" He takes the badge from Brock's outstretched hand, and in doing so they obscure the presence of a third person who has been listening to their entire conversation... Flint.
"Brock, you go follow your own dreams."
"FLINT!?!" gasps Thundara, and to everybody's surprise the shaggy ne'erdowell removes his beanie AND his beard (apparently he couldn't grow one of his own) to reveal..... Daddy-Brock?
"My.. father," growls Talon in best Mark Hamill fashion, glaring at the man who looks exactly like him except for the wrinkles below the eyes.
"HUUUH!" huh's Thundara,"You mean you're the good for nothing father who left home and never came back?"
"That's right," Flint nods, "It was me, I couldn't become the great Pokémon Trainer I wanted to and because I was such a failure I was too embarrassed and ashamed to go back to my family."
"But why did you help me instead of Brock?" asks Thundara, while Brock just squints expressionlessly at his wreck of a Father.
"You reminded me of myself, you didn't seem to have a chance."
"Ahhh-wooo-owww," says Thundara, the most intelligent thing he's said all day.
"It time I started taking care of my family," grunts Flint at Brock, "You go fulfil your dreams and mine."
"First, there are some things I have to tell you," Talon replies coldly, while Ash puts his hands behind his head and looks on stupidly, with no idea of the nature of the language that's going to be coming out of Brock in a matter of seconds. After all, this is Brock's father, the man who abandoned him as a child, left his wife to die and his son to look after the offspring of his virility. This is the man who has been living in town for years now selling rocks (of the legal and illegal variety) when he could have been mending fences and building bridges with his family (it's metaphor, kids).
"Here," says Talon, reaching into his vest and pulling out a needle and thread. As the camera pulls away, we discover it's like Father, like Son, as Brock willingly hands over his 10 brothers and sisters (the tenth never seen, possibly being Brock himself and simply the result of a translation glitch from kids to siblings) to a man who is for all intents and purposes a complete stranger.
"Suzy always rips her dresses so you better learn how to sew and Timmy only eats cold spaghetti for breakfast, Tommy likes cornflakes for dinner..."
"Slow down, show down" gasps Flint, jumping up and down, his poor crack-addled mind unable to handle it all, "I can't write that fast!"
"Cindy sleepwalks so you have to tie a bell on her wrist, the twins never want to take a bath so you have to...."
Later that night - all the instructions out of the way and his Brocklings safely left in the hands of a man who made a total failure of his own life - a happy Brock walks alongside Ash and Pikachu.
"Hey Ash, are you sure it's okay if I go with you on your Pokémon Journey?" he asks.
"Sure I'm sure!" laughs Thundara, "The more the merrier.... and it's good to have somebody to talk with!"
"Well..." starts Talon, stopping to turn and look behind them, "What about that girl who keeps following you?"
"Don't forget about my bike, Ash Ketchum!" growls Misty, following along about 10 metres behind them, "I'm going to follow you until you pay me back!"
"I know! I know," sighs Thundara, "Pikachu let's try to lose her!"
They break into a run, continuing that beloved freeloading tradition of never having to pay for anything, as Brock gives chase and Misty comes close behind, determined that he won't get away. And so, with a new friend and ally, and Misty close behind, Ash continues on his quest to become a Pokémon Master. It's just a pity that Team Rocket had to die in the process.
But then, boom! With a shake of the ground a drill bursts out of the dirt and Team Rocket reappear, none the worse for wear after a full day under the ground. Luckily James just happened to have a huge drilling, vibrating machine lying about, isn't it!
"I told you I'd get us out of this!" grins Heath.
"This was all......" starts Mirage angrily, until Ash runs over the back of her head and Brock slams his boot into James' beautiful face,"....your fault," she finishes, and then Misty runs over the back of her head, following in Ash's footsteps.
"Buried alive then trampled," sighs Mirage, then hugs James and sobs along with him, "We've hit rock bottom!"
Not quite yet, as all three tumble back down the hole and crash into the ground, kicking up a large plume of dust.