Research Assistant Orientation for the Willow Pokémon Research Laboratory

…so I know they’re not fashionable, but they’re waterproof, and they’re very comfortab… Ah! You’re here! Excellent. Please, have a seat. No, no, no need to apologize. We’ve been here two minutes, at the most.

Great, well, first of all, thank you all for coming on such short notice. As you know, I wasn’t expecting to lose all of my research assistants at once, so you’re really helping me out of a tight spot with this. I know each one of you cares deeply about Pokémon, and you’re excited to unlock the mysteries of their abilities and their evolution. That’s fantastic! So am I! And that’s why I think you’re all going to be great at this. Just keep that your focus, your number one priority, and I know we’ll do amazing work together. It… it’s very important that you don’t let anything else come before that. I just mention it because it’s been an issue in the past.

Anyway, this is a very hands-off lab. Feel free to pick up where one of my outgoing assistants left off or to start an entirely new project of your own. Research what you’re curious about. There are just four rules: don’t plagiarize, don’t be cruel to humans or Pokémon — and if you’re ever not sure about something, ask — and (sigh) our newest rule, don’t start a gang war.

Now, you’re laughing at that, but I’m quite serious. Don’t start a gang war. Your predecessors… lacked discipline in this respect. I don’t know if they actually wanted to start one, or if was just a side-effect of each of them having roving bands of thousands of trainers pledging allegiance to them, but that doesn’t matter now. What matters now is that you know the dangers, you know what I’ll be looking out for, and you won’t start a gang war.

Maybe… maybe some tips are in order. Well, firstly, I would say to be careful with color-coding. I know it’s terribly convenient, but you would be surprised how quickly people will buy into a color and just how bad it looks to have color-coordinated groups of young adults patrolling the most prominent public spaces of every city in the United States. Something we didn’t realize the first time around was that Americans have a very specific image come into their mind when they see that, and it makes them feel unsafe. And that can put you into a mindset you wouldn’t have been in otherwise. So… yeah. Maybe keep your favorite colors to yourselves. And ask the trainers working under you to not dress all in the same color. I know that could be hard, because for some reason everybody owns the same few sweatshirts and only wears one of them, but… it’s worth trying.

Also, I know that we want to motivate people, but I would be careful about what values you promote to your team. One of my last assistants was really obsessed with instinct, which definitely has its place in field work, but scientific research is really more about verifiability and repeatability. And then one of them was always talking about strength, which… was probably a red flag. I know it’s a fine line between running a tight ship and engaging in parmilitary activity, but I do expect you to stay on the right side of it. Actually, the other one was weird, too. Dressed like a super-villain. Do me a favor. Even if you feel like a super-villian, just wear a labcoat to work. And if you want to have any values at the center of your team, maybe pick something like proper documentation.

Look, I’m not trying to accuse you of anything. It’s just that apparently these things get out of hand more quickly than I thought. One day, you’re publishing the featured article in The Journal of Pokemon Evolution, and the next, you’re paying off Officer Jenny because someone that was supposed to be helping you with research was caught cooking black-market Full Restores in her bathtub and selling them outside of a payday loan shop.

I’m sorry. I’m just… it’s frustrating. I’m a scientist, and I didn’t sign up for all of this.

I think it would also help if you try to remember that we’re all in this together. Sometimes we’re going to step on each others’ toes, and when that happens, we have to handle it like adults and move on. Adults do not put Ponyta heads in people’s beds and leave marks from their Heelys all over the kitchen floor. Actually, adults just don’t have Heelys. But fine, if you have them, you can keep them. Obviously, I’m not in a position to lecture people on their footwear. Regardless, if you feel that another team is in your way and you can’t talk it over, I expect for you to bring it up with me. There are enough resources to go around, and we shouldn’t need to fight.

Oh, speaking of fighting, do you three do a lot with gyms? Can I ask for you to do that outside of work hours? I’m just realizing that my former assistants were obsessed with them and I think that’s a big part of why things started to go downhill. They don’t really have anything to do with research, now that I think about it.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. We’ve been over a lot here, and you’re all smart enough to know what to do. I’m just… trying to be careful. I’ll be back in the lab as soon as our attorney can convince the authorities that your predecessors were acting of their own volition. I’m sure you can get started without me. Just, every once in a while, ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing going to get us closer to or farther away from a gang war?”. Maybe even ask yourself, “Could this even just look like I’m starting a gang war?”, because we will have a little bit of police scrutiny on us now. They’re going to be looking for a gang war. And we don’t need them to look any closer than is absolutely necessary. Nobody needs to know where the candy comes from.

Hmm? Can I… what? Oh, oh, okay. Jenny is telling us to wrap it up, so you’d better go. It’s wonderful to meet you all. Thank you for coming. I, um, I can’t shake your hand. They don’t allow touching here. Anyway, you’re all going to do great! I’m really excited for you.

Good luck! Be safe! Don’t start a gang war!