Anima Ex Machina: Extra #3 [Bill McKenzie]
Further comments from Jax will be in italics. And there will be plenty.
Full Name: William Henry McKenzie. (Because Bill was most likely named after Bill Gates, I figured I'd give him the same middle name as well. As for McKenzie, there's a long story behind that, but let's just say it comes from a Pokémon.com screw-up that wasn't corrected until 2003.)
Nicknames: Bill. Actually has no qualms about being called by anything except his middle name or "Willy." He just doesn't care enough to tell people he would be perfectly all right if people called him William.
Current Codename: Stardust Subject 002: Adam
Age: Not given. (Bill's age is not canonically given, so I thought it would be more fun to just leave it up to reader interpretation. I can point you in the right direction, though, by saying he was a teenager when he first met Ash. This doesn't necessarily mean he isn't one now. It just tells you that he's not that old.)
Birthdate: December 31
Blood Type: O (This is relevant in more ways than just for Japanese personality conventions.)
- Pokémon researcher (specialty in behavioral psychology; interest in extinct pokémon specifically)
- Administrator and sys ops for the Kanto/Johto Storage and Retrieval System
- (By extension of the above) IT help
- Keeper of the Cerulean Cape Lighthouse, otherwise known as the Sea Cottage (No one knows why, either.)
- Technically self-employed (Bill maintains his own laboratory and would normally work as an independent scientist under contracts from various organizations -- usually the University of Cerulean City for his psychological research and Silph Co. for his technological work. This is, of course, if he doesn't simply rely on his own funds; thanks to the Storage and Retrieval System and his own popularity, he's also unusually wealthy for someone at his age in his field.)
- The University of Cerulean City (Bill had been enrolled in their doctorate program prior to Project Stardust; his status as such is currently on hold. Additionally, as mentioned above, a lot of his research is funded or otherwise supported by them.)
- The Pokémon Symposium (Vaguely defined in the anime canon, in AEM, the Symposium is an organization of researchers across the globe that not only gathers to share important discoveries but also acts as a networking system to link researchers with potential backers and fellow scientists. Because Bill isn't a professor, he technically shouldn't be in the organization at all, but due to his own achievements and the growing leniency on the definition of what a researcher is, he's been given a position as a minor official. That is, he has respect and the ability to recommend other up-and-coming researchers for evaluation for admission, but that's about it.)
- The Japanese government as of Project Stardust
- Polaris Institute
- Ethnicity: Mixed (His mother is pure-blooded Japanese. His father, on the other hand, is an immigrant who comes from a long line of primarily British mutts. The family name McKenzie is notably Scottish, and the family itself had uprooted from Edinburgh. However, there are smatterings of English and Welsh if one attempts to dig far enough back. Another fun fact? Bill's accent was at one point thickly Scottish. It sounds like a forced, stereotypical English accent because that was the closest thing he could get out of toning it down enough to avoid being misunderstood or ridiculed mercilessly by Bebe.)
- Nationality: Japanese citizen, registered in Johto
- Sexuality: Pansexual (Technically. Most of the time, Bill comes off as asexual because of his interest in his career -- that is, he loves his work more than most things in the world. However, he can feel a sexual attraction to another human being. He just doesn't take into account gender, partially because he feels that love shouldn't be defined by male/female/whatever and partially because he honestly can't help it.)
- Religion: Johtonian (Believe it or not, Bill is actually highly religious, and this comes out in his work. To define things simply, Johtonian is Shinto with a focus on legendary pokémon -- primarily those of the Johto region -- as the most powerful kami, or spirits of nature. In short, Bill and other Johtonian followers believe that the world is full of countless spirits called kami, each incredibly powerful representations of nature, and that humans must learn to live in harmony with them in order to live fulfilling lives. They respect these spirits by honoring them with festivals -- most elaborate of which are held in Goldenrod City, Bill's hometown -- and sacred shrines all over Johto. With this in mind, Bill's made it his mission to bridge the gap between pokémon, which are seen in his home region as being kami incarnates, and human beings by attempting to understand them and offering what he learns to the world at large. This is also why Bill says "gods" instead of "God": because in his first language, the world-language known as Common, the word "god" is the closest approximation to "kami" without implying that the spirits don't exist -- much like the way the word "legendary" does. He doesn't, incidentally, call the legendaries "gods" professionally, simply because this isn't their official designation according to the Symposium.)
- Political: None. (It's notable that Bill is a pacifist in more ways than just philosophy. He also has no interest in politics save for the fact that he's generally opposed to war and believes that a government should function to serve, help, and protect its people. He doesn't define himself as any political leaning, however, largely because he considers most politicians, political activists, and political philosophers -- historical and contemporary -- to be idiots. It's one of the few generalizations he's been known to make.)
(Note: No personality field. Why? Because you should be getting that through the story, you silly thing.)
- The McKenzie family has a long and extremely colorful history. To put it in short, Bill comes from a long line of scientists, although his father was the first pokémon researcher in the family. All of them were fairly prominent in their own rights, and many of them weren't without their individual scandals. (For example, Bill's grandparents fled Scotland in the mid-60's due to vaguely defined political drama. Years later, his father would get in trouble with numerous shady organizations in Goldenrod City thanks to his addiction to gambling.) This is part of the reason why Bill doesn't normally introduce himself with his last name, even if it's customary that he should. The other part is because he's an eccentric.
- Bill's mother was a kimono girl before she met his father and, after a long and rather amusing courtship, left the okiya to get married. This is only significant because in addition to being geisha-in-training, the kimono girls in Johto also serve as keepers of tradition and lore. As in, they're frequently well-versed in old Johtonian folklore and history, and they consider it their duty to pass that along to whoever's willing to learn. This tends to explain a lot of Bill's personality, mannerisms, and generally everything mentioned under his religion.
- Beyond this, one could write books about Bill's past (although he would prefer it if you didn't), not so much because it's dramatic but instead because it was made fairly interesting thanks to the facts that he was discovered as a genius at a very early age and that his father had a gambling addiction. As a result, to make a very long story short, he went through several educational institutions at an extremely rapid pace (i.e., he nearly had a bachelor's in computer science by the time he was old enough to get a trainer's license), and he ended up having to learn how to be independent at the same time thanks to his mother needing a job to keep their family afloat through his father's debts. This ended with Bill leaving Goldenrod at ten because he hated the educational system (and didn't particularly care for the attention he got as a result of nearly being a college graduate at that point), and he never did feel comfortable around his father. Or, in shorter terms, training was originally an excuse, and don't ask him about John McKenzie.
- Another paragraph would probably be needed to explain the attraction to pokémon, but to make a long story short there as well, he eventually grew to like the creatures, but he hated training due to all the rules and the fact that he didn't particularly like the idea of forcing someone else to fight for him. (More specifically, he lost almost every single battle he engaged in.) However, he eventually found Professor Oak's ranch and, after a few misunderstandings, became the professor's assistant and protégé. He eventually went to Celadon University to study pokémon, where he met Lanette Chastain. Although the two shared a one-sided rivalry for a time (i.e., Lanette hated him until an incident that nearly got Bill kicked out of school), they would graduate together in roughly the same fields (Bill in psychology and computer science; Lanette in biology and computer science) before going on to work on a master's each. During this time, Bill would co-develop the Storage and Retrieval System when he wasn't working on papers of his own. Through the latter two achievements and Professor Oak's backing, Bill would eventually be inducted into the Pokémon Symposium.
- Although it's been several years since Bill has earned his master's degree, he hasn't earned his doctorate. This has nothing to do with laziness or a disliking of the system on his part. Rather, it has everything to do with the process itself. It took him roughly a year to pass the numerous qualifying exams and attain the proper approvals from the University of Cerulean City's administration, and he was in the middle of working on his doctoral thesis when he was summoned to Polaris Institute. (This means he was just beginning his doctoral program when he met Ash and that he was just about to complete it if he hadn't been recruited first. Of course, considering the first chapter, this all should be amusingly ironic to anyone but him.)
- Grandfather: Professor Peter McKenzie, a physicist who, up until a few years ago, worked for Saffron University. He and his wife emigrated from the United Kingdom when John was a child to avoid political unrest (and, supposedly, related personal problems). He currently lives as a widower in Fuchsia City; his wife had died five years ago from cancer.
- Father: Professor John George McKenzie, a pokémon researcher with a focus in both biochemistry and psychology. Formally, he worked for Silph Co. prior to Project Stardust and was responsible for the creation of Max Potions and the Repel line. (He was working on synthesizing a chemical meant for attracting certain pokémon, but his research was halted by a combination of his inherent laziness and his summoning to work for the New Bark Team.) Also a gambler and a con-man, he's been known to make a lot of his money by offering to teach trainers outside of the Goldenrod City Game Corner Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, or Flamethrower for exorbitant prices.
- Mother: Riko McKenzie (née Ichikawa), a former kimono girl who left her geisha training to get married. For a few years after that, she was a stay-at-home mother, but her husband's debts have driven her to find work wherever she could. (As a result of John's irresponsibility, she was the one who practically raised her three children until she started working again. Bill took over looking after his sisters after that point until he was old enough to leave.) She currently works as a dance instructor for her own school of traditional dance in Goldenrod City. It's said that she's a very soft-hearted and very beautiful woman.
- Sister: (Based on an NPC in Fuchsia City who, in Gen II and IV, identified Bill as her brother.) Faith Iris McKenzie, Bill's younger sister by a little over a year. Despite her bubbly and somewhat ditzy personality, she's actually an extremely talented trainer who's ruthless on the battlefield. She's also a one-time champion of the Silver Conference and a runner-up for a number of other battling tournaments, but as of late, her whereabouts are unclear. She was last heard from in Sinnoh.
- Sister: (Based on the little girl you find in Goldenrod City who gives the player Bill's phone number.) Hope Roseanne McKenzie, Bill's younger sister. Currently eleven, she is probably the black sheep of the family in that she doesn't display any noteworthy talents of her own (unlike Bill's academic brilliance and Faith's strategic intelligence and athletic achievements). She set out for Hoenn to try her hand at pokémon contests, and her current dream is to become a pokémon idol. (That is, a popular singer and fashion icon who uses pokémon in her shows in the same way a coordinator uses pokémon for appeals.) Unfortunately, she barely started her journey before the ixodida invasion happened, and it's currently (as of this writing) unknown where she is.
(There's one other character in the games who's implied to be another one of Bill's relatives -- the boy in the same house in Fuchsia. However, because it's not mentioned what his relationship to the rest of the family is, I'm just leaving this part out.)
(There's a lot more people in Bill's life than this; I'm only listing the ones who are relevant to the story and who Bill met prior to the start of the fic.)
- Professor Samuel Oak: It could be said that it was Professor Oak who really got Bill started in the field of pokémon research. They met just prior to Bill's return to college, when Bill (intentionally) trespassed on Oak's research preserve. Although Oak's aide at that point attempted (repeatedly) to kick Bill off the property, the older researcher instantly took an interest in the boy thanks to his keen interest in pokémon combined with his ability to recite the pokédex entry for any of them on sight. For the next few years, Bill worked as Oak's intern (including teaching aide during his time at Celadon University) to get by in college and to refine his skills as a researcher. After Bill earned his master's, Oak vouched for his entry into the Pokémon Symposium as well as his placement in Project Stardust. Not only that, but Oak continues to serve as Bill's primary mentor.
- Lanette Chastain: A computer programmer and a researcher with a focus on anatomy and physiology. Not only that, but she's also the administrator for the Hoenn Storage and Retrieval System and the general system's co-inventor. (She was the one who designed the interface and edited the software.) Needless to say, at one point, she was Bill's perfect equal. Whereas he was an expert at hardware and could write the base code of the storage system, it's Lanette who can further develop the software and spot his bugs from a mile away. Likewise, while Bill's interest is in the behavior of extinct pokémon, Lanette's is in deconstructing fossils, offering a proposal for what that extinct pokémon looked like, and analyzing potential functions of each of its body parts -- research that serves as the essential foundation to Bill's. For this reason, they were, prior to the invasion, close companions and colleagues, the kind of partners who worked so closely together that it was difficult to imagine them breaking down into an argument of one kind or another. It was also rumored that the two were at one point in a closer relationship than that, but this is completely hearsay.
- Professor Yvonne Nettle: A behavioral psychologist who's been working in the field for longer than Bill's been alive. As such, she's his superior (both in terms of experience and in terms of where she ranks on the Polaris Team), and she's not particularly happy about it except when it comes to her ego. In her opinion, Bill represents a breakdown in the system -- the idea that just anyone can be a researcher. (This is, in a sense, true: after he was inducted into the Symposium, the rules as to who could be in the organization changed. Many young people interested in the general field of research took it as encouragement, and as such, more of her fellow researchers were taking in interns under the age of fifteen and training them to be researchers. That and Bill's methods are notoriously anything but traditional. Nettle, who's an old-school researcher, feels both threaten the general establishment.) In short, she thinks Bill is too inexperienced to be given the right to be called a researcher and that his methods are making a mockery of the field. Meanwhile, Bill is only exasperated because he feels her thinking is getting in the way of progress... which is probably why he ended up with a massive list of infractions in the few months he's been at Polaris Institute.
Powers and Abilities:
Prior To Changing
- Genius-level intellect, compounded with a keen sense of awareness (That is, an ability to notice minor details most people aren't able to spot, although this doesn't imply that he can notice major ones.), are the basic tools Bill used as a researcher. It's basically what he's known the most for.
- This trait also encompasses an understanding of technology to a near-machine-empathy level. Bill can tell how most machines work, how to take them apart, and how to fix them almost immediately upon looking at them. He's also capable of creating near-Singularity-level technology, as evidenced by the storage system itself. Yes, this is more plot-relevant than it sounds.
- He's also capable of speaking multiple languages, with his first being Common (an international language everyone normally speaks in that world) and his second being Japanese. This is also more plot-relevant than it sounds.
- Eidetic memory. This isn't a TV-style photographic memory: Bill doesn't have the ability to remember everything he sees. Rather, he's capable of remembering most of what he reads just by glancing at it once, and he can recall in detail anything he particularly focuses on (which means most of what he remembers involves pokémon). In other words, he needs to pay attention to an object to commit it to memory, and it's actually a form of training instead of something he was born with. He's just particularly good at it, and he gets some sort of kick out of letting people think it's more of a special ability than it actually is.
- One impressive imagination. In particular, while he's always been good at reading pokémon normally, Bill's primary research method actually involved creating and wearing a costume resembling his subject, rather than studying it from a distance. (For example, if he wanted to study kabuto, he'd make a kabuto costume and wear it for awhile.) In the process, he'd be able to visualize how a pokémon acted by feeling the way its body moves. This practice is extremely important to keep in mind.
- After becoming an ixodida, Bill has gained a metal armor (The actual material is a carbon-and-iron-based alloy. It has no name because it's a completely alien material.) that's both lightweight and resistant to most types of damage. In short, Bill is practically a living tank. The only downsides are that, despite the metal being lightweight, he actually weighs more (which means he ends up being slower than a lot of other characters), that his armor is extremely weak to fire and heat, and that he's screwed if he sustains any internal damage. (His internal organs are still squishy, and it's practically impossible to cut open his armor to perform surgery.)
- The armor also refines his strength. While his muscles haven't changed all that much, the added support from his largely-metal body enables him to lift more than he was able to as a human. There are limits to this: while he might be able to push a boulder, whether or not he can completely lift it off the ground is another matter.
- Sharpened senses except for touch. (His sense of touch has dulled thanks to his metal skin: in most cases, he feel a touch but not what the object that's coming in contact with him actually is.) This also includes night vision.
- Claws and tail capable of cutting through most material. (He can't cut through layers of metal or rock that's several inches thick, but he can cut through sheet metal, bone, et cetera.)
- Telepathic connection with his ixodida parasite. (He's not aware that it's a two-way connection, so he believes that this is completely Adam's power.)
- Rapid regeneration/healing abilities except when decapitated or if his core (the parasite's main body) is damaged.
- Ability to understand "pokémon speech."
- Same resistances as any steel-type pokémon, including an immunity to all poisons. (However, this is coupled with the same weaknesses as steel-type pokémon, particularly to fire.)
- Pokémon moves, including (but not only) Scratch, Metal Claw, Iron Tail, and Iron Defense.
- And a few powers that can't be mentioned at this time for being intense spoilers.
Other Notes That Are Somewhat Plot-Relevant:
- Canon: Bill is lactose intolerant. This, however, is rendered a fairly moot point because of his transformation into an ixodida. Ixodida are exclusively carnivores, and as such, this only adds to the list of things Bill can't consume anyway. It just means he's somewhat more ready to adapt to that lifestyle because he already has an idea of what would happen to him if he didn't.
- Despite being known as a collector, Bill actually doesn't own that many pokémon. Rather, he "collected" them just long enough to make a few notes for his own index before releasing them back into the wild. His collection, then, are pages out of his homemade pokédex. However, he's kept a number of his own team, including a kadabra, a venusaur, an espeon, and an umbreon. These have been left at the Sea Cottage (a name he's given his lighthouse) to watch over the place during his time at Polaris Institute.
- He's very self-conscious about his accent. Seriously.
- To clarify a point in the fic, Bill is a technical pacifist, not an actual pacifist. This means he's normally staunchly against violence of any kind (ironically, considering his research and inventions are meant to help humans capture the magical creatures inhabiting their world and force them to fight each other). Normally being the key word there because he's perfectly fine with fighting out of self-defense, and he's obviously fine with things like pokémon battles. He's just opposed to the idea of killing or severely injuring other living creatures, especially by his own hands.
- Also to clarify, Bill doesn't hate his father. He finds it uncomfortable to be in the same room as him because the two aren't particularly close, even though they both realize that they probably should be. Additionally, because Bill is intensely disappointed in the fact that his father prefers playing games and drinking over fulfilling any sort of duty (including family-based ones), he also despises gambling and liquor. The former especially, although the latter should be more noteworthy thanks to Veronica Jenny (an unapologetic alcoholic).