Chapter 63: It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll...

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63 of Pokemon Rangers 2: Eddies: A pokemon story. Many things about the entire situation remain confusing, even to this day.

As an example, after the initial fallout following their arrival had subsided, where did the creatures go? Given only speculation remains as to their eventual fate, was the government involved, or had they simply vanished as mysteriously as they arrived? Or are they living amongst us still, hidden from the prying eyes of the general populace by those sworn to protect them? Perhaps we'll never know, just as it's as unlikely we'll ever be told the real truth as to their mysterious presence in our world. The government has covered it up, the people involved remain mute, and the creatures themselves; these Pokémon; are the biggest enigma of the lot. At least their presence here has answered one important question that's plagued humanity since the dawn of its creation. We are not alone. Perhaps we never have been.


Chapter 63: It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll...

DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


Eddies 63

In the pokemon world, JB starts awake, a heavy pounding at the door to his apartment rousing him from sleep. Destiny, curled at the foot of the bed, raises red eyes to stare at him, confused who might be there at such an early hour of the morning.

Groggily, JB cursed, sitting up to drop his feet over the edge of the mattress, cringing as his warm feet hit the icy chill of the tiled floor. With a creak of abused muscles, he made his feet, staggering across the room to throw open the door, ready to snarl at the interloper.

He didn't have the chance. The Ranger head, Sin Barklay, lowered the fist he'd used to wake the policeman, a grim, yet somehow smug, look on his face.

Rubbing tired eyes, JB mutters "Jesus Christ, Sin, do you have any idea what time it is?"

Chuckling suddenly, the Ranger chief replies "Yes. It's 3am. Bloody early, I know. But we have news you might want to hear"

Confused, JB looks from Barklay to the two Rangers flanking him, the female giving him an appraising stare. Aware of the direction of her eyes, he drops his gaze only to realise he was standing there in the hallway, stark naked.

At Barklay's wry look, JB cursed, before crossing his arms and straightening, giving the trio a shrug.

"OK, now we've gotten each others attention, what news?"

Barklay's eyes hardened. "Our ongoing monitoring of the new Sinnotech factory has just born fruit. All vehicular traffic in and out of the complex stopped several hours ago. Since then, all was quiet, until they suddenly began massing troops a little over two hours ago. Looks like they're preparing for a fight. The real question is, against who?"

Pondering this information seriously, JB muttered "Well, they wouldn't be mustering there if they had plans on attacking anyone here. Surely they know we'd have them under surveillance! So that means..."

Nodding, Barklay answered for him "Yes, their target is likely off world. Your world."

Cursing again, JB rubbed his face, as the apartment room door swung wide as Destiny stepped out to join them. The zoroark's long face started, before they dropped into disapproval. Pointing a claw at JB, she mindspoke to all four of them "Papa! You've got your skin all showing!"

Rolling his eyes, he patted her paw soothingly, meeting Barklay's amused look and said "So, what do we do?"

Hard smile flashing across his face, Barklay turned and beckoned to his companions, replying over his shoulder "We attack the bastards. Give them something to think about while they're distracted! I expect everyone ready to leave within 30 minutes, so prepare yourselves, both of you!"

As he strode away, he turned a final time and chuckled "Oh, and put some on fucking clothes, for Arceus sake! I need my staff attention on the enemy, not on you!"

Cheeks reddened, JB slammed the door behind him as they returned to their room to get ready, blushing as the female Ranger's peal of laughter echoed from outside.

By the time they'd made it down to the main hangar, the Ranger base was a hive of activity. The Ranger's three troop carrying helicopters had been wheeled from the huge building onto the main tarmac, and were being prepped for the attack. It looked like Barkley had called in all the troops, as over a hundred Rangers in khaki and night camo were prepping gear and weapons, ready for loading.

Destiny gave the machines a dubious look. "Are we going there in those things, Papa?" she muttered, distrusting the flimsy-appearing aircraft. "Will they take all these people? They don't look big enough."

Slipping his hand into her paw, JB gave it a comforting squeeze. "I don't think all these people will be going with us, sweeetie. They can probably handle less than a dozen troops empty each, and with the equipment, would probably be limited to a half dozen actual Rangers, even if their pokemon are consigned to their pokeballs. It's too far to the Sinnotech facility by truck, so there's really no other alternative but to chopper in."

Sighing, she murmured "I don't think I'm going to like this at all..." but didn't hesitate as they strode across the brightly lit bitumen to join Cameron and his officers, as the mission briefing began.

Coughing, Barklay cut through the chatter and said "Alright people. We've been preparing for this long enough. Now, our plans are about to be put to fruition. We know the drill, and hopefully this time we have the element of surprise. After our prior losses, my patience with these bastards is over. It's a 'attack first, deal with prisoners later" operation. If they surrender, then fine. Strap 'em up, and keep moving. If they get in the way, take them out, permanently. I want this fast, professional and targeted. The portal is the objective; let nothing get in your way in securing it! Any questions?"

When no-one spoke up, he dismissed the group, striding to JB and clapped him on the shoulder.

"You don't need to come with us here, James..." he began, but paused as JB shook his head.

"I owe it to Tim, and also myself, Sin. We're in one hundred percent."

Nodding abruptly, Barklay pointed towards the quartermasters truck, and said "Gear up, then. Take what you need, but keep it light. You'll be heading off with me on this, so I expect you to watch my back, as well as your own."

Destiny, eyes fixated on her trainer, said humbly "I will watch", receiving a warm smile from the Ranger chief in return.

"I know you will, my dear. I'm counting on you both!"

Dismissing himself, he left JB and the zoroark to prepare themselves for the encounter ahead.


Encountering the sprawled body of Entei in the corridor outside the poral room, Bill's group hurried over to the big legendary, joining up with a frantic Suicune who had sprinted ahead to hover in panic over his brother, shaking him roughly with one paw.

"Entei!" the blue pokeon yelled into his ear. "Are you awake? Are you hurt? Umm, are you dead?"

A deep rumbling groan left the bloody mass of fur, which stirred groggily to hiss "If it means you'll stop yelling in my ear, you nitwit, then definitely, I am dead!! Now leave me to rot in peace!"

Affronted Suicune stormed off to sulk further down the corridor, as the medic with Bill's group nervously approaches the huge legendary, examining his wounds as he parted the dense fur carefully.

Under the wry gaze of the big pokemon, the man stutters "Err, you were shot twice in the shoulder. One went right through, but I think the other one is stuck in there. It missed bone and anything important, I think..."

"Apart from hitting you, anyway!" Suicune mumbled, receiving a dirty look from his brother who made to reply, but winced instead as the medic explored his scalp wound.

"This grazed your skull" the man muttered, now intent on his examination. "Nice scored like there, where the bone is obviously exposed. I don't believe you have any fractures, at least nothing major. Only an x-ray would confirm that. But a few millimetres closer, and you'd have been sporting more than just a headache!"

Nodding, Entei unconsciously flicked blood around as he moved his head, until he was grabbed roughly by the medic, forestalling further unwise movement. As the man began digging at the shoulder wound with a pair of long forceps, wary to use anaesthetic on the alien creature in their present situation, Entei's cursing grew more fluent until, with a snarling torrent of abuse that nearly sent the human team packing, the medic retrieved a bloody projectile from the pokemon's shoulder muscle.

"That hurt!" Entei said, the obviousness of the statement lost on the team as the medic began stitching the wound closed with firm, tight sutures. Aware of the limited timeframe, Bill knelt beside the legendary, looking for answers as to the cause of his injuries. It took valuable minutes, and a lot of admonishing from the medic to keep still, but between the cursing and snarling, Bill managed to coax out the story of what had occurred within.

"Any ideas how many there might be in there, Entei?" he asked, as Suicune, somewhat mollified from his earlier insult after seeing the seriousness of his wounds, rejoined them to listen in on the conversation.

Entei shook his head, wincing at the pounding that rang between his ears. "After they shot me, I didn't hang around to find out, I'm afraid. I saw at least a dozen, but anything could have occurred since then."

"It's only been twenty minutes since those shells hit the building" Bill mused, scratching his chin thoughtfully with a hand. "But that means nothing. As far as we know..."

A muted explosion from within the sealed room halted his words, as the floor shook again briefly. Small arms fire, intermittent at first, then escalating rapidly, followed.

Staggering to his feet unsteadily, Entei snarled, the deep rumble felt as much as heard, as Bill's team regrouped, ready to defend themselves if anything penetrated through the sealed doorway to attack, but the fracas appeared to be confined to within the room.

A minute passed, then a second. The detonations slowed, along with the sound of projectile firing, until it petered into silence.

Shadow gave Bill a worried look, ready to follow his instructions if they were again attacked, but it was Suicune, impatient as the silence within continued, who pushed through the group to press his head against the steel doors to listen intently to the activity within.

He had no warning as a heavy set of glowing red claws plunged through the metal from the far side, missing his face by mere inches before he jumped back, startled.

Weapons brought to bear with a clatter, Bill readied the group for a further attack as the long claws withdrew, reappearing again higher up before, with a metallic shriek, they dragged through the steel, leaving a trio of wide gashes that slashed diagonally to the floor, followed by a second set, severing a huge inverted V-shaped section of the door from the rest.

A final blow from within sent the panel toppling outward with a resounding clang, dust and debris showering upwards as a monstrous hulking, red eyed ebony shape stepped through the smoke-filled opening to regard the group warily.

Ready to fire at the intruder, it was only the quick reflexes of Entei that spared the creature. With a swift thrust of his paws, the legendary knocked the raised rifle from the hands of the two nearest police officers, hissing at their shocked faces "Enough!! It is not the enemy!"

The creature stepped aside, letting through its companions, as several humans joined it. When one hulking individual made it through, the pair of legendaries exchanged glances, before Suicune approached the newcomer and said primly "What took you so long, Ranger?"

Rolling his eyes, Barklay muttered "We took care of a small problem in there for you, Suicune. Now, tell me...who are your friends, and where the hell are Scott and Storm?"


After the near disaster with the booby trapped stairwell, Scott wasn't taking any further chances with his group's safety.

The need to head upstairs was dire, but with the lack of communications, coupled with their experience in Sinnotech dirty tactics, he knew the best way ahead was with the highest degree of caution.

They'd retreated towards their entry point in the sub basement, hoping to meet up with Bill's group, but isolated pockets of enemy soldiers hampered their progress, and soon even Raikou was snarling his frustration at their delay.

After taking out one especially nasty encounter, Storm hovered over the bodies of the enemy soldiers, shoulders smoking as he threatened to erupt.

"This is taking way too long, Scott!!" he growled, kicking one of the corpses viciously with a clawed foot, sending it tumbling against the wall. "The longer we're delayed, the more chance they have to prepare a counter offensive!"

"I know that, Storm!" the Ranger spat back, before shutting his eyes and taking a deep breath. "We're getting nowhere here! We need a plan to get upstairs, and we need it fast!"

Cameron, joining the pair, beckoned over one of his men, who opened up the building diagrams and spread the large sheet of paper against the wall. Pointing to several areas, the officer described his idea.

"Getting upstairs is going to be difficult. The only alternatives are the fire escapes, which we've already seen are booby trapped, the main bank of lifts in the foyer, which are obviously heavily protected, or the service elevators. There's a problem there though."

Gulping as Storm shot him a dark look, the man explained. "We're still stuck in the sub basement levels. They're used for storage and utility services mainly, so the building designer hadn't planned on having the service lifts descend so far, instead using ramps for entry. To gain access, we need to be a story higher in the building."

Exchanging a look with Raikou and Skyy, Storm growled. "That isn't as difficult a task as it sounds, mate. How close are we to being in the proximity of the service lift shafts?"

Peering at the map carefully, the policeman said "Not too far. If we go back around twenty meters, and head into that large storeroom we passed, it's almost directly overhead."

With three pokemon at the task, the concrete in question hadn't a chance. Unlike the several meters they'd broken through to enter the building, the six inches were breached like butter, and it wasn't long before the group had cut through the intervening concrete to stare into the blackness of the service lift above.

"Is that the lift way up there, do you think?" Scott muttered to his partner, until Azil, pragmatic as always, stepped forward and spat a ball of flame into the darkness to strike the steel underside of the lift parked several stories above, lighting up the chamber brightly.

Cursing, Scott jumped back as sparks dropped towards them, before regarding the charmeleon with wry patience. "While I appreciate the assistance, a little warning would be appreciated before you do such a thing again." Pointing towards the bank of doors leading to the level immediately upstairs, with the aid of a proffered torch he highlighted the block of C-4 wired to the inside. "That's why I was taking things slow. I think we can expect surprises at every turn, so keep the flamethrower to yourself unless you check first, huh?"

Blanching as much as an orange lizard could, Azil retreated meekly behind Jimmy, who comforted the pokemon. "It's all right. You couldn't have known."

A surprisingly nimble typhlosion took a standing leap to grip the edges of the concrete hole three meters above, much to the amazement of the human officers, who had no idea the heavily set creature could do such a thing. Pulling himself up on short, powerful arms, after a moment he poked his head back down through the hole, followed by a proffered limb, as he gripped hands with the demolitions specialist in the group. Raising the man to join him with a grunt, the pair exchanged a hurried conversation, torch held on the explosive package as the officer cautiously disabled the booby trap and set the bomb aside. Prising the opening open, they cautiously peered down the now exposed corridor, looking for enemies, but the coast remained clear.

A rope ladder was secured to the steel framework of the lift well, and dropped through the hole to the group beneath. It only took a few minutes for them to assemble in the corridor outside the lift doors, weapons trained down the hallways ready for attack, as Scott again closed the lift doors and pressed the call button. With a loud chime that had Cameron wincing, the doors reopened, admitting them to the lift interior.

Just as they were ready to board, they froze as the building suddenly rocked, a muted rumbling sending the floor lurching as first one, then two subsequent explosions echoed from the far side of the complex, sending them sprawling.

As the dust began to settle, the flickering lighting stabilised. "Fuck me!" Storm cursed, helping Jimmy and Chris to their feet. "I think the shit's hotting up elsewhere!"

"Do you think they'll be OK?" Skyy asked, concern on his face, but was surprised as Cameron patted his shoulder comfortingly. "There isn't much we can do to help them from here. We need to keep going and eliminate the threat at its source."

"Which is upstairs!" rumbled Raikou, eyeing the ceiling inscrutably. "I can sense it. There is evil there, with all the hallmarks of an agent of Darkrei."

"Oh, wonderful! The idiots are lucky they haven't brought the building down already, and now we get to battle evil minions!" Scott muttered, receiving an uncertain glance from Storm as the typhlosion shook his head.

"Twice is enough, thanks. The whole 'being buried alive' thing lost its gloss after the second episode. Let's just get the fuck up there and end this!"

Thankfully, the lift was still operating perfectly, and no further traps were encountered. Cramming so many into the tight space successfully was another matter. Jammed between Raikou's furry butt and the corner of the lift, Chris breathed out, trying to make himself as skinny as possible. They were only partially successful, as the load limit alarm rang twice as they all entered, forcing them to leave several of the human officers behind to secure the area, with promises they'd send the lift back down to them after they'd arrived if they needed reinforcements.

As the doors finally closed successfully, quiet music began to play from within, causing Skyy to snort in amusement. "Surreal, huh?" he muttered to Chris, trying to speak past Raikou's furry behind, as Chris smirked, ready to reply, when a disgusting, eye tearing smell had him gagging.

"Holy shit!" one of the policemen swore, as another retched, heaving up his breakfast. "Is it a gas attack?"

Disgusted, Scott glared at his partner, who gave a sheepish shrug. Apologetically, the typhlosion muttered "Hey, I'm sorry, I'm nervous, alright?"

Cameron, glaring at the pokemon from further back, shook his head as Jimmy began to snicker. "Pokemon fart!" he muttered to Azil, sending the charmeleon into a fit of giggles.

"If he does that again, I'm going to jam my rifle butt up there to plug it!" a copper muttered, sending the pair of youngsters into further hysterics that lasted long moments until the doors again opened with a quiet chime, bringing some sanity back to the situation.

A flustered Storm beckoned them out, winching as Chris gave him a hard punch to the shoulder. "Yeah, alright!" he muttered, nursing bruises with a paw before joining Scott and Cameron as they cautiously poked their heads around the corner of the hallway in the penthouse level. At the corridor end, taking up a huge office area, large glass doors opened to a room with a panoramic view of the cityscape beyond. The place seemed deserted, and Storm made to step ahead when Scott grabbed him roughly, pointing to the far office with a hiss.

From behind a large leather chair facing the glass, perched behind an even larger executive desk, a faint trail of cigarette smoke wafted towards the ceiling tiles.

"Can you smell anyone else in there, Raikou?" Cameron muttered, letting the big legendary poke his head past to sniff deeply.

"No, there is only one there I can sense, although the scents of others do linger. He is alone, for the moment."

"I am very much aware you are there, you know!" a strangers voice suddenly spoke through the building intercom, causing the group to start. Element of surprise obviously gone, Scott scowled, straightening up to march boldly past the abandoned reception counter to the glass doors leading to the executive suite, throwing them open with a bang. The richly paneled room was bright in the sunlight beaming from outside, flaunting the wealth of the occupant. A fully stocked private bar took up one wall, and expensive paintings adorned others. All except for the one containing the private elevator in one corner.

Storm snorted to Scott "Wish we'd known about that lift earlier! Might have saved us a few troubles!"

Shushing the pokemon, Scott approached the desk cautiously as the rest of the group followed, officers with rifles drawn and pokemon ready for action. But once they arrived within dozen meters of the front of the large desk, the voice spoke again from behind the chair "Oh, I think that's close enough, my friends."

"We're not your friends, arsehole!" Storm snarled, ready to pounce at the stranger, who let out a 'tisk tisk' sound, admonishing the pokemon.

"Oh, but we are friends, Storm Rivers!" the voice said with a chuckle, as the chair slowly spun, revealing the human occupant to the group. "You see, I know all of you so very well, how can we be anything but friends? Depending on your definition of 'friend', of course. However, a little caution goes an awful long way, especially given what a surprisingly dogged group you all are!"

Storm froze in his approach of the man, stepping back to rejoin the group as they warily regarding the drawn revolver in one of his hands, and the detonator trigger clutched in the other. Gesturing at the humans to lower their weapons, the man waived the detonator towards them, as they hesitatingly complied. "Aaah, much better. No need for threats here, amongst friends, after all!"

Chucking again, the stranger leaned back in his chair, taking another draw of the cigarette before butting it out in a gilt ashtray. Chair springs squeaked slightly as he smiled at his 'visitors" from behind dark aviator sunglasses, dark hair slicked back in a heavily tanned face. His neatly pressed black suit crinkled as he stretched slightly, accompanying black shirt and tie only emphasising the menace he exhumed. If Scott had to put an age on the man, he'd have reckoned mid sixties, although there was a sense of agelessness about him; a timelessness he'd come to associate with the legendary pokemon who formed their group.

This man was not what he seemed, the Ranger thought, and knew he was a force to be reckoned with.

Raikou snarled abruptly, the rumble felt more than heard, but the man tut tutted again. "Now Raikou, you wouldn't want to do anything unwise now, would you? After all, with age comes wisdom, they say on this world, and you'd have to be pretty wise by now, I'd imagine!"

Smiling darkly, he gave each of the group a long look, extolling "Scott Rivers, we meet at last. You and your pokemon have been an especially irksome pain in our backsides for a long time now. How many times is it we've encountered each other? Four? Maybe five?"

"Depends what you mean by encountered mate!" Storm interrupted, as the man's face darkened to a scowl.

"I wasn't talking to you, animal!" he spat, pointing the gun unerringly at Storm's head, to which the pokemon simply crossed his arms and glared back, unperturbed.

"So, what the hell do you want?" Cameron interrupted the potential confrontation, and the man's face relaxed back into a smile as he turned to the police chief.

"Aah, Cameron Marshke. Police chief extraordinaire. Welcome to my humble abode. I do have to say, you did surprise me with your enthusiastic collaboration with these animal trainers here, but then again, as far as the law enforcement goes on this world, you're generally fairly predictable."

Standing behind the policemen and Rangers, Skyy gave Chris a questioning look, wondering if he should try and slip past to circle the man to get a better angle of attack, but Chris shook his head slightly, turning eyes on Jimmy and Azil. Sighing, the lucario nodded, but still prepared himself for action if required.

Chuckling suddenly, the man spoke again. "Oh, but I am being so very rude, aren't I! We haven't been properly introduced. I know so much about you, I almost forgot that you really are clueless as to who I really am!"

Standing, he stepped from behind his desk and gave a slight bow. "My name is Magnus Von Grimm." he said, noting the slight narrowing of Scott's eyes as the Ranger tensed in recognition "Yes, that Von Grimm, Rivers. A name you obvious recognise, although clearly one unexpected. As you likely have gathered, I am the founder and acting executive officer for our little enterprise here. I also have the honour of being the present leader of the Cult of Darkrei. While my family connections in our world amounted to the perfect cover for our operations here, given our long standing, albeit indirect, association with Sinnotech, I must admit this operation is solely my own, I'm afraid."

Storm laughed harshly. "Yeah, I remember reading a nice thick dossier about you during training. What was it, fourty years ago it happened? You wigging out and tried to take over the family business? Then, once your family realised what a fucking psychotic loser you were, they threw you out! Good old disowning never hurt no one. Just a shame they didn't do it with a bullet! Then again, given they're all dead, likely at your hands, maybe it wasn't as cracked up as it could have been."

Lips tightening, Von Grimm returned his stare to the typhlosion and said cuttingly "Eloquent as always, animal. Strange how I don't recall how worldly your cries were when Jamerson had you strapped down in that lab, half your guts spread out on the table besides you! Yes, my family never appreciated my brilliance. It wasn't until I cut out his still beating heart to feed to my master than my father really came to understand the powers I embody. Then again, some people are just slow learners. After all, you'd think after having two buildings dropped on you, one would learn from the experience and would keep their distance."

Storm curled his muzzle in disgust, arms crossed as he glared at the man.

"And what is to stop me coming over there and turning you into lunch, human?" Raikou snarled, teeth bared as he hissed at the human.

Waggling the detonator admonishingly, the man returned his glare "Why, nothing, Raikou. Provided you want the portal inhibitors blown, sending the entire thing into meltdown and turning this world into a cloud of glowing ash, then absolutely nothing. Not that this place wouldn't benefit from that, given some of the filth that inhabit it, but still, I've come to enjoy some of its finer aspects. So much hate. So much aggression. It's so...refreshing!"

Giving a short bark of laughter, Von Grimm circles the group to lean casually on the office bar, placing the handgun on the marble surface to pour himself a drink, one handed. Raising his eyebrows, he gestures to the decanter with his whisky glass, unsurprised when no one in the group moves to join him.

Crossing to sit on the edge of the man's desk, much to Von Grimm's wry amusement, Scott asks the question he'd been burning to have answered for so many years.

"But what's the point of all this, Von Grimm? Everything you've done, from gaining power through the control of the supply routes between worlds to your research into killing off pokemon... it's never made sense. Why? What do you hope to gain from this? Power? Money?"

Von Grimm slammed the glass onto the bar, shattered glass and liquid spraying the surface as he scowled at the Ranger in a sudden fit of rage.

"Do you think I am as petty as the filth of this world, Rivers? Do you?"

Retrieving his revolver, he strode across to the Ranger, pressing the muzzle into his chest, as Storm snarled helplessly at his partner's dilemma.

Spitting in his face angrily, Von Grimm hissed, "I don't care about any of this! I do not give a fuck about this world, or the worthless scum infesting it. My loyalty lies in one place, Ranger. I am here because my master wants me here!"

Scott didn't flinch. "Do we get an explanation on why that is, arsehole, or are you just going to keep proselytising?"

The pause was long, and Chris shivered at the underlying threat implicit in the silence, which was broken as the man suddenly laughed, stepping away from Scott, but still mindful of his presence.

"Impressive, Ranger. You nearly had me do something unfortunate there. Most impressive! Still, it's a story you want, is it? The gut-spilling confession of a B-grade movie psychopath? After all, what sort of criminal would I be if I didn't spill my deepest secrets to the 'heroes", huh?" he sneered, crossing to the huge panoramic glass windows to gesture absently outside.

"Do you see it, Rivers? Or are you too blind to the reality here?"

"Man, this guy is full of shit!" rumbled Storm under his breath, turning to spit on the thick carpeting beside him.

"Exactly!" Von Grimm exclaimed, pointing at the pokemon abruptly, who glared at the offending digit. "You see, this here is the reason why this world actually has so much true potential, human population notwithstanding. It is free of the vermin festering in our world; vermin that my master has loathed since the day Arceus created them!"

"The pokemon you mean?" Chris spoke up suddenly, drawing the attention of the man, whose demeanour became intent.

"Young Master Masters, I presume! A surprise addition to 'Team Ranger"; something I must admit even with my years of planning this venture I hadn't anticipated! A nobody you are, by anyone's standards, and yet you managed to get to my home world, partner up with a lucario, release Raikou from the clutches of those Team Galaxy idiots, then manage to coerce his imbecile brothers to join you, causing me all sorts of mischief. I think the hand of a higher power is involved there, somewhere, but the fact is immaterial. You're just an annoying little enigma, aren't you, kid? But yes, you are fundamentally correct!"

Turning his back on the group, though still indirectly watching them in the glass's reflection, he continued after a moment's pause. The 'pokemon problem' indeed!" he sneered abruptly, the name obviously distasteful. "Talking, walking, and supposedly thinking animals, which are a disgrace; a dishonour; to life itself!"

"Look who's talkin', dickhead" muttered Rodney.

"How very droll!" Von Grimm sneered, giving Rodney his attention. "Took you a whole minute to work that one up, 'mate"?"

Shrugging, Rodney flashed him his teeth. "A wasted minute, sure, mate! Bit like the wasted minute your old man took getting your mother up the duff!"

Jimmy snorted, earning him a withering glance from Von Grimm, who turned back to Scott and continued.

"My master's plan is simple, Ranger. Wipe out the animals. Return the world to the 'purity' it had before it was infested by them, and replace them it with the non-sentient life from this world; life that knows its place in existence, free of Arceus's influence! When he first came to me, I almost crowed with delight. Jameson's plan was perfect; develop a "virus", if you will, that targeted pokemon DNA exclusively. A worthy idea, ruined by the intervention of you and your idiot partner, there!"

"Happy to oblige, cockhead!" Storm laughed, earning him a hard look from Scott. But Von Grimm didn't pause, continuing as if the pokemon didn't exist.

"Our second plan was to brainwash Raikou, before setting him loose on the world. Given enough incentive, he may have achieved our goal for us. Darkrei was particularly eager to try his dark powers on Arceus's favourite son, but again, our plans were foiled."

Pausing a moment, the man licked his lips, face pale in the sunlight beaming in from outside. "When even dropping buildings on you lot didn't work, we came up with another strategy. Find a promising ally on this world, and join forces to wipe you out. It wasn't especially difficult, given the situation. It seems you lot have an oddly exaggerated capacity to piss all manner of people off."

"You mean Jobes?" Scott asked, unsurprised at the nod he received in reply. "Yes, the ever so useful General Jobes, whose hatred of you almost exceeds my own. I can see him right down there in the street, right now, marshaling his forces even now to end your pitiful existence. A worthy goal, I would think, and a useful ally, although our motives are really quite different. He simply loathes you animals. I want you not to exist, as if you never did exist, as my master wishes. Either way, our ends are basically the same."

The glass windows shook as distant rumbles resumed from below, the building rocking from the blasts as the hostilities resumed downstairs. Almost lovingly, Von Grimm drew a finger across the large window pane, murmuring "It seems my people are performing their duty admirably. They know their job, and it's now up to me to finish mine. The Cult of Darkrei has spent millennia in its goal to achieve world purity; a world without the taint of pokemon. Replacing them with humans as the dominant life form, and wiping every filthy animal from the planet!"

Sullenly, he turned from the window, his eyes frighteningly intent as he dropped the revolver on the timber surface, returning to the bar to pour himself another drink with a shaking hand. Mesmerised by the droplets of water sliding down the crystal sides of the ice-filled drink, and having momentarily forgotten his aghast guests, he murmured "It has been prophesised. I will be the one to achieve this. I will wipe the scourge from both these worlds, and nothing from this earth will stop me!"

Starting as he remembered his place, he spun on the group and screamed "Nothing!"


Authors note:

One of my favourite authors is Terry Goodkind.

He has an amazing talent for writing dark, almost apocalyptic stories, spending chapters going over the smallest, goriest details.

I can understand where the attraction is, there.

The world is full of psychopaths. Not the 'kill their auntie and eat her body' kind, but the corporate crazies, governmental loonies, and of course those in authority who traded a straight jacket for a suit and tie.

I don't like these people. They offend me with their very existence.

I won't even mention religion. That takes crazy to a whole new level.

As I always say, you're only ever left with one thing when you cut the "fun" out of "fundamental".

So, oddly enough, this story is a total reflection of the "inner me". Most of the lead characters are formed from various parts of my own psyche.

Storm, for example, is very much my public self. Not taking things especially seriously, but always aware of the big picture.

Scott, on the other hand, is the bit of me that demands people act in the way I treat them. I don't like rule breakers, and I don't hesitate to make others aware of that, sometimes leading to "excitement".

I like such excitement. Adrenaline is an amazingly useful drug.

What about Chris? Well, Chris is the me that is sick of authority. I am truly, absolutely and totally sick of it. Between a useless police force that is undersupplied to the point of pointlessness, to a government that is so pathetic, even its existence is a waste of oxygen, I really, really am sick of it.

Skyy? Oh, I just wanna bonk Skyy! He's sexy! :)

One day I may actually do something proactive about all my bitching. Demonstrate, fistulate... other words I make up ending in "ate". That sort of thing.

Until then, I'll just seethe inwardly in a less than positive, and most likely unhealthy manner, write long-winded furry stories in a way Terry Goodkind would need to take a deep breath on before continuing, and keep wishing I could kill people I don't like with my eyes, or make them run off the road in a fit of road-rage with my 'Magneto-vision'.

(Yes, I want Magneto-vision. I want it so very much!)

I like this chapter. Hope you enjoy it ;)