Title: Have to Start Somewhere
Author: Candyland
Fandom: Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia: A spin-off of the popular game series. As a newly minted Pokemon Ranger, it is your goal to figure out why all the Pokemon are going crazy and how it all ties in with the big, totally non-threatening corporation. Along the way, you'll help people. Because seriously, no one here can do anything for themselves. I don't own it! Thanks for reading!
Wordcount: 668
Taunt: My fandom really goes in circles.

"…you know, Erma," Lamont said dryly, "that isn't half bad."

The look she gave him in reply was as venomous as any Grimer, and he reflected, in hindsight, that it probably was not a good idea to heckle the strong-willed woman holding the large heavy hammer several feet above his head. The health risks were simply not worth it.

"I'd like to see you do any better," she said, hopping down off her ladder and returning the hammer to its place on her belt. "After all, who was it that couldn't even manage to put together that Pidgey house in woodshop? Here's a hint: mine turned out just fine."

"Mine still turned out better than Hastings' did. His fell apart when the teacher breathed on it," Lamont said with a dismissive wave of the hand. "He might be a scientific genius, but the finer points of carpentry seem to elude him."

"Where is our resident mad scientist, anyway?" she asked.

"At his lab, of course. Finishing up that capture device. He said he would be by later to see things for himself," Lamont said. He stepped back and looked up at the building before them. "But I do mean it, Erma. This is quite nice."

Erma folded her arms. "Thank you. I thought it best to get this done soon. After all, since that school of yours is starting up, there needs to be somewhere for the graduates to go after they sit through all the boring things you're going to make them suffer through."

"I'll have you know that there will be nothing boring about my school whatsoever."

"Still," Erma said thoughtfully, "the Ranger School. How incredible is it, really?"

"No more incredible than Almia's first Ranger Base," he replied.

Erma sighed, smiling as she did so. "Someday it'll be bigger than this, Lamont. This is just the beginning, you know. Your school, my base, Hastings' invention. It's going to take off, and it's going to grow. Someday the Ranger School will be a lot more than one classroom and a dorm, and someday the Pokemon Rangers will be more than just this one base."

"I hope so too," Lamont said. "But it all has to start somewhere. And someday, when I'm the principal of a fantastic school, and you're overseeing dozens and dozens of Rangers, we'll look back on this little building and the little school, and we'll see how far we've come."

There was a thundering of footsteps behind them. "I've got it! By java, I've got it!"

Both stepped to the side to avoid being crashed into by the newest arrival: Hastings, who was merrily waving something in the air. "I figured…it…out…whew…" He slumped over and put his hands on his knees. "Ran all the way here. Must remember how to breathe."

"If you're this excited, it can only mean one thing," Lamont said with a grin.

Erma chimed in. "It's finished!"

Hastings straightened, still panting, and held out the device in his hand. "I've finally got it. You can use these now. They'll communicate the feelings of friendship to wild Pokemon. It's a success! The Capture Loopy-Looper is ready and working!"

There was a pause before Lamont said, delicately, "I think we might have to talk about that name."

Erma laughed and looked back up at the building behind her, the one she had just finished hanging the sign on while Lamont teased her from below her ladder. They had talked of their dreams together, so long ago. Those dreams were written in a secret diary shared by the three of them, tucked safely away from prying eyes.

Her laughter faded into a smile as she reread the sign for perhaps the hundredth time in the last few minutes. It was marked with the insignia she herself had designed, and now proudly declared the small building to be what it was.

Pokemon Ranger Base.

It wasn't much. It was only a start.

But someday it was going to be a whole lot bigger.