Chapter One. Evil Rising.
"What is the meaning of power? Is it just the feeling of controlling the lives of others? Or just a delusion? A delusion about a base conceptual illusion."
"Errr... Sir?" one of the teenage students at the back of the room asked. "Mr. Donovan? What's this got to do with anything?"
"Stinson!" Mr. Donovan snapped. "Allow me to get to the crux of the matter. I'm just saying that we have a guest speaker today. Someone who is going to talk about power and the responsibility to use that power."
"Have we got a superhero coming in?" another student asked, his eyes sparkling in anticipation.
"You do realise that there aren't any superheroes," a third pointed out. "They're all just tales."
"That's crap," a girl in the middle remarked. "Gaitham City has Gligirl. I know someone who saw her beat up a mugger."
"Yeah, because that's a great definition of having power," someone else retorted. "What does that prove?"
Right in the middle of the room, a young looking teenage boy with black hair and glasses looked up. An uncertain look on his face.
"There are the Poké Rangers," he said. "Remember? Youtube them. They're all on there."
"That's just for a fruity publicity stunt," someone else commented. "They're not real. If the either of those sets of Rangers were real, they'd have been seen in the last few months."
"Well, there's no immediate threat!" the black haired boy shot back. Only for Mr. Donovan to silence them with a cough.
"Silence down!" he ordered. "As I was about to say, we have a guest coming in. It's a well respected man in the circles of high class commerce. Someone who wishes to put something back into a community that has managed to help him out so much."
"Is he doing community service?" a girl at the back of the room asked. To general laughs from the rest of the students.
"Not that I'm aware of," Mr. Donovan admitted, rubbing his eyes. "It's not a coincidence that most of our guest speakers are... Never mind. Anyway, I'm proud to introduce to you all, CEO of the largest corporation in Verger, Mr. Dennis De Carmine."
As he spoke, the door to the classroom opened up and a hulking figure walked into the room. Easily over six feet tall and well muscled, he wore a long brown overcoat and a cowboy hat. Beneath the hat, he had a scruffy brown beard, a nose that looked like it had been broken several times and piercing blue eyes.
"Good morning," he said, narrowing his eyes at the students. "Well then..."
"So, are you on community service?" a boy in the middle of the room asked. The same joke bringing more laughs out of the group, even drawing a smile from Dennis.
"Unfortunately, no," Dennis replied. "But, if it means hearing that sort of wit more often, I may go and start speeding."
That brought laughs out of the group, Mr. Donovan shaking his head in disbelief.
"So Mr. De Carmine," he said, trying to bring the subject back onto what it was supposed to be. "What sort of power do you wield as the CEO of..."
"Power," Dennis replied. "I don't like to think of my role as CEO as being anything more than just another guy. I mean sure I get paid more, I get to park wherever the hell where I want and I have a great life. But, I consider each worker at Reims to each have their own role in the structure, each bringing their own unique skills to the party. People can tell you otherwise about that particular train of thought, but I consider that that is all the real definition of power. Keeping that precious precarious balance between happy workers and efficient hard working workers. That's much more of a rewarding sensation than having the power between life and death."
Seeing that they weren't convinced by what he was saying, he managed to flash them a grin.
"Now, I know you think that I'm probably just saying this as a standard response. But, I honestly believe that."
"Is it true that all heads of corporation are crooks?" someone else asked. "Or is that just an urban legend?"
"Urban legend," Dennis replied, with a smirk. "We all do the best job we can, even if it means associating with some unsavoury characters."
Before anyone else could ask a question, a cell phone in his pocket began to buzz. His brow furrowing at the sound, he almost instinctively reached down to pick it up.
"Excuse me," he said. "I need to take this."
Answering the phone, he listened to the smooth female voice on the other end of the line, nodding subconsciously at what he was hearing.
"Okay, understood," he replied. Hanging up the line, he managed to shoot an apologetic look at Mr. Donovan.
"Forgive me for this," Dennis said, holding his hands up. "But, I need to run. There's been a minor emergency and I need to go and deal with this. If your people can arrange it, I will be back at some point. I honestly need to go and take care of all of this."
"Well we do have you for another half an hour," Mr. Donovan protested, before seeing the evil look that flashed across Dennis' face for just a moment. Shrinking back in fear, he couldn't help but blink. And it was gone.
"I will pick it up at some point," the CEO said, pointedly. "Believe me when I say that this is an issue that will affect the whole of Verger."
Taking that as a cue to leave, he walked out of the room. Much to the surprise of the students.
"Not a criminal," someone snorted. "Yeah right. He really looks like a guy who runs a company full time."
"He looks like the sort of guy you'd see with a mafia don," another student remarked. "Or a millionaire in the desert."
"He might just be crazy," someone else offered.
"When you're rich," Mr. Donovan pointed out. "You're not crazy. You're classed as eccentric."
"Either way, he's not here."
Stepping into his limousine, Dennis immediately took out a cigar and began to light it up. Biting down on the unlit end, he shot a grin at his personal assistant across from him.
"So, what was so important that you had to drag me away from that?" he asked. "Not that I don't appreciate it."
"Sir, we have a read on it," she replied. "What we've been looking for."
"I'm listening," he said, an interested look flitting across his face. "Where is it?"
"Our operatives found a source that was willing to reveal the location of the map to us," she answered. "For a price of course."
"Give him half of what he wants," Dennis replied. "If he turns it down, I want both his legs broken until he tells us what he requires."
"Sounds harsh but fair," she said. "You wish for me to send one of the Elites down?"
"Hmmm," Dennis replied, musing over the question. "Send Jake. He has the sufficient menace to do this task."
"It will be done," she said, bowing slightly. "Anything else that you...?"
"How are the new robotic soldiers going?" he asked. "Before we can start this project, I need a source of expendable labour."
"Noland says that he can mass produce them at fifty a day at the moment," she replied. "This isn't going to be a problem."
"I want improvements in this," he snapped. "We have a schedule to keep. I want the Genesis Book found right now!"
The shrill buzz of his phone cutting through the silence in his penthouse, Dennis wasn't completely surprised. Normally the Elites were swift workers, brutal yet efficient in what they managed to do. Picking the item up from his desk, he instantly heard the voice of Jake Costa on the other end of the line.
"Sir," he reported. "The task is done. We have the location of the map."
"Good," Dennis replied, a slow grin passing across the grizzled features. "Send the Dogbots to that location. The time for secrecy is over."
"It is at Mount Corcus, according to the source," Jake said. "I'll inform Noland to have them rip the place to pieces."
"Mount Corcus?" Dennis asked, surprised. "I've never heard of that place."
"It is the name of a little known smaller hill across from the Merlin Plateau," Jake informed him. "I can't agree more with your idea to use the Dogbots. Nothing can stop them."
"Given all we spent on turning them into unbeatable fighting machines," Dennis grunted. "That should well be the case."
"Anyway, I'll be off," Jake finished. "To tell Noland..."
Hanging up the phone, Dennis dropped it back down onto the desk in front of him, focusing his attention out onto the sprawling city below his penthouse suite.
"Soon," he said, a smirk passing across his face. Resisting the urge to let out a stream of continuous laughter for the sake of show. "All of this will be mine."
Okay, bear with me. This is... Well, I don't want to call it a prologue, but it's mainly a prologue. Introducing characters and so.
Next chapter will have the rangers in it. I'm not previewing anything at all in this, so...
Anyway, just another thanks to anyone who reviewed Poké Rangers G-Force and SDI. All appreciated.
Just a point, this is not canon to any other fic that I've written, other than Poké Rangers. Ignore everything that was written in Rise To The Top, The Challenges Of Verger and The Longinus Directive. Only the villains are getting used as a fresh new threat. A new start, if you like.
Okay, so thanks for reading.
Don't forget to review! Please!
Next chapter, Attack Of The Dogbots, should be up soon.