Once he and Turretorg were retrieved, the Joker spoke to Lord Vortech back on Foundation Prime as he had an ice pack on his head. “And then they stole this shiny thing I found!” he reported.
“Chance meetings and setbacks to your petty pilfering do not concern me,” dismissed Vortech. He pulled out the nuclear rod. “We have the Foundation Element, that is all that matters.”
“Trust me,” warned the Joker, “if you underestimate the Crêped Crusader, you’ll end up getting battered!”
“Like yourself?” snickered Hiro. The Joker growled. Hiro poured himself a glass of wine. “A toast, to a successful mission,” praised Hiro.
“Maybe the rest of us would celebrate,” snarled an angry, male voice, “if we didn’t suffer!” A Japanese man strode up in a black suit with black armor, a gold eagle for a belt buckle, a black cape with a green interior, a gold right hand and left pincer claw, and an elaborate gold and black headdress covering the head aside from the face, making him look like a pharaoh of Egypt, and gold moth antennae on top. He carried a red whip and was flanked by Shocker Combatmen. This was the current leader of Shocker, Ambassador Hell. “Just look at what they’ve done to us!” snarled Ambassador Hell.
“Spare us the melodramatics, Ambassador Hell,” Vortech waved off. “Hiro’s right about the mission being a success.”
“This isn’t about success or failure of a mission!” protested Ambassador Hell. “The Vortexons and the Joker’s minions are creating dissension among the ranks of Shocker! These savages are a threat to this whole operation! They should be confined, restrained even!” He was punched in the face by Turretorg.
“You could not produce a restraint strong enough to hold us Vortexons!” it boasted. It turned to Hiro and Vortech. “In any case, my lords, Comms-Op is receiving a call from Dimension K-A-M-3-N-R-1-D-3-R.
“What is their reason for calling us?” asked Ambassador Hell.
“How did they even get this dimension?!” asked Vortech as he handed the nuclear rod to a Vortexon.
“Unclear, Lord Vortech,” reported Turretorg. “All we can glean is that the caller will only speak to Hiro.”
“Me?” yelped Hiro.
“They requested you by name, my lord,” confirmed Turretorg.
“Patch it here,” ordered Hiro.
“I pledge obedience,” saluted Turretorg. It fiddled with a machine which made a giant view-screen come out of the floor.
“This is Hiro Adachi, Kamen Rider Rogue,” demanded Hiro. “State your business or face destruction.”
“Hiro-san, now really,” purred a feminine voice, “is that any way to address your lover?” A Japanese woman appeared on the screen. She wore a white lab coat with a red arm band on the left arm, a woman’s business suit, with pants, short, black hair, and was flanked by Shocker Combatmen. These had the skeletal motif made in raised silver and had armor on the suits.
“Igura!” cheered Hiro as a smile appeared on his face. “I heard from Ambassador Hell that you were dead!”
“I was,” confirmed Igura, “but I had some help in coming back. Sadly, Urga and Buffal weren’t so lucky.” She heard a snicker and saw Ambassador Hell with a look of amusement on his face. “I’m glad to see that my allies’ permanent death causes amusement for you,” hissed Igura.
“Oh, you misjudge me,” countered Ambassador Hell as he sobered up. “I shall miss them deeply. They were worthy adversaries. In any case, why are you calling?”
“Can you get the person creating portals to send one to my base?” asked Igura.
“Of course, my dear,” obliged Vortech. “Bring your minions as well.”
“Thank you,” said a grateful Igura as she bowed. The transmission ended as a portal opened to let the last remnant of Shocker Nova onto Foundation Prime. Igura broke into a sprint and gave Hiro a hug which he reciprocated. Ambassador Hell rolled his eyes.
“Is that jealousy I detect, Ambassador?” mused Hiro.
“Hiro,” purred Igura, “my men need access to your database. Could we use it?” She gave a sweet smile.
“Absolutely not, traitor!” hissed Ambassador Hell. Igura and Hiro rolled their eyes as they broke their embrace and glared at Ambassador Hell. “That database is for Shocker use only! Traitors like you…”
“What our old boss, Damon, meant, Igura-chan,” interrupted Hiro, “is that our entire database is open to Shocker Nova. Feel free to use it at your leisure, my sweet eagle.” He kissed Igura’s hand.
“Flatterer,” complimented Igura as she walked off to a terminal with a smile on her face.
“Surely, you don’t mean that?!” protested Ambassador Hell. “How did you even know my real name?!”
“That’s unimportant,” dismissed Hiro. “What IS important is that I was most sincere when Igura could use our entire database at her leisure.”
“It builds trust, you see,” supplied Vortech.
“They don’t need to know every single detail about our military operations!” protested Ambassador Hell.
“The decision has already been made,” shrugged Vortech. “In fact, I’ve seen how effective the Nova Combatmen have proven, so from now on, whatever decision you make about Shocker must be submitted to Igura for approval and, if approved, she will submit it to me either in person or through Hiro.”
“That will NOT happen!” declared Ambassador Hell. The tension could be cut with a knife. Vortech then used his powers to lift Ambassador Hell into the air and throw him into the wall. Hiro then walked over to the Shocker Leader.
“I trust that was an unguarded emotional comment,” he whispered, “so I will convince Vortech to ignore it THIS time. Make plans to do exactly as you’re told or I will have you move for practice six feet underground!” Hiro stormed off to help Igura with access to the database while Ambassador Hell looked onwards. “Now,” said Hiro to the Joker as he moved towards the terminal, “where’s the robot? I had it modified to use the Keystone for your use.”
“And a keystone is…?” ventured the Joker.
“Purple shield thing?” explained Hiro, hoping the Joker would catch on.
“Oh, the shiny thing Batman took!” exclaimed the Joker with a grin.
“Wait a sec,” gulped Hiro as his smile turned into a warning one, “is that what really happened, or a joke?”
“That’s what happened,” explained the Joker, unaware of the now dangerous position he was in.
“What a terrible joke,” whispered Hiro.
“I told you, it wasn’t a…” the Joker was interrupted.
“You allowed the Vortex Riders to take the Chroma Keystone?!” snarled Hiro. “DO YOU HAVE ANY NOTION OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR BLUNDER?!”
“Wait a sec,” yelped the Joker, “we have the Foundation Element. I don’t see why…”
“I DON’T CARE ABOUT SOME TRINKET!” roared Hiro. “My daughter and her little band have a color activated Keystone, meaning any and all Chroma-locks are under their control!”
“Daughter?” quizzed Igura. Hiro slightly relaxed.
“How about I tell you what happened in my absence from Shocker,” he offered as he turned and led Igura away.
Meanwhile, we had arrived back on Vorton. Lord Business massaged his rear. “That could have gone a little more smoothly,” he said. A portal opened back to his home dimension. “I believe that’s my ride,” said Lord Business. “Well, it’s been fun, but I have some reconstruction to do. Oh, before I go,” he handed us a bag of studs, “I believe the total should be 160,000 studs. Bye bye!” He stepped into the portal and it disappeared
“There it is, the Chroma Keystone!” exclaimed the voice. “Now we’re talking!”
“Let’s see what this one can do,” mused Batman. “Chroma Keystone, activate!”
“Incorrect Keystone request,” reported Batman’s gauntlet.
“What?!” snapped Batman.
“I guess you can only use the Shift Keystone,” I guessed.
“Then who’s using the Chroma Keystone?” asked Emily as the Keystone attached itself above the Shift Keystone.
+GATEWAY 40% STABILIZED+ reported my belt. +MINIMAL SECURITY MEASURES ONLINE+
“We won’t be blindsided then,” sighed Emily in relief.
+ALERT+ called my belt. +UNKNOWN PRESENCE DETECTED IN CAFETERIA+
“You were saying?!” I hissed as I drew my sword. We all flew down to the cafeteria. The doors were closed. “On three, we swarm the place,” I directed, “Ichi! Ni! SAN!” We burst in and spread out to give ourselves cover. What we saw just…wasn’t possible! There, holding a small glass of water, in all of her green skinned- black wearing, pointy hatted glory, was the Wicked Witch of the West! She saw us and gave a smirk.
“Red alert,” she joked. She then drank the contents of the glass! My eyes widened. Surprisingly, she wasn’t dissolving and squawking “Oh, what a world! What a world!” As she finished, she licked her lips and sighed. “You know,” she mused, “long before I was a Wicked Witch, I used to drink this religiously. I missed that part of my past. Of course, that was negligible as I had better things to do than try and find a cure to my old water allergy, like conquering Oz.”
“Up to your old tricks?” asked Emily.
“I haven’t the vaguest notion of doing so at this point in time, Rosie” dismissed the Witch, making a reference to Emily’s dress, “considering that there’s something greater going on. I need to destroy it before it destroys me. But, that’s rather hard for me to do. I no longer have any magic! I was hoping to go into business with your wizard.”
“My dear lady,” protested Gandalf, “you gave us magic folk a bad name! Couldn’t you have toned the wickedness down a tad?”
“I don’t know,” purred the Witch, “I found good to be dumb.” She then saw my expression. “You don’t believe me. Do you really think I would humiliate myself like this?”
“When it serves,” replied Emily.
“It’s the truth!” insisted the Witch. “What you see before you is a defrocked Elphaba Thropp, condemned to live out her days as a normal person!”
“The question of whether or not you have magic is irrelevant,” I dismissed. “The question of your return to life, however, I would like answered.”
“As would I,” replied Elphaba. “Last time I saw you, I was melting away in my observatory. The next thing I knew, I woke up, screaming in the dimensional vortex. After that, I ended up here. That’s all I know.”
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Your compassion,” explained Elphaba. Need I describe how I felt about that? “All right,” Elphaba tried again, “sanctuary on Vorton, dreary as it is for all parties concerned.”
“Get on that broomstick of yours and get out!” I demanded.
“I have no powers!” protested Elphaba. “You look upon Elphaba Thropp, the ordinary!”
“Elphaba the Tyrant!” I argued. “Elphaba the Conqueror!”
“Elphaba the Miserable!” Elphaba argued back. “Elphaba the Desperate! What must I do to convince you?!”
“Take a swim,” suggested Batman.
“Oh, very clever, you poor excuse of a winged monkey,” snarked Elphaba. “Eat any good books lately?”
“For the last time, I’m a bat!” snarled Batman. “Not a dog! Not a brat! And I’m CERTAINLY not one of your Flying Monkeys!”
“You wish for compassion? Sanctuary?” I asked.
“Yes,” confirmed Elphaba.
“Hongo-san, Duke Emmanuel, Dame Emily,” I directed, “have the computer help put Elphaba in the brig.” A grin crossed Emily’s face.
“Delighted, Your Highness,” she chuckled.
“You can’t do this to me!” protested Elphaba. Emily then grabbed her by the shoulder, digging her nails into it.
“You will walk,” ordered Emily as a blue path lit up for her, “or I will carry you.” Emmanuel was holding the door open while Hongo directed them to leave with is hand and a smile.
“…Given the option,” mused Elphaba, “I’ll walk.” With Emily’s hand still firmly on Elphaba’s shoulder, the group was led to the brig. Emily picked out the cell wand led the boys back up to the cafeteria. We decided to have lunch while we pondered our options.
“If she can drink water,” guessed Irina, “splashing her in the night won’t do the trick.”
“I hate to pander to a stereotype of a manner-driven culture like most Southern states,” replied Richard, “but I fail to see the honor in killing her.”
“I fail to see the honor in letting her live,” argued Lukas. “She has proven unrepentant.”
“Her comments have demonstrated that fact,” I granted, “but Mom always said that mercy is the greatest weapon of all time.”
“She usually follows up with a warning to the effect of mercy being misused!” argued Hiroki.
“When it comes to killing,” I countered. “If we kill her, who are we being merciful to?”
“The multiverse,” replied Xiomara.
“Too vague,” countered Batman.
“I’m not exactly wild about her coming back,” agreed Wyldstyle, “but there are other ways to deal with her.”
“If she stays,” argued Michael, “we’ll probably have two messes to contend with instead of just one.”
“I say we listen to Megumi,” suggested Gandalf.
“You cannot be serious!” protested Hiroki.
“If we kill her when she didn’t make any threatening moves against us or the multiverse,” explained Gandalf, “we would prove ourselves as low as the enemy.”
“You’ve killed people before!” argued Hiroki. Probably not the brightest thing to say.
“I gave them a chance to back off before I attacked,” hissed Gandalf with a hint of anger. “I never kill unless it’s the last resort!”
“Someone, talk some sense into him!” cried Hiroki.
“He speaks sense,” argued Mikhail. “There is no need to kill Elphaba.”
“Really?!” snapped Irina. “My younger brother decides to let a known threat live?!”
“She has made no move to attack us,” countered Mikhail. “I say we observe her. If she makes a move against us, all bets are off and she dies. If not, she may prove valuable.”
“Her magic is impressive,” observed Tanisha. “I agree with Mikhail.”
“As do I,” called Emily as she, Hongo, and Emmanuel reentered the cafeteria. “She had given us valuable info on operations in Oz. Once she helped us, she could only do a simple levitation spell. Her story on once being powerless checks out.”
“And you three are just taking her word for it?!” yelped Haitao.
“Of course not,” replied Emmanuel. “Lie detectors line the cells in the brig. It proves useful for interrogation.”
“And on a side note, her compliment on my and Emmanuel’s dresses proved sincere,” supplied Emily.
“Much as I want to rehabilitate her,” argued Richard, “we’ll need more proof than a compliment on your clothes!”
“Then she stays alive so we get that proof,” I said with a tone of finality.
“Nee-san, please!” protested Hiroki.
“Your princess has made her decision!” I declared. “Killing Elphaba in any way, shape, or form is out! Am I clear?” Silence permeated the room. “Good.” I said. “Now, let’s get our meals. Bring one to Elphaba.”
“I’ll bring it to her,” volunteered Emily. Elphaba’s meal was a chicken breast with broccoli. As we ate, Emily eating with our prisoner, the debate ran through my mind. Throughout the journey, I was hellbent on killing Hiro. Looking back, that might be an escape for REAL justice for him and his allies. I started mulling over options on keeping him confined for life. Hongo’s right, killing someone should always be a last resort. We then finished our meals, took our showers, and then headed for bed.
Back in the Simpsons world, Death had arrived at a house. She knocked on the door to reveal a girl in stereotypical goth clothing. “Pardon me,” whispered Death, “may I have a moment of your time, Ms. Lacey?”
“Sure,” agreed the girl, Lacey. Death was let in. “What are you doing here? Business as usual? Am I your client?”
“Hardly,” replied Death. “I’ve been away on a long journey and saw something…peculiar.”
“It’s that sword you gave Mom,” guessed Lacey. “That stupid looking thing that you told her never to touch.”
“Your mother’s ‘stupid’ sword?” asked Death as she sat down. “The one that feels ‘wrong’ to you?” She held out her hand. “Give it to me.”
“Give you the sword?” quizzed Lacey.
“For a moment only,” whispered Death. Lacey got the sword down from the mantelpiece. It was a broadsword in a black scabbard with a silver handle and guard. “Can you see any markings on it?” asked Death.
“No,” answered Lacey. “Kind of plain, if you ask me.”
“How about now?” asked Death as she casually tossed the sword into the fire. Lacey gasped and rushed towards it only to be held back by her visitor. “Wait!” hissed Death. “Do you desire it so much?”
“…N…no!” stammered Lacey. “But why burn it?!”
“Because I had unwittingly given your mother a fragment of the enemy’s power!” explained Death as her whispering voice went up a fragment. “It will corrupt and destroy any who have it until he or she passes under the enemy’s power. Named after the enemy’s desire for a perfect world, this was called the Foundation Saber!”
“That isn’t how Mom kept her appointment with you, is it?!” gulped Lacey, getting frantic.
“No, she is still safe from the enemy,” assured Death, “but you are in danger!” Death then picked up the sword from the fire. Much like the One Ring, the sword was unharmed. Death tossed it to Lacey, who instinctively caught it. She was surprised at the temperature. “Reveal part of the blade,” instructed Death. Lacey blinked, but obeyed. Instead of metal, the blade seemed to be made of solid space.
“It was metal before, I swear it!” declared Lacey.
“Oh no, this is the Foundation Saber’s natural state,” whispered Death as she took the sword back. “Stay here. I must take it and seek out War, the one who was duped into making this thing.”
“Be safe,” called Lacey. Death left the house with the sword, mounted her white horse, and charged off into a portal of her own design.