Back with the main baddies, Vortech was being shouted at from Hiro. “WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?!” shouted Hiro. “You just rolled up and told the Daleks about the Scale Keystone in the hopes that they would join you, let it get caught by the Vortex Riders, and you’re doing NOTHING to stop them?! Vortech, you have lost your tiny little mind!!”
“What use is the Scale Keystone to those absurd little heroes?” asked Vortech. “All that Keystone can be is a plaything for children.”
“You seem to forget that children are trying to stop us!” protested Hiro. “They have Chen’s staff! A Foundation Element! Remember that you hired me to get such things so you can make universes collide?”
“We can retrieve it at our leisure,” dismissed Vortech. “If anything, you may be doubting Igura’s ability to get the Foundation Element from Dimension D-0-C-T-0-R-W-H-0.”
“It’s about time for the winning team to return,” chuckled Ambassador Hell. The portal opened and revealed Igura and her Shocker Nova team stepping through. “Wait, where’s my team?!” shrieked Ambassador Hell.
“They had encountered a race called the Cybermen,” explained Igura. “They tried to beat them but failed. A few were destroyed, most were converted. My team, on the other hand,” she produced a Dalek gunstick from behind her back, “had no casualties. One Foundation Element, as you requested.” A small, groaning noise escaped from Vortech while Ambassador Hell slapped his face.
“Subarashi!” (Awesome!) cheered Hiro. He turned to Vortech and Ambassador Hell. “You know the deal. Igura must choose what meal you two cook.”
“I’d like some Nikujaga,” ordered Igura. “And the meat must be sweet.”
“We’ll need some time to prepare,” muttered Ambassador Hell.
“We can wait two days, so you can get the meal right,” chuckled Igura. Vortech and Ambassador Hell stormed off.
“Well, that should give him something to chew on,” mused Hiro.
“Yee?” asked a Shocker Nova Combatman.
“Well,” explained Hiro, “Vortech’s been nonchalant about the fact that the self-proclaimed ‘Vortex Riders’ have a new size changing Keystone, calling it a toy.”
“Yee!” snapped the Combatman.
“I agree,” replied Igura. “Those Keystones have provided powers and they’ve proven proficient with those powers. Who’s to say they won’t use size-changing to their advantage?”
“There’s one last Keystone,” reported Hiro, “and our new Ring-bearer should be able to find it soon.”
“Speaking of which,” asked Igura, “you said that you had to bring his fortress there and put the Ring in that eye on top?”
“Exactly,” confirmed Hiro. “If necessary, we’ll have to send his forces along with him.”
“Let’s hope it works,” prayed Igura.
Back on Vorton, the TARDIS had arrived near the gateway. We had all explained who we are and what was going on to the Doctor. He was waving that wand of his, the sonic screwdriver, as he calls it, over Wyldstyle’s scanner as we walked out. Gandalf wanted to stay and explore more, but Batman and I got him out of there. “Okay,” finished the Doctor as he switched of the screwdriver, “I should be able to lock onto this, no problem.” He tossed it back to Wyldstyle and started examining the gateway. “Someone’s using this rift technology like a Gallifreyan Time Scoop. They’re pulling in monsters and madmen from everywhere.”
“We noticed,” muttered Batman.
“That doesn’t speak well of our security,” I mused. “If the enemy side can lock on to the gateway, it may know where we are.” The Doctor fiddled with the electronics inside the gateway and replaced the paneling once he was done.
“But THAT should stop whoever’s behind this tracking you from now on,” assured the Doctor. “No more rift loops. Speaking of which, I should go drop Mr. Kisaragi back in his own time and rescue the rest of you from one.” Batman took out one of the grapple guns he had and tossed it to the Doctor.
“You’ll need this,” he called. The Doctor looked uneasy as he held it.
“I usually take the stairs, but thanks,” muttered the Time Lord. “I’ll go finish up with the Daleks and their pals after I drop Gentarō off in his universe and time.”
“And we’ll deal with the rest,” assured Batman.
“Good,” confirmed the Doctor. He turned to Rusty and the Brigadier. “Are you sure you want to stay?”
“These people need additional technical support!” answered Rusty.
“Rusty’s right,” supported the Brigadier. “Having a witch work machinery doesn’t inspire confidence. It’s all taken care of. UNIT’s been notified.”
“Then see you lot later,” called the Doctor to us. “Or earlier.”
“Before you drop my past off in the Cyber-base with the rest of these guys,” stopped Gentarō, “give me this.” He handed the Fourze driver to the Doctor. “I don’t know where it came from as I destroyed it a while ago. Heinlein fans call it the bootstrap paradox, time travel theorists call it a causal loop, the Greeks call it begging the question, I call it a headache.”
“You googled the bootstrap paradox?” asked the Doctor as the space themed Kamen Rider stepped in.
“No, we all had a lecture by Michael,” explained Gentarō as the TARDIS started dematerializing. “And don’t listen to Kengo when he says I touch everything! That’s not true!” The TARDIS was gone, and so was its madman pilot.
“What an odd fellow,” mused Gandalf. He took out the Keystone to let it fly towards the gateway.
“The Scale Keystone!” cheered the voice “I’ll handle that.”
+GATEWAY 80% STABILIZED+ announced my belt
“Before you go, Mr. Gateway Guardian, we want answers!” I shouted to the sky. “Why is the enemy trying to get random objects? Why are our parents being held hostage? Why did the belts choose us to fight? And why are people from our fiction helping us?”
“And can the enemy be beaten?” asked Joshua.
“Only if Kamen Riders Apocalypse and Vortex can be found,” answered the voice. “Kamen Rider Apocalypse is supposed to be trained by all four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
“Sounds like a team of Sauron’s forces,” gulped Gandalf.
“Nah, they’re nice Anthropomorphic personifications,” assured the voice. “They’re just really good at their jobs, especially Death. She’s actually very sociable.”
“Really?” I asked. I hadn’t expected the Grim Reaper to be friendly towards mortals. Then again, we all have an appointment with Death, so being friendly would ease their souls after Death makes a visit.
“And with Kamen Rider Vortex around,” continues the voice, “more dimensions can be visited.
“Who’s Vortex?” I asked.
“A Kamen Rider that can freely pass between dimensions,” explained the voice. “No need for a gateway. That Rider can even summon others to help from across the multiverse. It’s said that those with large amounts of imagination from a dimension where nothing super-powered exists can find this Rider. 16 fragments of a map were made and forged into belts.”
“Our Vortex Drivers,” guessed Joshua.
“You guys chose us because we were the most imaginative in our dimension?” asked Tanisha.
+CORRECT+ confirmed my belt. +ANIMATIONS, LIVE-ACTION MOVIES, FANFICS, FANARTS, AND COSPLAYS SHOW THAT YOU ARE THE ONES DETERMINED TO KEEP YOUR MYTHOLOGY ALIVE+
“But Batman’s real in his universe,” protested Xiomara.
+BUT NOT IN YOURS+ countered my belt.
“So, nerds are prized in the multiverse,” I mused. “We actually care about the fandoms we love. Whenever a change comes to a fandom and it changes the fandom for the worse, we try like Hell to protect the fandom’s integrity.”
“Like Sonic the Hedgehog and its changes,” supplied Emily. “That franchise became flawed during its run and fans try their best to get Sega to improve their mascot so the characters don’t fade in the background.”
“That’s why we’re chosen,” I guessed, “because, deep down, we’re fierce when it comes to our fandoms that we will fight to protect them, and the enemy just wants to slap us down, even going so far as to kidnap those that support us! They want us to just put our heads down like nerds were forced to do in the 80’s!”
“Well,” swore Hiroki, “all they’ve invited was defeat! If we’re the ones who’ve been asked to travel the multiverse to defeat our enemy, then we will!”
“That leaves those objects the enemy’s getting,” rasped Batman.
“They’re called Foundation Elements,” replied the voice. “They’re objects made to keep the multiverse stable.” It showed a set of images.
“Wait a minute, that’s kryptonite!” called Batman.
“That’s MetalBeard’s treasure!” yelped Wyldstyle.
“That’s Ichimonji’s Typhoon!” observed Hongo.
“That’s Mom’s necklace!” called Hiroki.
“Those are Dorothy’s ruby slippers!” shouted Emily.
“That’s the nuclear rod from Springfield Nuclear Power Plant!” called Richard.
“That’s Chen’s staff!” observed Michael.
“That’s a Dalek gun!” I yelped.
“More exist across the multiverse to keep each universe stable,” continued the voice.
“I don’t see the Ring,” realized Gandalf.
+SAURON’S ONE RING IS NOT A FOUNDATION ELEMENT+ answered my belt.
“We have to find the keystones and Kamen Rider Vortex,” I said. “If we’re the ones to stop the enemy, we’ll stop the enemy! Who’s with me!?!” We all gave a battle cry to show our unity, even the Brigadier and Rusty. Elphaba came up.
“What’s all that shouting?!” she snapped. “I’m trying to take a nap!”
“Come on, Elphaba,” I teased. “Haven’t you given a battle cry to give yourself energy to deal with a threat?”
“I never had many threats to my power,” responded Elphaba, “so, no, I haven’t.”
“We’re just shouting our cause to eliminate a long-term threat,” answered Emmanuel.
“There is an immediate threat that needs dealing with!” screeched Rusty. “The threat of gratitude! A reward will be dispensed on all of you so it can be neutralized!” Rusty opened his casing and, dear lord, Michael was not exaggerating on the gooey pilot inside the Dalek casing! Rusty’s innards were a tentacled blob of greenish, brown flesh with a single yellow eye, no visible mouth, and a smaller visible brain than the Emperor Dalek. It was practically strapped in with wires sticking into it. A longer tentacle hidden from the skirt section pulled a drawstring bag out and handed it to me. It was dripping with goo. I accepted it gingerly and opened it. More studs were inside.
“What’s the total number of studs we have now?” I asked my belt.
+STUDS IN BAG TOTAL 220,000+ replied my belt. +CURRENT CUMULATIVE STUD TOTAL IS NOW 600,000+
“Thank you,” I said to Rusty.
“You’re welcome!” responded Rusty as he closed his casing.
“Michael, why don’t you and Rusty tell me about the Daleks, in case we encounter them again,” suggested Batman.
“Very well!” replied Rusty. “The Daleks originally came from the planet, Skaro. We were once a race of humanoids called the Kaleds.”
“They were in a thousand-year nuclear war with the Thals,” continued Michael, “another race of humanoids that look a lot like Emmanuel, just without the dress and makeup.”
“They were tall and blonde?” asked Emmanuel.
“Yes,” confirmed Michael. “The resulting mutations from the fallout were accelerated by a disfigured Kaled scientist named Davros.”
“What he bred,” continued Rusty, “he placed into a travel machine designed for combat! He had removed all emotions and morals, except hatred!”
“And you’re one of the exceptions?” I asked Rusty.
“Only when the Doctor repaired me and linked my mind to his!” elaborated Rusty.
“Well now,” I mused, “interesting history of the Daleks.” My stomach growled.
“What was that?” yelped Rusty. “Was it a Dalek threat?!”
“No, just the threat of hunger,” I assured. “Who wants dinner?” Everyone, even Rusty and the Brigadier, said yes. “Wait, how can you guys eat?” I said to Rusty and the Brigadier.
“I can convert the food into an acceptable nutrient for Daleks!” replied Rusty. “Human food tastes better than the standard nutrients Daleks are given!”
“And Cybermen can eat when a recharge is insufficient,” continued the Brigadier, “but it requires the removal of the helmet and that can disrupt communication with other Cybermen. Now, I’m not going to be broken up about it, since I’m free.”
“Let’s get some grub then,” I suggested. We departed for the cafeteria.
War gasped for breath as she held her wound closed. “Never, in all of my existence,” she snarled as Death got bandages, “has a mortal ever beaten me!”
“Don’t talk,” whispered Death harshly as she started treating the wound. “The Daleks don’t exactly care that you’re immortal.”
“But the whole idea of an ant like him beating me!” roared War, angry as all Hell. “It’s infuriating! I didn’t spend my entire existence in battle just to be defeated by some idiot scientist who reverse engineered a transformation belt! A technology we entrusted to the Vortonians! I knew we should have kept it out of their reach! They should never have had that power! But no! No one listens to War, since she’s only a brute! Never mind the fact that she’s the most skilled in tactics and…!”
“Shut up!” hissed Death. “In case you forgot, I was in that fight too! The Vortonian military needed a final weapon to use so they could help the Tarlaxians.”
“Half of which are enslaved again!” snarled War. “Look at Turretorg! He was a very outspoken advocate for independence!”
“We’re not interrupting, are we?” wheezed a voice. War and Death turned to see a woman in full green plague doctor gear and a thin, yellow haired woman in baggy clothes constantly eating, but never gaining enough body mass to look healthy. They were Pestilence and Famine. All four horsemen had gathered. Pestilence knelt down to War’s wound. “Dear Lord, Death,” she wheezed. “You could have cleaned her wound! She may be immortal, but War isn’t immune to all diseases!”
“Why did you summon us?” mumbled Famine as she ate the candy bars she pulled out of her pockets.
“We need Kamen Rider Apocalypse NOW,” whispered Death.
“And you believe that to be Lacey?” grunted War. “She’s not from a null dimension like the Vortex Riders are! Who’s to say the Apocalypse Driver would accept her?”
“Doubtless, it could reject her if she’s untrained,” replied Famine as she swallowed, “but if we get her to the academy, it might help her in the long run.”
“I must agree with Famine,” wheezed Pestilence as she applied disinfectant to the wound. War tired her best not to wince from the disinfectant’s sting and Pestilence’s response.
“Don’t tell me you agree with Death!” she grunted.
“Only through the combined power of the Keystones and the two Savior Riders, Apocalypse and Vortex, will we finish Vortech!” argued Pestilence. “Lacey has proven herself to be open and understanding of us. She may be the best candidate for the mantle of Kamen Rider Apocalypse.”
“Besides,” mumbled Famine as she started scarfing down chicken nuggets, “she needs a better life. Her dad isn’t exactly supportive. You saw how he tried to destroy her death metal collection!” War considered for a moment as Pestilence wrapped her wound in gauze.
“Very well,” she finally grunted. “I’ll get her to our shared dimension.”
“No, you’re injured and need to rest,” whispered Death with a tone of finality. “Pestilence, you take War to the Healer. Famine, pick up Lacey. Take her to the academy, you have the necessary connections to get her registered.”
“What about the Vortex Riders?” asked War. “A shared dream haunts them.”
“Leave that to me,” answered Death. She mounted her horse. “Giddyap!” she said. The horse went through a portal she had made. Pestilence had War slung over her own horse as she rode while War’s horse ran after his rider. Famine mounted her gaunt looking horse and opened a portal to the Simpsons’ home world.