“I…I…” stammered X-PO.
“X-PO, is any of that true?” I asked. X-PO’s arms drooped as he gave up trying to hide it.
“Yes, it’s all true, I fudged the results,” he confirmed. I swear, I’ve never heard the F.N.S get so angry. They heaped the verbal abuse and threats of scrapping onto X-PO.
“URUSEI, MINNA!” (Everyone, shut up!) I shouted. I turned to X-PO, feeling rather hot from my currently sour mood. “Experimental Portal Operator, you owe us an explanation!” I demanded.
“…Guys, when was the last time we came together?” asked X-PO.
“When we just came back and I apologized to everyone for hiding my…!” I replied.
“No, I mean, before this adventure,” corrected X-PO. “When was the last time the F.N.S came here?”
“I wanna say for various dimensional excursions,” I mused.
“When we said our goodbyes after the Vortech Wars,” answered X-PO. “We were all in this room to say our goodbyes to our allies. Oh, sure, like you said, we met when we discussed the use of the Gateway for travelling to other worlds and seeing what happens, but, for some of us, we never used it! For some of us, we weren’t going to get an adventure! I…I wanted an adventure where people could live out history.”
“The Vortech Wars weren’t a fun time for us, even during the beginning!” snapped Emmanuel.
“Our loved ones were kidnapped!” continued Emily.
“We were almost killed MULTIPLE times!” snarled Tanisha.
“Some of us DID die!” interjected Rusty. Elphaba nodded.
“Some of us went on a crazy side quest that almost got everyone killed!” roared Irina.
“Gandalf, Batman, Wyldstyle, and I,” supplied Hongo, “felt lied to, cheated on, and disrespected when Megumi didn’t tell us about Vortech!”
“What in the name of all nine circles of Hell made you want ANY of that back?!” growled Richard.
“What I wanted was for you guys to be happy!” shouted X-PO. “I want you to be happy for me! I want me to be happy for you! I want us to come together and riff on bad movies! Celebrate a birthday! Be normal people! I want us to come together and feel like a family and not a bunch of war veterans! I’m not blind to what happened, but sometimes, I felt like the only thing keeping us as friends! I want that feeling back! I want things back the way they were!”
“No, that doesn’t justify a DAMN thing!” snarled Alesandro. “You gathered us here with a lie from long ago! You decided to play the long game with us and waited for some grand adventure! We’ve sent you numerous invitations for those things you mentioned. If you REALLY wanted to continue feeling that, then you would have accepted them! But, no! That wasn’t enough for you! You wanted to relive the glory days with the lies, the threats, the people getting angry with each other, things that some of us were trying to get away from! You’re only concerned with what YOU want! To be frank, I see no difference between you and what Death lectured about Vortech in her classes!”
“Still waiting on that essay on Skrandepede from you,” whispered Death.
“Dude, shut up,” grunted War.
“That’s…that’s not fair at all!” argued X-PO.
“I think what Alesandro said was VERY fair!” I hissed.
“I was NEVER going to put you in any danger!” insisted X-PO. “The adventure I had planned was just some haunted house malarkey! I would tell you guys of the supposed ‘Danger’ and you guys would solve it, and we’d have a big laugh! I never wanted you guys to be on Shocker Rift’s radar!”
“Then why did you hack into the Tarlaxian scout ship missions?” demanded Scorpainia. X-PO sighed.
“Technarain gave me a way into it,” he finally revealed.
“Oh, throw me into the warp core, why don’t you?!” snarled Technarain.
“Whoa! Hold on!” called Turretorg. “Technarain, you let him in?!”
“I couldn’t have the missions be unobserved,” replied Technarain.
“Is there some secret-keeping epidemic going on?!” shouted Scorpainia. I was about to say something when a certain… “vworping” noise, as Michael puts it, announced the TARDIS’ arrival. The Doctor, Sougo, Woz in his civilian form, and an old friend we made near the end of the Vortech Wars came out.
“Sandra Noman!” I cheered. “Long time, no see! What brings you to our side of reality?”
“The Doctor wanted me to confirm a finding she made,” explained Sandra. I then noticed the Doctor was wearing 3-D glasses.
“…Okay, what’s with the…?” I asked.
“Doctor, did you find Void Stuff?” asked Michael.
“I did! The Rose Clone is saturated with the stuff!” replied the Doctor. “During my more violent regenerations, I damaged the TARDIS, including its memory banks. I felt like I had seen the energy particles the Rose Clone has but couldn’t cross-check it…until I remembered Sandra Noman!”
“She visited the little house I made for myself,” continued Sandra, “and showed me what she found. I confirmed it was Void Stuff. The Rift usually acts as a passageway to other universes, but they usually skirt the edge of the Void. As such, you can’t get Void Stuff from the Rift. Believe it or not, the Rift is the long way around.”
“And the Void’s the shortcut?” I asked.
“Bingo,” confirmed Sandra. “However, anyone with sense would avoid the Void as it runs the risk of killing you. There ARE a few instances of people living in and travelling through the Void, I believe I’m right in naming the Pete’s World Cybermen and the Cult of Skaro., but they’re really rare.”
“So, it looks like the Rose Clone DID travel through the Void before ending up in the Rift,” answered the Doctor.
“But, Doctor, couldn’t it be Rose herself?” asked Michael.
“I checked,” replied the Doctor. “Rose is still with the Meta-Crisis me in Pete’s World.”
“So where did she come from?!” I snapped, finally getting annoyed with the mystery.
“That’s what we’re about to find out!” cheered the Doctor. “Brigadier, do you mind putting this into the Gateway computer?” She handed the Brigadier a flash drive.
“Very good, Doctor,” replied the Brigadier. He inserted the flash drive into the Gateway. The Doctor then keyed in a command.
“With the Void Stuff,” she explained, “we can find the temporal and universal origin of our guest. Rusty, mind getting her so she can figure out her origins?” Rusty grinned before replying.
“I obey!” she answered in her old Dalek tone. The Doctor flinched as Rusty headed off.
“I don’t think everything Dalek was purged when she came back,” she grumbled.
“So, Sougo-san, Woz-san,” I interjected, “what brings you here?”
“We ended up in your universe’s future and met your future self,” explained Sougo. “She handed me this before getting the Doctor involved.” He pulled out a watch similar to the one he used to transform into Zi-O but had a vortex on top and the year 2017 on it, the year the Vortech Wars started.
“I take it that’s the Royal Ridewatch?” I asked.
“Indeed, it is,” replied Woz. “I have a speech prepared for when Waga Maō uses it.”
“…I don’t…feel any different,” I muttered.
“Your future said that, because you went to different universes,” explained Woz, “the Ridewatch won’t take your powers.”
“You understood that?!” yelped Sougo. “I couldn’t make head or tails of it!”
“Oh…Rassilon!” swore the Doctor. A look of horror was clear on her face.
“Doctor, what’s wrong?” I asked.
“I never realized…I mean, I thought it destroyed itself!” whispered the Doctor.
“What destroyed itself?” asked Michael.
“The Rose Clone…” answered the Doctor. “I’ve seen it before!”
“Where?!” quizzed Michael. She turned grimly after Rusty.
“She’s in danger!” she declared.
I looked in various rooms to find the Rose Clone. “Miss?” I called. “Oh, Miss?” I found her in the Observation Deck. “Miss! There you are!”
“Traitor!” she hissed, her back turned to me.
“…Pardon?” I asked.
“You betrayed us!” replied the Rose Clone.
“Who are you talking about?” I inquired. “Are you okay?”
“I am most certainly NOT okay!” snarled the Rose Clone. “I remember everything now!”
“What do you remember?” I quizzed. The Rose Clone then started laughing.
“I was fixed!” she giggled. “It fixed me! …But I came out wrong! Don’t you understand! I’M ALL WRONG NOW!” She then punched me in the gut, grabbed the gunstick in my left forearm, and ripped it out, leveling it at me!
“Give that back!” I shouted. “That’s dangerous!”
“I tried to smash the mirrors around here,” snarled the Rose Clone as she advanced on me, “but I still keep stinking and sweating and flooding myself with hormones! I hate this shape! Am I now doomed to look like the one who contaminated me?! One…just one! One directive! The primary order! Destroy and conquer! I had that left and now I am stuck looking like Rose Tyler! I was the last…but trust the Time-Lords and Daleks to make liars of us all! No one really died in the Time War, did they?! You know about that! You were made after me!” A grave suspicion formed in my mind.
“What…manner of creature are you?!” I gasped. As she advanced, I noticed the shadow she was casting morphed and changed, looking very similar to what I traveled in. She spoke, causing a memory to stir.
“My Jailer, Van Statten, called me Metaltron!”
“Rubbish!” called Michael when we heard that the Rose Clone was the former last of the Daleks. The ones heading to the Observation Deck were me, the Doctor, Sougo, Michael, Woz, and Batman.
“I hope you’re right; I really do!” replied the Doctor, “but the spatio-temporal origin came from my universe! 2012, the GeoComTex Vault, near Salt Lake City, the start of Barack Obama’s 2nd term as President of the United States! It would explain why she would constantly view that event when she got the chance!”
“Doctor, that’s absurd!” insisted Michael. “That Dalek killed itself when it discovered that Rose passed on more than her DNA. It exploded, remember?”
“It may have activated a hastily thrown together spatial-temporal shift,” argued the Doctor.
“What is going on?!” interjected Sougo.
“In 2012, just after the Last Great Time War between the Doctor’s people and a race called the Daleks,” explained Michael, “the Doctor locked onto a distress signal. It turned out the supposed Last of the Daleks sent it and it brought them into contact. The Doctor was in a period of extreme self-loathing because she thought she killed everyone. Seeing the Dalek sparked a rage in her, him actually, and became determined to make the Daleks extinct.”
“So, how did she kill it back then?” asked Woz.
“I didn’t,” answered the Doctor.
“What?” quizzed Woz.
“Like Michael said, the Dalek absorbed some of Rose’s genetic material to regenerate itself,” explained the Doctor, “but it absorbed more than that. It absorbed a bit of humanity from her, making itself believe it was contaminated. It couldn’t live like that, so it killed itself.”
“Doctor, it exploded!” insisted Michael. He then activated his comms. “Rusty, could you…”
“Bring her to me!” barked a voice. It sounded like the Rose Clone, but hatred laced the voice.
“…Bring who to you?” I asked, finally contributing.
“The Oncoming Storm!” came the reply. “Bring her to me!”
“We can talk about…” Batman offered.
“There will be no talking!” roared the Rose Clone. “Ka Faraq Gatri is behind this, I know it! The traitor to the Daleks is my prisoner! If the Predator is not within my sight, I will exterminate her! NOW BRING! THE DOCTOR! TO ME!” That word cinched it. Only a Dalek would threaten extermination. We hurried along.
“Sougo, Woz,” I suggested, “better transform.”
“Good idea,” replied Sougo. He brought out his Ziku Driver as Woz got his belt, the BeyonDriver, a black belt with a screen on the front and a green handle with a slot in it for the transformation trinket. Speaking of, the two men got their respective Ridewatch, or Miridewatch, in Woz’s case, while Michael and I got our i.d tags out. Sougo turned the Ridewatch’s face until it formed his helmet and pressed the button.
“Zi-O!” it announced. Woz just pressed the button on his Miridewatch.
“Woz!” it called. The two then inserted their respective trinkets into the slots on their belts.
“Action!” cheered the BeyonDriver as the Miridewatch opened. It then started playing snappy techno music while Sougo pressed the button on top and tilted the Driver.
“Henshin!” we all called. Woz pushed the handle with the Miridewatch to the BeyonDriver’s side, making it project his Rider form’s helmet onto the screen.
“Touei!” (Projecting!) it called. “Future Time! Sugoi! Jidai! Mirai! (Amazing! Time! Future!) Kamen Rider Woz! WOZ!!” Woz then became Kamen Rider Woz. Zi-O spun his Driver until it stopped and rang the bell.
“Rider Time!” it announced. “Kamen Rider Zi-O!” His suit formed as did mine and Michael’s. We arrived outside the Observation Deck. The Doctor led us through as she leveled her Sonic Screwdriver at the Rose Clone. The Rose Clone had taken Rusty’s gunstick out of the socket in her left forearm and was holding it at her while her hand was at the back of Rusty’s neck. She looked extremely angry.
“Hello again, Metaltron,” greeted the Doctor coldly.
“Don’t call me that!” snapped the Rose Clone. “That was what Van Statten did! You, on the other hand, you did THIS to me, didn’t you?! You made me into a clone of your pink and yellow companion!”
“I didn’t do anything, Metaltron,” replied the Doctor. “I thought you chose death.”
“How?!” wailed the newly dubbed Metaltron. “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!”
“Now that I have more data surrounding this, I have a theory,” answered the Doctor. “Your casing must not have been fully repaired to restore ALL functions. It somehow mixed the self-destruct mechanism with the emergency temporal shift programs. It destroyed your casing and a good chunk of you. It sent you through the Void until you somehow happened upon a path to the Rift and took it. The energies must have restored you into looking like Rose, thinking that the human DNA you absorbed was the default. Somehow, your mind was carried along for the ride.” Metaltron’s face contorted into further anger.
“This is all YOUR fault!” she accused. “I was ready to embrace oblivion, but YOU had to interfere! You’ve always been the one to hold the Daleks back, you AND the Time Lords! And now, since our coming back, you infected this one,” she indicated her hostage, “with the notion of Daleks NOT being supreme! You’ve destroyed her pure soul with the idea that life needs diversity to have any value! You…!”
“Let her go, Metaltron!” interrupted the Doctor.
“STOP CALLING ME THAT!” roared Metaltron. “DALEKS HAVE NO NEED OF NAMES! YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF SPEAKING THE WORD OF DALEK! ALL INFERIOR CREATURES SHOULD BE PROSTRATING THEMSELVES BEFORE US! YOU SHOULD BE BEGGING ME FOR YOUR LIFE! INSTEAD, I WILL FINALLY COMPLETE THE DALEKS’ GOAL OF EXTERMINATING YOU AND EVERYONE YOU EVER…!” Rusty ran her elbow into Metaltron’s gut and retrieved her gunstick, inserting it back into the slot. We got ready for a fight as Metaltron charged at us, her fists swinging wildly. She was acting on blind rage, so there was no form to her movements. We were just about to overpower her when someone pushed us aside and got Metaltron free. It was Caan! “RELEASE ME, MONSTER!” screamed Metaltron. “I MAY BE IN AN IMPURE STATE, BUT YOU ARE NOT FIT TO…!” She was interrupted as Caan pressed his thumb and pointer finger to her temples and seemed to induce something painful for two seconds. She gasped once the treatment ended. “…I thought you were a Time War myth!” she breathed.
“No, we were tasked with the survival of the Dalek species,” replied Caan. “Sec tried to change us but we stopped that nonsense real quick. Now, like you, I exist in a corrupted form. It DOES have its uses, though.”
“What were you doing outside of After Academy?!” I demanded.
“I needed to look something up,” explained Caan, “specifically, the creation of Gaia Memories and Ridewatches. I was denied this by Alesandro. I was about ready to destroy the school then and there, but then I realized there was another library, the Gaia Library. I completed my research there and recreated the Dalek Memory.” He revealed the Memory from his coat and pressed the button.
“DALEK!” it announced.
“So, what, you intend to recreate the Dalek Dopant through Metaltron?” I snarled.
“No, she doesn’t have the necessary connection to safely access that power,” answered Caan. “However, an Another Ridewatch doesn’t need that kind of equipment.” He pulled out a purple Ridewatch with a monstrous version of my helmet on it and pressed the button.
“Royal!” it called in a distorted voice. Caan then jammed the Ridewatch into Metaltron’s stomach, making her gasp in pain before a dark cloud surrounded her. “Royal!” repeated the voice as Metaltron turned into a monstrous version of me! Where the mouth guard was, two mouths rested there, a demonic sawblade replaced the wheel of my Vortex Driver, she had a tattered cape and skirt, the crown was rusty looking, and the word Royal was on her left arm while the year 2017 was on her right.
“Behold, Another Royal,” chuckled Caan. Another Royal then struck the same ready pose I usually do. We both attacked each other, matching one another blow for blow!
“Waga Maō,” suggested Woz, “I believe now’s a good time to test out the new Ridewatch.”
“Good idea!” praised Zi-O. He then rotated the Royal Ridewatch until it formed my face and pressed the button.
“Royal!” it called. He then put it into the left slot and pressed the button on the belt, tilting it. He spun the belt until it stopped and rang the bell.
“Rider Time!” it called. “Kamen Rider Zi-O! Armor Time!” Armor evoking me then appeared and attached itself to Zi-O while the Rider Katakana was replaced with “Royal” (ロイヤル). “Final Attack! Royal!” sang the Ridewatch. Woz gave a little giggle.
“What are you laughing about?” asked Zi-O. Another Royal and I stifled a giggle too. “You too?!” protested Zi-O. “Stop that! Look, Woz, would you just rejoice already?”
“Very well, Waga Maō,” chuckled Woz before he cleared his throat and began. “Iwae! Zen Rider no chikara o uketsugi, jikū o koe kako to mirai o shiroshimesu toki no ōja. Sono na mo Kamen Rider Zi-O: Royal Armor! (Rejoice! The one to inherit all Rider powers, the time king who will rule over the past and the future. And his name is Kamen Rider Zi-O: Royal Armor!) …This is the day where we find out you look good in a skirt, Waga Maō!” We couldn’t hold back any longer. Zi-O looked down to see that, below the Ziku Driver, he was wearing my skirt! We all laughed at him.
“It’s not a skirt, it’s a kilt!” argued Zi-O.
“Take it from me, THAT’S a skirt!” I laughed.
“Oh, get out of the way!” snapped Zi-O as he shoved me aside. I overlooked his rudeness just this once as he started fighting Another Royal. She summoned a demonic looking version of my weapon. I joined in and we continued the fight. Another Royal was keeping us at bay.
“Okay, we need to finish this quickly,” I declared. I took out my i.d. tag and inserted it into my blade. Zi-O pressed the buttons on the two Ridewatches.
“Finish Time! Royal!” called the belt. He spun the belt, making it ring the bell. “Steel Time Break!”
“Final Attack!” announced my sword.
“RIDER ROYAL SLASH!” I shouted as I swung the blade sideways. Zi-O leapt into the air and performed a Rider Kick. The attacks hit Another Royal and forced her to return to being Metaltron. The Another Ridewatch exploded, rendering it useless.
“Oh well,” sighed Caan as he picked up the unconscious Metaltron. “Best make another Gaia Memory using Rider.” He summoned a portal. “We WILL meet again when Vortech returns,” he warned.
“What are you talking about?!” I yelped. “The Rift Loop collapsed! Vortech’s dead!”
“Not what I see,” remarked Caan. “I see you fighting Vortech again. You, a red robot, and a black kitsune. Farewell. Try to survive tomorrow.” He went through the portal.
“COME BACK!” I demanded. Too late. The portal closed. I sighed in frustration and powered down. I REALLY didn’t want to be chasing after someone new. Still, at least the Sources were safe.