“So, now that we’ve got the Sources,” remarked Richard the next day, “what now?”
“…I’m honestly not sure,” I replied. “Maybe the Horsemen might have something?”
“…You’re still thinking about what X-PO did,” observed Richard.
“I’m still thinking about what X-PO did,” I confirmed. “I’m not sure if I can trust him anymore. He really hurt us. I’m not sure if Alesandro and Victor are gonna stay with us after this.”
“I think they are,” replied Richard.
“What makes you so sure of that?” I quizzed.
“Well, Alesandro asked me to help him unpack,” replied Richard, “so I’d say it’s a safe bet he’s staying with us. Colleen and Victor talked and he decided on staying, so we’re good there.”
“Excellent,” I answered, feeling that much better. “All the same, I really need to apologize to them. The results may have been altered but we still made the choice to hide my emotional collapse from them.”
“Actually, Alesandro asked us to stop,” revealed Richard. “He gets that we regret it and will do what we can to make sure we don’t make that mistake again.”
“…Inundated with apologies from everyone?” I guessed.
“Yep,” confirmed Richard. “By the way, X-PO’s been arrested by the After Academy police for willful endangerment of students.”
“When’s the trial?” I asked.
“In two weeks,” replied Richard. “Miles Edgeworth is the prosecutor.”
“And X-PO’s defense attorney?” I quizzed.
“A Mr. Elkrandek from Tarlax 14,” answered Richard.
“Not exactly the most scrupulous lawyer,” I replied. Just then, alarms sounded throughout the base. “WHAT NOW?!” I snapped. Elphaba’s voice then came over the comms.
“All Riders, we have multiple vessels inbound!” she reported. “They’re cloaked, so we can’t get a good i.d. on them!”
“That’s too suspicious for comfort,” I declared as I took over the broadcast. “All hands, red alert! Assume battle stations and raise shields!” I then morphed into Tora-Onna (Tiger Woman) as I strode towards the Gateway Room to coordinate the action. Richard followed close behind.
“Why are you going fuzzy?” he asked.
“I never really had a chance to use this form,” I answered. “Sure, I turned into it on occasion, but never fully used it. Might as well ‘go fuzzy’ if it means an edge in battle if we’re boarded.” We arrived at the Gateway Room. Elphaba and her team were finishing up in locking down the Gateway. They didn’t want anyone trying to take advantage of any weakness in battle, much less anyone trying to go through and sneak up from behind.
“All of our codes have been locked into the Gateway,” reported Rusty. “We await yours.” I then leaned towards the mic.
“Computer,” I directed, “this is Queen Megumi Hishikawa. Lockdown 2-7-8-7-4-7-3-7. No one uses the Gateway until all codes have been verified and all voice patterns confirmed.”
“All Gateway functions disabled,” reported the secondary computer as it took over for X-PO. “Full functionality will not be restored until authorized personnel give the necessary codes.” I then made a secure call to the Virginia. Since Emily was needed in Sick Bay, Hiroki took command of the ship.
“Nee-san, ship status,” I requested.
“All lights are green,” reported Hiroki. “Liam’s back in Engineering with Dell and R9, Michael and Irina are manning the weapons, Tanisha’s the pilot again, and Crescent and Jason are working Communications.”
“Good to know,” I replied.
“Megumi,” called the Brigadier, “we’re receiving a transmission from the Hammer of Tarlax.”
“Scorpainia’s ship and the Tarlaxian flagship,” I replied. “What does she want?”
“She’s requesting to aid us as Shocker Rift has managed to steal Famine’s source and has reason to believe the cloaked vessels are of Shocker Rift origin,” explained the Brigadier.
“Tell her we happily accept and will offer any aid to get the Source back,” I directed. “Have the Tarlaxian fleet form up on the Virginia.”
“Understood,” replied the Brigadier as he saluted. He relayed my message. The Tarlaxian fleet arrived out of the large portals that ships need to go through the Rift safely and formed up on the Virginia.
“All stations report ready,” reported Elphaba.
“All ships standing by,” called Hiroki.
“Now comes the fun part,” I mused. “Who will make the first move?”
“That fleet must have followed us from Tarlax,” muttered Igura.
“They’re just sitting there,” observed the Joker. “We should have our fun now!”
“The instant we beam down,” I argued, “the fleet will know where we are. No. Hold position.”
“I say, that can’t be right,” muttered Michael.
“Is something the matter?” asked Hiroki.
“I’m reading Sontaran ship transponder codes,” explained Michael. “Using cloaking devices? That’s not like a Sontaran.”
“Why would Sontarans join Shocker Rift?” I asked.
“Megumi,” interjected Scorpainia, “if it pleases you, I have an idea on finding our targets.”
“Brigadier Stard,” reported the Sontaran Communications Officer, Lieutenant Krek, “we are receiving a broad transmission on all frequencies.”
“Put it through,” barked Brigadier Stard. Scorpainia’s face appeared.
“This is Queen Empress Scorpainia of the Tarlaxian Fleet!” she snarled. “Vorton is under my protection! Withdraw or be destroyed!”
“Ignore,” ordered Stard. “Hold position.”
“If there are Sontarans stupid enough to think they can win against me,” continued Scorpainia, “permit me to remind you that the last time you invaded Tarlax, before we moved to a new Tarlax, you required help from a god-like being. It’s clear enough that you are afraid of us. Why else would you hide behind a cloaking device?”
“…Make the call two-way!” snarled Stard. Scorpainia’s head twitched a bit, indicating that she had Stard on her viewscreen. “HOW DARE YOU!” roared Stard. “Scorpainia, you impugn my honor!”
“Whatever passes for Sontaran honor,” dismissed Scorpainia.
“Evidently,” hissed Stard, “you are unfamiliar with Standing Order 44 Subsidiary Clause 2! Mockery of a Sontaran Officer is to be considered an act of war!”
“A war where you will not receive a glorious death!” warned Scorpainia. The transmission ended.
“All ships, disengage the cloak and engage the enemy fleet!” ordered Stard.
“The Sontarans are disengaging the cloak and moving towards the enemy fleet!” reported Dalek Drone 2248292.
“What are those fools doing?!” shouted Sauron.
“Fleet Marshal Skrag,” I ordered, “get them to return to formation and reengage the cloak!”
“They’re not responding, Sir!” reported Skrag. “Battle had been joined!”
“Idiots, this is too early!” I roared.
“Hiroki, the Sontarans took the bait!” reported Michael. “Good thinking, Scorpainia!”
“All ships, open fire!” I ordered.
“Assist the fleet in taking down the enemy,” I ordered.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” called Richard as his fingers danced across the weapons console. A brilliant, multi-colored display of weapons fire illuminated the battlefield. Just then, the rest of Hiro’s fleet de-cloaked and moved to aid the Sontarans. Their weapons fire added to the display, affecting shield integrity in the process.
“We can’t keep this up much longer!” warned Lukas. “Any more and we’ll lose them!”
“Hongo, what’s your status?” I called on the comms.
“We’re ready and waiting,” replied Hongo. Vorton rocked again and the slightly blue tinge of the shields faded.
“We’ve lost shields!” called Lukas.
“Target shields down!” reported Dalek Drone 2248292.
“Tell the boarding parties they may begin,” I ordered, grinning all the while.
“We’re being boarded!” reported Richard. Combatmen shimmered into view.
“Now’s the time, Minna-san!” I called as I extended my claws. There was a TREMENDOUS fight on Vorton. This time, it wasn’t going to be so easily blind-sided. I clawed and bit my enemies as my friends kept the rest at bay.
“That’s funny,” I mused as visual data from the Daleks she had killed came to my ship, “she hardly uses that form.”
“Is there any progress on locating the Sources?” grumbled Igura.
“Source Team is encountering heavy resistance,” reported Dalek Drone 2248292, “from Batman, Wyldstyle, Gandalf, and Ichigō.”
“They’re not that strong,” I muttered. “How could they be encountering resistance?”
“Okay, my turn!” called Batman.
“All yours!” I replied as I delivered a Rider Punch.
“Shift Keystone, activate!” announced Batman. “Yellow, on the wall left to me! Magenta, on the wall right of me! Cyan, on the ceiling! Shift! Cyan! Ichigō!” I went to the ceiling and tackled a Combatman to the floor. A Dalek brought its gunstick to bear on me! “Shift! Yellow! Batman!” Batman delivered a side kick as he came through the yellow portal. “Shift! Magenta! Gandalf!” Gandalf ran his sword through a Sontaran as it turned to face him. Wyldstyle built a large machine that ran a large pillar through the hall and knocked down the enemy forces. They just kept beaming on board! I leapt into the air and extended my foot towards a Combatman.
“RIDER KICK!” I announced as I kicked him. That wasn’t enough!
“There’s too many!” called Wyldstyle.
“We’re not letting them near the Sources we have!” insisted Batman as he slammed a Sontaran through a Dalek. A Combatman spoke in its usual noises to a Sontaran. The Sontaran gave hand signals to a yellow Dalek, the commander, that bobbed its eyestalk in some form of understanding. It faced us and a flipper came out of the gunstick, moving in and out and causing pain to us, but not enough to kill us. We fell to the ground, unable to move, only observe and listen.
“All enemies disabled!” reported the Commander Dalek.
“Safecrackers, move in!” barked the Sontaran to his subordinates. They came in with explosives and set the timer. “Move back!” shouted the Sontaran commander. The enemy got to a safe distance. “THREE! TWO! ONE!” The explosives blew the vault open. A Combatman issued orders to his subordinates. They were wearing metal gloves as they entered the vault. They managed to find the sources and pick them up, suffering no ill effects. They reported some form of success in their noises. “Excellent!” cheered the Sontaran commander.
“Dalek Commander 8734739 to Fleet Flagship, Dominus,” called the Commander Dalek.
“Sources safely retrieved!” reported the Dalek Commander at the Vault. “Requesting immediate pickup!”
“Get everyone out of there!” I ordered, a grin crossing my features. The teleporter operator obliged and got everyone out of Vorton. He reported that everyone that survived made it. “Get us out of here!” I commanded. “We move to Foundation Prime!”
“Er, Megumi,” called Emily from Sick Bay, “I’m looking on my screen and I see the enemy fleet pulling out even though they reduced ours to a fourth of its original size. What’s going on?”
“Vault, what happened?!” I called.
“This is…Batman,” strained the Dark Knight. “The enemy managed to…disable us…long enough…to get the Sources. They had…some way of…safely…handling them.” My heart sank at the report. They’re going to Foundation Prime and we didn’t have the numbers to stop them or pursue them.
“That was a general broadcast, Batman,” Emily chimed in. “None of my patients liked hearing that.”
“Orders, Megumi?” asked Guard. I sighed.
“Contact Tarlax and After Academy,” I resolved. “See if they can spare any ships. Emily, continue treating the wounded. We need all fighters to be at their best.”
“The enemy fleet is not pursuing us!” reported Dalek Drone 2248292. It stood next to Skrag as we sat in my ready room. Igura looked on.
“Splendid,” I praised. “Resume your post.”
“I obey!” answered Dalek Drone 2248292. As it left, my expression hardened as I turned to Skrag.
“The actions your ships have taken have halved our fleet, causing considerable disruption!” I snarled.
“The men were experiencing withdrawal symptoms from lack of battle!” replied Skrag. “This was a matter beyond my control!”
“Your orders,” hissed Igura, “were to hold position until the command was given!”
“That was impossible!” pleaded Skrag. “The men have been out of action for too long!”
“The responsibility was yours!” I roared. “You have failed! I cannot, WILL not, accept failure! Since you pleaded, you will NOT look upon your death!” I turned him around and shot him in the back of the head, the worst form of death for a Sontaran.
“I’ll have Fleet Marshal Strench and his ships report to our position, shall I?” offered Igura.
“Do so,” I answered. “Then, return to our quarters. We need to unwind on the way.”
“I have an outfit that may help in that regard,” purred Igura. We kissed.
“Listen, about what I said yesterday,” I muttered, “I’m sorry. That was unlike me to overlook your talents. I should have planned for Heather to disregard the Source.”
“Well, I DO know a way you can make it up to me,” chuckled Igura as she wiggled her eyebrows. I’ll probably be making it up to her for…maybe 20, 30 minutes.