I could not have asked for smoother sailing. We were approaching Foundation Prime and Megumi was nowhere in sight. I toured the Dominus, looking at each bulkhead, each door, each tiny rivet that propelled me to victory. It was a leisurely tour, no need to rush victory. A couple of Engineers saluted me as I passed. I returned the salute and they returned to the minor maintenance needed to make the ship more efficient. A Combatman approached me.
“YEE! YEE!” (We’re approaching the coordinates. All Sources have unlocked the way for us.) he reported.
“Splendid,” I praised. “I shall be on the bridge to witness our victory. Once we enter, begin a sweep for the Foundation Element pedestal. It should be intact.”
“YEE!” (Yes, Great Leader!) replied the Combatman. I strolled to the bridge as he hurried off to relay my instructions. When I arrived, the bridge crew was hard at work.
“Time to Universal Entrance?” I asked.
“Universal Entrance will occur in 20 rels!” reported the Dalek Operator at the helm.
“One minute,” translated Igura.
“Excellent,” I chuckled. Who needs Foundation Elements? The Sources will provide me the Foundation of All Universes far better than random trinkets.
“10 rels!” barked the Dalek Operator.
“30 seconds!” giggled Igura.
“Ah, I can just smell victory in our hands!” I sighed. “I tell you now, my sweet eagle, we shall…”
“Alert! Alert! Enemy fleet detected!” called out the Dalek Strategist. “Flagship has been identified as FNSS-01, Virginia!”
“WHAT?!” I shouted. The enemy fleet was projected onto the main viewscreen.
“A ground force is guarding the Foundation Element pedestal!” called Metalran. “It’s the Vortex Riders!”
“How did they get ahead of us?!” shouted Igura.
“Save the speculations for later!” I ordered. “Raise shields and charge weapons!”
“Er, guys!” I gulped as I saw the enemy charging their weapons.
“We see them!” replied Scorpainia on her ship. “All ships, engage the enemy!” Our fleet unleashed a volley of laser and torpedo fire. I looked at everyone on the ground with me.
“Minna-san,” I began, “if, by some random chance, we don’t get out of this alive…”
“Then we still make sure we continue the fight!” insisted Emily. I smiled.
“Hongo-san, if you please,” I directed. Hongo struck his pose.
“Rider…” he began.
“HENSHIN!” we all announced. The Chronicle Drivers of our new members went through their jingles.
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Hammer of Slam!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Roller of Turf!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Crossbow of Striker!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Keyblade of Lux!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Shield of Highland!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Scepter of Crown!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Rifle of Range!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Wrench of Construct!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Spear of Lance!”
“Open! Turn! Imagine! The Staff of Crescent!”
“The enemy ground forces have changed into their Rider Personas!” reported Tac Ops.
“Then prepare our own,” I ordered. “All Riders, we’re going in!” Cyber-Leader Gi dialed in the first three prime numbers on her phone and held it to her ear, I drew my guns, Gorshagh grabbed the Kiri Zecter, and Igura struck her pose.
“Nova…” she began.
“Henshin!” we announced.
“Henshin!” repeated the Kiri Zecter.
“Adaptus: online,” reported Cyber-Leader Gi’s phone as she turned it into her buckle. We all became our Kamen Rider personas.
“All ground forces ready!” reported Tac Ops.
“Beam us down!” I ordered.
“They’re coming your way!” warned Scorpainia.
“Welcome back to Foundation Prime!” I greeted Rogue. “You know, lately, there’s a new Rider from Build’s era with the same name as you. Wouldn’t you say that would cause confusion?”
“Last I checked,” remarked Rogue, “that Kamen Rider is dead.”
“Not what I saw in Build’s show,” chuckled Sengoku. “I think a guy called Killbas restored his memories once the Build Riders came to the main Kamen Rider world.”
“I’ll take care of him later,” dismissed Rogue. “Right now, I have major annoyances to deal with! Kamen Rider Rogue! Stand and deliver!”
“Kamen Rider Adaptus,” announced Cyber-Leader Gi. “Hostile elements will be deleted.”
“Kamen Rider Kiri!” growled Gorshagh. “I shall bring ruin to you!”
“Kamen Rider Talon!” called Igura. “You will pay dearly!”
“If it’s catchphrase time, it’s catchphrase time!” I declared.
“Kamen Rider Outback!” called Joshua. “Better watch your backs, mates!”
“Kamen Rider Claw!” announced Sheela. “My weapons shall turn you into ribbons!”
“Kamen Rider Swing!” cheered Tonje. “I’ll be taking your legs!”
“Kamen Rider Hunt!” declared Tanisha. “I shall always get my prey!”
“Kamen Rider Clash!” proclaimed Livia. “A duel with me shall end in your defeat!”
“Kamen Rider Climb!” cheered Irina. “Mountains are a warrior’s best friend!”
“Kamen Rider Gallop!” declared Mikhail. “My riding skills are unmatched!”
“Kamen Rider Sengoku!” called my brother, Hiroki. “You shall get a taste of Feudal Japan!”
“Kamen Rider Royal!” I announced. “Evil will ultimately bow to me!”
“Kamen Rider Guard!” proclaimed my fiancé, Richard. “None shall harm my friends, family, and lady!”
“Kamen Rider Touché!” cheered Emily, my future sister-in-law. “En Garde, thing of evil!”
“Kamen Rider Zhànshì!” declared Haitao. “Try and stop my quest!”
“Kamen Rider Arch!” called Emmanuel. “My skills outdo Robin Hood!”
“Kamen Rider Kämpfer!” cheered Lukas. “Your defeat will be certain at my hands!”
“Kamen Rider Seeker!” proclaimed Xiomara. “It’s not gold I seek, but your end!”
“Kamen Rider Battle!” announced Michael. “For friends and family, I shall be victorious!”
“Kamen Rider Slam!” shouted Colleen. “I’ll be bringing the pain!”
“Kamen Rider Turf!” called Jason the Inkling. “I shall claim this turf in victory!”
“Kamen Rider Striker!” proclaimed Alesandro. “None shall delay victory!”
“Kamen Rider Lux!” announced Mickey Mouse. “The light of imagination shall show the way!”
“Kamen Rider Highland!” cheered Liam. “It shall be a fine day for winning!”
“Kamen Rider Crown!” declared Princess Peach. “My strength will upend your tyranny!”
“Kamen Rider Range!” called Victor. “I’ve got you right where I want you!”
“Kamen Rider Construct!” declared Dell Conagher. “Let’s do this Texas style!”
“Kamen Rider Lance!” cheered Moon-kyung. “The softest bloom can be the deadliest!”
“Kamen Rider Crescent!” announced Neo Queen Serenity, Usagi Tsukino I. “In the name of the solar system, I will punish you!”
“Kamen Rider Herald P!” called Flora.
“Kamen Rider Herald Y!” proclaimed Brenden.
“Kamen Rider Herald O!” cheered Charline.
“Kamen Rider Herald G!” announced Amelia.
“Kamen Rider Herald B!” shouted Sophie.
“We bring news of your defeat!” they called together.
“Kamen Rider Death!” whispered Death. “You cannot delay your appointment with me!”
“Kamen Rider War!” shouted War. “This battlefield is mine!”
“Kamen Rider Pestilence!” wheezed Pestilence. “You shall be infected with losing!”
“Kamen Rider Famine!” declared Famine. “I shall starve you of victory!”
“Kamen Rider Apocalypse!” announced Lacey. “Your world shall end!”
“I am Gandalf the Grey!” proclaimed Gandalf. “Prepare to see some fireworks!”
“I’m Wyldstyle!” cheered Wyldstyle. “Time to think outside the box!”
“I’m Batman!” rasped Batman. “The Dark Knight rises!”
“I am the start of a group of warriors!” finished Hongo. “I am Kamen Rider!”
“KILL THEM!” ordered Rogue. Our armies clashed as we struggled to keep the Sources away from the pedestal.
“Alert! Alert!” called Operator 5579898. “Propulsion systems disabled!”
“Main Fusion Cannon power cells now recharging in 7!” counted Drone 7427983. “6! 5! 4!”
“Battle computer suggests immediate withdrawal!” advised Strategist 3345987. Retreat?! From the Tarlaxians?!
“We will not retreat from inferior life-forms!” I, Supreme 0720974, declared. “Daleks conquer and destroy!”
“Daleks conquer and destroy!” repeated all Daleks aboard the Dalek-only saucer, the Jewel of Skaro.
“Fusion Cannon now online!” reported Drone 7427983.
“Open fire!” I ordered. “Immediately! IMMEDIATELY!”
“I obey!” confirmed Drone 7427983. The Fusion Cannon causes the individual atoms of the target to come together before a small particle of anti-matter makes the target detonate in a display that humans would call dazzling. I suppose I would call the destruction of the Tarlaxian ship beautiful as fire burned away that which was impure. While it was by a small fraction, the multiverse THAT now that much cleaner.
“We’ve lost the Armadillorg,” reported my tactical officer, Glaciandro.
“Status of enemy shields?” I asked.
“What enemy shields?” replied Glaciandro, his voice indicating he was ready to avenge those who gave their lives to protect Tarlax and the multiverse, especially since his sister was on that ship.
“Destroy them!” I ordered. He wasted no time in obeying my command. The enemy ship was destroyed, along with its fellow ships in the enemy fleet. They were at 400 when they arrived on Foundation Prime, now that number has been halved! We’ve only lost 100 of our ships and we were going to ensure that their sacrifices were NOT in vain!
“Well, well!” I taunted Rogue as we clashed. “Looks like things are crumbling around you, Oto-san!” (Father)
“I see it differently,” replied Rogue as he converted his guns into shōtō (Japanese short sword) mode.
“Have you gone senile?!” I yelped as I converted my gun to sword mode. “Rogue, your fleet is halved, your ground forces are halted, and your attempt to get to the pedestal is going up in smoke! Surrender while you can!”
“I don’t think so!” replied Rogue. “My fleet will still win the day, your ground forces are only 40 strong while mine are 600 strong, and you idiots didn’t check to see if the Sources have reached the pedestal!” I turned to see if what he was saying was true. …It was! The Sources were aligned with the pedestal! They powered the thing just like the Foundation Elements did and revealed a newly constructed green square! The Foundation of All Universes was back! “Perfect!!” cheered Rogue. “Bring the Apocalypse Riders to their respective sources!” The Combatmen then managed to wrangle the Apocalypse Riders and get them to their respective Sources. …Well…three out of five were successful. “Wait, what are you two doing?” asked Rogue.
“YEE!” (Putting the Apocalypse Riders at their respective Sources.) replied a Combatman.
“No, you’re not! Death is supposed to be at the blue one, not the purple one!” answered Rogue.
“YEE!” (They’re both blue!) argued the Combatman.
“…Can you two not see red?” asked Rogue. The Combatmen looked sheepish. “Look, just switch them, okay?”
“YEE!” (I told you we needed those optic upgrades!) snapped the other Combatman as they obeyed.
“YEE!” (Shut up.) grumbled the first Combatman. I struggled in trying to get the Combatmen holding me down off.
“Off!” I growled! “I said…”
“We don’t need to move, not yet,” interjected Batman.
“…Dude, WHY?!” I argued.
“Oh, yeah!” mused Lance in a faraway voice.
“You too?!” I hissed.
“Well, they MUST have seen it done,” replied Battle.
“What are you…oh…OH!” I realized the mistake Shocker Rift made! Unfortunately, so did Adaptus!
“Disconnect the Apocalypse Riders!” she called.
“Are you malfunctioning?!” shouted Rogue.
“Disconnect them NOW!” insisted Adaptus. Just then, with just one hand, all Apocalypse Riders threw the Combatmen holding them aside!
“It doesn’t matter now!” laughed Rogue. “The Foundation of All Universes will be mine!” He continued laughing and laughing and laughing.
“The Horsemen are in total control of the Sources!” elaborated Adaptus. “They have some plan to set you back!”
“Impossible!” dismissed Rogue. “If they value their friends’ lives, they will obey!”
“NOW!” called Death.
“DAI SUPER CHARGE!” I announced. I managed to get a hand free and spun the wheel twice. My armor bulked up and exploded off of me to get my captors off while revealing my new form as Kamen Rider Vortex! My former captors were knocked into Batman and Gandalf’s, so they got up and fought off the others so everyone could be freed. Death and her friends put both hands on the Sources and gave more energy to them.
“WAIT! NO! STOP! THAT’S TOO MUCH!” wailed Rogue. Too late. The energy the Sources were putting out separated the Foundation of All Universes into four fragments once again and scattered them to four different directions. “No! No! Nonononono NOOOOO!” wailed Rogue before he slumped to his knees. “…What just happened?!” he asked uselessly.
“Did you really think we’d let you have the Sources without having a back-up plan?” asked Apocalypse.
“We had our suspicions that you would try and control us with a hostage situation,” explained Death, “so we asked Megumi, during prep, to keep her Vortex form on standby.”
“I have to admit,” I supplied, “I was a little confused when they asked that, but I can’t argue with the results!”
“So, when the time came,” finished War, “we’d upend your plans and cause some severe damage to your tiny empire!”
“I’VE HEARD ENOUGH!” roared Rogue as he performed his poses. “DAI SUPER CHARGE!” His armor then changed into dark purple and black as it bulked up before exploding off of him, turning him into Kamen Rider Rift! He summoned his Rift Breaker as I summoned my blade and we clashed viciously! “Why do you insist on interfering?!” roared Rift. “We are bringing order to chaos!”
“Have you learned nothing from Vortech?!” I protested. “You can’t have order without chaos! Read some Berlin! You might learn a thing or two!”
“I presume you’re talking about the idiot that babbled on about ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ liberty?!” growled Rift.
“Hey, that man got away from Stalinist Russia and got a safe distance away from the Nazi invasion of Britain!” argued Guard.
“I may need to read his work,” mused Kämpfer.
“You’re not going to survive that long!” roared Rift. He holstered his guns before pulling the triggers and leaping into the air. I then spun the wheel and leapt into the air; my target identified.
“Final attack!” announced my belt.
“RIDER VORTEX KICK!” I shouted.
“RIDER RIFT KICK!” shouted Rift. He was aiming for the Sources while I aimed for his belt. Our feet temporarily connected as we pushed against one another in the air.
“How do modern Riders DO that?!” asked Ichigō.
“Still trying to figure that out,” replied Sengoku. We continued pushing and pushing and pushing until…my foot went past his and smashed the Rift Driver! He fell, exploding, then tumbling out of the explosion as Adachi Hiro. The ruined remains of the Rift Driver fell after him. He scrambled to pick them up in a panic.
“Driver! Driver, say something!” he wailed.
“Hiro…”groaned the Rift Driver, “these are…my last words. …First of all…screw you! You never…valued my advice. Second…I should never have…found your universe. It looks like I just caused…chaos all around the place…by you reverse-engineering…me. Third…you ARE obsessed with her! As such…you no longer deserve…my power!” The Rift Driver then, for lack of a better term, died. Hiro still cradled the remains of his old belt.
“I say this only one last time,” I declared, “surrender!”
“…Abandon Foundation Prime,” Hiro ordered over the comms. His men looked at him. “All ground forces, return to the ships. We cannot take this universe with the Vortex Riders as they are with the numbers we have. Abandon Foundation Prime.” They were beamed aboard their remaining fifty ships. The ships then departed Foundation Prime as we were beamed aboard the Virginia. Turretorg was commanding the vessel while we were on the ground.
“Vortex, Touché,” he declared, “I return command to you.”
“Thank you, Turretorg,” I bid.
“A very fine command,” praised Touché.
“Thank you, Ma’am,” replied Turretorg.
“I believe that’s Foundation Prime all safe and sound,” mused Guard.
“Let’s not declare that until we confirm it,” advised Clash.
“Scorpainia,” I called over the channel, “any analysis on the enemy fleet?”
“They’ve retreated,” replied Scorpainia. “As Guard mentioned, all is well.”
“…How did you…?” I asked.
“The Communications Officer left the channel open,” answered Scorpainia.
“Ah,” I replied. I then turned to my friends. “Minna-san, it looks like our work is done.” We all powered down as I took command. “Helm, set course for Vorton, all possible speed.”
“All possible speed, you got it,” replied the helmsman. The fleet then took off for Vorton. Richard looked a little concerned.
“Hey, are you okay?” I asked.
“My thoughts drifted to X-PO’s trial,” explained Richard.
“…Yeah, way to remind us,” I grumbled. “How’s the trial going to play out?”
“Similar to the Japanese system,” replied Richard, “but there will be a jury of 12 Cendeberons.”
“The best jurors in the multiverse,” I recalled. “Remind me who Elkrandek is? All I heard from you is that he’s a Tarlaxian.”
“Actually, he’s an immigrant,” corrected Richard. “I think Joshua would know him better as the Deer Imagin.”
“The WHAT?!” I yelped, recalling the time Heather went to various universes to make a new body for herself with functioning ovaries. The attempt failed, but it DID leave the Imagin with a chance to stay alive even though she doesn’t remember him. “WHY would Scorpainia…? Get me Scorpainia!” The Communications Officer got her. “Scorpainia, I DID tell you about the Deer Imagin, right?”
“Elkrandek, as he prefers to call himself,” replied Scorpainia, “is trying to get away from such dark thoughts. He’s passed the Bar Exam and has been an excellent defense attorney. He’s defended Turretorg when he was accused of murder and resorted to stay clean in his pursuit of defending his client.”
“…Well, if he’s changed, there’s nothing I can say about it,” I resolved.