The effects of Mikhail’s misguided quest still lingered. He had surrendered the studs he got, bringing our total up to 1,225,000 studs. Hiiro had taken his leave, along with Shōtarō, Philip, Eiji, Ankh, and Kōsei, after a little geeking out from Hiroki since W was his favorite rider. Davros refused to say anything about where Foundation Prime was or Vortech’s endgame and managed to flee to his universe. The Doctor gave chase. I sat alone on the Gateway platform, staring at the stars outside. I heard feet on the floor. Irina came in. She was in a ballet outfit, tutu, pointe shoes, hair in a bun, and a leotard. The outfit’s colors were blue and orange, representing her love for contrasting colors. “I didn’t know you did ballet,” I observed. She saw me.
“I never told you?” asked Irina.
“That, or I don’t remember you telling me,” I replied. “When did you start?”
“I guess when I was 4,” explained Irina as she sat next to me, smoothing out her tutu. “I was lucky enough to see Swan Lake back home. I saw how the dancers let the music guide them and how high they leapt, awakening a desire to do the same in me. I started when I was in Kindergarten, realizing how painful it is. Yet, when I made my first public dance, I felt satisfaction when the audience applauded. They really liked my performance. It was then that I made a vow to practice whenever I could.”
“Don’t you relax?” I asked.
“Ballet IS relaxing!” protested Irina. “Granted, it’s a life of pain to perform something so beautiful, but I would give my soul to continue ballet until the day I die.”
“So, that’s why you kick so hard?” I asked.
“Ah, there I am fortunate,” giggled Irina. “Oddly enough, American football players practice it too. Strengthens the old core and leg muscles so they can run faster and have greater endurance.”
“No kidding?” I cheered. I had no idea ballet was so demanding. I then changed gears. “Emily and Dr. Kagami never told me how they got you out of that coma.”
“After I cooled down from my brother being stupid, I already told him,” replied Irina. “I’m surprised Emily didn’t tell you. Then again, it might have been too fantastic to be believable.”
“…After everything we’ve seen, are you sure you want to stick by that claim?” I asked.
“Of course not,” replied Irina, “I’m sorry I made such a claim.” Irina began her story.
This whole event was after Mikhail had taunted Davros. I was wandering through some ornate building with all sorts of silver walls. The whole building felt like a giant brain. Remembering that I was injured on Skaro, I figured the injury put me into a coma and the whole thing was a dream. I started with an obvious test, changing clothes instantly and out of thin air. I imagined myself in a ballet outfit, with a pink leotard and tutu with lime green highlights. My usual dress soon changed into the outfit I imagined, confirming my theory. I reimagined my dress as I patrolled the building. As I passed a room, I could have sworn I heard tools against some hard material. I opened the door to see people digging their way through a rock wall. The people looked familiar. That was when my vision focused on a heavyset woman with white hair, purple skin, and some sort of black dress. I managed to get a good look at the woman and was looking right in the face of Ursula the Sea Witch. I got my i.d tag out, ready to fight, but noticed that her eyes were different. They were just white. No pupils, no color, nothing. Just white orbs and a blank expression. I then waved my hand in front of her face, no response. “She can’t hear you,” boomed a voice, loud and bombastic. I turned to see…well, this is new to any Disney fan. I turned to see King Triton walking towards me! Yes, walking! His tail was replaced with a pair of human legs! He was accompanied by a gray, humanoid robot with a bucket-like helmet, a big black cannon on his arm, and a purple symbol on his chest. I’m familiar with enough Transformers lore to know Megatron when I see him. I was surprised to see he was Triton’s height.
“Your Majesty?” I asked. “What are you doing with legs? And why are you with him?”
“Neither of us are sure on either count,” reported Megatron. Triton nodded to confirm. I glanced over at the wall.
“What do you suppose is behind that thing?” I asked.
“Another thing, I believe,” said Megatron, deciding not to be helpful. “It’s called hard labor.”
“My theory,” answered Triton, being a little more help, “is that this is a mental hijacking, not spatial.”
“I can believe that,” I agreed. “I was put into a coma on another planet in another universe. Last time I checked, Skaro and Vorton don’t look like this.”
“Vorton?” asked Triton. “The planet at the center of the multiverse?”
“That legend reached you?” quizzed Megatron.
“It’s not a legend,” I argued. “My friends and I found it. This belt is a piece of Vortonian technology.”
“I’ve heard legends about the Vortonians,” muttered Triton. “They would travel the universes and view them as if it were that…er…television, I believe Mickey calls it.”
“If you ask me,” rumbled Megatron, “you BOTH need your cerebral functions inspected.” I scoffed and motioned for them to follow me. We patrolled the corridors, searching for a way out. After a few minutes, we were about ready to head back to the dig when we heard a door open up. I whirled around and saw an empty room. It almost looked church-like, but it wasn’t any church I’ve seen. The walls were black, a cauldron sat near a crystal ball where the altar should have been, the stained glass were varying shades of red, and an organ was playing creepy music. The player turned and…good god, this would make Haitao squirm. He was done up as a racist Chinese stereotype, complete with hat and small ponytail, oversized grin, moustache with the ends near his shoulders, and when he spoke, the accent was overly exaggerated.
“So,” cheered the man as he saw us, “you are here at last, Irina.”
“So, you’re the one that’s keeping me in a coma,” I observed.
“I am Seng Seng Giu,” introduced the man.
“You say that as if you expect a round of applause,” snarked Megatron.
“Careful, Megatron,” warned Seng Seng Giu, “it is not hard to destroy my mercy if you are rude in my kingdom.”
“YOUR kingdom?!” I quizzed.
“It is here,” continued Seng Seng Giu, “that Seng Seng Giu rules.”
“Permit me to satisfy my curiosity,” I mused.
“What troubles you?” asked Seng Seng Giu.
“What you’re doing here for a start,” I explained.
“Shall Seng Seng Giu not travel where the spirits lead him?” quizzed Seng Seng Giu.
“Would the spirits have anything to do with the wall out there?” asked Triton.
“Wall? The wall is a normal man’s ignorance,” said Seng Seng Giu in a cryptic manner.
“…Then, how do you travel?” I quizzed.
“By the power of the Great One,” answered Seng Seng Giu. “In the deserts of Arabia, I learned all the magic arts.”
“Magic?” asked Megatron, incredulously.
“Arabia?” asked Triton.
“Come on,” I groaned. “I know a wizard that can do better than that.”
“You mock Seng Seng Giu,” hissed the false Gandalf. “But, do not doubt that I can summon Furies and Cacodemons, a company of Cherubim…or Lucifer himself.”
“Whoever THAT is,” hissed Megatron.
“Besides,” I observed, “I cannot help that there is something more to this.”
“Do you now?” mused Seng Seng Giu.
“What are you doing kidnapping people’s minds?” I asked. “And what do you want with me?”
“The spirits told me of your…miraculous belt,” explained Seng Seng Giu. “The spirits told me any belt of that kind would do. I hold the whole genius of the stars bound to my will. And now, the Great One has summoned you, Irina.”
“Not just me,” I replied. “What do you want with Triton? Ursula? Megatron? The people at the wall?”
“Slaves are required in my kingdom,” answered Seng Seng Giu.
“I’ve seen mental constructs in the shape of soldiers,” countered Triton. “You MUST be their king.”
“They have other duties,” replied Seng Seng Giu.
“You mean, you need their energies for something else,” I corrected for myself. Seng Seng Giu grinned at me.
“The power you possess shall be used for the great work we shall do together!” he declared.
“We?” I asked.
“Together, we shall scourge the entirety of space and time,” chuckled Seng Seng Giu.
“You can exclude me from your false wizardry!” I declared. Seng Seng Giu chuckled.
“You cannot resist!” he argued. “In this realm, all things obey Seng Seng Giu. Come!” He waved me over to his crystal ball. “Look,” he directed. He then chanted in a language I was sure wasn’t any of Earth. Megatron seemed to recognize it.
“The…Primal…” he muttered. Triton turned to him. “Nothing,” said Megatron.
“You see your fellow mortals?” asked Seng Seng Giu. The ball was showing the diggers at the wall.
“Intriguing,” I mused.
“Stars…” muttered Megatron, remembering what Seng Seng Giu said earlier.
“But,” I continued, “you’re just drawing on someone else’s power. You’re not in control here!”
“Seng…Seng…Giu…” Megatron pieced. “Cantonese…meaning Star-shouting…shouting…scream……scream!” He then started staring daggers at Seng Seng Giu. “I will have your head, traitor!” he roared.
“Oh,” sighed Seng Seng Giu. “You figured me out.” He dropped the accent and adopted a screeching nasally voice. “How tedious.”
“Seng Seng Giu is the Cantonese name for my First Lieutenant, meaning Star Shouting!” explained Megatron. “His English name is…” Seng Seng Giu then shimmered away, and in his place, a red and white robot with wings, a cockpit on the chest, a long rifle on each upper arm, and jet engines for heels, “STARSCREAM!” roared Megatron. Megatron rushed at this Starscream character, ready to punch, but Starscream caught the fist, surprising Megatron.
“I’ve got a lot of power right now,” boasted Starscream, “enough to kill you, but I need one last thing, the Vortex Driver.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Well,” replied Starscream with a smile as he tossed Megatron aside, “the power it holds, the ability to use other forms and abilities, it would greatly advance my plans.”
“And your plans are?” I asked, wanting him to keep talking. He didn’t answer my question, just looked hungrily at my Vortex Driver.
“The power you carry will make the power I have absolute!” cheered Starscream. “We shall command all dimensions!”
“I always found domination over foreign powers rather tasteless,” I said stubbornly.
“Shall I be forced to compel you, Irina?” asked Starscream.
“There is no power in the multiverse that will compel me to give you my belt!” I declared. That was when an alarm sounded. Starscream headed to his crystal ball. He chanted something and allowed a picture to form. Emily had gotten to Starscream’s lair with Dr. Kagami. I didn’t know his name then.
“I must prevent the intruders from advancing!” yelped Starscream.
“Not allowed in your little clubhouse?” asked Triton.
“I cannot afford x-factors now!” screeched Starscream. He chanted again and summoned generic soldiers. Emily and Dr. Kagami started fighting them off. Starscream kept putting down soldiers, but my rescuers still fought them off. Emily didn’t even need to transform. They managed to get to the guys at the wall. Emily turned Ursula, proceeded to try and get her out of the trance, then opted for a little, er, percussive maintenance. She punched Ursula. Ursula squawked and started massaging her eye and then trained her vision on Emily. She then proceeded to strike, but Dr. Kagami held her back. They explained what was going on and then they all went to patrol the corridors. Starscream chanted again. This time, Emily’s dad stopped them. He was in his old Military gear.
“Go back,” directed Mr. Saunders. “Go back before it’s too late.”
“Too late?” called Emily. “Dad, we have to save Irina! Remember her? Russian girl? Likes contrasting color schemes?”
“She’s not important,” countered Fred, Mr. Saunders. “If you go any further, you’ll kill me.”
“We can’t take the chance,” declared Dr. Kagami.
“That ain’t Dad,” observed Emily.
“How can you be so cold?” asked Fred.
“Tell me, why are you wearing Navy colors?” questioned Emily.
“I’m in the military, remember?” quizzed Fred.
“But, the Navy?” asked Emily. “Last I checked, you retired as Colonel Fred Saunders of the United States Army!”
“Army?” repeated Ursula. “But you said he’s wearing Navy colors?”
“Exactly,” confirmed Emily. “He said that he wouldn’t be caught dead in Navy colors!”
“Never mind!” shrieked Starscream, realizing Emily wasn’t fooled. “I’ll just bring them here!” He chanted and made them shimmer into the room. They looked around, bewildered, until Emily caught sight of me.
“Irina!” she said happily. If the situation weren’t dire, I think she would have rushed over and given me one of her bear hugs.
“Who are those people with her?” asked Dr. Kagami.
“That’s King Triton of Atlantica,” Ursula hissed when I introduced him, “Megatron of the Decepticons, and that’s his Second in Command, Starscream. Now, here’s a question for you, Emily, who is he?”
“I’m Dr. Kagami Hiiro,” introduced Dr. Kagami. He turned to Starscream. “Are you responsible for the patient’s mind cancer? If you are, then to your existence, I say No Thank You.”
“Are you the one who hypnotized me?!” snarled Ursula.
“Your questions and opinions of me are irrelevant,” dismissed Starscream.
“I don’t think so!” shouted Ursula.
“Wait!” I warned. Too late. Starscream threw Triton and Megatron to Emily’s group and made a white dome around them.
“What’s going on?!” bellowed Megatron.
“He’s thrown up a barrier,” I explained. “I DID try and warn you.”
“I require your Vortex Driver,” demanded Starscream.
“What for?” I asked.
“Don’t ask questions!” snapped Starscream. “You WILL give me your belt!”
“Nyet,” I declared. Starscream, apparently, knew how Russians say “No.”
“Then you will see your friends destroyed and you, yourself, annihilated!” he threatened.
“Ne dumayu,” (I don’t think so) I countered. “We’ve gotten good at resisting your magic!” That was when the barrier started fading. The alarm started ringing. Starscream looked into his Crystal ball and saw that his prisoners were escaping. They consisted of Ariel’s sisters, those blonde Gaston fangirls, Mulan’s friends in the army, and Tron.
“NO!” shouted Starscream.
“Losing control?” I asked.
“You will see your friends suffer for this!” shrieked Starscream. He then started gathering energy near Emily’s group. “You will not survive my combatant!” he declared.
“Not another one!” moaned Emily as she grabbed a candelabra.
“Er, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea,” I gulped.
“Why?” asked Emily. “These things have proven harmless!” She swung the candelabra, but the energy mass was solid enough to catch it and fling her backwards.
“Starscream is drawing on deeper reserves of power,” explained Megatron. “That thing is bonding itself into something far more dangerous than the soldiers you fought your way through.” It was large, heavily armored, and ready to smash.
“Well?!” shouted Starscream. He didn’t command his soldier to harm my friends, so I believed it was all bluster to frighten me.
“The answer’s still no!” I declared.
“The Vortex Driver!” demanded Starscream.
“I told you, no!” I roared. The brute still didn’t move.
“I’d say now is the time to remove your mental tumor,” declared Dr. Kagami. He then equipped a device on his waist. It was green, had a pink lever on the front, two slots for something to go into it, and another slot holder on the left of his belt.
“We’ll deal with Starscream’s flunky,” boomed Triton. “You deal with Starscream!”
“Mind if I join in?” I asked.
“Hey, let me in on this!” called Emily. “I’m the team medic!” Dr. Kagami made no move to stop us as he pulled out his Taddle Quest…er…Gashat, I believe he called it. Emily and I pulled out our i.d tags. Dr. Kagami pressed a button on the Gashat.
“TADDLE QUEST!” announced the Gashat. A video game title screen then appeared, based on Taddle Quest, and treasure chests flew around and landed in Starscream’s lair. One of them hit said Decepticon on the head. He massaged the damaged area as we all got ready.
“Henshin!” we all said. We put our transformation trinkets into our belts, with Dr. Kagami’s being a little noisy.
“GASHATTO!” called the belt. A bunch of faces circled Dr. Kagami before he selected the knight-looking one on his left side. “Let’s game! Meccha Game! MUCCHA Game! WHAT’S YOUR NAME?! I’m a Kamen Rider!”
“Kamen Rider Touché,” began Touché. “En Garde, thing of evil!”
“Kamen Rider Climb!” I announced. “Mountains are a warrior’s best friend!”
“Kamen Rider Brave,” declared Dr. Kagami. “Commencing Starscream re…” he didn’t get far as he heard snickering from everyone, even me. “Wh…what is it?” asked Brave.
“What is THAT?!” chuckled Touché. She pointed to the form Brave had taken. He had a life gauge on the front, was in white body armor, had a reversal shield, and a knight’s visor with blue hair pulled back into a ponytail.
“This?” asked Brave. “This is standard for all doctors of my profession.” I couldn’t hold back!
“YOU’RE A HUMAN SIZED CHIBI!” I laughed. I kid you not, Brave looked like a chibi, with no neck, a large torso, large feet and legs, and large arms and hands. Everyone started laughing.
“This is Level 1!” protested Brave. “You know?! The starting level?!” We still laughed.
“What did you do?!” Touché managed to get out from her laughing. “Make your Rider form based on a silly fantasy RPG?”
“Yes!” replied Brave. “Taddle Quest!” He pointed to the Gashat in his belt. That only made me shriek with laughter. I finally fell over, calming down and finally hearing everyone else calm down.
“I’m okay!” I answered. My sides were hurting, I never laughed so hard.
“If you’re finished,” said Brave, annoyed, “Commencing Starscream removal operation.” He held up his hands like a doctor would before an operation. He then summoned a sword with a fire design to the blade on one side and an ice design to the other side. It had a blue hilt with an orange A button and a sky-blue B button.
“GASHACON SWORD!” announced the weapon. Brave then charged at Starscream and proceeded to slash at him. I must admit, funny looking though it is, Level 1 was effective. Touché and I charged in, blades out. We all struck Starscream, but he knocked us back. He then opened ports from his chest and fired off bombs to try and flatten us. I’m guessing his targeting systems aren’t what they used to be as he missed. He then opted for the weapons on his arms and fired. His aim was still bad, so we got into close quarters and knocked him back. Starscream sparked and then fell screaming.
“What the?” muttered Brave.
“I always knew Starscream was weak,” chuckled Megatron as he dusted his hands from his fight with the brute. His grin was replaced by a frown. “Now I owe Soundwave 20 Energon cubes.”
“Not…finished…yet!” declared Starscream. He managed to get up and jump out the window. It looked like we were pretty high up, but Starscream did something to break his fall. He grew until he was five meters tall.
“Full height?!” snarled Megatron.
“How do we beat him?!” I asked.
“Proceeding with Level 2,” called Brave. He then opened the lever.
“GACHAN!” announced the belt. The other side of the lever said “Gamer Driver” in graffiti style writing. “LEVEL UP!” said the belt. Orchestral medieval music started playing. “Taddle Meguru! Taddle Meguru! Taddle Quest!” (My helmet translated it as “Battle for your future! Fight for the adventure! Welcome to Taddle Quest.”) Brave’s Level 2 transformation was nothing more than shedding off the Chibi armor to reveal a person sitting backwards inside and the Level 1 face becoming a backpack, the Gamer Driver transferring to the new form’s front, and the new person opening a set of double doors to reveal himself. His new form looked more human. His reversal shield became a shield gauntlet. His head shrunk to a human size, his life gauge moved to his chest, and he gained shoulder pads.
“Now THAT’S a Rider Form!” I cheered. We all then leapt up and made various attacks. Starscream then swatted us away. Megatron then fired with that cannon of his, but Starscream laughed it off.
“Look at you pitiful twits!” he laughed. “You can only hope for my power, but I actually possess it! Not even your vaunted fusion cannon can help you, Megatron! You would need focused energy to make me lose concentration on keeping you small!” Megatron then formed a plan. I caught on and convinced him to let me help him. Megatron then changed shape. His feet came together and ejected a trigger while the feet went over the upper legs. His torso turned to his right while the arms went over the front and rear of the waist and the shoulders made the hammer of a gun. His head went into his torso while his fusion cannon went to the top of the shape and a barrel that was on his back went to the front of the new shape. A stick-like thing had swung down from the grip and it released a long tube that went over the barrel. Megatron shrunk to become a human-sized Walther P-38 handgun with sight, silencer, and stock. He landed in my hand and I aimed at Starscream’s head.
“Starscream, I think I have a new name for you,” I declared, “Baron Von Blabs-about-his-only-weakness.” I pulled the trigger. Megatron fired. The shot hit Starscream in the face.
“MY OPTICS!” he shrieked.
“Now’s your chance!” I called. I tossed Megatron into the air. As he transformed, he grew! A full six meters! Taller than Starscream! He then proceeded to grapple with Starscream, but said robot grappled back. “Hold him down!” I said. I then put my i.d tag into my weapon. Touché did the same. Brave then took the Gashat out and put it into his sword.
“GASHUN!” announced the belt in a voice that went like something powering down.
“GASHATTO!” called Brave’s sword. “KIMEWAZA!” A noise loop started playing.
“Final attack!” said my blade as well as Touché’s. Megatron then made Starscream face us.
“RIDER CLIMB SLASH!” I shouted.
“RIDER TOUCHÉ SLASH!” called Touché.
“TADDLE CRITICAL FINISH!” announced Brave’s sword. We all made slashing motions and released various energy waves, or fire waves, in Brave’s case, right at Starscream’s chest. Megatron got away as the attacks made their mark. Starscream exploded, then my vision went dark, for a moment.
I woke up back in the medical bay on Vorton. There were electrodes attached to my head as well as Emily’s and Dr. Kagami’s. We got the electrodes off. “Game Clear,” said Dr. Kagami. “I think we can call this operation a success.”
“How much do I owe you, Doctor?” I asked.
“Just rest up,” assured Dr. Kagami. That was when the Doctor came in.
“Ah! Irina! All well, I trust?” she asked.
“Doing better,” I reported.
“Good,” answered the Doctor, “Maybe you can convince your brother to get back from Skaro. He’s seeking revenge on Davros.”
“WHAT?!” I yelled.
“I’m surprised Emily didn’t tell you,” mused the Doctor.
“I didn’t want my patient worried,” answered Emily.
“A wise choice, since the operation was delicate,” agreed Dr. Kagami.
“I have to get to Skaro NOW!” I shouted. Dr. Kagami held me back.
“No, you don’t,” he snapped. “You’re not fit.”
“But the Doctor just released me!” I protested.
“Not the one that’s taking care of you,” insisted Dr. Kagami.
“You may be A doctor, but I’m THE Doctor,” argued the Doctor.
“Look, the patient’s not fit and…” continued Dr. Kagami.
“Not fit?!” I snarled, getting up from the bed. “Of course, I’m fit! All systems, go!” I chopped a table in half with my foot, then started running in place.
“Careful!” warned Dr. Kagami. “You’ll cause your heart to…” I put a stethoscope into his ears and placed the resonator on my chest. The sound seemed to confuse Dr. Kagami. “That can’t be right,” he muttered. “Your heart should be going a little faster.”
“Ah, we must be patient!” I declared. “Ballerina’s like myself tend to control their pulses!” I then examined my legs. “As for my leg muscles…well, I’m not too sure.” I raised my leg to Dr. Kagami’s face. “What do you think? Can you say anything about my leg muscles?”
“Well, I…er, I can’t really…” stammered Dr. Kagami.
“Ah, I’m just… ‘legging’ you on!” I punned. Emily and the Doctor groaned.
“I can’t believe you assaulted our ears with a pun that bad,” hissed Emily.
“Exactly,” agreed the Doctor. “That was neither ‘ear’ nor there!”
“Really?!” wailed Emily.
“Well, I can’t waste any more time,” I declared. “I have an idiot brother to rescue!” I charged for the door, but Dr. Kagami blocked my way.
“You’re going nowhere but back to bed!” he insisted. “I have not released you!” I staggered back.
“How can I prove my point?” I moaned. The Doctor saw a rope and got a wicked gleam in her eyes. She then grabbed it, started twirling the rope, and jumped rope with Dr. Kagami while she said a little rhyme.
“Mother, Mother, I feel sick! Send for the Doctor, quick, quick, quick! Mother, dear, shall I die? Yes, my darling, by and by! One! Two! Three! Four!” She got all the way to thirteen before she tied him up with the rope and stuffed him in the closet. We then headed to the TARDIS with Emily shouting after us. We took off and I got a meal in me on the way.
“The rest, you know,” finished Irina.
“Yep,” I confirmed “You managed to rescue Mikhail and his team. Davros, in a new Dopant form, hitched a ride here. W, Hiroki, and I defeated him. The Doctor put him in a cell. I expressed my anger at the team, and you let your brother know how disappointed you were in him.”
“And, we lost our only lead to Vortech’s plans,” hissed Irina.
“We can find another,” I assured. I then changed gears. “So, you practice in the Gateway Room?”
“It’s the most open space there is,” replied Irina. “What about you? Why did you come here?”
“Death told me to meet a girl she picked to become Kamen Rider Apocalypse,” I said. “She originally hailed from the Simpson’s world. Oddly enough, she tried to keep the chaos to a minimum there.” A portal then opened and let a teenage girl through. Her skin was the palest I have ever seen, as white as Tonje’s hair! Her jet-black hair was adorned with some black flower ornament with a tiny skull in the center. She was in a school girl uniform, colored grey with white in the ascot and massive number of petticoats of her skirt. Seriously, her main skirt may have reached as far as her calves, but the petticoats made it spread out to the side! She had to rest her arms on it! “Er…Lacey Thanatos, is it?”
“That’s me,” confirmed the girl. “And you’re Megumi?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“I’ll…uh…leave you be,” said Irina. She left, and Lacey and I engaged in awkward silence.
“So…uh,” I began, “did you have a nice journey?”
“Yes,” she replied. “Nice and smooth.” More awkward silence.
“Er…so…” I stammered. “What brings you here? Death never told me why you’re visiting.”
“I came here to give you a list of sorts,” answered Lacey, “relating to the Tarlaxians.”
“Like Turretorg?” I asked.
“Yes,” confirmed Lacey. “It contains the names of the Tarlaxians under Lord Vortech’s control.”
“How did you get something like that?!” I quizzed. “That must have been risky to get it!”
“Well, my initial mission was,” replied Lacey. “But, you’re a busy woman. I don’t want to impose.”
“You’re one of the people said to beat Lord Vortech, as am I,” I assured. “I think sharing some secrets would be a good idea. Besides, Vortech’s activities are at a lull. I’ve got time for a story.”
“In that case,” began Lacey as we sat down, “let’s cue the wavy flashback.”