We arrived back on Vorton. X-PO and the rest headed towards us. “Did you obtain the Foundation Element?” asked X-PO. Batman handed the Palantír over. “Ah, very nice!” cheered X-PO. “Magic Orb, will our heroes succeed and save all known dimensions from certain doom?” He then shook it as if it were a magic 8 ball. “‘Ask again later’, huh.”
“Alright, X-PO,” rasped Batman, eager to get down to business, “less magic-ball talking, more Foundation Element grabbing. Where to, next?”
“I worry about him sometimes,” whispered Gandalf.
“Batman, we just escaped from fighting the Balrog again,” I protested. “We’re taking a rest.” I then turned to Discornia, only to discover that she wasn’t near us. “Uh, where’s our newly-freed Tarlaxian?” I asked. I then heard giggling to my rear. I turned to see Discornia and Turretorg twirling each other with Turretorg holding Discornia above him. “Never mind,” I remarked.
“It’s so good to see you, Torgy!” giggled Discornia as she was set down. I then realized how much taller she was than Turretorg.
“It does my hearts good to see you again, sweet Corny,” cheered Turretorg.
“Hearts?” I asked, ignoring their pet names for each other.
“Tarlaxians have 4 hearts,” explained X-PO.
“Pardon us for a bit,” excused Discornia, “we have some catching up to do, maybe get a little intimate.” You and I can both guess the subtext there.
“Just…keep the noise down,” I sighed. They headed off.
“Did Tanisha head off on an adventure?” asked Sheela.
“Why, yes,” replied Emily. “To the Portal world. Why?”
“When I used the Locate Keystone,” I explained, “I heard Tanisha tell Wheatley to shut up.”
“So, YOU sucked up the giant turret,” called a familiar Swahili voice. Tanisha arrived through the Gateway with a woman in a ponytail, a white tank top, orange pants, and an orange sweatshirt tied around her waist. She was carrying some sort of white device with a light on top and a three-pronged claw at the front. Wheatley was there as well.
“Ah, there you are!” cheered the annoying ball. “I brought your friend back, all thanks to my ingenious and clever…place finding…thingies.”
“That reminds me,” grumbled Tanisha, “back you go!” She threw Wheatley into the vortex.
“NO! GRAB ME! GRAB ME! GRAB ME!” wailed Wheatley. Too late, the portal had closed.
“Everyone, I’d like you to meet the protagonist of the Portal series, Chell,” introduced Tanisha. Chell smiled and bowed.
“You used a hard ‘Ch’,” noted Emily. Chell then made a series of hand movements. I assume it was sign language.
“I hate to say it, Chell,” explained Tanisha, “but as far as I know, only I know sign language.” Chell frowned. “What she said,” Tanisha told us, “was that I told her about our bet, Emily. It IS a hard ‘Ch’.” Emily sat down and pouted comically. She then turned to me.
“You’re smirking!” she observed.
“I do not smirk,” I countered. “But, if I did, this would be a perfect opportunity.”
“How was I supposed to know that Chell’s name was pronounced that way?!” protested Emily. Chell signed again.
“You might have asked,” translated Tanisha, “before mocking Tanisha and allowing her to up the stakes of a simple $10 bet.”
“I didn’t lose that much,” muttered Emily.
“$500,” I remarked, “I hope you have it.
“I have it!” assured Emily. “Well…most of it. Your Highness…”
“No,” I said, guessing her request.
“…Fine, I’ll borrow the money from Joshua,” hissed Emily. “He LIKES me.”
“There’s an interest rate,” reminded Joshua. Emily sighed.
“You can pay me when you have it,” assured Tanisha. “So, your Highness, how did the hunt go?”
“They got the Foundation Element of Middle-Earth,” called Joshua.
“It was the Palantír,” I explained.
“I see you’ve brought Tendō Sōji here,” observed Hiroki.
“And we fought Worms disguised as Orcs,” I continued.
“Worms?” yelped Hiroki. “Sōji-san, I thought you destroyed them all!”
“I thought I did too,” agreed Sōji. “I guess some survived.”
“We also learned something about your sister not even SHE knew,” remembered Hongo. He gave me the floor and I told everyone what went down in Minas Tirith.
“A cyborg of Shocker design? You?” gulped Hiroki.
“That’s troubling,” muttered Emmanuel.
“Is it, really?” quizzed Tanisha.
“What makes you say that?” I asked.
“Hiro became Kamen Rider Rift because of his own alterations, right?” guessed Tanisha. “To do that, he had to adapt to having tiger DNA, right?”
“Right,” I confirmed.
“And you said you had help from Laval, right?” quizzed Tanisha. “I know what series he’s from. Believe it or not, I have his Lego series, Legends of Chima. I’ve also watched the cartoon that came from that. I know Chima like the back of my hand.”
“I’ve also got some of the Lego sets,” interjected Tonje. “I can help too.”
“There’s also a Foundation Element there,” reported X-PO.
“And I know of a wild Kamen Rider,” supplied Hiroki, “from the Showa Era.”
“You mean, Daisuke Yamamoto?” quizzed Hongo.
“Kamen Rider Amazon, himself,” confirmed Hiroki.
“Problem:” interjected X-PO, “we’ve got another Foundation Element in another universe near Chima’s.” I then started planning.
“What does the identifier string call that universe?” I asked.
“J-U-R-4-5-5-1-C-P-4-R-K,” replied X-PO.
“Jurassic Park?!” said Emily, excitedly. “Let me go! Please! Please! Please!” She was as giddy as a child.
“I wanna go too!” pleaded Richard.
“Permit me to go as well,” requested Mikhail.
“I’ll go with Mikhail,” rumbled Irina.
“I must undo the wrong I committed a while ago,” begged Michael. “Let me go there to fix my mistake.” Richard and Mikhail nodded in agreement.
“I’d love to see any marine dinosaurs!” cheered Livia.
“I must admit, I want to see a T-Rex myself,” mused Haitao.
“Then, here’s what we’re going to do,” I decided. “Hongo, you’re to go back to your universe to find Amazon, explain the situation, and then you two are to join me, Batman, Gandalf, Wyldstyle, Tonje, and Tanisha in Chima to find the Foundation Element and to help me unlock my mutant cyborg form, thus getting me closer to becoming Kamen Rider Vortex. Emily, you’re to lead Richard, Mikhail, Irina, Michael, Livia, and Haitao to Jurassic Park to get the Foundation Element there. Hiroki, you are to guard the place with Xiomara, Joshua, Lukas, Sheela, and Emmanuel and help Elphaba, Rusty, and the Brigadier when needed. Sōji, do you wish to stay here for a bit?”
“Unfortunately,” replied Sōji, “I need to get home. I’m still improving my cooking skills in Paris. I must go at once.”
“Then, farewell,” I bid. “I hope to see you soon.”
“Before I go, do you know anything about these?” called Sōji. He revealed a pouch of studs. “I found them in the fields outside Minas Tirith before you arrived.”
“That’s currency for Vorton,” I answered.
“Useless where I’m from, then,” remarked Sōji. “Catch!” I caught it and opened it.
“280,000 studs,” counted Vortoranii. “That makes 1,505,000 studs.”
“Don’t forget mine,” called Tanisha. “I swiped these before Chell and I beat GLaDOS again.” She tossed me a pouch. I opened that one.
“110,000 studs,” counted Vortoranii, “making it 1,615,000 studs in total. We need to spend some of them!”
“Goodbye!” called Sōji. He went through the portal X-PO opened for him.
“Chell, do you want to return home?” I asked. Chell shook her head furiously. “Okay, that’s a no. Alright then, why don’t you two tell us your story?”
“Now, the whole thing is simple,” I explained to the mercenary, “I need you to hunt down my daughter and kill her. She’s proven to be a major irritant to me and my employer. Kill her, and ten billion dollars are yours.”
“Oooh, see,” winced my potential assassin, “there’s a problem with that; I’m not really one to get into blood feuds. I’ve got enough of that back home.”
“There’s also unlimited chimichangas for you,” I offered.
“Oh, twist my arm, why don’t you?” said the man in mock pain. “Well, congrats! You’ve just hired the most awesome merc ever! Toodles!” He sped off to find his prey.
“He’s going to fail,” rumbled Lord Vortech.
“I’m counting on that,” I assured. “Megumi will undoubtedly head for Chima to find the next Foundation Element as well as train up her beast side. That is where I will be with the selected hostages.”
“And what of our new ally?” asked Vortech
“His beast mode should provide him with an edge in the Jurassic Park world,” I elaborated. “Even so, I’m sending Igura there as well. He needs her.”
“Do not come back empty handed,” warned Vortech.
“Me?” I queried. “Don’t know the meaning of the word.”
“Isn’t that TWO words?” asked the Riddler.
“You would know,” I snapped. “Or, did the Palantír in Denethor’s possession turn up?”
“I would have gone back and reclaimed it had YOU not interfered!” snarled the Riddler.
“Why you!” I exclaimed.
“Enough!” boomed Vortech. “Hiro, your interference and boasting to your daughter has caused her to try to find another way to access Kamen Rider Vortex’s power. If she does, you will be held responsible for giving the enemy an advantage.”
“Lord Vortech,” I protested, “I was simply trying to drive her to despair! Being a cyborg of Shocker’s design caused Hongo to loath himself for a while! He overcame that because it was early in his Rider career! Megumi is a child! She should have…!”
“Megumi is not Hongo!” shouted Vortech. “She is inventive, in case you forgot! She has experts of certain dimensions at her beck and call! She WILL find victory out of this! This hostage exchange had better work. If not, and she gets the Foundation Element and the hostages, you will be working under General Zod when we get the Foundation Element of Universe G-H-0-5-T-8-U-5-T-3-R-5-1-9-8-4.”
“…Understood,” I gulped not enjoying the prospect one bit.