“HOW DO THEY KEEP FINDING MY FOUNDATION ELEMENTS?!” roared Lord Vortech as he smacked the Stunticons and Snatcher around. “Every time I send you fools to retrieve one, they’re right behind you!”
“Don’t blame us!” protested Lex. “They obviously have some sort of technology to find them!”
“Oh, but I AM blaming you!” snarled Vortech. “I picked you nitwits because you were the most powerful in your universes! You still allow those idiots to challenge you and defeat you!”
“Not true!” argued Motormaster. I rolled my eyes.
“This whole thing went down with Hiro’s death,” I sighed.
“You think me unaware of that, Ambassador Hell?!” roared Vortech. “That’s why Igura’s out there! But an edge cannot come quickly enough!” He looked among us. “I have to find out how they’ve been doing it, find out where they’re hiding!” His eyes stopped on the image of a Foundation Element as he got an idea. He started laughing. “And I think I know exactly how to do so!”
We returned to Vorton and presented the token. “Nice job, everybody! Good on the new guys too! Congratulations! And, just think, years ago, that adventure would have cost you one whole quarter!”
“Hey, uh, mind if we stay a bit?” asked Sonic.
“It-a looks like you-a need some help,” observed Mario.
“I can help as well!” called Peach.
“Sounds reasonable!” I mused. “Well, Gamer Riders? Shinnosuke-san?”
“I’m afraid we have to go,” replied Emu. “Poppy has a job as a nurse when she’s not guiding us Gamer Riders and I’m a doctor.”
“I just got hired as head of Genm Corp.’s design department for their games,” answered Parado.
“And I’m a police officer,” remarked Shinnosuke. “We all have jobs that demand our attention.”
“Then, farewell, and I hope to see you in the final battle against Vortech,” I declared. X-PO opened a portal for them and they headed back home.
“Hey, do these mean anything to you?” asked Sonic. “I was collecting them in Defender before that alien trapped me in there.” More studs, whoopee.
“How many?” I asked Vortoranii.
“We’re at 2,697,000 studs now,” she counted.
“Any extradimensional excursions that went on during our hunt for the Foundation Element?” I asked.
“No,” sighed Richard happily. “It’s been pretty quiet.” That was when the alarm sounded.
“PO-Lambda has been detected!” reported X-PO.
“WHAT?!” I yelped. “Why did we detect him again?! He should have left Vorton!”
“All indications are that the intruder never left,” replied X-PO.
“That doesn’t make sense, why would he stay?” muttered Emily.
“We have an opportunity to ask,” I replied. “Emily, Richard, Mr. and Mrs. Saunders, X-PO, you’re with me. Livia, show our new arrivals around. X-PO, where’s PO-Lambda?”
“Still on the Executor,” reported X-PO. “Kämpfer, Vader, Death, and Apocalypse are searching the ship right now. The lockdown’s still out of commission. We can beam up with the teleporter.”
“Good idea,” I remarked. “Henshin!” I transformed back into Royal. “We need as much power in reserve as we can get.”
“You know, you CAN call us by name,” replied Mrs. Saunders
“Discussion for another time, Mama,” answered Emily. “Henshin!” She became Touché again.
“Henshin!” announced Richard as he turned into Guard. “Mom, Dad, might want to get a firearm. I’m not sold on the stormtroopers’ shooting.”
“Neither am I,” commented Mr. Saun…Fred. “I’m gonna find out why they’re so crappy at it after this is done.” They grabbed rifles and we headed to the teleporter. We beamed to Vader’s location.
“Ah, I see X-PO’s responded to the alarm,” mused Kämpfer. “Good. The intruder is in the repair bay for the droids on this ship.”
“Lead on,” I directed. The ship lurched again! “What’s going on?!” I demanded. Kämpfer took out his tablet and got the sit-rep.
“The ship is accelerating!” he reported. “The intruder has limited control!”
“I thought our technical teams installed the new safeguards,” snarled Vader.
“We did!” protested Kämpfer. “And triple encrypted them! There is no way the intruder should be able to get into the ship’s systems!”
“Well, it’s clearly possible, because he did it!” snapped Apocalypse.
“That’s irrelevant,” I argued. “What’s our heading?”
“Working on it!” assured Kämpfer. “Ah! Got it! …What?”
“What is it?” I asked.
“We’re just going faster,” reported Kämpfer. “Our orbit is still around Vorton.” I was confused as everyone else.
“We…aren’t leaving?” I asked.
“If I were the toaster-possessing ghost,” replied X-PO, “I would bring the guns around and start shooting stuff!”
“Even then, that’s a waste of power,” commented Fred. “With the shields raised, a Star Destroyer could steamroll through anything in its path and not even scratch the paintjob.”
“Kämpfer, Apocalypse, get to Engineering and see if you can slow us down,” I directed.
“Ja!” confirmed Kämpfer.
“On it!” obliged Apocalypse.
“And if there’s a radiation leak, don’t be a hero!” I called as they headed off.
“Very little risk of that, I can assure you!” replied Kämpfer. They were out of sight.
“Your Majesty,” muttered Guard, “there’s something rotten here, but I can’t put my finger on it!”
“We’ll get our answers from the intruder,” I affirmed. We made it to the Droid Repair bay. “On my signal,” I directed. “Three! Two! One! NOW!” We charged in, making a lot of noise and seeing an Astromech Droid stab PO-Lambda with something. It started screaming and shaking! It then rose up and started putting off a bright light! It then changed into a profile of a human skeleton, then the skeleton went from human to humanoid tiger and back to human again, all while muscle flowed back onto the bones. Organs came back and filled the empty spaces. Skin was restored! Hair grew back! The figure faced us and spoke.
“Sā, Rogue Driver!” it called in a man’s voice. A red vortex opened. A device like my belt flew into the man’s hands. Reality hit me.
“No!” I breathed. “That’s not possible!”
“Oh, but it is!” chuckled the Rogue Driver. “Took you long enough to come back. Let’s get you decent.”
“I agree,” said the man. He then put the Rogue Driver to his waist and it made a belt strap wrap around. Pistols then appeared, one on each side of his waist. Blue pants then flowed over his legs as black boots appeared on his feet. A green shirt materialized on his upper torso and a brown trench coat appeared to cover his body. He unbuttoned the coat and put his hand to the air. A short, flat topped, brown hat appeared and he put it on. “Genomorphic upgrade to host body, successful,” reported a man I hated. “Resurrection, complete!” Death took a sand timer out from her robes. There were Japanese characters on it. 足立ヒロ. They translated to Adachi Hiro, my biological father. The sand was all in the upper bulb. Kamen Rider Rogue was back.
“Guys,” gulped Fred. “The man, he looks like…!”
“He is!” I snarled.
“I am!” replied Hiro.
“How?!” hissed Death. “You blew up in Chima!”
“Only thanks to that twit that ruined everything!” snarled Hiro as he pointed at me. “But, if you must know, I took a page out of someone’s book and turned my soul into living data!”
“Lord Vyce did that to face Linkara!” remembered Guard.
“That tin-plated dictator was nothing,” dismissed Hiro. “While most of my organic material and cybernetics were nothing but ash after I detonated myself, I flew around the multiverse, looking for a way to get a new body! I briefly returned to my home universe and scoured an old base for answers. I had to possess the dead body of a Combatman and go through the files.
“The data I came across showed how to turn a soul into data, so I made the ultimate sacrifice and did so. The data also said that there were ways to make a new body. Project: Ghost Body was where Shocker stored the genetic information and needed cybernetics to make a new body so they could use monsters over and over. I took that data and made numerous attempts to get to Foundation Prime, but I was met with a problem. Vortech was the one who sent me and retrieved me. I didn’t know Foundation Prime’s coordinates. So, I found an old PO robot and possessed it while the events of Touché’s excursion into Jurassic World went on.
“I tried recruiting Heather, but she stupidly brushed me aside. I overheard you wanting to find her, no doubt to get information, so I removed her. I then went to the Ghostbusters’ universe and followed you but altered my exit so I wouldn’t be caught immediately. However, you used the PKE meter to find me, and here we are. Your Dalek is dead and I live.”
“Forgive us if we don’t throw a party,” muttered X-PO.
“Ah, X-PO,” observed Hiro. “You were the one who found Foundation Prime, you will get me back there.”
“I hate to be the bearer of GOOD news,” snarked X-PO, “but Vortech deleted that when you guys fired me!”
“Nonsense!” dismissed Hiro.
“It’s true! That’s another reason why we’ve been getting the Foundation Elements!” insisted X-PO.
“You seriously don’t remember the coordinates of YOUR discovery?!” hissed Hiro, his smirk fading. “Never mind, this vessel will do nicely.”
“If you think I’m going to let you take this ship,” declared Linda, “I have a couple of laser bullets willing to disagree with you!”
“And I’M willing to order Vorton’s destruction!” I snarled. “When it goes, so do our Foundation Elements!”
“You’d never dare!” challenged Hiro.
“Dai Super Charge,” I announced. I then concentrated on portals throughout Vorton and brought everyone on board.
“OI! What’s going on?” called Joshua.
“X-PO,” I ordered, “activate the secondary a.i.”
“On it,” confirmed X-PO. It took a few seconds.
“Secondary a.i online,” intoned a voice.
“Secondary a.i., this is Queen Megumi Hishikawa,” I answered. “Activate Vorton Destruction sequence. Destruct sequence 1, code 1, 1-A.”
“First destruct sequence code recognized,” reported the a.i.
“Guard,” I directed.
“Secondary a.i., this is Sir Richard Saunders,” answered Guard. “Activate Vorton Destruction sequence. Destruct sequence 2, code 1, 1-A, 2-B.”
“Second destruct sequence code recognized,” reported the a.i.
“X-PO,” I commanded.
“You gave X-PO that kind of power!?” snarled Hiro.
“Secondary a.i., this is the Experimental Portal Operator,” called X-PO. “Activate Vorton Destruction sequence. Destruct sequence 3, code 1, 1-B, 2-B, 3.”
“Destruct sequence ready,” reported the a.i. “Set time and initiate final code to begin countdown.”
“Set Vorton Destruction,” I ordered. “Command code 0-0-0-Destruct-0 30 minutes.”
“Destruct sequence completed and engaged,” called the a.i. “Vorton will detonate in 30 minutes.”
“X-PO, Priority Vortech alpha! Abort Vorton Destruct sequence!” demanded Hiro. X-PO’s eye flashed red. “WHAT?! But, that only happens when the code’s been deleted! And it was tied into the coordinates of………you told the truth! Vortech really DID wipe the coordinates from your memory!”
“Took you long enough to realize that,” snarked X-PO.
“You can try whatever trick you may have previously installed in X-PO,” I hissed, “but, when he was tossed aside and I proved myself, he chose ME to lead him! I’m the one in control here! So, I suggest you…!” I didn’t get far as Hiro fired! He then drew his i.d tag.
“Henshin! Dai Super Charge!” he announced. He went straight to Kamen Rider Rift and proceeded to barrel through us and enter the corridors.
“After him!” I shouted. We took off and ran after him as he headed to the bridge. He managed to lock us out.
“Engineering to Megumi, what’s going on?” asked Kämpfer.
“Hiro’s back,” I replied. “Vorton’s gonna blow in…25 minutes now. We’re locked out of the bridge. Can you get us in?”
“2 minutes to let me do so,” called Kämpfer. The ship’s comms activated.
“Relinquish control of the ship to me, or I gas you all, pick up the Foundation Elements, and let Vorton explode,” shouted Rift.
“…1 minute, then,” remarked Kämpfer.
“Good work,” I called to Kämpfer. “As for you, Rift, I recommend you back off!”
“I have no reason to,” dismissed Rift. “Not when Foundation Prime needs to be raised.”
“I like how you have new ears,” I commented, “and yet, you’re still hard of hearing! There’s no way for us to get from here to Foundation Prime, much less contact it!”
“I have traveled throughout the multiverse and have seen universes of pure majesty!” declared Rift. “I have seen ancient mindless evils that fill in the cracks and eat dimensions just for a snack! I have heard tales of an Outer God made of pure glitchy data that was convinced to commit suicide by a fat, screechy comic book nerd! Contacting Foundation Prime for help is ‘small potatoes’, I believe the expression is. You are but a flea that I can brush aside!”
“There are reasons for us not finding Foundation Prime, much less talking to it!” I insisted.
“A fabrication by the original Vortonians, at best,” snarled Hiro, “a ruse by you, at worst. Either way is irrelevant.” At that point, the bridge opened and we crept in. Hiro was still working at a console. I then converted my sword to gun mode and leveled it at Rift. I almost pulled the trigger, but Rift brought out his weapon in bazooka mode and fired! “Did you really think I would fall for that?” he quizzed.
“Vorton Destruction sequence aborted,” reported the secondary a.i. No!
“You think you can beat ME?!” roared Rift as he fired. “I am Adachi Hiro, the vanquisher of Death herself! My life shall continue until the multiverse is all one! You are but the footnote in the pages of my glory! And when they build statues of me, trampling over you, you shall be remembered as…”
“Excuse me,” interrupted a soft, woman’s voice.
“WHAT?!” roared Rift as he faced a woman with bronze hair, a bronze dress with 13 panels of four spheres, a sleeveless top, a choker with two rings, a hairband with a light on each end, a blue dot in the center of her forehead, and silver gauntlets with a plunger resting on the right forearm and a Dalek gun resting on the left forearm.
“That’s my friend you just insulted,” said the woman. She then used the plunger to grab Rift’s chest and toss him over her head. Death was confused.
“I want the life-timer of the woman in front of me,” she whispered as her eyes glowed. A sand-timer came into her hands and she looked at the name. Her eyes went wide. “Impossible!” she whispered.
“What? What is it?!” I asked. Death turned to the woman.
“You squishy, green maniac!” she whispered with a grin.
“Who are you talking about?!” I demanded.
“RUSTY!” cheered Death. “He’s…she’s alive!” She pointed to the woman. I gave the woman a look. On closer inspection, her dress DID look like a Dalek.
“Well?” asked the woman. “Aren’t you going to say thank you?” She held a hand to her ear.
“Well, Rusty,” I mused, not believing her, “I suppose that 2,000,000 stud reward you gave us will have to go back so you can spend it wisely.”
“What are you talking about?” asked the woman. “I gave you 220,000 studs. This was before Vortoranii became your belt’s a.i and it made the total, at the time, 600,000. I was there when you were crowned Queen and functioned as a member of your Tech support staff.” I don’t believe it! It really is…!
“RUSTY!” I cheered as I ran forward. I hugged him…her and laughed in joy. “But…how…we fired your body into a star! How are you…?”
“The Dalek?!” roared Rift. “IMPOSSIBLE!”
“You know what, you can explain later,” I said to Rusty.
“Of course,” agreed Rusty. “Now, as for you, for causing a radiation leak, as I would have put it earlier, EXTERMINATE!” She fired from her blaster and Rift glowed teal with his skeleton showing. He screamed but didn’t crumple to the floor. Instead, he swatted the beam aside. Odd, given that it was light and radiation. Rift panted.
“That…hurt!” he gasped. “Did you really think I wouldn’t be altered to prevent death by a Dalek blaster? I was surrounded by xenophobic maniacs when we recruited Davros and those tanks!”
“Huh,” I muttered. “Swing and a miss, Rusty.”
“In all honesty, I should have figured that,” replied Rusty. Rift then fired on us and escaped the bridge.
“He’s going for the hangar!” yelped Death.
“I’ll cut him off!” called Rusty.
“No!” I countered. “Does your plunger still work as a computer interface?”
“Manipulator arm,” corrected Rusty. “And, yes, it does.”
“Talk to the ship’s computers and slow down our orbit,” I directed. “I’ll face Rift.” I charged off before anyone could stop me. I saw Rift walking the corridor and looking out the window. He got visibly angry. I peeked out my window and could see our orbit slowing down. Thank you, Rusty. I then aimed my weapon at Rift’s window, waited, and fired! The window shattered as the air was being sucked out into space. I grabbed an overhead support and Rift grabbed my leg!
“Activating emergency bulkheads!” called X-PO’s voice over the comms.
“Belay that!” I ordered
“What?!” yelped X-PO.
“I have business that requires an open window!” I replied. I felt Rift climbing up my leg. At that point, I raised my other foot and slammed it onto Rift’s head. “I! HAVE HAD! ENOUGH OF YOU!” I said as I kicked. One final kick was enough to send Rift flying through the window and into space. His suit should give him enough air for five hours, more than enough to make a rift for himself. He flew past Vorton. “Okay, X-PO, you can close the bulkheads!” I called. An emergency blast door slid over the window, stabilizing everything. I let go of the overhead support and let myself tumble to the floor. I then cancelled my transformation. “…Wheeeee…” I sighed.
Emily had just checked us all over after that hair-raising escapade. We gathered in the Gateway room after our check-up. “Well, all in all, that could have gone worse,” I mused.
“COULD HAVE GONE WORSE?!” protested Mr. Babineaux. “The creature that kidnapped us came back to life and nearly made you destroy our base of operations! The rest of us were surprised to be evacuated that quickly! I’m still trying to process the information!!”
“Papa,” calmed Emmanuel. “Perhaps this event happened for the best. We have an old friend back, Hiro’s been defeated as usual, and the Executor is back in control.”
“There IS an explanation waiting,” I recalled. “Rusty, how DID you come back? We fired your body into a star, per your last wish.”
“That’s where things got tricky, even for me,” answered Rusty. “After you fired me into a star, my shell’s computers switched on. I was surprised but decided to take advantage of the situation. You do recall that Azmuth was studying my shell?”
“I remember,” I muttered. “I argued with him a lot about it. Eventually, I caved.”
“Good thing you did,” replied Rusty. “When Ben confronted Azmuth about it, I beamed into the Omnitrix and collected and copied various genetic samples, combining them into one. I then beamed myself and the samples to the Codon Stream on Primus. My new body then rose out of the stream and started testing out the limits. By all appearances, I was human, but I noticed holes on my forearms. I then realized those were for armaments, specifically, mine. I had to get back, so I waited for a ship. Azmuth then arrived on a ship with a female Chimera Sui Generis named Myaxx. I snuck aboard the ship and waited for take-off. It took a few days, but I was taken to Galvan Mark II. Azmuth was creating his own Gateway. It didn’t have the proper codes to connect to Vorton, but I still remembered them. I generated my own portal to the closet here as I was still nude. I then found clothes that would emulate my shell. Once I was dressed, I returned to the upper levels and found my shell in its glass case. I took the armaments and then teleported to the Executor’s bridge.”
“And then you gave your dramatic reveal,” I chuckled. A couple of tears came down. “It’s good to see you again!” I gave him…her…I gave Rusty a hug. Rusty reciprocated.
“I guess, the question is, what pronouns are we using?” asked Elphaba.
“Yeah, that leads to another question,” muttered Tanisha. “Why a female body?”
“I just thought it looked cool,” replied Rusty. “So, female pronouns are preferred.” I then broke off the hug.
“Still, it’s good to have you back!” I cheered.
“Good to BE back,” replied Rusty. Lukas then entered, looking pale and weak.
“WHOA!” yelped Emily as she led him to a bench. “Dude, are you okay?!”
“Nein,” muttered Lukas, shakily, “nein, I’m NOT okay. I…er…I recently undid Hiro’s control over the Executor.”
“Do I even WANT to know how he got control?” I asked.
“Well, to answer that,” replied Lukas, “he connected like an Astromech. He then copied over code and altered a few things. All in all, not that different from when Tech Support takes over your computer.”
“So, why are you so spooked?” asked Emmanuel.
“Because, in going through the code,” clarified Lukas, “in getting it back to the settings before he got in and updating the security software, I discovered something. He copied something over.”
“What did he copy?” I asked, fearing the worst.
“He copied…Vorton’s coordinates,” gulped Lukas.
“WHAT?!” shouted Batman.
“He’s got our location locked in the Rogue Driver,” confirmed Lukas.
“Wha…when did he do that?!” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” replied Lukas. “My best theory, given what went on, it was as he accelerated the Executor’s orbit. He used it as a false trail to distract whoever would be on to him. …Even then, the whole plan was, er, half-assed, I believe the expression is.” I ran my hands down my face.
“We’re in a precarious state, everyone,” I muttered.