When you had left, your Majesty, I was getting myself ready for a tour of After Academy. All of a sudden, I saw Team 10 rushing to the portal. I headed after them and saw Rusty about to jump after them! “HEY!” I called. “What’s going on here?!”
“No time to talk!” rushed Ben. “Plumber in trouble!”
“What?” I asked.
“The intergalactic police force of Ben’s universe,” explained Rusty. “I’m going with them.”
“Just a sec!” I protested. “We can’t…!” The portal opened and Team 10 jumped in.
“Wait for me!” called Rusty as she jumped in.
“Stop!” I demanded as I followed after them. Too late. We landed back in Springfield. “What were you thinking?!” I berated. “Do you have any notion what Megumi’s gonna do to us?! We’re in a state of emergency! She ordered all hands on deck!”
“We have got to get whatever Plumber is in danger,” countered Rook.
“Without backup?!” I wailed. “Just get Megumi!”
“We can’t wait for her!” protested Max. “We’re going!”
“No one’s going anywhere!” I demanded.
“Too late for that,” remarked Kevin.
“Rusty, talk some sense into these guys!” I snapped.
“I did. Why do you think I joined them?” answered Rusty.
“RUSTY!” I protested.
“We can’t leave a person in distress,” insisted Rusty. “For all we know that person could be taken by Vortech.”
“What would Plumbers supply Vortech with?!” I argued.
“All that tech, for one thing,” replied Kevin.
“And he could use the Plumbers to get to Galvan and get into Azmuth’s schematics of the Omnitrix,” figured Gwen.
“He could also play you guys for fools and plant a fake signal to get the Omnitrix!” I replied. “That thing is the Foundation Element of your universe!”
“We can’t risk letting a potential Plumber be captured!” snapped Max. There was a tone of finality. I sighed.
“There’s no talking you out of this, is there?” I sighed. Everybody shook their heads. “All right, but we stick to the shadows! I don’t want to interfere with any events in this universe.”
“Agreed,” complied Max.
“All right, let’s find that Plumber and get out of here as quickly as possible,” I declared. We headed down a street, staying out of sight as we followed the beacon marker on the Omnitrix. It stopped when we reached a house. Ben slapped the Omnitrix for a bit, but nothing happened.
“Of course!” hissed Ben. “Why WOULDN’T you lose it?!”
“Er, Ben,” stopped Rook, “I think the Omnitrix has found the source, actually.”
“What?” asked Ben. Rook pointed into a house, the house belonging to Homer and his family. They were having a meal and Homer was trying to read the paper when he noticed something.
“Hey! Who cut something out of my paper?!” he quizzed. He looked around the table to see Bart eating and Marge cutting the bottom of the cereal box out. Homer was clueless. After a few seconds, the phone rang. Homer got up and headed over to get it. It was then that I saw a disc with the Omnitrix symbol on it in his rear pocket.
“A Plumber’s badge?” yelped Max.
“How did he acquire one?” asked Rook.
“We need to talk to him,” I declared.
“I thought you said…” hissed Rusty.
“We’re only getting answers,” I assured. Homer then picked up the phone.
“Yello?” began Homer. “Oh! Hi, Lenny! …No, why would I need a ride this afternoon?” At that point, Marge decided it was time to vacuum the house. “TO THE BIG ANNUAL WHAT?” shouted Homer over the phone. Marge then “accidentally” bumped the phone’s plug loose with the vacuum cleaner and the call disconnected. “Ah, well,” mused Homer as the phone went dead. “If it was big and annual, I’m sure they would have mentioned it in the newspaper.” He then got a drumstick, but the dog grabbed it. “Yeah, it’s a lazy, dog-dangling afternoon,” muttered Homer. “But, something’s a little off.” He sniffed the dog’s mouth and then waved his hand in front of his nose. “I gotta go get some fresh air,” he said. He went outside to get the aforementioned fresh air and inhaled deeply. He then sniffed more quickly. “What’s that smell?” he yelped. He sniffed again. “Onions…chili powder…cumin…juicy ground chuck! It’s chili! Oh my god! I’m missing the chili cook-off!” He then ran into that pink car of his and took off! The Omnitrix beeped as Homer drove through the street at high speeds!
“We’ll never catch up to him now!” wailed Kevin.
“I can, with XLR8,” offered Ben. He selected an alien and then changed shape. He grew black fur on the torso, blue fur on the head, forearms, and lower legs, spikes on the limbs, and a black, furry, Wolverine style mask around his green eyes. “FASTTRACK!” he shouted. He looked himself over. “Fasttrack’s good,” he mused. “Stronger than XLR8. I can carry some people!”
“But a Citrakayah’s braking is subpar compared to a Kineceleran,” remarked Rook.
“No time to argue!” I directed. “Ben, take your team and get after him! Rusty and I will catch up!” Fasttrack nodded and grabbed his friends as he took off.
“How ARE we going to catch up to him?” asked Rusty.
“With a little horsepower!” I joked as I summoned my horse. “Hop on!” I said. We mounted my horse and followed Fasttrack. We weaved through the streets to arrive at the park where a festival dedicated to chili was taking place. Homer parked and we crashed into the car. Homer either didn’t hear or wasn’t paying attention as he headed to a man’s booth. The sign read “Firehouse Ned’s Five Alarm Chili.”
“Five alarm chili, eh?” mused Homer. He got a sample and tasted it. “Hmm, one…two…hey, what’s the big idea?!”
“That can’t be right!” protested Max. “Five Alarm Chili makes you break into a sweat!”
“Let me try,” replied Ben. He got a sample as Homer wandered off. Ben tasted…and started sweating. “Hot! Hot!! HOT!!! WATER!!!” The man running the booth gave him milk and Ben guzzled it. He stopped after a few seconds.
“That guy must have a high spicy threshold,” I mused. I took a peek, wanting to try it, but no chance. It had beef. “Never mind,” I groaned. Homer stopped at his boss’s Yale Style Saltpeter chili. He took a sample and tasted it.
“Hmm, a bland, timid entry,” he critiqued. Mr. Burns didn’t like that. He threatened to fire Homer as Homer walked away laughing. The last one had Chief Wiggum, a caged creature, and mice surrounding the place. Chief Wiggum was pointing his gun at the mice but didn’t pull the trigger. Ben got a closer look at the creature, then howled with laughter.
“Reinrassic III is afraid of mice?!” he snorted.
“BEN BEN TENNYSON!” wailed Reinrassic. “GET THESE THINGS AWAY FROM ME!”
“I got this,” assured Ben as he selected an alien. “BIG CHILL!” he whispered. He then phased through the cage, made Reinrassic intangible, and got him out. He joined us as Homer shooed the mice away.
“Not! One! Word!” warned Reinrassic.
“How about two?” whispered Big Chill. “Scaredy Cat!”
“Ben!” chided Gwen.
“What?” asked Big Chill as he changed back into Ben. “I’ve never seen an Atasian scared of mice!”
“In any case,” sighed Reinrassic, “I’m glad to see you. I wondered if my distress call with my new Plumber’s badge would get through to anyone.”
“New Plumber’s badge?” quizzed Ben. “You joined the Plumbers?”
“One of my people is a bailiff on Coda Coda with Judge Domstol, why not an Atasian Plumber?” asked Reinrassic.
“You realize that this is rather awkward as we’ve never had an active politician serving before,” remarked Max.
“Guys, hold on,” I hissed. “I think Homer’s about to try that chili!” He was given a spoonful and gulped it down.
“More, please,” requested Homer. Chief Wiggum looked surprised and did as requested. Homer ate a bigger helping, then laughed. “Well, Chief, don’t quit your day job! Whatever that is!” He walked away, then started screaming, then started clutching his stomach. “I don’t feel so good!” he mumbled. He then passed out. There was no meat in Chief Wiggum’s chili, so I decided to show how high my spicy threshold was. It’s unusually high for any human, I can tell you right now.
“Gimme!” I demanded to Chief Wiggum. He gave me a sample. I waited for the kick, and I didn’t wait long! This thing was above MY threshold! “GARAM! PAANEE!” (HOT! WATER!) I screamed before passing out.
I stirred from my spice-induced fainting; my vision was a little blurry. I could see other shapes but couldn’t focus. Eventually, my vision cleared. I could see my friends and allies getting up and that we were in some sort of desert. Reinrassic was fanning himself with his green arm. “The moment when I wish to be blended with a Necrofriggian!” he complained.
“Allow me,” offered Ben as he selected an alien. He became a blue iguana like alien with three dorsal fins running down the back and gills on each side of the head. “ARCTIGUANA!” shouted the new alien. “Eh, it’ll do.” He breathed onto the ground and formed ice. We all reveled in the cool air.
“Much better,” sighed Reinrassic. “You have my gratitude.”
“That’s a big change from the last time we were in a desert,” recalled Arctiguana.
“What are you doing here?” asked Kevin.
“It wasn’t by choice!” protested Reinrassic. “I had just passed the final exam and was given my Plumber’s badge when a portal opened up. I was deposited near the nuclear power plant and found myself talking to a ghost. I believe she called herself Heather.” Team 10 gasped.
“Did she dress as Isosceles Right Triangle Vreedle?” asked Rook.
“And talk like her?” asked Arctiguana.
“I am familiar with these Vreedles,” replied Reinrassic, “and, to answer both questions, yes.”
“Great, her ghost is haunting the multiverse!” hissed Arctiguana.
“You know her?” quizzed Reinrassic.
“We met her and felt the attitude was familiar,” replied Gwen,
“Er…well…yes,” muttered Reinrassic as he shifted uncomfortably.
“I don’t understand,” I commented.
“The Atasians when they called themselves the Highbreed,” explained Rusty, “were much like my old colleagues.”
“We were hell-bent on bringing the galaxy down with us,” continued Reinrassic. “We believed so much in racial purity that it led to inbreeding, loss of resistance to disease, and sterility. For a while, I was part of the last generation of Atasians. Until Ben Ben Tennyson helped me and my people.”
“Er…Ben Ben?” I asked.
“He introduced himself as such,” answered Reinrassic.
“Er…Reinrassic III,” interjected Rook, “I do not believe that is true.”
“I don’t understand,” said Reinrassic.
“He was saying Ben pause Ben, like a comma,” replied Rook. Reinrassic scratched his head, then got a tablet out.
“Computer, remind me to review Human grammar when we are in a safer place,” he directed. “I’m unfamiliar with this…comma.” The tablet pinged to show his reminder was set and he put it away.
“So, you were sucked up by a portal,” whispered Arctiguana. “Was it blue?”
“Er, yes,” replied Reinrassic. “What relevance does that have?”
“It’s a dimensional rift,” I explained. “My team uses them to get the Foundation Elements.”
“So, how did you get in the cage?” asked Arctiguana as the Omnitrix beeped and flashed red.
“When I arrived here, I was thrown in that cage by Heather’s ghost and carted around as a sideshow attraction for 3 days!” snarled Reinrassic. “That was when I activated the distress signal, dropped the badge, and saw that man pick it up!” He pointed to Homer, who was waking up. “Now I REALLY understand what an Appoplexian feels like at the circus!”
“We’re trying to stop that nonsense,” assured Max.
“What’s happening to me?!” called Homer’s voice. I then got an idea.
“Homer usually solves his problems through pure luck and accident,” I replied. “Maybe, we can use him to get to Heather.”
“Good idea!” cheered Rusty.
“Everybody cool enough?” I asked. Everybody nodded. “Then, follow Homer!” I said. We stayed out of sight as Homer wandered through the desert.
“Where am I? Shelbyville?” asked Homer to himself. He stopped at a pond with fish flying ABOVE it. When he approached the pond, the fish went into the water and it turned into glass! Homer took out a can of Buzz cola, drank it, then belched out a long belch, causing the glass to shatter and let a snake circle the island in the pond. It released a jump pad for Homer, then slithered off. “Man, this is crazy!” muttered Homer. “I hope I don’t brain my damage!”
“Too late,” whispered Kevin. Gwen elbowed him. “Ow! What?!” said Kevin.
“SHH!” I hissed. Homer used the jump pad and we followed after him. He wandered for a while, muttering to himself.
“Okay, retrace your steps,” he said. “Woke up, fought with Marge, ate Guatemalan insanity peppers, then I…ooooooohhhh!” He then saw a rock move and release a butterfly that dropped a crank near a gap’s edge and flew off. The crank was on his side of the gap. “Ooookkaaaaay,” muttered Homer, “I think I’m gonna be leaving now.” He turned the crank, and the sun started going up and down! “Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, sunrise…” he went through that loop until the sun fell on his side and shattered into long panels! “Note to self: stop doing anything,” sighed Homer. Somehow, don’t ask me how, he was inspired to build a bridge out of the sun panels. The completed product stood upright, then fell as the gap shortened to the bridge’s length!
“This has GOT to be a drug trip!” I gulped. We went across the bridge and noticed that there was nothing to use except rocks.
“What?” roared Homer. “Rocks?! Nothing but rocks?! NO DONUTS?!! RGHERGRHGH! HOMER MAD!” He then grew to giant size and started smashing the rocks! After his tantrum, he noticed that the rocks he smashed spelled out “HELP”. As he shrank and admired his handiwork, he noticed a rock crawling away. “Hey, buddy!” he shouted. “Get back there with the other rocks!” He went after it to discover it was an animal. “Huh? A tortoise?” The tortoise was spelling something out. “‘Follow the…’” read Homer. “OH! This must be why I’m here! Follow the what?! Follow the what?!! Hurry up!” Someone landed on him at that point. “D’OH!” The person scuttled off, leaving Homer to pick himself up and follow the tortoise. The person came to us, hoping to find some normality. He was a young man in an orange jacket vest and khakis. He looked around.
“Oh, good, he’s the only one from that world!” he sighed.
“You mean Springfield?” asked Reinrassic. The young man got a look, then grinned.
“So, a rebellious Inves?” he mused. He then got out a Sengoku Driver and a Lockseed with an orange on it. “That, I can understand.” He brought the lock arm up and it spoke.
“ORANGE!” it announced. The zipper in the sky then appeared, opened, and let a metal orange hover over him.
“Henshin!” called the man as he put the Lockseed into the belt. He lowered the lock arm.
“Lock on!” announced the belt. Unlike the rock and roll tune of Bravo’s belt, his played a tune like a Japanese War horn remixed. He then lowered the knife and opened the Lockseed. “Soiya! Orange Arms! Hanamichi! (In the spotlight!) On Stage!” The metal orange landed on his head, created a blue undersuit, and then unfolded to make a chest plate, shoulder pads, and back armor to reveal an orange samurai helmet. He then pulled out a short sword with an orange slice blade.
“Koko kara wa ore no stage da!” he declared. My belt translated it as “This is my stage now!” He charged at Reinrassic and swung his sword. Reinrassic dodged and tried to get out of the fight.
“Oh, for the love of…!” I hissed. I drew out my i.d tag. “Henshin!” I then inserted it into my belt and transformed. I activated my bagh naka and blocked the new Rider’s blade.
“What are you doing?!” yelped the Rider.
“That’s not an Inves, whatever that is!” I protested. “That’s the leader of the Atasian race from another universe!” The Rider stopped struggling and backed off.
“You’re…not an enemy?” he asked Reinrassic.
“Clearly,” commented Reinrassic.
“Oops,” gulped the Rider. “That’s embarrassing for a man of my stature. I became a god of a new world.”
“So, we’re good now?” I asked.
“We’re good,” assured the Rider as he closed the Lockseed and took it off.
“Lock off!” announced the belt as the suit disappeared.
“Let’s start over,” sighed the man. “I’m Kazuraba Kōta, Kamen Rider Gaim.” We went through more introductions and told Kōta about what was going on. “Then, we need to follow Homer!” commented Kōta.
“The tracks are still fresh!” called Reinrassic. “This way!” We charged off after him.