“I was the princess,” muttered Kaitlyn.
“The TARDIS is not a toy!” shouted 70-year-old me.
“Er, where IS the Den-Liner crew?” I asked.
“After we came back,” explained Joshua, “the Den-Liner came here to pick them up. They’re already gone.”
“And WE need to go as well,” continued 70-year-old me.
“It’s nice to know that my future is in good hands,” I replied.
“You were the one who made that choice,” observed 70-year-old me. She opened up a time rift. “Goodbye, Megumi.”
“Goodbye, Megumi,” I bid as we both bowed. They all soon went back to their original time. “Oof! My head!” I complained. “Time travel’s just one nuisance after another!”
“Speaking of time,” interjected Richard, “it’s against us. Heather’s probably finishing it up now!”
“Get Emily and have her join us in the Gateway Room,” I directed. “Batman, Hongo, Wyldstyle, Gandalf, Lacey, with me.”
“Not that I want to question you,” argued Richard, “but are you sure sending Emily after Heather is a good idea?”
“Heather may attack in a blind rage,” I admitted, “but she can cause damage. I want a medic with us. Besides, it might be the best way for Emily to get closure on Heather. I can just imagine her face now as she lords victory over her old nemesis and high school bully.”
“Very well,” conceded Richard. He headed off to find Emily as the rest of the team joined me. Lacey called up Death on her phone and informed her we would meet her at After Academy. After she finished the call, she gave the technical team the coordinates and they set the Gateway for that location. Rusty gave the thumbs-up as Emily joined us.
“Ready to close the book on her?” I asked.
“Do you even need to ask?” replied Emily.
“Let’s go, then!” I declared. The rift opened and we charged through.
After Academy is certainly opulent, I can tell you. The Four Horsemen joined us a few seconds later. “Had to confirm something,” whispered Death.
“And?” I asked.
“Nothing you need to know just yet,” whispered Death. “Come. We have work to do.” We made our way to a cave on the outskirts of the school and had examined all of the bits and pieces of technology strewn about the place.
“Does she even know what half this stuff is?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she found out,” muttered Emily. That got our attention. “Heather has more in common with the Daleks than just her racism. She’s a genius in terms of mechanical skill.”
“A pity she didn’t put it to good use,” I lamented.
“There she is!” whispered Hongo. Heather was busy using a solder on something, her knockoff Apocalypse Driver, in all likelihood. We then saw her put the tool down.
“Done!” she cheered. “It’s finished!” I nodded to my team.
“So are you!” roared Emily.
“You!” snarled Heather as she turned to us.
“Heather, you don’t want to do this!” I warned.
“What I don’t want,” insisted Heather, “is interference from you freaks!” She came at us with wild punches. Hongo struck his pose and we got our i.d. tags out. The Horsemen and Lacey we’re ready as well.
“Rider…” called Hongo.
“Henshin!” we all announced. We changed and the fight began. Heather tried to slam her fists on to my head, but Apocalypse kicked her in the stomach. Heather tried to change her target to Apocalypse and did a roundhouse, but Apocalypse jumped out of the way so Ichigō could catch her foot. He then flipped her into the air, leaving her open to Batman’s knife-hand jab to the gut. Gandalf held her in the air with his magic while Wyldstyle made a giant fist out of the rock and slammed it onto Heather. Death then grabbed her legs and tossed her to War, who kicked her over to me. I drove my knee into her spine. While she was trying to pull herself together, Famine bit her arm, leaving a gaping wound for Pestilence to fire a gas at her. She briefly broke out in spots, but they vanished on account of the fact she was already dead. Touché then grabbed her hair.
“For everything you ever did to me and for those people you’ve killed!” she declared. She grabbed her nemesis by the throat and tossed her into the cave wall. “It’s over, Heather,” commented Touché. “You’ve lost. Your small-minded obsession towards purity is weighing you down.”
“IT IS NOT SMALL-MINDED!” roared Heather as she held up her knock-off Apocalypse Driver. “PURITY IS WHAT KEEPS US GOING! CAN’T YOU SEE THAT?!”
“Heather, don’t do it!” warned Apocalypse.
“SHUT UP!” bellowed Heather. “I’m coming back and no one’s gonna stop me!” She then put the Driver on…and felt the consequences. She was zapped multiple times and convulsed in pain while a bright light filled the area. It expanded to cover us all and blind us. When we regained our vision, well, I can’t speak for everyone’s belief in their sight, but I CAN speak for my own, because I couldn’t believe it! There, wearing a photo-negative version of the Apocalypse Driver, was an equally photo-negative version of Lacey! Heather picked herself up and examined herself. She was still transparent. “No!” she yelled. “No, this is all wrong! IT’S SUPPOSED TO BRING ME BACK! I’M SUPPOSED TO HAVE A FULLY FUNCTIONING BODY!”
“You have an annoying talent for whining,” replied a voice. It sounded like Apocalypse’s voice, but with a slight echo.
“How are you doing that?” I asked as we cancelled our transformations.
“Who are you talking to?” asked Lacey.
“…You,” I replied, confused. “You made your voice go all echoey.”
“No,” contradicted Lacey. “I didn’t say anything. And I can’t make my voice have an echo.”
“Well, it WAS your voice,” replied Richard.
“No, it was mine,” corrected the voice again. At that moment, we all turned to Lacey’s Negative Clone.
“…Did YOU speak?” I asked.
“I should hope I did,” remarked the clone. “I have been dormant for eons since the dawn of eternity. I exist as a voice for the Void.”
“The Void?” whispered Death. “Oh, this is brilliant!”
“The Void,” wheezed Pestilence, “is the counter to the multiverse. While everything exists here, nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, exists in the Void.”
“I have been born,” continued the Lacey Clone, “as a guardian of the Void. Specifically, I guard the multiverse against the Void. There must be a balance between everything and nothing. Even if Vortech were to succeed in his plans, the Void would remain.”
“That’s why there should be only ONE Apocalypse Driver!” hissed Death as she turned to Heather. “I warned you about what would happen if you went through with this! You ignored me and easily half the multiverse! Even Caan could see what your machinations could have wrought, and he’s a Dalek!”
“I will NOT be condemned to never having offspring!” shouted Heather. “If the multiverse won’t let me have children, I will happily burn it!”
“That CAN’T happen!” insisted the Lacey Clone. “The power would be uncontrollable! You’d be erased along with the multiverse before you had a chance to breed!”
“You’d destroy the multiverse just to make all life like you?” asked Emily. “You sound like a Dalek.”
“Being barren is unbearable!” protested Heather. “Being DEAD is unbearable!”
“Heather Richards, your unholy crusade nearly destroyed everything!” declared the Lacey Clone. She snapped her fingers and a fiery hole opened up beneath Heather. She grabbed the edge before she fell. “All of Hell wants a word with you!” hissed the Lacey Clone.
“NO! YOU CAN’T SEND ME DOWN THERE!” screamed Heather as she tried to pull herself up. The Lacey Clone stepped on her hands.
“The decision was already made by both Man and God,” she insisted. She then kicked Heather down to Hell.
“I HATE YOU!” roared Heather as her screams mingled with those of the Damned. The Lacey Clone shut the hole and there was silence.
“That was…utterly terrifying!” mumbled Hongo.
“That’s the point of monsters like her,” replied the Lacey Clone. “In any case, it’s good to see you all, finally.”
“…Finally?” asked Lacey.
“The Void has had a consciousness of its own,” explained the Lacey Clone. “It’s been waiting to explore the multiverse without causing imbalance. Heather’s attempt to come back to life was the chance it needed. So, I have a belt that gives me a suit just like you guys do. I guess you could call me Kamen Rider Void.”
“What about your civilian name?” I asked. “I don’t know about the rest of us, but in my head, I’ve called you Lacey Clone. Do you have a different name?”
“…You know, I think I just thought of one,” replied the Lacey Clone. “Call me Sandra, Sandra Noman.”
“Noman?” asked Lacey. “That means ‘not a person’. Are you sure you want that?”
“I’m of the Void,” replied the newly christened Sandra. “I think it’s appropriate.”
“Well, all right,” I sighed. “In any case, can we count on you in the final fight against Vortech?”
“I must disappoint you,” answered Sandra. “My powers are too out of control and getting a handle on them will take time, long after the final fight against Vortech. I must apologize.”
“Will you at least consider joining After Academy?” whispered Death.
“It sounds like an excellent school,” mused Sandra. “I might join it. I’m on the fence about it, though.”
“If you DO want to,” wheezed Pestilence, “you need merely ask us.”
“And no hurry in choosing a house,” assured Lacey.
“Thank you, all of you,” replied Sandra. “Until next time.” Black mist then surrounded her until she and the mist vanished.
“That…was intense!” I breathed. “There IS one more thing I need to do.”
“What’s that?” asked Lacey.
“Lacey and Horsemen,” I called, “how would you like to be members of the Feudal Nerd Society?”
“We haven’t had new members in a LONG time!” cheered Emily.
“It’s only been a year since Sheela joined us,” I replied. “It’s all your choice.”
“I’d be a fool NOT to join!” declared Lacey.
“I suppose it won’t hurt,” whispered Death.
“Eh, why not?” grunted War.
“This could be fun,” wheezed Pestilence. “Count me in!”
“I want in on this!” mumbled Famine as she finished her protein bar.
“What about you guys?” I asked, turning to Batman, Hongo, Wyldstyle, and Gandalf.
“I must respectfully decline,” replied Gandalf. “But, thank you.”
“Sorry, I have to say no as well,” remarked Batman.
“Yeah, sorry,” muttered Wyldstyle. “When this is over, I’m gonna be busy with the Master Builder Academy.”
“And I must say no was well,” answered Hongo. “I do apologize if I have disappointed you.”
“Like I said,” I assured them, “it’s all your choice. I understand.”
“But, if you want to reconsider,” offered Emily, “just come find us.”
“Thank you,” replied Batman.
“Now, kneel, Lacey and Horsemen,” I instructed. I’m probably one of few people the Horsemen ever kneeled to. I drew my blade and tapped their shoulders as if I were knighting them. “And rise, Dame Lacey Thanatos, Duchess Death, Dame War, Lady Pestilence, and Lady Famine!” They rose as new members of the Feudal Nerd Society!
“Now comes the real question,” declared Lacey, “who do I see for a dress?”
“My mother can help in that regard,” I answered.
“She’s made the costumes for the entire F.N.S,” explained Emily. “She’s always open to ideas.”
“I’ll ask her for help when we get back,” declared Lacey.
“Speaking of,” I remarked. I then called up Vorton. “X-PO, mission accomplished. Heather is no more and the knock-off Apocalypse Driver DIDN’T destroy the multiverse. Boy, have we got a story to tell you all!”
“One rift home coming up!” cheered X-PO. “And we’ve found the next Foundation Element!”
“We’ll remain here,” whispered Death. “But, we’ll join you in the final battle! Good luck!”
“Thank you!” I called as we jumped through.