Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 26: Proving Lines

The day before his team’s departure, Richard decided to speak with Thundercracker. He arrived at his Transformer-sized house and pressed the doorbell. The door opened and Thundercracker looked down to see Richard. “…Mr. Saunders,” he greeted.

“Thundercracker, we need to get some things clear,” said Richard. “I know Optimus and the other Autobots vouch for you and your colleagues, but your old boss used my wife as a bargaining chip and there are too many universes where the Decepticons are a treacherous bunch. I want to be proven wrong about your colleagues.”

“Then you will be. I trust you will make no decisions based on the generalizations of Decepticons?”

“I will at least try not to.”

“…I suppose I can’t ask for more than that. In that case, I will see you tomorrow.”

“See you then.” Thundercracker closed the door and Richard left.

The day finally came. Amy, Azuliterii, Blackarachnia, Brittney, Daniel, Emma, Endram, Falnii, Flora, Glanthel, Goldbug, Hanako, Hejema, Irina, Kaitlyn, Kong, Richard, Sira, Swalmu, Teletraan, Thundercracker, Wilson, and Yufantel at After Academy’s main square and were given their goodbyes. Their friends and families had gathered to wish them well. “Come back safe!” called Megumi.

“And keep out of trouble!” called Kaede to Kaitlyn. “We don’t need a repeat of the Els Weir incident

“Don’t remind me!” grunted Kaitlyn.

“Teletraan, Glanthel, do you two have a means of concealing your ship forms?” Richard asked the two. “The people there aren’t used to talking machines your size.”

“I’ve got a body I can pilot,” replied Teletraan over the comms as the Ark and Glanthelantir hovered overhead. “Its maximum range is 124 miles. I should be good.”

“And I don’t need to stay near the ship for it to function,” assured Glanthel.

“Then I have one more question for everyone,” said Richard as he turned to his team. “What’s blue, green, red, and goes ‘Peep Peep!’?”

“A parrot,” replied Amy. “And you mean ‘Chirp Chirp’.”

“No, I don’t,” corrected Richard. “Let’s board our ships and you’ll see what I mean.” Everyone was beamed into the two ships and a ship-sized rift opened. The ships then flew into the rift, and it shut behind them.

The ships arrived over a landmass. Teletraan got Glanthel on the line. “Current geographic markers indicate we’re somewhere in the Irish sea between the Isle of Man and the English Mainland’s southern shores,” he said.

“I’m not exactly familiar with those land markers,” replied Glanthel.

“…Ah, here we are. Basically, the people in these parts sound like Elves from your world.”

“What’s the landmass below us?” Teletraan’s eyes widened.

“…A landmass that hosts many a railfan’s childhood hero! We better find a good, camouflaged spot to land!” The two ships then found an area on the landmass’s northeastern part.

A tank engine was completing his morning passenger run at the station of Ffarquhar at the end of his line. and was ready to turn around for the return journey. He was painted blue, had a number one on his side tanks, had six small wheels, a short stumpy boiler, a short stumpy funnel, and a short stumpy dome. There was also something he had, something most vehicles on his island had, a face on the front. Right now, his face was one of contentment. “Another successful run, in my opinion,” he said to his two coaches.

“You’re quite sure?” asked the coach directly behind him. She had her name, Annie, painted near her wheels.

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic!” said her sister coach, her name reading Clarabel. “It was the usual passenger run for Thomas. No accidents and no races with Bertie.”

“A pity,” mused the tank engine, the famous Thomas the Tank Engine, “I would have enjoyed a race with him.”

“You know what the Fat Controller’s grandfather said about going at high speeds like that,” remarked Annie. “I’m quite sure the current one will say the same thing.”

“She’s quite right, Thomas,” boomed a voice. A stout, well-dressed gentleman in a top hat then approached the platform. This was the manager of Thomas’ railway, Sir Stephen Topham Hatt, the third Fat Controller. “Still, it’s nice to know that your run was uneventful. Heaven knows we could do with uneventfulness these days.”

“You’re not wrong there, Sir,” agreed Thomas. “The trucks have been acting up more than usual, tools and baggage have gone missing, trains have been delayed on all the island’s railways. If I might be a bit paranoid, I’d call it sabotage.”

“Unfortunately, the other Controllers think so too. Has anything happened to you specifically?”

“No, Sir, but I’m waiting for the firebars to drop.”

“As are the others, I’m afraid. Well, keep a lookout for any unusual activity.”

“Excuse me!” Clarabel called to a group of people approaching her. “You’re not allowed on railway property!”

“And there it is,” groaned Thomas.

“I’ll handle this,” assured the Fat Controller. He got off the platform and onto the tracks behind the train. “And what, pray tell, is your…oh no.” He saw that the group consisted of Richard, Irina, Amy, Azuliterii, Hanako, Thundercracker’s holo-form, and Hejema. He recognized Richard right off the bat.

“Sir Topham Hatt!” cheered Richard. “I’m glad we caught you! How’s the railway?”

“We’re doing well,” replied the Fat Controller in a short manner. “Might I ask what you think you’re doing here?”

“Sir, you can’t be holding a grudge, can you?”

“Your American style of partying resulted in my office being destroyed!”

“We had a good laugh about it, didn’t we?”

“I recall that you were the only one laughing in your drunken stupor, Mr. Saunders. Your wife looked horribly embarrassed, and rightfully so. I trust the F.N.S’ absence from this island has made you see sense?”

“Don’t worry, Sir,” assured Azuliterii, “there won’t be any incidents like that again.”

“Ah, Lady Azuliterii! Good to see you!” The Fat Controller’s demeanor was more friendly. “I must admit, after Edward won the Light of Zalmath, I didn’t think we’d see a Chizaran again.”

“How is the Light, if I might ask?”

“It’s currently under Lady Bounty’s care.”

“So, you DO know where she is?” asked Richard.

“…I see, your business lies with her,” realized the Fat Controller.

“There’s an enemy of ours that’s making a grab for Bounty and her sisters, specifically, their Sources. We need Bounty to come with us.”

“And how would that protect her from this enemy?”

“She’d have friends that knows how her potential kidnapper thinks.”

“I see. Well, there IS a slight problem with her ability to come.”

“What’s that?”

“She has become a valuable member of my staff.”


“If you want to know the specifics of where she lives and what job she has, you and your friends will have to prove yourselves.”

“How’s that?”

“By working for the various railways on this island. There are plenty of job openings.”

“That might be an issue with members of my team like Thundercracker over there.” Richard gestured to the Decepticon.

“Why, pray tell?” asked the Fat Controller.

“…I’d rather demonstrate why without prying eyes,” replied Richard. “Would you come with us to our landing site?”

“…Very well. In the meantime, Thomas, did I miss hearing your-?” The Guard’s whistle then blew as Thomas and his coaches were turned around for the return journey.

“No, Sir, you didn’t,” replied as he whistled his intentions to get underway. “Must be off, Sir! Bye!”

“Good running, Thomas!” wished the Fat Controller. He then turned to Richard and his group. “Now, shall we?”

“This way, Sir,” directed Richard as he led the way.

They all arrived in a clearing where the Ark and Glanthelantir were resting. Everyone else had already disembarked. “Sir Topham Hatt, meet my team,” introduced Richard.

“…There is a giant gorilla among this lot,” remarked the Fat Controller.

“And he talks,” replied Richard.

“…Does he?” The Fat Controller was questioning Richard’s sanity.

“I do, Sir,” replied Kong. Now the Fat Controller was questioning his own sanity.

“You’re all right, I promise,” assured Richard. “Now, Blackarachnia, Goldbug, Kong Primal, and Thundercracker, transform, please.”

“Blackarachnia, TRANSFORM!”

“Goldbug Magnus, TRANSFORM!”

“Kong Primal, MAXIMIZE!”

“Thundercracker, TRANSFORM!” The four bots then changed into robot mode, startling the Fat Controller.

“That’s the issue I was talking about,” explained Richard. “I don’t think there’s any employment options for them and their vehicle modes aren’t exactly ones that would fit in with modern Sudrian vehicles. Glanthel and Teletraan can certainly work for the island, but-”

“Then your robotic friends can stay near the ships,” replied the Fat Controller once he recovered. “The rest of you will meet myself and the other Railway Controllers for your duties. I expect you at Knapford at 7AM SHARP. We all need workers who are punctual. Good day, ladies and gentlemen.” The Fat Controller turned and walked back to Ffarquhar, where his car was parked.

“…Richard, what was that about?” asked Flora.

“Bounty’s working for Sir Topham Hatt’s railway,” explained Richard. “If we want her to come with us, we need to prove we’re…Really Useful, as many a Controller on this island would say. To do that, we have to work for the railways. Now, there aren’t any job openings for the Transformers, so they need to stay by the ships and be on the lookout for enemy activity. The rest of us will divide into teams and keep watch while we work on the railways. Teletraan, do you have the telemetry data on the island?”

“Got the geography and the railways marked up,” replied Teletraan as a holographic map appeared. Four sets of lines appeared, outlining the railways’ locations.

“All right, we’ll divide into five teams. Team Watchdog will consist of Thundercracker, Kong, Blackarachnia, and Goldbug. As mentioned, they’ll be on monitor duty in the ships. Goldbug, you’re in charge. Team NWR will consist of Amy, Azuliterii, Kaitlyn, myself, and Teletraan. We’ll be working under Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller. Brittney, Daniel, Flora, Hanako, and Swalmu will be Team SKR and will work on the Skarloey Narrow Gauge Railway under Mr. Percival, the Thin Controller. Emma, Falnii, Hejema, and Wilson will be the members of Team AMR. They’ll work on the Arlesdale Railway under the management of Mr. Fergus Duncan, the Small Controller. That leaves Endram, Glanthel, Irina, Sira, and Yufantel as Team CFR. You five will be working on the Culdee Fell Railway under Mr. Walter Richards, the Manager. Be on the lookout for any suspicious characters. We can’t afford to screw this up. We NEED to be Really Useful.”

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 25: Domestic Views

Death led Life to the Horsemen’s mansion. Life goggled in amazement. “So pretty!” she said.

“And there’s plenty of room for you here,” replied Death. War then approached them and was inspecting her sword.

“Death, can I borrow your scythe sharpener?” she asked. “I think my sword is-” She finally caught sight of Life and locked her shocked gaze at her. Her sword fell out of her hands and made a loud clang. “…Life?”

“Hello, War,” replied Life. War stumbled over to Life and removed her gauntlet. Her battle-scarred hand then reached to Life’s cheek and Life took the hand and pressed it against her face. “I’m real, War. …I’m back.” War’s eyes released tears, then she gathered Life into a bear-hug while laughing proudly. “And there’s the bear-hug!” groaned Life as War spun around.

“IT’S WONDERFUL TO SEE YOU AGAIN, SISTER!” boomed War happily. She then set Life down. “It’s been far too long! Welcome home!” She looked back into the mansion. “FAMINE! PESTILENCE! GET OVER HERE! LIFE’S BACK!”

“Bellowing again, War?” wheezed a voice as Pestilence entered the room. “And making crass jokes, I thought you had-!” She stopped when she saw Life. Famine then came into the room grabbing a slice of pizza from the box in her hand. When Famine saw Life, she stopped, stared, and dropped the box.

“…Life?” asked Famine.

“And she’s real!” assured War. Life gathered Pestilence and Famine into a hug. Famine quickly ate her pizza slice before she and Pestilence returned the hug.

“Our sister, home at last!” sobbed Famine happily.

“What’s going on here?” asked a voice. Lacey then entered the room and saw the scene. She locked eyes with Life. “…Death’s counterpart, I presume?” she asked, a little uncertain.

“And you’re the human that became the new Chaos!” cheered Life. “You helped Megumi beat Vortech twice, yes?”

“I did,” confirmed Lacey.

“Fascinating! No human’s ever handled even a fraction of a Horseman’s power, much less all of it!”

“I had to go through some pretty rough training to handle it.”

“All in the span of a month, if I recall,” remarked War.

“A month?!” yelped Life. “You four subjected her to the most hellacious training in a month?!”

“Oddly enough,” replied Pestilence, “her old human lifestyle helped her grasp the more advanced training rather quickly.”

“You see,” said Lacey, “I came from Springfield, located in Universe T-H-3-5-1-M-P-5-0-N-5.”

“Wait, is that the universe where everyone has an overbite, and the dominant skin-tone is mustard yellow?” asked Life.

“That’s the one. I had parents, but Death had to take Mom and Dad was an abusive man-child. I became the stereotypical goth until the Vortech Wars. During my training, I asked for Dad’s memories of me and his marriage to Mom to be wiped, so he’s living alone there. I then changed my appearance to what you see now and helped Megumi along the way.”

“You and Megumi became the prophesied heroes during the Vortech Wars,” reminded Famine as she polished off her pizza and grabbed a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.

“And now I’ve got a husband and daughter,” continued Lacey, “and life with them and my sisters has been awesome ever since.”

“And the daughter was born here?” asked Life.

“And raised here too. Thank goodness for that. There’s something in this universe’s water that makes the students immortal after continual consumption. It even resurrects the dead and gives them a new body.”

“…When did this factoid come about?”

“It was confirmed by Vortoranii’s ghost about 500 years ago, local time-scale,” explained Death. “Apparently, in their early days, the Chizarans created other universes to seek immortality. This was one of the failed experimental universes.”

“Great, so Vortoranii tricked you all into using this universe as a place for After Academy.”

“Yeah, we weren’t happy with that. We made it work, though.”

“For some odd reason, we didn’t perceive the passage of time until the Vortech Wars,” explained Famine as she finished putting a mountain of parmesan cheese on her spaghetti and started eating.

“And Lacey’s new Academy House has really brought the students in,” War said with pride.

“…Is there room for a new House based on Philosophy?” asked Life. Death put a hand on her shoulder.

“Always,” she replied. “We’d be honored to have you be the Philosophy Department Head, should you wish.”

“I accept!” The Horsemen of the Apocalypse then embraced their once-lost sister of Flourishment.

“Welcome home, Life,” sighed Death happily.

Richard returned home after a job hunt. He went into his house and climbed the steps up to the living room. Gathered around the coffee table were his daughters, Farmee, and Galvatron’s holo-form. They were playing a card game.  “…You kids having fun?” asked Richard.

“Hi, Daddy,” replied Kaitlyn. “I think Farmee’s having the most fun right now. He’s picked up the nuances of the game fast enough to spank us all!”

“What game are you playing?” That’s when Kaede raged.

“WHAT IS THIS GAME, DUDE?!” she shrieked as she pulled cards out from a deck. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?! GIVE ME A GREEN! OR A SEVEN!! JUST! ONCE! WHAT?! ARE?! YOU?! DOING?! HOLY #*@&!”

“Oh no,” realized Richard.

“No, Mr. Saunders,” answered Galvatron as he and the rest of the players laughed at Kaede’s misfortune, “Uno.”

“…Okay, that was good,” chuckled Richard.

“FINALLY!” shouted Kaede as she pulled out a card she got from the deck. She threw a green eight onto the central pile and glared at Farmee. Farmee just smiled and pulled a card out from his hand. It was a green reverse card, one of the most dreaded cards in Uno.

“No, don’t do it!” laughed Kaitlyn. Kaede silently begged Farmee not to put that card down.

“Sorry, Madam,” said Farmee. He wasn’t, really, otherwise he wouldn’t have played the card. Kaede just stared at the pile in disbelief and fury as Kaitlyn and Galvatron laughed. She then looked at Farmee’s hand of two cards and looked at her own eighteen-card hand.

“…I DON’T HAVE A GREEN!” she wailed in rage. Farmee just sat in smugness as Kaitlyn and Galvatron were in hysterics. Kaede then let out the loudest shriek imaginable. She then slumped over and started pulling cards and adding them to her hand.

“Okay, you kids have fun,” chuckled Richard. Kaede just flipped him off. “Oh, come on! That was unnecessary!” he laughed. He then headed to his and Megumi’s bedroom to change into his casual clothes.

“NO!” wailed Farmee’s voice.

“Lost his edge, I see,” Richard chuckled to himself. He then realized that the shower was running. A Japanese song left the bathroom and drew Richard to the door. He tapped on the door loudly enough for the occupant to hear.

“Yes?” called Megumi’s voice.

“It’s Richard,” replied Richard. “I see our kids are teaching Uno to Farmee and Galvatron.”

“Well, Farmee, mainly,” corrected Megumi as she turned the shower off. “Galvatron already knew the nuances of the game. Who’s winning?”

“Not sure. All I know is that Farmee just lost his lead.”

“I guess he got a little cocky.” Megumi shut the shower off and Richard heard her take a towel off the rack. “It’s nice to see our girls expand their circle of friends, hm?”

“…Farmee, yes. But Galvatron…” Megumi opened the door as she finished wrapping her towel around her chest.

“You’re not objecting to them befriending Galvatron because he’s a Decepticon, I trust?” she hissed.

“He’s not just a Decepticon, sweetie! He’s Daddy Megatron’s successor!”

“He’s also a kinder leader than Megatron was!”

“Megumi, there are only two known Transformer-based universes where Optimus and Megatron stopped fighting each other! One is IDW’s first run of Transformers comics; the other is Transformers: Prime!”

“So, this would be the third known universe! Besides, Sonic and Optimus both vouched for the Decepticons!” Megumi headed for the closet. “If I might be frank, you’re making the same objections Arsha confided to me.”

“I’m gonna have to side with her! Transformers with red optics, as a rule, can’t be trusted!”

“So, we should distrust Blackarachnia, hm?”

“This isn’t about her!”

“She’s got red optics and Optimus still married her. Richard, you have Thundercracker on your team. I would advise you to look beyond your views on what Decepticons are, because the ones with us are, in all probability, different to what we know.” As Megumi got her clothes, Richard sighed in annoyance.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 24: And on That Bombshell…

By the time the heroes got back to Plumber HQ, Vilgax had escaped to parts unknown once again. They looked around the place. “Man, Khan really did a number on this place,” muttered Ben.

“We better tidy things up before we go,” said Megumi.

“Ben, you don’t mind the extra help, do you?” asked Optimus.

“Well, it WOULD make the work go faster,” replied Ben. He then turned to his Phury. ‘All right, you’re the one who memorized everything about this place. What needs doing?”

“Well, the power core needs a magnetic charge, for a start,” answered Phury.

“A magnetic charge, huh? Then Lodestar’s the alien for the job!” Ben selected his alien and pressed the Omnitrix core down. He turned into what looked like a gorilla made of red, yellow, and blue Lego bricks. “BLOXX!” he called. His face turned sour. “Bloxx can be used for hauling things, Omnitrix. Let’s go with the magnet guy, all right?” He slapped the Omnitrix symbol on his chest and became a gray, six-inch-tall, humanoid frog. “GRAY MATTER!” Gray Matter looked a little more frustrated. “Galvans don’t HAVE magnetic powers!” He slapped the Omnitrix symbol again and became a humanoid Japanese Rhinoceros beetle with a huge underbite. “EATLE!” he announced. That was it! “NOW YOU’RE JUST BEING STUPID!” he shouted at the Omnitrix symbol. “Now look, I want Lodestar, you hear?! I don’t want Humungousaur, I don’t want Four-Arms, I don’t want Way Big! LODESTAR!” He slapped the Omnitrix symbol once more and became a brownish-black and yellow alien with pincer claws and a metal head floating between his large, pointed shoulders. “LODESTAR!” He then folded his arms. “There. Was that so much to ask?” Lodestar then floated off to the power core. Phury was snickering at the schadenfreude.

“I’m surprised you didn’t get irritated,” remarked Arsha.

“Oh, I did,” replied Phury, “but seeing Ben get annoyed at the Omnitrix’s screwups is always funny.”

“…Yeah, they always get a chuckle,” mused Megumi. “It happened a couple of times during the Vortech Wars.”

Once everything was fixed, it was time to go. Life joined the heroes as they were gathering for their ride home. “You sure you wanna go?” Ben asked Life.

“Ben, it’s been fun being part of the Plumbers,” replied Life, “but I’m afraid my sisters need me. Besides, I want to see the new Chaos. It’s time for me to resign from the Plumbers.”

“Well, if you ever wanna come back,” offered Phury, “you need merely come find us.” Life then shook hands with Ben and Phury.

“You keep me in the loop on your relationship, you hear?” directed Life.

“Loud and clear,” replied Ben. Life then turned to Megumi and her team.

“Let’s go,” she said. Megumi then made a call.

“Megumi to Vorton, one rift directly to After Academy,” she requested.

“On its way,” answered Rusty. The rift then appeared.

“So, you’ve got control of the Vortonian Gateways, hm?” mused Life.

“Even THE Gateway itself,” answered Megumi. “You might remember it, the one with the Keystones.”

“The Main Gateway survived?!” Life whistled in amazement. “I thought Vortech smashed it!”

“Oh, we’ve got a lot to tell you!” Megumi then turned to her team. “To the Academy!” Everyone then jumped into the rift, and it closed behind them. Ben and Phury looked at where the rift was, and Phury looked a little concerned.

“…Stripes?” asked Ben. No response. “…Phury?”

“That woman was me if I went down a darker path,” muttered Phury.

“But you didn’t go down that path, that’s important.”

“Yeah, but I made a Royal Bid. You know, where I declare my intentions to be Appoplexia’s Queen? Given how similar she is to me…I’m not so sure I’m not gonna be like her.”

“She’s totally opposite of you. If your Bid IS successful, you’d rule Appoplexia with the dignity it deserves. You’re not cowardly like her.” Phury smiled.

“True that.”

Everyone made it back to After Academy. Richard was nearby when the rift opened. He rushed to Megumi and Kaede and hugged them. “It’s all right, Richard,” assured Megumi. “We’re both fine.”

“Mom DID get help this time, I promise,” said Kaede.

“And look who we found,” Megumi broke the embrace to reveal Batman and his family.

“Bruce?” asked Richard.

“How’s the Shift Keystone working for you?” quizzed Batman.

“It’s working fine, but what are you doing here? …Megumi, did you use the Locate Keystone?”

“Batman was assimilated by the Lords,” replied Megumi. “I only used my Keystone to bring the Batmobile and its passengers to Bellwood.”


“And it’s the Bellwood our Ben came from.”

“Awesome! How’s he doing?”

“Dating his universe’s Phury, one that I wish I faced in the 3V2R as she’s far and away more honorable than the one we know. In fact, the Phury we know became a Red Lantern Kamen Rider.”

“She was there?”

“And others. Get everyone here. We need to talk about who the Author recruited.”

“HIRO’S BACK?!” yelped Hiroki as Megumi gathered her immediate friends and family.

“And according to Batman, so’s Igura,” replied Megumi. “From what else I’ve heard, Igura gave birth to their daughter while they were in Hell.”

“And Metaltron’s got our Phury on her side?” asked Jandro.

“Not just her, it looks like,” said Batman. “She has a council, but I don’t know the rest of them.”

“In any case, this makes our job harder,” continued Megumi. “The Author has enemies that know our moves.” While Megumi talked, Hiroki stood up and headed to Sora.

“A word in private, please,” he said. Sora got up and followed him out of the meeting room.

“Otōsan, I know this isn’t-”

“I’m proud of you,” interrupted Hiroki.


“I’m proud of you, my son. You found an aspect of good to fight for.”

“…B…But I have a ring instead of a belt.”

“…Your point is?”

“Well, you and Mama are Kamen Riders and I felt that you would be disappointed if both me and Gabriella refused a belt and-”

“Sora, I never cared about that! Is that what was holding you back?”

“…Well…yes, it…it was.” Hiroki then hugged his son.

“My son, I’m sorry for not making what I really wanted for you clear. All I cared about was if you and Gabriella would fight for good. I didn’t care about if you two used a belt or a ring or a wand or dance moves! All I cared about was if you would fight for good and you’ve fulfilled my hope by being a Blue Lantern. If that’s what you feel is your path, then go on it! I will help you however I can.” Sora’s eyes misted, then he hugged Hiroki back and cried happy tears, a great weight being lifted from his shoulders.

“You can’t be serious!” pleaded Malnar.

“I don’t joke about that, Bonfire,” replied Arsha as she and her fellow Realmers gathered. “Dr. Borg is back and, according to Batman, so are her colleagues and spouses.”

“Great, after all the trouble we went through putting them in the ground!” grunted Foresna.

“Well, from what Batman said, Oyed’s not involved. However, Intrag is.”

“Intrag?” gulped Malnar.

“Lovely,” muttered Yufantel.

“The Terrorcons?” asked Megatron.

“All seven, according to Batman,” replied Optimus as he and his friends and family met. “The Author’s not playing around.”

“We need to form plans for the other teams,” said Blackarachnia. As everyone planned, Sky Runner got up and headed to Glyph.

“Walk with me,” she said. Glyph followed the young Autobot Seeker. They went into an empty courtyard.

“I see why you seek that next thrill hit,” chuckled Glyph. “Fighting Nemesis was fun!”

“You think you were thrill-seeking?!” snarled Sky Runner. “Take it from me, that was WAY too reckless, even for me!”

“…I thought you’d be proud!”

“There’s a fine line between thrill-seeking and suicide and taunting someone like Nemesis Prime is a good example of crossing it!”

“Oh, come on! Your dad beat him easily!”

“You didn’t listen to him all that much when he talked about his battles! While I may have been bored during his long history lessons, I still knew how dangerous Nemesis was back then when we fought him today! Dad had to wear him down by using the Chaos Emeralds! He had to resort to trickery later! I expected Dad’s successor to be better than that.” Glyph arched an eyebrow.

“What do you mean your dad’s successor?” Sky Runner’s optics went wide, and she took off, transforming into her jet mode in the process. “Don’t just fly off after a bombshell like that, Sky Runner!” called Glyph. “Sky Runner!! SKY RUNNER!!!” No response came to her.

Back on the Imperium, the Author sat in the throne room with his teammates. He drummed his fingers on the armrest. “That…could have gone better,” he grunted.

“Calling me the b-lister of Optimus’ Rogues Gallery!” growled Nemesis. “I ought to slaughter that green midget!”

“Never mind what she said!” snapped Dr. Borg. “Our enemies have a Source of Flourishment!” Hiro remained silent.

“…Nothing to contribute?” asked Metaltron.

“I went through something like this with the Sources of the Apocalypse,” replied Hiro. “When the Sources were gathered, their energy signatures acted as a beacon and guided my organization to Vorton’s new coordinates. Yes, they beat me, but-”

“Author, what are you doing?” interrupted Phury. Khan finished writing a new passage in the Tome. He then read it aloud.

“‘Once Khan shouted ‘Happy Birthday’, party decorations appeared and a plate with a slice of cake and a fork appeared in everyone’s hands and a party hat appeared on everyone’s heads.’” He then shut the Tome.

“Nani?” asked Hiro.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Once Khan shouted “Happy Birthday”, party decorations appeared and a plate with a slice of cake and a fork appeared in everyone’s hands and a party hat appeared on everyone’s heads. “To our backup plan,” explained the Author. “I had completely forgotten that them gathering the Sources of the Apocalypse was a detriment to our enemies in the long run! I shall let the other teams know that we have a backup plan! Of course, they should still try their hardest in their goals, but we have other means! Once you lot are done with your cake, head on over to 5-P-L-4-T-0-0-N to get Death’s Source and Jason Ikamesh. I have a plan.” The team looked at each other, then simply ate their cake, concerned about the Author’s mental state.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 23: Colors of Victory

“You’ve become a thorn in our side, Wimpy Me!” snarled Spectrum.

“Then I’m doing the Plumbers proud!” replied Phury. The two clashed and their fighting styles looked more like wrestling. Spectrum then tilted her belt and pressed her ring to it before returning it to its horizontal state.

“Shining Red Finish!” it announced.

“With blood and rage of crimson red,” said Spectrum as she pressed her ring to her gunsword, “ripped from a corpse so freshly dead,” she unfolded her weapon to sword mode and stabbed Phury in the belly and raised her up, “together, with our hellish hate,” Spectrum then punched Phury off and converted her weapon back into gun mode, “we’ll burn you all!” She fired a shot and it turned into a demonic red bull with four horns and sharp teeth. The bull headbutted Phury into a wall and broke it. “That is your fate!” Spectrum then jumped into the air and stuck her foot out. Her leg was surrounded in red light that came off her like fire and she dove at her Plumber double, cracking several of her bones. Phury was out of action. Spectrum looked to Sora. “You know, my double always prattles on about hope. Let me tell you something, Blue Lantern. Hope is an illusion. A farce to make people believe that things can go their way when they won’t.”

“You’re as wrong as Vilgax,” replied Sora. “Hope is what inspires people to journey among the stars in this universe. Hope is what gives my father and his friends and family the strength they need to defeat people like you. Hope is what fuels my heart on this day, this very hour!”

“Then you’re as weak as her.” Spectrum then leapt at Sora and had her ring hand above her head. Sora then weaved around her and jabbed at a point in her shoulder, causing it to go limp. Spectrum tried to get it to move, but it was paralyzed. “WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?!” she roared.

“Venusian Akido,” explained Sora. “Learned that from Michael who learned it from-!” Ex then slammed a punch into his back, causing him to cry out.

“You use the weapon of Ka Faraq Gatri!” she said. When she spoke, the eyes flashed at every syllable and her voice was laced with the harsh, grating, metallic tones of the Daleks.

“Yeah, I do!” grunted Sora. He swung a knife-hand chop, but Ex caught it.

“All techniques have been studied! The Doctor’s fighting style will NOT help you!”

“No, but perhaps SHE will.” Once Sora finished his sentence, Rosadera grabbed Ex’s head and flung her into a wall. Ex picked herself up and locked eyes with Rosadera.

“You will be exterminated!” barked the Dalek-like Kamen Rider.

“I don’t think that’s likely,” replied Rosadera. “If I recall, you joined Dalek Caan. He stole Chizaran technology and built your belt from that, didn’t he?”

“Correct! What you once used for colonizing uninhabited worlds is now used for glorious destruction!”

“Even War would be hard-pressed to call destruction glorious.”

“Then she has forgotten herself!”

“Wrong. In any event, that thing still requires a charge, doesn’t it? Waste your Rider Kick on me and you’ll be flattened.”

“I am fully charged! Records indicate you will show mercy! You are a friend of associates of the Doctor!” Ex then pressed a button on her belt.

“MAXIMUM EXTERMINATION!” it announced. Ex somersaulted into the air as the belt fired a bolt of blue light at Rosadera. Ex then unfolded herself so that her foot stuck out in a flying kick and both she and the bolt hit Rosadera. Rosadera screamed in pain as her skeleton could be seen in the light. She then exploded and Ex landed.

“ROSADERAAAAAAaaaaoh wait, what am I saying?” muttered Sora once he got over his fear. Once the fires of the explosion died, Rosadera was revealed to be rubbing her stomach.

“Unscrambling the insides,” she groaned, “very unpleasant.”

“Impossible! You are not a member of Beyond City!” barked Ex in disbelief.

“No, I’m one of the five Major Chizaran Princesses, the Pink Princess of Peace.” Rosadera then summoned a pink energy ball in each hand. “Check your records.” Ex did so, resulting in her backing away in fear.

“Mercy!” she begged.

“Come again?” asked Rosadera.


“Once! More!”

“MERCYYYY!!” Rosadera turned the energy balls into tendrils, wrapped them around Ex, and slammed her against the walls and deck of the Rumble-Disc before throwing her hard onto Spectrum, right after the Red Lantern Kamen Rider had restored her arm’s mobility. The impact was so hard, it knocked the two women out of their transformations. Rosadera then used her powers to tear the wall paneling off and bind the evil women to the floor, placing small strips of paneling on their mouths with only their noses to breathe through. Rosadera then dismissed her armor and picked Ben’s Phury up.

“You go help your friends and family!” she said to Sora. “I’ll stay behind and heal her!”

“Got it!” replied Sora. He then took off and Rosadera enveloped herself and Ben’s Phury in a pink aura.

While the fight went on, Rath made it to the Engine Room. He saw the Lords and other enemies scattered around his teammates. He then looked angrily to Batman. “…YOU DIDN’T LEAVE ONE FOR ME?!” he roared. “LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, BATMAN, GUARDIAN OF GOTHAM!”

“Oh, for crying out tears!” groaned Life. “BEN!”

“WHAT?!” Life then pointed to the display. “…Right,” mumbled Rath. He then tapped the Omnitrix symbol on his chest and he shrunk down and became a short, squat, broad-shouldered humanoid in a green and white mechanical suit with only a bald, purple scalp poking out of the neck. He had nozzles all over his scalp and arms and there was a window on his stomach that showed various gases flowing around his insides. “GUTROT!” he shouted in a gruff, Brooklyn accent. His right eye squinted. “All right, let’s see what we got here,” he grunted as he waddled over to the console. He looked at the chemical formula for the gas. “Ooh la la, that’s real bad stuff. Well, thanks to the formula, I know the counteragent gas. All right, hook me up.” Vilgax found a tube and attached it to one of the nozzles on Gutrot’s head. “All right, here we go!” Gutrot then forced a gas through the tube and into the Dark Energon gas supply. The computer reported what happened.

“Gas contamination at 50%. …60%. …70%. …80%. Unable to counteract. 90%. …Gas neutralized. Unable to fulfill primary function.”

“Now to take control of this thing!” growled Vilgax.

“Back away from the console, Vilgax!” snarled Weaver’s voice as he, Rift, and Nemesis arrived. “We do NOT want this situation to escalate!”

“GET AWAY FROM THEM!” shouted Vortex’s voice. The Vortex Driver and Herald O’s belt then spoke.

“Final Attack!” announced the Vortex Driver.

“End of the world!” called Herald O’s belt.

“RIDER VORTEX KICK!” called Vortex as she and Herald O delivered their Rider Kicks on Weaver and Rift, knocking them out of their transformations and into Nemesis. The heroes then dashed into the room, even with the Autobots stooping to cram themselves in there. The Rumble-Disc then shook.

“Balance at risk!” warned the ship. Just then, Sora flew into the room.

“Sorry for crowding this place,” he said. “What’s going on?”

“Tennyson, you will NOT scupper our plans!” growled Khan as he picked himself up.

“Oh, no, no scuppering here,” replied Gutrot as his hand hovered over the door controls. “Oh, and one more thing…” He then expelled gas from his arm and quickly shut the door.

“MY EYES!” screamed Nemesis. His compatriots were wailing at the tear gas they just got a whiff of.

“Ben, what was that?!” asked Life.

“Sulfur Dioxide,” replied Gutrot. “Don’t ask me how I know or how I do it. Hey, your ‘gas’ is as good as mine, am I right?!” He then laughed at the pun while everyone else groaned. Rosadera and Ben’s Phury then appeared in pink light just as the Omnitrix symbol flashed red and Gutrot turned back into Ben.

“The ship’s listing to port!” announced Vilgax. “We’re turning towards the desert behind the power plant!

“Everyone, against the wall!” called Vortex. Everyone dashed to the wall and altered the ship’s course. It soon crashed harmlessly into the desert and broke apart.

Once everyone got out, the villains looked to see the instrument of their wrath destroyed and Bellwood still standing. Nemesis growled and looked to the heroes. “You have made me one rabid fox!” he shouted. Then he noticed that someone was missing. “…Where’s Greenie?!”

“Knock knock,” said Glyph’s voice.

“…Who’s…there?” asked Nemesis. He turned around and was punched in the face by Glyph’s holo-form. Khan growled.

“Losing the Tome at that speed made it return to my ship. Thanks to you, I can’t simply write our escape away!” he snarled at the heroes. “But I always have a backup plan!” He pulled out a communicator. “Author to Imperium, six to return!” The villains then vanished.

“…I guess that’s that for now,” remarked Ben.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 22: Rumbling the Disc

Weaver was twirling out of the way of Royal and Herald O’s attacks. “Stop prancing around!” snarled Herald O.

“As your wish,” replied Weaver. He turned a dial on his belt’s spinnerets.

“ONINI SABER!” announced the belt. A sword modeled after a snake then appeared in his hand and he struck back. His swings cracked the eye of Herald O’s helmet and one could see her normal eye inside.

“At the risk of sounding like the Riddler,” remarked Weaver, “question: what kind of materials make up that suit? Answer: flimsy ones.”

“Not that much of a hinderance!” remarked Herald O. Her eye then glowed green before firing a green energy beam. It knocked Weaver onto his rear. Royal looked at Herald O in surprise. “…What?” asked Herald O.

“I thought you weren’t all that keen on using Tameranean abilities,” recalled Royal. “You called them, and I quote, ‘a cheap way to win a fight’.”

“Desperate times and all that. Besides, it doesn’t mean I fully hate Dad’s side of the family.”

“MMOBORO BLASTER!” called Weaver’s belt. His sword was replaced with a gun that looked like a gourd with a long neck.

“We’ll talk about it later!” said Royal as she and Herald O went on the defensive. Royal summoned her gunsword and converted it to rifle mode while Herald O flung green energy blasts at Weaver. Weaver shot at the energy blasts and twirled out of the way of Royal’s shots. Royal was about to take up a new position when a voice halted her.

“FINISH SWOOP!” it said. Rogue then came at her with his Rider Kick.

“RIDER ROGUE KICK!” he announced. The kick struck Royal and sent her flying. She landed hard and groaned as she picked herself up. “Here we are again!” chuckled Rogue. “Face to face once more! I’ve learned a few tricks since our last encounter. Wonder if you’re any different! DAI SUPER CHARGE!” Rogue’s armor adopted a purple and black color scheme and bulked up, temporarily becoming Kamen Rider Proto-Rift, then it exploded off of him to reveal his new form as Kamen Rider Rift.

“That’s not new!” snapped Royal. “I can do it better! DAI SUPER CHARGE!” Royal’s armor changed to a white and gold color scheme and bulked up as Rift’s did, briefly making her Kamen Rider Proto-Vortex, then her armor exploded off of her to reveal her final form of Kamen Rider Vortex. During the transition from Proto-Vortex to Vortex, Rift summoned his weapon and swung it down at her in sword mode. Vortex quickly summoned her weapon and blocked Rift’s swing.

“I’ve been dreaming up new ways to break you, musume-san, since I can’t kill you!” snarled Rift.

“I thought we already established,” replied Vortex, “that I’m not an Adachi girl anymore! I’m a Hishikawa! Don’t you and Igura already have one?!”

“Hana’s quite the improvement over you, yes. That doesn’t mean there’s no place for you at her side! Perhaps a new doll for her to model her new dresses?”

“I’m DEFINITELY not seeing her, then!” Rift then shoved Vortex off the edge of the Rumble-Disc. She caught herself in time, then saw Rift raise his sword.

“Watch your pinkies!” he laughed.

“You see?!” laughed Nemesis as he pointed out Rift and Vortex while they dueled. “We’re like that, Optimus! I’m the Hiro to your Megumi! The Dr. Borg to your Arsha! The Lord Vyce to your Linkara! The Ares to your Wonder Woman! The Frieza to your Goku! The Joker to your Batman! I am your greatest enemy! I am…I am…I am, Greenie, why the Hell are you laughing?!” Glyph finally stopped laughing.

“You?!” she said. “What a joke!”

“…I wasn’t being funny,” grunted Nemesis.

“No, you were! You’re Optimus’ greatest enemy? I know of greater from the history books alone! Starscream, Abraham Tower, Eggman, the Metarex, Zarak, Unicron, Primus, their combined form as Primacron, Vortech, Shockwave, they were greater enemies than you!” At this point, Nemesis was getting angry.

“Starscream?! Greater than me?! Liar!”

“It’s the truth! And even then, the people I just listed pale in comparison to his REAL greatest enemy! He may have made peace with him now, but Megatron was the greatest threat to the Autobots AND our universe!”


“No, Megatron was! Let’s compare Optimus to Superman for a minute!”

“I’m flattered, but I’m hardly him,” remarked Optimus. Glyph continued.

“You know who Superman’s greatest enemy is? It’s not Darkseid! It’s not Bizarro! It’s not Brainiac! It’s not Zod or Mxyzptlk or Metallo or Lobo! It’s Lex Luthor! What powers does Lex Luthor have? His genius intellect and ability to acquire resources to get ahead in the world! Those are his weapons against someone as god-like as Superman! Superman could easily crush Luthor into powder, but he doesn’t for a reason! Luthor knows that if Superman ever broke, a frail man compared to the average Kryptonian, it would send Superman down a dark path and he’d never come back from it! Luthor would have won! If Superman flattened Darkseid, then it would mean that Superman reached a new limit and Luthor is always eager to see Superman’s limits, unlike Darkseid who always made ridiculous assumptions on Superman’s power as you did with Optimus’!”

“That was Unicron who underestimated his power, not me!”

“No, you fell into the same trap as any god-like being when put in front of mortals,” replied Optimus. “You didn’t underestimate my physical power, but you DID underestimate my intellectual prowess. You thought I would just try to power through your Anarchy Beryl super form and didn’t think that I would still outsmart you. That’s what prompted me to throw you onto a heap of Korlonium crystals and it looks like your time in Hell never taught you that. If Megatron were in your position, he’d actually adapt his fighting style as Luthor does whenever Superman beats him.”

“You see?!” exclaimed Glyph. “You’re nothing more than Steppenwolf and Megatron was the Lex Luthor to Uncle Optimus’ Superman! You! Are! Not! Prime’s! Arch! Enemy!”

“MALFUNCTIONING GLITCH!” roared Nemesis. He grabbed Optimus by the head and slammed him onto the Rumble-Disc’s hull, then he clotheslined Arcee and Sky Runner as he bum-rushed at Glyph, then he knocked her onto her back and wrapped his fingers around her neck. “You guys need fresh air to keep your Spark burning, if I recall!” he taunted. Glyph’s onboard computer was flashing all kinds of warnings as her Spark trembled from lack of air. “Go on! Mock me and laugh! You miserable little glitch! LAUGH!” Glyph was gasping for air now. “I can’t HEAR you!”

“…Ha, ha, HA!” Glyph summoned what strength she had and punched her fist into Nemesis’ chest canopy. She grabbed the organic pilot inside and tossed him out, sending the cybernetic evil version of Tails right into Weaver as he opened the Tome and was about to narrate Herald O’s demise. The Tome fell from the Rumble-Disc, then vanished in a blue light.

“…A setback,” grunted Weaver. He then returned his gaze to Herald O. “But not enough to save you. In fact, not enough to save Bellwood!” He then made a call. “Crew, status. …Wait…what was that name you mentioned? …No, the one before Batman. …WONDER WOMAN?! …WHERE?!”

“What are you doing?” asked Rift.


“Wonder Woman?! Here?!”

“In the Engine Room!”

“Shouldn’t she be in her home universe, waiting for Batman?!”

“She, Batman, and their daughter are in the Engine Room right now!” Rift then glared at Vortex.

“You!” he said. Vortex then swung her legs up and into Rift’s face before regaining her footing on the hull.

“To be fair, I was trying to get just the Batsuit,” she said, “but the Locate Keystone gave me the Batmobile with Alfred, Robin, and Wonder Woman inside as well as a spare Batsuit.”

“Can’t Dr. Borg handle Wonder Woman?” called Nemesis. “I mean, she just has a rope.”

“That rope is the Lasso of Truth, you idiot!” replied Weaver. “Inside! Now! Both of you! Engine Room! Double time!” The three villains then dashed into the ship.

“After them!” called Vortex. The Autobots ripped open the hatch and made it bigger so everyone could get in. Vortex then called Batman.

“Batman, be advised!” said Vortex over the comms. “Author’s headed your way and is ready to destroy your wife’s lasso!”

“Understood,” replied Batman. He knocked a Lord out. “Arsha, look out! Wonder Woman, Robin, restrain Dr. Borg!” Arsha cartwheeled out of the way.

“What are you-?” Dr. Borg’s question was interrupted as Wonder Woman threw her Lasso around Dr. Borg and Robin slammed her against a console.

“Arsha, Life, you might wanna ask her your questions now!” advised Wonder Woman. Arsha then got up in Dr. Borg’s face as Life stood by.

“How do we stop this thing from spreading the Dark Energon gas?” she asked. The rope glowed and Dr. Borg spoke.

“The only way to stop the gas is to introduce a counteragent gas to make it a useless liquid. Only a Gasturian can emit the counteragent.”

“Gasturian?” Life then snapped her fingers. “Gutrot!”

“Who?” asked Robin.

“It’s one of Ben’s aliens,” explained Life. “Though he’d probably be more successful if the chemical formula of the Dark Energon gas were up. Doctor, how much security surrounds the formula.

“Only a vocal numeric password we stole from Batman, he uses it to detain prisoners.”

“Batman, we need your password,” said Wonder Woman. The Lords were already dispatched, so Batman got to a computer console, found the file, and activated a microphone.

“Nine-one-nine-three-nine,” he said. The file then opened and displayed the chemical formula.

“As for you…” hissed Arsha. She then slammed her fist into Dr. Borg’s face, knocking her out. Life then called Ben’s Phury.

“Agent Phury, we need Gutrot here!” she said. “Can Ben pull out of the fight?”

“That might be a challenge, but not impossible,” replied Phury. “We’ll meet you in the Engine Room.”

“Roger that,” answered Life. The call ended and Phury punched a Lord away. “Ben! We gotta get to the Engine Room!”


“BEN! ENGINE ROOM! NOW!” Rath backed off a bit.

“…Yes, Dear,” he mumbled. The two Appoplexians then took off, leaving Sora and Rosadera to hold Spectrum and Ex off.

“That’s right!” laughed Ex. “Run along! We don’t need to finish you!”

“Now, as for you two!” snarled Spectrum.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 21: Battle for Bellwood

The Rumble-Disc flew over Bellwood and caused a panic among the populace. Khan was waving to everyone down below. “Smiles, people! Smiles! It’s your last chance if Ben doesn’t give me Life!” Just then, a boom reached his eardrums. Khan put his hand to his ears and fell in pain as the subspace tunnel deposited the heroes. During the journey, all Kamen Riders had changed into their suits. Royal and Herald O charged at the Author. The Author got out of the way and pulled out a handle for something. A mechanical spider then scuttled up to him and attached itself to his waist, forming his belt. He pressed a button on the handle.

“What’s the word?” asked the spider.

“Henshin!” called Khan. The handle then split in half and he put each half under the spider’s legs. The spider then wove a cocoon around him, then he broke out as Kamen Rider Weaver.

“Stop this ship, Khan!” snarled Royal.

“With what brakes?” asked Weaver. The three Riders then clashed.

Meanwhile, Batman and his family managed to open the hatch. “It’s too small for Transformers,” said Batman.

“We’ll stay topside,” replied Optimus. “You just get in and get control of this tub!”

“Aha! Dead weight!” called Nemesis Prime’s voice. His foot then slammed into Optimus’ face. Once Nemesis landed, Optimus readjusted his jaw.

“Arcee! Sky Runner! Glyph! Form up!” he ordered as he deployed his battle mask. Batman led everyone else into the ship.

“Ah, I see I caught you in an indecent phase!” chuckled Nemesis as he pointed to Optimus’ mask.

“You, on the other hand, are PERMANENTLY indecent!” snarled Optimus. His teammates then surrounded Nemesis.

“Tell us, Nemesis,” asked Sky Runner as she leveled her sword at him, “why bother giving a human the ability to make a gaseous form of Dark Energon and assist him in poisoning the city, yet keep Dad alive?”

“To drive you guys batty, of course!” laughed Nemesis. “And one of you is already there!” Optimus growled at the Batman joke and swiped at Nemesis. Nemesis twirled away and shoved Arcee to Optimus.

“Ma!” called Glyph. Nemesis ended up behind her and drove his knee into her back. Sky Runner then slashed her sword across Nemesis’ back.

“Answers, Nemesis!” she snarled.

“Do you really think I’d allow someone else to eliminate my favorite sparring partner?” asked Nemesis. “Ha! I reserve that pleasure for me alone!”

“Then why-?!”

“Because I missed your daddy’s company!” Nemesis jumped out of the way of Sky Runner’s next chop and was now facing every Autobot. “We’re two sides of the same card, Optimus. After all, you knew where to find our toady, Vilgax, and I knew all along that if there was a trail of breadcrumbs, you’d find a way to gobble them up!”

“Nemesis, you’re not making any sense!” said Optimus. “Why would you side with the Author at all when you could just take the Tome?”

“Because you’ve always been my Ace, Optimus! My Ace in the Hole! Nemesis Prime, SLAYER MODE!”

“Optimus Prime, SUPER MODE!” A trailer for each bot then appeared out of thin air and unfolded itself into limbs. Nemesis’ trailer made arms and legs while Optimus’ just made legs. His legs came up to his arms as they assumed their alt-mode shape. Once his legs attached themselves to the split truck-bed, the feet folded into the legs as hands were deployed. The new upper torso attached itself to the legs as a harness lowered itself onto the shoulders and deployed a large gun to rest by each side of his head. The new super robots then dueled as Sky Runner, Glyph, and Arcee gave Optimus covering fire.

Inside the Rumble-Disc, Phury led everyone through the corridors. “All right, the engine room is somewhere here,” she said.

“Not one more step!” snarled Phury’s voice.

“Okay, that wasn’t me!” gulped Phury.

“Actually, it WAS you, but not you,” replied another voice. Metaltron and the Evil Phury stepped out of the shadows.

“…I am NOT going through all that alternate me nonsense!” snarled Phury. “That naked coward is NOT me!”

“Naked coward, am I?!” snarled Evil Phury.

“Now that’s an insult,” mused Metaltron. “And insults must be responded to in kind.” Metaltron then brought out a belt-buckle with a single slot in it. She fastened it to her waist as Evil Phury brought out a gray lantern. She then turned it sideways, put it to her waist, and it made a belt strap. Metaltron brought out a strange device with a hinge in the middle as Evil Phury tilted the left of the lantern up and put a red ring on her finger. Metaltron then put the hinged device into her belt and then put her hands to opposite sides of the buckle.

“Henshin!” the two women called. Metaltron pulled little levers and the hinged device closed to reveal a Dalek’s head as Evil Phury punched the lantern with her ring hand, then tilted it back to its horizontal position so one could see a white version of the Red Lantern Symbol against a red background.

“Base Armor!” called Metaltron’s belt as her armor teleported onto her. It had Dalek aesthetics and the helmet made her look like a cockroach.

“RAGE!” shouted Evil Phury’s belt. As red light surrounded Evil Phury, the belt spoke again “Hellish Hate! Red Rage!” The light died down to reveal Evil Phury in red armor with the Red Lantern symbol functioning as her helmet’s face.

“You,” remarked Seeker as she pointed to Metaltron, “I know you’re Kamen Rider Ex, but what about Phury’s evil twin?”

“I’m Kamen Rider Spectrum,” replied Evil Phury.

“Ben, Rosadera, Phury, form up!” called Sora. “We’ll knock them down a peg or two!”

“Bad idea,” replied Batman. “Red Lanterns are rage incarnate, just like a Dalek. Spectrum’s going to be tough to beat if Metaltron’s joining her.”

“Like they always say,” snarked Ben, still as Upgrade, “to beat your enemy, you gotta think like your enemy!”

“Ben, hold it!” called Phury. Upgrade touched the Omnitrix symbol on his chest and green light surrounded him. His form became muscular and tiger-like. He was now a male Appoplexian in a Luchador outfit, sans the mask.

“rrrrRRRAAAAAAAAATH!” roared Ben. Rath was now in control. He snarled at Spectrum and Ex. Spectrum cooed in pleasure.

“I see why you chose him as your future mate, sister,” she purred at Phury. “His Appoplexian form’s quite the specimen of virility!”


“…So, the men are just as dimwitted here,” muttered Spectrum as she charged at Rath. Sora intercepted her and threw her out of the way. Rath then went on all fours and charged at Spectrum. Spectrum then used her ring to make a gun-sword out of red light. She then fired on Rath and Sora.

“THAT’S ANOTHER MISTAKE!” bellowed Rath. “WHEN YOU SHOOT RATH, IT JUST MAKES RATH MAD!” Phury and Rosadera looked at each other, then nodded. Phury then went on all fours and charged at Ex while Rosadera touched her hair flower and it formed armor. As the fight went on, everyone else headed into the engine room.

Hiro and Dr. Borg were in the engine room, standing guard. A Lord had reported that everyone else had engaged the enemy. “So, we’ve got Optimus, Charline, and Megumi topside,” muttered Dr. Borg, “and the Author and Nemesis Prime have already engaged them. We have Phury and Metaltron fighting Ben, his Phury, a…Blue Lantern, and Rosadera. That leaves me and the Lords to fight the rest of our enemies.”

“What about me?!” protested Hiro.

“You’re needed topside. Khan doesn’t know Megumi like you do.”

“…Meh, I’ve been getting bored anyways.” Hiro then took out an eagle-shaped belt buckle and set it to his waist. It formed a belt strap and fastened itself to Hiro.

“Shocker Driver!” it announced. It then went into a musical loop consisting of a flute and drum. Hiro then took out a red i.d tag.

“Henshin,” he said. He then inserted the i.d into the belt and it dropped into a slot modeled after an eagle’s talons.

“ROGUE!” it announced. It then sang. “Hito yon’de Akuma no Shocker! Hito yon’de Akuma no Shocker!” (People call us the Devil, Shocker! People call us the Devil, Shocker!) Hiro became Kamen Rider Rogue and Dr. Borg summoned a teleport circle.

“Away you go. I’ll handle the engine room.” Rogue dashed onto the circle, then he vanished as Batman led the remaining heroes into the room. Arsha locked eyes with Dr. Borg.

“I’ll handle the bug,” she said. “The rest of you keep the Lords of my back and find a way to stop this thing.” Arsha and Dr. Borg then clashed.

“Is that all I am to you, a bug?” asked the cyborg Sprite.

“In this case, a cockroach!” replied Arsha.

“I prefer wasp!” Dr. Borg then swung a kick at Arsha. Arsha caught the leg and flipped her opponent but forgot about the wings. Dr. Borg caught herself in the air and swung her feet at Arsha’s face, swiping it with her talons. Everyone became occupied in some fashion, with time against them.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 20: In Fearful Day

The team surrounded a small building advertising itself as Max’s Plumbing and had a cartoonish version of Max. Batman and his family covered the main entrance with Ben, Royal, Shade, Optimus, and Arsha. Batman made several hand signals, but no one moved. “…I! Don’t! Know! What! That! Means!” hissed Robin.

“Three! Of! You! Go! Around! Back!” Batman whispered in return.

“Why doesn’t he just say that?” asked Optimus. He pointed to Shade and Royal. They followed him to the back of the store. Ben then entered the store and went into a bathroom with a single toilet and an out of order sign on it. He then carefully pulled the chain above his head. A hidden elevator then brought Ben down into the base. He stepped out of the elevator and quietly approached a computer. He keyed in several commands and arched an eyebrow.

“That…that’s not possible,” he muttered. He then made a call through the Omnitrix. “Er, guys, I don’t know how to tell you this, but…it’s empty.”

“There’s gotta be a mistake, Ben,” replied Royal. “Check and recheck.”

“I already did. There’s nothing!” The cell behind him then broke and Vilgax strode out.

“Well, well, well!” snarled Vilgax. “If it isn’t Ben Tennyson himself! Tell me, how are things going?”

“I take it the Rumble-Disc isn’t here?” guessed Ben as his hand hovered over the Omnitrix.

“Ah, so you know of their plan.”

“Yours too.”

“I WAS a part of it, until they abandoned me!”

“Well, once you’re back in your cell, we’ll be able to find them.”

“You won’t find them in time.”

“I’ve got Clockwork to help me find them!”

“You say that as if the Author doesn’t know of your aliens and doesn’t have contingencies in place for them. He most assuredly has plans in place for Chronosapien interference. Admit it, Tennyson. We need each other.”

“No way! I need to stop them, and you only want me dead so you can get the Omnitrix! I don’t see that as a good way for us to be allies!”

“I DON’T want the Omnitrix right now! I just want their heads on a platter!” Ben glared at his hated nemesis for a bit.

“Ben, this has to be the stupidest idea you’ve ever had!” snarled Ben’s Phury as everyone gathered around a console with Vilgax keying in commands. “You’re just gonna buddy up with the guy who’s been trying to kill you since you were ten all to stop a Rumble-Disc?! Ben, this is nuts!”

“It’s not the craziest thing I’ve done,” replied Ben.

“Besides, we need all the help we can get,” observed Megumi.

“And you guys expect him to be buddies?!” protested Phury.

“We’re anything but buddies,” assured Ben.

“Glad to know that,” rumbled Vilgax.

“…Yeah, sure, dismiss the Appoplexian’s concerns! That’s smart!” grumbled Phury.

“We’re not dismissing your concerns, Ma’am,” soothed Optimus. “Vilgax IS on a leash.”

“We’re getting closer to its location,” reported Vilgax. “Just a few more…NO!”

“What’s wrong?” asked Batman.


“What?!” Megumi rushed to the computer. “…There’s a comms channel here! Private and untraceable!”

“Let’s see what the enemy has to say!” urged Optimus. Megumi opened the comms channel and the Author and his team appeared onscreen.

“I don’t believe I’ve met you in person lately, Metaltron,” growled Megumi.

“I had no reason to meet you at the moment,” replied Metaltron.

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one,” chuckled Nemesis. “There were two fellows on a secure channel. One says to the other-”

“Where’s the Rumble-Disc?!” demanded Optimus.

“You call that a punchline?!”

“You’ve got a Joker-level sense of humor and, like Batman here, I don’t share it.”

“But we’re linked, you and I! Like comedy and tragedy! Two sides, same coin!”

“The Rumble-Disc, Khan!” snarled Megumi. “Or I vow I will turn the smiles of you and your team upside-down!”

“Well, if it’s discs you want, you can forget it!” snarled Khan! “Unless you surrender Life and her Source, Bellwood will get severe Dark Energon poisoning! There’s no amount of Light Energon to counteract that!” The call ended and the computer console exploded. Vilgax roared in fury and smashed the console’s remains.

“I WAS THE ONE WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO CONQUER THIS WORLD!” he roared. His shoulders then drooped. “All is lost. He’s far too powerful to fight.” Sora looked around, then spotted another console. As he looked at it, he got an idea. He briefly thought about how it would fail, then he looked at the Blue Lantern ring. His face then slowly went from doubt to determination.

“…You’re wrong, Vilgax.”

“What did you say?!” snarled Vilgax.

“I said you’re wrong!” Megumi arched an eyebrow. This wasn’t like her nephew. “All is NOT lost! I’m willing to bet that the channel can still be traced! We just need to use another console!”

“What good will tracing the channel do?!” demanded Vilgax.

“It means we’ll know where the Rumble-Disc is going, and we can get inside it before it causes damage!”

“It IS easily breached,” mused Phury. “A couple strikes at the service hatch up top will get us inside.” She sharpened her claws against one another.

“And if we fail to damage it sufficiently enough, Way Big can toss it out of here!”

“He’s right!” agreed Ben. “Straight into the sun!”

“Hopefully with EVERYONE out,” remarked Batman.

“The Rumble-Disc automatically teleports its occupants to safety,” replied Phury. She looked at the perplexed looks. “…Well, given our lifestyle, we kind of want our soldiers to stay alive as long as possible!”

“That’s true,” recalled Ben. “Appoplexians value all forms of life, right down to the infants.”

“See? Even Ben knows how we work!”

“Only because he accidentally unlocked Rath and was stuck as him when transporting the Tiffin to Pantophage,” remarked Optimus. Ben twitched.

“You see? All is not lost!” declared Sora. He then pulled out the Blue Lantern Ring. “This ring stands for one simple creed; all will be well! In this hour, I say that is the one truth we ALL fight for, even you, Vilgax!”

“Even if we do track it,” grunted Vilgax, “how do you expect us to get up there?”

“Several of us can fly and carry others with us,” replied Sora. “In a few seconds, so will I! We WILL get through this!” Just then, the ring flew out of Sora’s hand before hovering in front of him.

“Sora Hishikawa Elizondo of Beyond City,” said a voice. “You have the ability to instill great hope. Welcome to the Blue Lantern Corps.” Sora opened his right hand and splayed his fingers. The ring then fitted itself onto Sora’s ring finger. A blue lantern then appeared. Sora took the handle and put his ring to the back of the lantern.

“In fearful day,

In raging night,

With strong hearts full our souls ignite

When all seems lost in the War of Light,

Look to the stars, FOR HOPE SHINES BRIGHT!” invoked Sora. With the Blue Lantern Oath taken, blue light surrounded him. The light died and Sora’s robes were replaced with a set of blue armor with the Blue Lantern symbol on his chest and the kanji for “Nozomi”, the Japanese word for wishes or hope, was emblazoned under the lantern symbol. He wore a blue eye mask with white lenses over his eyes.

“…My nephew, a Blue Lantern,” sighed Megumi happily as tears came down her eyes. “I’m so proud!”

“Ben, see if one of your aliens can track the Rumble-Disc!” urged Sora.

“On it!” replied Ben as he activated the Omnitrix’s selection screen. “Gray Matter will have that thing on radar lickety-split!” He then slid the faceplate back and revealed the core. He slammed it down and a black ooze flowed over him. His chest then became green as green circuit lines appeared. A green ring then served as his eye as the Omnitrix’s symbol appeared on his chest. “UPGRADE!” His voice sounded like it was his own with a robotic undertone to it. The top of the eye then depressed to make a semi-circle with the flat side on top. His head then stretched to the Omnitrix symbol. “Confused about which alien comes from Galvan Prime, hm?” he asked. “Oh well, I can make this work.” Upgrade put his hand onto the computer console and melted, then flowed onto the console and made it black with green circuit lines and added a few extra bits to it. “All right, tracking the comms channel now and…got it! The Rumble-Disc is headed towards Bellwood’s Nuclear Power Plant!”

“Has the Author lost it?!” yelped Phury. “That’s a recipe for disaster! If it crashes into the power plant, the engine core will not only deploy the gas, it’ll make a nuclear explosion that will propagate the gas across the entire United States and Canada!”

“I’ve got control of our new subspace tunnel generator,” reported Upgrade.

“But the boom it makes!” protested Phury.

“We’re a little pressed for time! Everyone, cover your ears!” Everyone did as Upgrade suggested and a portal opened with a boom!

“ARGH! BOOM TUBE!” wailed Robin. Upgrade then pulled himself off the console and it reverted back to its natural state.

“Minna, ikuze!” called Megumi. “CHARGE!” Everyone dashed into the subspace tunnel and it shut behind them.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 19: Preparations

Megumi looked out of Jefferson’s eye for a moment. She was waiting for Bruce. “You’re early,” remarked Bruce’s voice as he approached her.

“I’m like the Flash,” joked Megumi.

“Not really. Despite his speed, Barry’s got terrible timing. What’s on your mind?”

“…Bruce, there’s no easy way to say this without bringing up recent trauma, but we need to know the Author’s plan concerning Plumber HQ. Did he say anything to the Lords?” Bruce took a breath before he adopted the Bat-Voice.

“They intend to flood Bellwood with a gaseous form of Dark Energon, thus poisoning everyone unless Life comes with them. This universe’s Phury was the control by injecting liquid Dark Energon into her bloodstream. The Phury you know was all too happy to perform the test.”

“And do you know the enemy’s numbers?”

“Right now, it’s Hiro, Khan, Nemesis, Evil Phury, Dr. Borg, and Metaltron.”

“Metaltron? I haven’t heard that name since the hunt for Dalek Caan.”

“Well, she’s involved.”

“What about Vilgax?”

“They’re not concerned with breaking him out.”

“He’s not gonna like that.” Megumi then snapped her fingers as she recalled something. “We need you to suit up. You can’t exactly fight without your utility belt. …And I haven’t exactly used a certain object for some time!”

“That thing can’t get you what you want, only what you need.”

“Well, we NEED the cowl.” Megumi then pulled a metal gauntlet out of a hidden pocket in her dress. She fastened it onto her hand and a symbol glowed. The symbol looked like an alien compass. “Hello, Locate Keystone.”

“Do you still remember how to use it?” asked Bruce.

“…It HAS been a while.” Megumi decided to check the instructions on the gauntlet. “Ikuze!” she whispered to herself. “Locate Keystone, Activate!” The symbol then glowed. “Initiate Rift Detection!” The symbol then went a pale green. Megumi then wandered around the room. As she did, whenever her hand passed over an area, the green glow became less pale. Soon it was a solid green as a white crack appeared on the wall. “Identify Source of Rift!” The symbol flashed a few times as it beamed the information directly into her head. Megumi grinned. “Bingo! Locate Help from D-C-C-0-M-1-C-5!” The crack became a rift and a bat-themed armored car landed in front of the two.

“Voila,” said Megumi as she gestured towards the current Batmobile.

“Perfect!” cheered Bruce. He approached it and the rear opened. It revealed two harnessed seats that came out and tilted down. A raven-haired girl in a red and green costume with a skirt and cape and a bald man with a thin moustache and wearing butler clothes raised the harnesses.

“Mr. Wayne!” called the girl.

“Master Bruce!” said the butler, Alfred. The Batmobile’s canopy then opened and a black-haired woman with a tiara, a red leotard with a blue skirt, and a golden rope then jumped out of the Batmobile’s cockpit.

“Robin, wha-” The woman, Wonder Woman, then saw Megumi. “…I see we’re among friends.” She then saw Bruce. “And family!” The two then hugged and kissed.

“…Is Batman-?” Megumi asked the girl, the current Robin.

“No, that’s Bruce Wayne,” replied Robin.

“Miss Persephone, it’s all right,” assured Alfred. “Megumi Hishikawa already knows about the family.”

“Oh. Well, in that case, DADDY! MOMMY! CUT THAT OUT! IT’S GROSS!”

“Don’t knock it until you try it, Persephone,” replied Bruce.

“More dimensional mishaps?” asked Wonder Woman.

“Yep. This time, someone wants to rewrite all of reality.”

“You’ll be happy to know, Master Bruce,” said Alfred, “that there’s a Batsuit in the Batmobile.”

“Thanks, Alfred.” Bruce then opened a compartment that revealed the cape and cowl he was famous for. He then put it on and assumed the usual stance of Batman.

“With all that, minna, we better bring you up to speed,” declared Megumi.

Everyone heard about the Author’s plan from Batman. Megumi, Ben, the Phury Ben’s dating, Optimus, Arsha, Max, Batman, Wonder Woman, Kaede, Sora, Rosadera, and Life sat around a table. Ben pulled up a layout of Plumber HQ with the enemy’s movement in real time. “All right, the enemy’s prepping some old Appoplexian ship that was long decommissioned after the Highbreed War,” he reported.

“It’s a Rumble-Disc,” explained Phury. “It’s designed to spread toxic gas over a wide area and Bellwood falls within that area.”

“In any event,” said Ben, “according to enemy movements, the Rumble-Disc is ready to launch. They’re just sitting there.”

“This is a good opportunity to strike,” declared Megumi. “Optimus can get us in via Locus-”

“He can’t,” said Batman. “When Optimus first used it, the Lords studied its energy signature. They’ve adapted to it and fed the information into Plumber HQ’s defense grid.”

“Then how do we get in?” asked Arsha. “They’re sure to have closed off the entrance Sky Runner’s team used.”

“There’s another entrance that they haven’t checked for,” replied Max. The display then zoomed in on an entrance. “It’s disguised as my plumber shop.”

“That’s the main entrance, Grandpa!” protested Ben.

“It’s also too obvious for them to believe we’d be that crazy,” remarked Wonder Woman.

“Making it perfect to confuse the enemy,” mused Megumi.

“Speaking of the enemy,” said Rosadera, “who knows how they function?”

“At least the Lords are easy to explain,” replied Kaede. “I’ve been catching up with Star Trek: Picard. Like Optimus, I know of how the base Borg functions.”

“I never got a chance to watch Picard,” revealed Optimus. “Could you explain any further Borg facts?”

“Not much about them is different than the series you grew up with. The Borg still have the adaptive shield matrix and attack en masse.”

“Adaptive shield matrix?” asked Phury.

“Yep. A couple of shots at Borg Drones with a laser weapon at one frequency will automatically send data about that frequency along the Collective and they will change their shields to block that frequency. Unless you can change the settings quickly enough, you’ll be overpowered.”

“What about frequency modulators?” asked Max.

“Those will definitely help against the Borg.”

“But they’re also a drain on power,” remarked Ben. “The Omnitrix is more efficient than that. When he died, Azmuth gave me every single command code on this thing.”

“Azmuth’s dead?” asked Megumi.

“He died a month ago. Tough old Galvan, we all thought he was too stubborn to die.”

“So he gave you EVERY command code?”

“Yep, even Master Control. Combined with the Randomizer Function, we should be able to plow through the Lords.”

“All that’s left,” mused Rosadera, “is to figure out the weaknesses of the enemy’s generals.

Back in Plumber HQ, Khan the Author was speaking to his teammates outside Vilgax’s cell. “How are Rumble-Disc preparations?” asked Khan.

“Did you write that we would get everything ready ahead of schedule?” asked Nemesis. “Because we’re ready right now.”

“I didn’t, but it’s good to hear that we’re ready.”

“Well,” said a blue-skinned woman in a skimpy Dalek-themed outfit, Metaltron the former Last of the Daleks, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t see the enemy giving Life up that easily.”

“You’re quite right, which is why Bellwood’s soon-to-be massive loss of life will be on their head.”

“After that,” rumbled Vilgax, “our alliance will have served its purpose.”

“Hm?” quizzed Dr. Borg.

“Our agreement. Once you have Life, you give me the Omnitrix.”

“…That was the deal?” asked Hiro.

“It was,” replied the evil Phury.

“…A pity,” remarked the Author. “We could use the cash.”

“You wished to use the Omnitrix for petty robberies?” asked Dr. Borg. A nasty thought formed in Vilgax’s head.

“No, but we gotta make some money here. …Maybe we should put it up for auction. The Techadon Weapon Masters would pay a fortune for it.”

“Perhaps, if he breaks out of Incarcecon in time,” chuckled Phury, “Vilgax would get first bid.” That set Vilgax off. He slammed his fists on his cell door.


“‘Once the Tome closed, the cell door’s security systems delivered a shock that wasn’t strong enough to kill him but was enough to send him flying to the back of the cell and knock him out.’” He then snapped it shut. Once the Tome closed, the cell door’s security systems delivered a shock that wasn’t strong enough to kill him but was enough to send him flying to the back of the cell and knock him out. “With all that,” said the Author, “let’s get to work.”

Over in Mt. Rushmore, Optimus looked at Ben’s Phury. She arched an eyebrow, feeling unnerved. “…What?!” she snapped.

“It’s just…I never thought I’d see the day,” replied Optimus.

“What day?”

“Well, I only stopped at Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, when he used the Ultimatrix. Whenever he turned into an Appoplexian, there wasn’t anything to indicate genitals. …You guys really wear clothes? Appoplexians wear pants?” That…wasn’t the correct thing to ask an Appoplexians. A ticked-off Phury grabbed Optimus’ holo-form by the collar and hoisted him up to her face.


“Wait, so you’re telling me that, all this time, Rath was running around…” Optimus’ holo-form eyes went wide. Phury growled before sighing.

“Buck naked. And the Appoplexians wanted Ben’s head for a time until Rath got clothes. …Still, he knows how to keep the peace and got us Appoplexians in the Plumber Alliance. With that hurdle cleared, I just had to ask him out.”

“…Good for Ben, I guess?” Phury gave a low growl, guessing the implications of Optimus’ statement. Optimus wisely took off.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 18: Sora’s Future

Everyone was following a modified, old GMC motorhome, lovingly called the Rust Bucket 2 and belonging to Ben’s grandfather, Max Tennyson. Right now, Life was behind the wheel and the cavalcade was going across the country to Keystone, South Dakota, straight to Mt. Rushmore. Max was driving the Rust Bucket 2 with Xiomara, Sora, and Life as his passengers. They were sitting at the table with Sora looking out the window. “…Mi hijo?” asked Xiomara. “¿Está bien?”

“…No, Mama, I’m not,” mumbled Sora.

“What’s on your mind?”

“…How can I make Dad understand?”

“…No entiendo.”

“I know Dad wants me to be a Kamen Rider. Why else would he ask about me being a hero? I DO want to be one, but I’m not so sure I can specifically be a Kamen Rider.”

“Batman’s not a Kamen Rider,” reminded Life.

“And your father’s not pushing him to be one,” remarked Xiomara.

“But Dad’s always going on about how Kamen Riders are the most varied type of hero!” replied Sora.

“That’s not entirely true, the various Super Sentai teams are rather varied.”

“Sora, was it?” asked Life. “It sounds to me that you fear that you’re failing your father.”

“…I am.”

“Now that’s not true at all!” remarked Xiomara.

“Mama, what if he doesn’t accept that I don’t want to be a Kamen Rider?!”

“He WILL! …If he stupidly doesn’t, I can make him understand.”

“You know, there’s an organization that I think could help you,” mused Life. She then gave Sora a blue ring. Sora picked it up and saw that the ring had the symbol of what looked like an alien lantern on it.

“…The Blue Lantern Corps?” he asked.

“They could give you the serenity your crave and give you the ability to fight without the use of a belt.”

“I’m sure Papa would love to know that his son is a Blue Lantern,” urged Xiomara.

“…I’ll think about it.”

“Here we are!” called Max. “Mt. Rushmore!” The familiar carved faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln loomed over everyone. The cavalcade drove into the mountains and a secret entrance opened to reveal a hidden base. Ben’s Phury was taken to the medical ward and Sky Runner advised the medical staff on treatment. It required Energon to counteract the effects of the Dark Energon in Phury’s bloodstream. The two would cancel each other out and the body’s immune system would naturally purge it. She would be out of action for a few hours. As he waited, Sora looked at the ring Life gave him. Life then approached Sora again.

“…It’s a big decision,” she remarked.

“…Life, do you even WANT to leave this universe?” asked Sora. Life grimaced.

“To be honest, no.”


“Because this universe is one of the most diverse ones when it comes to life-forms. Yes, it has its baddies that want to burn it or control it, but this universe is proof that life finds a way!”

“Then maybe your Source would be safer here.”

“I don’t think I got the full story about why you lot are here.”

“…It’s about the boss of the ones that invaded Plumber HQ. You see, he has something called the Tome-”

“The what?!”

“Th-The Tome.”

“The same Tome that can make something real by writing it down and narrating it?!”

“Y-Yes!” Life’s face was frozen in stark terror.

“…That’s why they’re here! They want my Source!”

“They’re after your sister’s Sources too,” called a voice. It was Rosadera. “Optimus, Megumi, and Arsha’s 3V2R prizes are also needed for the Author’s grand design.”

“…Then it really IS time to go home. …Will they really accept a nine Horseman Sisterhood?”

“It’s ten again,” said Sora. Life looked to him in surprise. “The Horsemen of the Apocalypse found their new Chaos, a lady by the name of Lacey.”

“…40,000 years it took them to do that,” mused Life. She smiled. “Order’s going to like that. …I miss them so much.”

“Then maybe now’s a good chance to reconnect with them,” suggested Sora.

“…Not until we get my Source back.”

“Where is it?”

“In a hidden pocket dimension inside Plumber HQ. We must retake it soon.”

“We better discuss this with everyone, then,” declared Rosadera. “Sora, are you coming with us?”

“I…I still need to decide,” replied Sora.

“Just know this,” said Life, “you don’t need a belt to be a hero.”

Sora spent some time to himself. He still couldn’t figure out what he wanted to do when it came to stopping evil. As he looked out of Washington’s eye, his mind still spun with questions. “And they say I brood a lot,” chuckled a voice. A de-Borgified Bruce Wayne then came up.

“…Mr. Wayne, how do you cope?” asked Sora.

“…With what?”

“With being what Gotham wants you to be?” Bruce chuckled.

“Take it from me, if Gotham found out the connection between me and my night life, they’d want me to give up being Batman.”

“Then how can you really say you’re a hero?!”

“There are enough people that look up to Batman as a symbol of hope. As long as I can inspire someone to fight against evil until the day they die, then I have won. …It’s about your dad, isn’t it?”

“I worry that he can’t see that there are other means of fighting evil without a belt.”

“I don’t think he’s THAT obsessed with the Kamen Rider franchise. I doubt he’d be in the F.N.S if he was that mule-headed. Remember, I fought alongside him in the Vortech Wars. While his preferred method of hero work involves a belt to give him armor, he respects my own methods. He once compared the variety of heroes to ice cream, there are many different flavors and they all taste good to someone.”

“But what about carrying on the legacy? I mean, don’t you want one of your family to be the next Batman?”

“I’d rather they find their own path.” Sora was surprised by that answer. “That’s what any parent wants. When Dick Grayson became Nightwing and got himself out of my shadow as Batman, I couldn’t be prouder of him. And I know Hiroki, he would want you to carve out your own path.”

“…I guess I’m not so hopeful,” admitted Hiroki.

“You know, there’s an organization in my universe that fights for hope,” replied Bruce. “They usually assist the Green Lanterns.”

“…You’re not talking about the Blue Lanterns, are you?”

“You know about them?”

“I’ve done some research on each Lantern Corps. Life gave me a Blue Lantern ring.”

“Well, Kamen Riders fight for hope, why not assist them as a Blue Lantern? Just a suggestion.” Bruce then headed off and Sora took the ring out of his pocket, staring at it.

“…Hope,” he muttered. “…I could do with that myself.” He then looked to the stars. “Imagine that, a monk needing hope.”

Bruce met up with Megumi, Optimus, and Arsha. “Something on your mind, Bruce?” asked Megumi.

“Your nephew is a little lacking in hope,” replied Bruce. Megumi grimaced.

“It’s something he’s struggled with for his entire life. He looks up to his father a lot and wants to emulate him, but he’s come face to face with the fact that he’s not his father and he feels like he’s failing himself.”

“That’s a load!” remarked Optimus. “He’s not failing anyone!”

“Unfortunately, I know all too well of children that feel like they’re not living up to their parents’ ideals when they feel that their parents are wrong in some fashion,” sighed Arsha.

“One of your kids?” asked Megumi.

“Both of me and Lardeth’s kids. They wanted to be heroes like us but didn’t like combat. It was a huge relief to them when we told them we didn’t like combat either, especially after the Final War. I think Sora and Hiroki need to talk it out soon.”

“I have a feeling the conversation will be better than Sora realizes. I know Hiroki. He’s a very understanding man. The only thing he’s afraid of is that his son won’t find his own path.”

“Any parent fears that for their kid,” replied Optimus. “I went through that with my daughters. For a moment, I thought that my own kids would want to be a Prime. When I offered them the Matrix, though, they said no, they didn’t want to lead the Autobots. …Now, Glyph, on the other servo, I think she has potential to be a better Prime than me.”

“If Arcee’s okay with it,” remarked Arsha.

Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 17: Fight for Life

Optimus and Nemesis continued their duel, with Optimus striking fast and Nemesis blocking every blow. Optimus then swatted Nemesis’ knife-hand chop and made something fall out of his arm and crash onto the floor. A purple liquid spilled out of the object. “Huh, I’m out of fuel,” muttered Nemesis.

“And I’m out of patience for you!” snarled Optimus as he decked Nemesis. Nemesis ended up sprawled on the floor.

“You REALLY know how to spoil a coming-out party!” he grunted. “How am I supposed to spread the gospel of darkness if you destroy any and all Dark Energon deposits and take away a proper hideout for me and my associates?”

“You’re sick!” hissed Optimus. “You need mental help fast!”

“Well, maybe I DO feel a little…off.” Nemesis then slammed his foot into Optimus’ chest and sent him to the floor. “But being sent to Hell will do that to you! You think it’s all about demons constantly whipping you and pouring lemon juice on the wounds for all eternity?! No! It’s being crammed into a damn cul-de-sac with no privacy, no space to call your own, and constant sharing circles with two dress-wearing Oni that can make multiple copies of themselves, one of them being a damn transvestite! Well, not this time! This time, Khan’s brought us back to life AND with bodies like Megumi’s! Immortal AND invulnerable!”

“Yet she could still fell pain!” Optimus then got back up and went on the offensive.

“You know,” Nemesis quipped as he blocked the blows, “I think Plumber HQ would be a great set of digs! Our current hideout’s a shanty in Under-town, right below Bellwood!” Optimus then drove an uppercut into Nemesis’ jaw. Nemesis rubbed his chin. “All right, you win this fight, but not the base! Mark my words! Bellwood’s gonna be shrouded in darkness for eternity unless Life comes with us!” Nemesis pulled his gun out and fired. Optimus dodged the shot and Nemesis took that opportunity to transform and get away. Optimus briefly considered pursuing him, then he recalled that his friends were fighting the Lords. He then made a call.

“Megumi, this is Optimus. My evil twin, Nemesis Prime, is escaping. Be advised, he’s unhinged.”

“Roger that,” replied Megumi. She ended the call. “Suit up! Arcee, have you met Optimus’ evil twin?”

“No, but I know about him,” replied Arcee. “He’s actually two evil doubles in one Unicron-worshipping package. The Optimus Repaint exterior is piloted by an evil cyborg version of Tails.”

“Tails’ smarts, Optimus’ powers, and a wicked streak the size of a single universe. Lovely,” grunted Megumi.

“Vortex Driver!”

“Crysta Driver!”

“Hen-!” Disruptor shots then hit the pavement near them. The Lords then surrounded them.

“What in-?!” spluttered Xiomara. A few Lords then appeared with a woman in their grasp. The woman had obsidian skin and wore white.

“One false move and Life gets it!” warned a Lord.

“She CAN’T get it,” remarked Kaede. “She’s an immortal.”

“Oh, she doesn’t need to die, but she’s gonna wish she can!”

“Y…You can’t!” gasped the woman, Life.

“Oh, but we can!”

“What did the Author say about them?” snapped a voice. Everyone turned to an alleyway to see a woman come out. The appearance of the woman made Arsha freeze in terror. The woman was cyan-skinned, had moth antennae sprouting from her hair, insect wings on her back, cybernetic legs, a cybernetic arm, and a prosthetic right eye. The talons of her feet created holes in the pavement as she came out of the alley. Arsha’s terror was palpable.

“…Borg!” she whispered.

“DOCTOR Borg, Arsha,” corrected the woman, the cyborg Sprite, Dr. C. Y. Borg. “Then again, for you, it’s been 15,000 years, so you’re bound to forget things about enemies you’ve killed. I take it you’re ruling the Realms?” Arsha said nothing. Dr. Borg then turned to the Lords. They all had their disruptors pointed at Life. “Only the ones holding her need to keep their weapons on her,” she said. “The rest of you, keep your disruptors trained on our adversaries. If they even blink in a fashion that indicates they’re going to do something, open fire. Oh, and avoid the Transformer’s chest. Yes, that’s where their Spark is, but that also means that’s where their armor is the strongest. Aim for the metal that matches the face’s color, then coordinate fire at the points where the armor overlaps the skin.”

“Don’t do this!” warned Life.

“Did you say something?” asked Dr. Borg.

“Leave her out of this, Borg!” snarled Arsha, coming to her senses. Dr. Borg smirked.

“Not even questioning why I’m here before you! You guessed who brought me back and how by virtue of learning about my colleagues’ return. That’s what I like about you, Arsha, you make decisions based on the facts. It’s because of that that you’re predictable! That’s why victory is assured for us! We’ve read up on you and your activities! We know your every move! We know how you think!”

“Do you know what I’m thinking right now?” Dr. Borg chuckled at Arsha’s question.

“Yes. You’re thinking ‘What’s my arch nemesis’ grand design this time?’”

“Something along those lines. I’m also thinking about who to take out first.”

“Take them out? What would your family say, dating one of the Lords behind their back?” Dr. Borg laughed at her crass joke. “Just so we’re clear, I fully intend to present your corpse to the Realms, but you need to suffer first!” Kaede looked at one of the Lords holding Life down, then her eyes widened.

“…Mr. Wayne?” she said. Dr. Borg smirked again. Megumi saw who Kaede was talking about.

“Bruce, what happened to you?! When did you get assimilated?!”

“It was during a Parent Teacher conference with Damian’s boarding school headmaster,” explained Dr. Borg. “He’s remained silent since his assimilation. Through that, we’ve learned about his Agamemno Contingencies. Did you know he was so paranoid that he made one for himself if he turned rogue? I remember how it goes, the file was called ‘Detective’ and it read ‘While Batman is a master strategist and combatant, he is only human. The best way to disable his strategic abilities would be to distract him, his parents are an excellent blind spot as is his endless crusade to protect the innocent, taking hostages is a good distraction, particularly if they’re friends or family.’” Megumi smirked this time.

“You didn’t read it all!” she said. Dr. Borg looked offended.

“What’s THAT supposed to mean?!” she snarled. “I recited it word for word!”

“You missed a sentence in that one.”

“Oh, really? And how does that sentence go?”

“Bruce, wanna explain or should I?” The Bruce Wayne Lord glared at Dr. Borg.

“‘Think carefully before you do this’!” he said. He then decked his fellow Lords and tore the disruptor off his arm. The armor on his head then lowered to give the illusion of his usual appearance as Batman.

“The Bat’s betrayed us!” called a Lord.

“Get rid of him!” ordered Dr. Borg. She then shrunk to the size of an insect and flew off.

“Stop them!” ordered Megumi. This time, the transformation was uninterrupted.

“Henshin!” called the Riders. They then adopted their Rider personas as everyone, even Life, got ready to fight. Sora was alarmed.

“Ma’am, please get to safety!” he urged.

“I appreciate the concern,” replied Life, “but I wear flats for a reason.”

“TATAKAE!” called Royal. Everyone went on the offensive, with Batman taking out the most Lords. It became a source of light contention.

“Batman!” protested Seeker. “That was mine!”

“You were about to kill him!” snarled Batman.

“They’re too far gone, unlike you!”

“Not what you think! We do! Not! Kill!”

“Batman’s right!” called Shade. “The Lord Collective is nowhere near as oppressive as the original Borg Collective. Just knocking them out for a bit is enough to bring them to their senses.” To prove her point, the Lords she already knocked out woke up and looked around.

“What the?” stammered one. “Downtown? I was in the financial district!”

“Wait a minute, these are Bellwood citizens?!” yelped Sora.

“Thanks for the tip, Batman!” called Life. Everyone dialed it back and knocked their enemies out. Once the fight was over, everyone was panting. Royal turned to Batman.

“I’m immortal, yet I’m getting too old for this,” she joked.

“You’re out of practice,” remarked Batman.

“You’re no spring chicken yourself, Bats,” observed Shade. “Your kicks weren’t getting high enough, even with all that Borg kit.”

“I’m aware. It’s why my new daughter’s taking up the cowl and modifying her batsuit.”

“…Daughter?” asked Royal.

“Diana and I married and had a kid,” explained Batman. “Damian constantly reminds me I have two blood children now.”

“And he approves of Wonder Woman as a mom?”

“He and the rest of the…‘Batfam’ insisted I marry her. I was surprised she gave up her own immortality for me.”

“I guess she figured a life without you would be empty.”

“…That’s the most plausible theory.” Royal and the rest of the Riders then ended their transformations.

“Good to see you again, Batman,” she said as she shook his hand.

“And you, Megumi. Thanks for giving me an opening to betray the Lords.”

“Glad I could help. Come on, Bats. We better get that Borg junk off of and out of you.”

“The only place that could do that safely would be Plumber HQ. It’s currently occupied by the enemy, even when Nemesis Prime got away from Optimus.”

“What about the rest of the team?” asked Arsha.

“They’re safe. Magister Max Tennyson got them out of there and this world’s Phury is being taken care of.”

“That still leaves our Phury,” muttered Arcee.

“Batman,” said Megumi, “do you know who else the Author brought back? We know Hiro and Nemesis Prime are with Dr. Borg.”

“He’s brought back Dr. Borg’s spouses and councilors, a former wraith known as Intrag, Nemesis Prime’s fellow Terrorcons, and Hiro’s wife and daughter.”

“His daughter? I thought she was still in Igura’s womb.”

“She was born in Hell and made to suffer like the rest of the damned.”

“Hold on, she was punished for sins she didn’t have a chance to commit?!”

“You can guess that the experience made her insane.”

“No kidding. We better regroup somewhere.” Megumi activated her communicator. “Minna, we gotta meet up elsewhere. Guess who’s back?”