Downtown Station Square was, regretfully, a mess. That tends to happen when the Joker and Sauron are involved. The new arrivals were trying to keep the property damage to a minimum. They were Richard’s classmates, Brenden Patterson and Liam McIntyre, and Liam’s Head of House, Pestilence. They were in their respective Rider forms of Herald Y, Highland, and…well…Pestilence. Highland had activated his shield’s gatling gun and fired on Sauron who blocked the shots with a magic shield. The Joker sprayed acid from his boutonniere and almost hit Pestilence, but she dodged the attack and fired from her own weapon. Herald Y converted his knife into gun mode and fired. The Joker deflected it with a baseball bat. Herald Y got out of the way as Highland shield-bashed him right into Sauron. “Watch it!” roared Sauron.
“You watch it!” squawked the Joker.
“OOGA BOOGA!” screamed a voice, scaring the Joker and causing him to leap onto Sauron’s head.
“GET OFF OF ME, YOU PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A COURT JESTER!” demanded Sauron.
“Prime, PLEASE tell me you caught that!” laughed the voice. The owner of the voice revealed himself from behind a trash can. It was Kamen Rider Guard. Optimus’ holo-form joined him from the alleyway and was howling with laughter.
“Just posted the video to Mobochat!” he hooted. “It went viral!”
“HEY, DON’T YOU KNOW IT’S RUDE TO POST SOMEONE’S FEAR ON SOCIAL MEDIA!” shouted the Joker as he got off of Sauron.
“Yeah, right!” argued Guard. “Like you haven’t during one of your heists!”
“I’m the Clown Prince of Crime,” remarked the Joker, “I’d rather keep as low of a profile as I can. …Which isn’t saying much for me!” He then gave off his signature laugh and made a balloon sword. He swung it at Pestilence who dodged it. The balloon sword hit the pavement of the street and caused it to crack as if a massive hammer struck it. “Impact rubber!” explained the Joker. “Courtesy of Shocker Rift! Amplifies the damage of my swing when it detects the slightest bit of force, yet still light as a feather! Perfect for breaking ribs!” He swung the balloon sword sideways, making Pestilence roll out of the way and shattering a street lamp on impact. The Joker laughed all the while as Highland charged at him with his shield out in front. The Joker heard Highland’s shout as he charged and swung the balloon sword at him. Highland blocked the attack and felt some force go up his arm from the impact. Nothing was broken, thankfully, just hurt. “Hm, that should have cracked the shield,” mused the Joker. “Still, the noise you made as pain traveled up your arm was rather funny!” He laughed again. Meanwhile, Guard was assisting Herald Y with Sauron. His mace was still magically enhanced as it threatened to shatter Richard’s weapon. Their respective weapons locked with each other.
“Shre nazg golugranu kilmi-nudu,
Ombi kuzd-durbagu gundum-ishi,” rasped Sauron.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, ‘Nine for mortal men doomed to die’, I’ve heard all that before!” interrupted Guard. “Yet dying is called the Gift of Men for a reason!”
“I hardly see death as a gift!” argued Sauron.
“Yet we explore more of the world while immortals just sit and do nothing!” hissed Guard. “We become stronger than the immortals!”
“No one is stronger than me!” roared Sauron.
“Then what did Isildur do?” countered Guard. “Oh yes, he reduced you to nothing more than a flaming eye atop Barad-dur!” Sauron howled in frustration and anger and swung his mace upwards, knocking Guard backwards. The impact from the mace caused the suit to crack in its energy distribution nodes from undersuit to armor, making energy spark all over Guard’s body, so the automatic suit cancellation functions in his belt did as advertised and reverted Guard back into Richard and returned his i.d. tag to the pockets hidden in his belt while he gasped in pain. Sauron loomed over Richard menacingly.
“Prepare to join Isildur in death!” boomed the Dark Lord of Mordor as he raised his mace.
“ENOUGH!” shouted a voice. “CAPTO!” Sauron’s mace was grabbed by unseen hands and his downwards swing was interrupted by the invisible hands tugging on it. The mace was then yanked out of his hands and tossed away. He turned to see runic circles made of light around Optimus’ hands.
“…A machine?! Using magic?!” protested Sauron.
“Yep,” replied Optimus. Sauron roared before casting his own magic to alter his size. Right now, he would tower over Optimus’ robot mode. “Okay, so you don’t need to use your voice in casting magic,” mused Optimus. “I suppose I would be worried if I fought you in my normal robot mode.”
“…You too?” groaned Richard.
“Pardon?” asked Optimus as he looked around Sauron.
“Some versions of you have a super mode,” explained Richard.
“Well, this one does too,” confirmed Optimus. “Optimus Prime: SUPER MODE!” His trailer appeared and split into four long units with an empty box in the center. The nosecone of Optimus’ vehicle mode split and moved to the sides of the car while the rear extended. The cockpit area then rotated and revealed his head as the long units extended and revealed joints, hands, and feet while Optimus flew into the box and connected to the new limbs. Armor folded down to cover the interior robot and a larger version of his helmet wrapped around his head. The limbs then moved as Optimus wanted as he punched his new hand. He was now as tall as Sauron was currently. “Let’s do this!” challenged Optimus.
“You will fall just like Men!” snarled Sauron as he retrieved his mace and enlarged it so he could wield it once again. Optimus combined his axes and got into a defensive stance, daring Sauron to make the first move. Sauron charged at Optimus, raising his mace up high, exposing his chest to Optimus’ axe swing. Sauron shrieked in pain as he clutched his chest. Optimus readied himself for another swing, but was tripped up by the Dark Lord of Mordor. He landed hard on his back as Sauron recovered and raised his mace. Just then, he was shot from behind! Everyone turned to see Hiro grabbing the Joker by the ear and pulling him over to an open dimensional rift. Megatron, in his own super mode and the one who most likely shot Sauron as his fusion cannon was still smoking, grabbed Sauron’s head and threw him into the rift. He then turned to Optimus, leveled his fusion cannon at him…then opened his hand. Optimus arched an eyebrow.
“I assure you, brother, my hand is no trap,” chuckled Megatron. Optimus then grabbed Megatron’s hand and was pulled upwards.
“I suppose I would be safe in assuming that was a one-time save?” guessed Optimus.
“Most safe,” confirmed Megatron. “When next we meet, both of our armies will have been built up and only then will we try to kill one another. See you then.” He followed Hiro through the rift and it closed behind them.
“…Better start detailing repair crews,” muttered Optimus.
When everyone was returned to the Autobot base, Optimus was introduced to Brenden, Pestilence, and Liam. The reason Ironhide didn’t participate in the fight was because he was injured and unconscious. Sauron’s magic had dealt severe blows to Ironhide’s internal mechanics, so he was laid up in the Repair Bay for some time. Ratchet had assured everyone that Ironhide was going to make it and be cleared for duty soon. Richard was starting to get a little bored and looked out the window. He heard someone politely clear their throat and turned to see Swalmu fanning himself. “Nervous, I take it?” asked Swalmu.
“Bored, actually,” replied Richard. “I’m not used to periods of inactivity. We have the mines set up and cloaked, we’ve got more people helping us, Pestilence told us about finding a Temporal Stop, I honestly have nothing.”
“Our host has graciously invited us to join him for a game or two,” offered Swalmu. “As someone who enjoys a good game, I see no need to object.”
“I suppose we can see how Cybertronians play,” mused Richard. “Let’s check it out.”
The game was in the Entertainment Room and it was there Richard discovered that there were video games in Swalmu’s home. It was a trivia game and it was clear enough Optimus, Richard, and Swalmu were at a disadvantage, being foreigners to Mobius. This was a Mobius-based trivia game, not one from Cybertron, Richard’s home, or any of the Realms. Swalmu was in the lead at the moment and Richard was trailing dead last. The question came up and the three were wracking their brains. They pressed a different button on their controllers and the results were revealed. Swalmu got it right and pumped his fist. “Got it!” he cheered.
“I don’t know any of this scrap,” muttered Optimus. Richard pressed another button too fast and lost some in-game money.
“Wha…?!” he protested. He then kept pressing the button and losing money.
“Dude, what the frack?!” laughed Optimus as Richard went into negative numbers. “You just lost all your money!”
“IF I CAN’T BE THE BEST,” declared Richard, “I SURE AS HELL CAN BE THE WORST!”
“Richard, chill out a minute!” giggled Swalmu. Richard then laughed at himself.
“I’m sorry,” he finally answered, “I got frustrated!” Just then, a piercing squeal attacked their ears! Pestilence then came running in and hugged Optimus’ head, still squealing.
“OMYGOSHYOU’VEBEENINVITEDTOTHEVERSEVS.VERSERUMBLEROYALETHISISSOAMAZINGICAN’TEVEN…!” she shouted happily.
“Pestilence, whoa! Slow down!” called Richard. Pestilence then let go of Optimus and jumped down.
“Richard, did you tell him how honored he should be in fighting in the Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale?!” asked Pestilence, a fat grin on her face.
“I don’t know, how honored should he be?” quizzed Richard. The grin slowly faded.
“…Haven’t you ever HEARD of the Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale?! The 3V2R?!” she yelped.
“Can’t say as I have,” answered Richard.
“…AREN’T YOU THE SPORTS GUY?!” wailed Pestilence.
“It’s rare for me to do sports commentary,” replied Richard. “What is it?”
“…There’s something a little YEESH about a guy that’s never heard of the 3V2R!” winced Pestilence. “All right, quick summary, the first race to appear in the multiverse was the Chizaran race, built like humans with all the varying skin-tones. Over time, they achieved godhood and, after exploring the limits of their power, were struck down with boredom and ennui. So, in response, five of the main Chizaran princesses invented a tournament to keep everyone entertained: the Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale, or the 3V2R. Because they saved their race from boredom, they went from princesses to Princesses.”
“Lowercase p to capital p,” observed Richard. “So, who’s their Queen or King?”
“They don’t have one,” replied Pestilence. “It’s the capital p princesses that rule the Chizaran race.”
“So, I have to fight in a gladiatorial match for them?” asked Optimus.
“Maybe,” answered Pestilence. “That’s the beauty of it; to keep it interesting, each match is different. You’re randomly assigned an opponent and one of you has to decide what the actual battle’s going to be.”
“Really?” remarked Optimus. “To me, it sounds like it could be a thumb-war.”
“Maybe,” conceded Pestilence. “It’s happened. When War participated in one, her final match before claiming victory was an arm-wrestling match. Just 10 whole minutes, back and forth! There ARE rules to it, though. While one of them chooses the match, both of them have to agree on the general idea of how the fight’s gonna play out. There’s gotta be a reasonable chance one of them could win.”
“How’s that determined?” chimed in Swalmu, his interest held more by the conversation than the game.
“That’s something the Chizarans figure out,” explained Pestilence. “Best thing about being a god, you learn rather quickly if someone’s got a snowball’s chance in Hell at winning.”
“What happens if the contest results in someone getting killed?” asked Swalmu.
“The Chizarans don’t allow that,” replied Pestilence. “You get stabbed in the heart; they’ll fix you right up!”
“That explains the red lady’s comment of all battles being non-lethal,” muttered Optimus.
“I take it you’ve asked questions while holding your invitation?” asked Pestilence.
“I did,” replied Optimus. “I’m spacing on their names now.”
“Just use Spanish colors to help,” explained Pestilence. “Rosadera’s pink, Azuliterii’s blue, Verdutha’s green, Rojenthi’s red, and Moradelia’s purple. Tell me, what’s First Place Prize?”
“Moradelia told me that they haven’t decided the First Place Prize yet,” answered Optimus. “It sounds cool, but I need to know what the prize is before I decide. Apparently, my deadline is until I meet Richard’s wife and a Ms. Arsha Royana.”
“Arsha?!” yelped Swalmu. “A tip, when you meet her, don’t call Arsha ‘Ms. Royana’, call her ‘Your Highness’.”
“She’s royalty?” asked Optimus.
“Hanako’s daughter, princess of the entire Mid-realm, and Captain of a skyship named the Endeavor,” explained Swalmu. “If she’s invited and we need to meet with her, then we need to locate a Temporal Stop NOW!”
“I’ll ask Ratchet how he’s doing, given the information we could be given,” declared Optimus as he stood up.
“I’ll tell those of my home about this development,” replied Swalmu as he got up.
“I’ll tell my people to be on the lookout for any trickery from our enemies,” resolved Richard as he hit quit and shut down the gaming console.
“Well, Optimus shows promise,” chuckled Azuliterii as Rojenthi brushed her long tresses.
“He still hasn’t decided yet, much like Megumi,” countered Moradelia as she perused a history book.
“I have faith he will,” assured Azuliterii.
“All done,” declared Rojenthi. Azuliterii got up and offered her a hand. Rojenthi accepted and they started dancing slowly.
“Have we got any definitive answers?” asked Moradelia.
“That Emperor Dalek was a mistake,” remarked Rojenthi, “so he’s not participating. His opponent, Bolt Boy, on the other hand, he’s on the roster.”
“What about Ms. Furella and Supremo?” asked Azuliterii.
“Their preliminary round is still on,” replied Rojenthi. Rosadera then came into the room.
“Ms. Furella and Supremo are both worthy enough to participate,” she declared.
“Perfect!” cheered Moradelia.
“And Linkara?” asked Rojenthi. Verdutha then came in via a green flash of light.
“Linkara has declined,” she sighed. “He’s still participating in the Temlins’ Contest of Champions.”
“What?!” yelped Rojenthi as she and Azuliterii stopped dancing. “Why’s he participating in THAT tournament?! That’s a knock-off of ours!”
“There’s no point in arguing, his decision has been made,” sighed Rosadera. “We’ll have to try others.” The other four grumbled.
“When?!” whined Metaltron. “When do we strike?!”
“Now,” purred Caan.
“Finally!” cheered Metaltron. “Our first step is our Dalek brethren, correct?”
“Correct,” confirmed Caan. “We must give them the secret of returning, safely, to their old casings. Hiro may keep the Daleks he created.”
“What do I need to do?” asked Metaltron.
“I will go to the good Doctor and the Mouse,” declared Caan. “You will go to our ancestral homeworld and introduce data relating to our brethren’s freedom. Make sure you’re not seen.”
“I obey!” obliged Metaltron as a rift opened for her. She departed as Caan changed the coordinates for his first destination.