Vorton was back to normal operational status as Megumi sat in her room. Hiro was perfectly content to stay in solitary confinement so he could grieve in peace. She would never wish the kind of hell Hiro’s going through onto anyone. She looked out the window for a bit until the door chimed. “Come in,” she bid.
“Thinking about Hiro?” guessed her husband’s voice.
“I’d never wish for anyone’s children to die in the womb,” replied Megumi as she got up so she could sit in Richard’s lap. She wiggled a little to sit comfortably while Richard wrapped his arms around her.
“…How do you want to proceed with him?” asked Richard. “We can’t keep him in the brig forever.”
“He wants to bury Igura in their home universe,” answered Megumi. “After which, I don’t know. I know he has to go to trial for his crimes, but does he need that now?”
“I can’t answer that with any measure of authority,” sighed Richard. They both just sat there, content to look at the stars surrounding Vorton. The door chimed again.
“Who could that be?” muttered Megumi. “Come in!” The door opened to reveal Moradelia.
“I’m not interrupting, am I?” she asked.
“Not at all,” replied Megumi. “Please, come in. What can I do for you? …Wait, why didn’t you appear as you usually do?”
“I heard about Hiro and figured you didn’t need any surprises while thinking about him,” explained Moradelia. “Optimus and Arsha are being visited by Rojenthi and Verdutha, respectively.”
“What’s the occasion?” asked Richard.
“All of the contestants have been selected and all dossiers are compiled,” replied Moradelia as she handed Megumi a folder of the dossiers. “We will give you two weeks according to your universe’s time scale. I would recommend you give copies of the dossiers to all of your friends and make plans for any potential threats.”
“Thank you!” praised Megumi as she accepted the folder. “We sure will!”
“I will see you in two weeks, then!” cheered Moradelia as she departed in a purple flash of light.
“I better contact Optimus and Arsha,” declared Megumi as she dashed to the comms.
“Do you…need me to…?” asked Richard as he pointed to the door.
“You can stay,” replied Megumi. “I may need you to relay the news.”
“Got it, sweetheart,” confirmed Richard. Megumi made her call and Optimus and Arsha appeared.
“Hello!” she called. “Did you two get your dossiers?”
“Sure did,” confirmed Arsha. “We should probably have a meeting with our teams about this.”
“Would tomorrow morning work?” asked Optimus.
“Fine by me,” replied Arsha.
“Vorton’s fixed up enough,” mused Megumi. “My engineers need a small break. We’ll meet at Castle Nerd Skull’s hangar at 9:00. We’ll inform everyone about the biggest threats to our reaching the semifinals and start thinking up strategies to overcome them.”
“I’ve got an electronic copy of the dossiers,” offered Optimus. “If you two need copies made for everyone in your groups, we can still plan with mine.”
“Just leave mine and Megumi’s out,” advised Arsha.
“Richard-chan, could you make some copies of the dossiers and tell everyone about the meeting tomorrow?” asked Megumi.
“Sure will!” replied Richard. He took the dossier folder and headed out to make the copies.
“Ensign Barmek,” Arsha called to her left.
“Yes, Captain?” asked Bashoon.
“I need you to have these dossiers copied so everyone can have a copy for a meeting at Castle Nerd Skull tomorrow morning,” directed Arsha. “Make sure everyone knows about the meeting when they receive their copies.”
“Aye, Captain,” confirmed Bashoon as she took the folder and headed off.
“She’s gonna go far in Realmfleet, I just know it,” chuckled Arsha. “Now then, let’s do some planning.”
The next morning came and everyone arrived at Castle Nerd Skull’s hangar. The Autobots were in their alt-modes, Dyno-bots too, and were waiting for their respective leaders to start. “Minna-san!” began Megumi. “How are we today?”
“We’re a little confused,” admitted Moe.
“Why do we have fighter dossiers?” asked Larry.
“The only time we needed them was when one of us won the Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale,” remarked Curly.
“Well, Optimus, Arsha, and I are in the current one,” explained Megumi.
“Oh!” realized Curly.
“Well, congratulations!” praised Moe.
“Hey, we’re missing someone!” called Larry.
“He’s right,” interjected Usagi I. “Where’s Mickey?
“He…declined attending,” replied Richard. “He said he had business to take care of in his home universe. Apparently, Maleficent is spreading a curse over the park.”
“You know, I’m getting a little sick of Mickey not being here when we need him,” muttered Emily.
“Never mind him,” advised Megumi. “We’ll start without him. Does everyone have a folder of dossiers?”
“We do,” replied Ultra Magnus as he spoke for the Autobots.
“So do we,” answered Oak for the Endeavor crew.
“And us,” finished Richard.
“Even we do,” called Scorpainia as she spoke for the Horsemen and their Heralds.
“Perfect!” cheered Megumi. “Then we shall begin.”
“As many of you know,” began Arsha, “Optimus, Megumi, and I were invited to participate in the Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale. We were each declared worthy enough to participate and we hadn’t received any news about it until yesterday.”
“To help prepare the participants,” continued Optimus, “the Chizarans, the ones running this whole shindig, send out detailed dossiers about the competitors to everyone fighting. The fact is, if we’re in this, we’re each in it to win it.”
“First Place prize is known in many realities as the Master Wand,” supplied Megumi, “a wand that can let you do ANYTHING you want from alchemy to surpassing the gods themselves. The three of us agreed that that’s just too much power for anyone to have, so one of us is locking it away.”
“And Megumi’s implying what you think she’s implying,” Arsha went on. “The three of us have an agreement that we need to stay together until we get to the semifinals. After that, all bets are off and we’re each making a grab for the prize so one of us can lock it away for all time.”
“As such, we’re each keeping our strategies towards each other secret,” Optimus continued. “To sum up, I have plans on how to beat Megumi and Arsha, but I’m not telling them, just as they’re not telling me how they intend to beat me. Right now, this meeting will be centered on preparations.”
“Preparations for what?” asked Twaldar.
“Enhancing our tech,” began Megumi.
“Brushing up on our magic,” continued Arsha.
“Keeping our teamwork up to scratch,” finished Optimus.
“Well, we DO have something on our side,” mused Lukas. “With Herr Tails’ help, we were able to determine what happened when our enemies fled Vorton after Mordor fell.”
“Bad news first,” directed Megumi.
“Shields and weapons are still ruined,” replied Lukas.
“In addition, it’s taking a long time to install our backup systems,” reported Rusty. “I’d say we’re only 12.5 percent done. We’re still sorting through it, but a lot of hardware still needs repairs before every system is back online.”
“And the good news?” asked Megumi.
“We still have a fix on Mobius and the Realms,” answered Lukas. “On top of that, Dell studied the Ascendant and came to an interesting discovery. Herr Conagher?”
“Much obliged,” replied Dell. “The Ascendant can now be mass-produced.”
“How’s that possible?” asked Bumblebee. “It needs a Transformer’s Spark to bring it to reality.”
“Ah, ah, the ORIGINAL did,” corrected Dell. “By studying it, I think we can make it so all the Vortex Riders can have Ascendants. I’m still trying to figure out how to make an Ascendant for a Chronicle Driver. Until I do, it’s a Vortex Driver gimmick only.”
“Keep at it,” directed Megumi. “All right, War?”
“Thank you,” bid War as she turned to everyone. “Scorpainia and I have agreed to be their coaches for this tournament. Of course, with the Stooges having admitted that one of them won one, we might need their insight…such as it is.” Curly gave a “HM!” of protest. “What did you win anyway and who fought?”
“That was me,” replied Curly. “I got the ability to survive anything and the permission to share it with two of my friends.”
“Then any help you can give would be appreciated,” offered Megumi.
“Oh boy! I’m a coach!” cheered Curly. “They called me Cutthroat Curly back in the ring! I’d punch the bag for two hours straight!”
“Only after the bag hit you back,” snarked Moe. Curly then waved his hand in front of Moe’s face. Moe moved his head to track it. Once Curly was satisfied that Moe was paying close attention to his hand, he moved it up slowly, then brought it down fast, making Moe snap his head downwards. “Why you!” snarled Moe as he smacked Curly’s scalp.
“If we’re all done,” interjected War, “I’d like to continue. The tournament starts with 32 contestants. Over time, that number gets whittled down. As of now, we don’t know who they’re going to fight for the first round. We’re still going over the dossiers, but we picked a few that we believe to be our biggest threats and need to come up with strategies on how to fight them.”
“Assuming we know what contests they’ll pick,” rumbled Ironhide. “It might be a board game, for all we know.”
“Maybe, but that might be a little more fair than the Chizarans want it to play out,” replied Optimus.
“Chances are good that they’ll pick something they’re good at,” continued Arsha. “The rules state that the contestants have to have a ‘reasonable chance’ of victory for either side.” Curly gulped.
“Curly’s gulp was from experience,” mused War. “‘Reasonable chance’ means whatever the Chizarans feel like it means. In one of my rounds, I picked axe throwing and my opponent may have only held an axe once in his life. They let me get away with it.”
“Let’s start going over the other participants,” declared Megumi, “starting with the one Optimus faced in HIS preliminary round: Beatrice, the Golden and Endless Witch.” A hologram of her appeared.
“Beatrice?!” yelped Blackarachnia. “The Witch of Rokkenjima?!”
“The same,” confirmed Optimus. “Beatrice is a complex lady with a convoluted backstory. She exists outside of reality and is skilled in Endless Magic, creating illusions and toying with life and death. She kills everyone on Rokkenjima just to play a sick murder mystery game with Battler Ushiromiya and prove that witches exist. Apparently, that cruel persona is a front as she’s more childish in truth. She hasn’t yet understood how life can’t be manipulated without consequences. She starts off as a full on villain, but becomes more heroic over time. She views everything as one big chess game. She prefers to let her opponents destroy themselves with mental trickery. Considering I managed to turn the tables on her before losing to her, chances are good that, if she faces me again, she may just use fireballs.”
“This is her third tournament,” continued Megumi, “so she’s pretty new to all this. Speaking of new guys, flip over to the next one: Ultragingana, the Cosmic Queen.” Beatrice’s hologram was replaced with a girl in a frilly dress with ribbons in her hair and carrying a parasol.
“Seems pretty frail looking,” mused Ultra Magnus.
“That’s just her preferred form,” countered Arsha. The hologram was replaced with a bipedal, lizard-like beast with three spines on its head, a horn on its snout, razor sharp teeth, claws on each finger, dorsal plates running down the back all the way to the tip of the tail, and wing membranes filling in the space between its arms and sides. “Here’s her true form,” continued Arsha, “the most powerful Kaiju in that universe. This is gonna be her first tournament.”
“We’re still getting a Kaiju in this tournament?!” yelped Richard.
“Yep,” confirmed Optimus. “Ultragingana is three million years old, her true form is 150 meters tall, can shoot an energy beam from her mouth, can shoot her dorsal plates and manipulate their flight paths as she sees fit and return to her, the horn on her snout can help her gather energy, the spines on her head can come together to form a giant sword for her when she needs it, and a hole in her belly can open to reveal a black hole.”
“Unlike Godzilla,” continued Megumi, “Ultragingana has always been hailed as a hero. She’s from the depths of space and has landed on Earth to protect it from various other threats, mainly of the Kaiju variety. She usually adopts her human form to interact with the humans and help them whenever there’s property damage. She was recently elected Queen of Earth by the United Nations for her service to the planet. As such, she’s been declared an Earth citizen and is welcomed by all countries that like her. Russia, North Korea, England, they’re not so fond of her.”
“Okay, that would be the best fight ever!” cheered Hiroki.
“How does a Kaiju wield the Master Wand?” asked Michael.
“It’ll change to fit in any size hand,” replied War. “It IS all powerful.”
“A better question,” interjected Oak, “is how a Kaiju can interact with anyone, much less understand what all this is!”
“Gotta have some intelligence to understand all this,” answered Megumi. “Besides, she’s a cosmic being, so changing species isn’t all that new to her.”
“Since she’s fighting,” mused Arsha, “we probably need to keep our ships fine-tuned.”
“Honestly, it’s the next person we need to worry about,” muttered War, “the one who took Second Place while I won mine: Queen Phury of Appoplexia.” A tiger-like bipedal woman then appeared. She had four digited hands and had a large claw on the back of her wrist. She dressed in a sash, a gold top, wore a golden flower at the back of her head, and a string of jewels across her brow. “Phury’s an Appoplexian,” elaborated War, “the former Queen of Appoplexia. Being a woman, she’s more cunning than any male Appoplexian. In fact, that’s how Appoplexians in that universe select their rulers. She’s ruled an empire for thirty years until that universe’s Omnitrix bearer, Gwen Tennyson, overthrew her and helped the Appoplexians elect a new Queen to guide them into membership with the Plumber Alliance. She’s mean, she’s got a lid on the Appoplexians’ usual temper, she’s fast, and I don’t doubt that, if killing was allowed in this contest, she’d slit your throat for the heck of it. She’s never won one, but she’s made it to Third Place in two of them. In my experience, the best way to beat her is to get her to lose her temper. If she stays in control of her anger, you’ll be lucky to walk at all.”
“Sounds simple,” mused Richard. “Who’s next?” Optimus, Arsha, and Megumi looked embarrassed.
“Well…” stammered Optimus.
“It’s…er…” mumbled Megumi as she rubbed the back of her head.
“…Buncho,” muttered Arsha as she hid behind her dossier folder. Phury’s hologram was replaced with…well…
“Is that…fruit?” asked Jandro.
“So, we’re fighting a fruit-looking monster?” quizzed Flora as she let Swalmu wrap his arms around her.
“…Sort of,” muttered Optimus.
“Well, in that…” gulped Arsha.
“Yeah, it…it’s fruit,” mumbled Megumi.
“…Pull the other one!” rasped Batman.
“Are you saying that this fighter is a bunch of fruit?!” protested Emily.
“I wouldn’t underestimate this one,” advised War. “Buncho has participated in 47 3V2R’s before this one. She’s made it to Second Place in 16 of them. She’s a crowd favorite.”
“It’s a bunch of fruit!” called Jandro in disbelief.
“Which means there’s something going on with this one,” remarked Optimus. “So, everyone, get some self-defense classes that specialize in fresh fruit.”
“I think this is a good place to stop,” interjected Megumi. “We’ll schedule another meeting in a few days.”
“We have two weeks until round 1,” supplied Arsha, “so study the dossiers and identify who you think is a major threat and come up with some strategies on how to beat them. We’ll reconvene then.”
“Wait, Mr. Flufferkins?” asked Hongo as he found another participant. “A cat? Donald Trump’s immediate successor?!”
“In an eighth term?!” yelped Emily as she found Mr. Flufferkins’ dossier. “32 years?! That’s longer than a cat’s usual lifespan!”
“Yeah, We’re not too worried about that one,” replied Optimus.
“What if he challenges you to a debating contest?” asked Moe.
“Or eating cat food?” supplied Larry.
“Or singing on the fence?” quizzed Curly before he started singing mock opera.
“Hey, Luciano Pavarotti!” snapped Moe.
“Oh, I ain’t that good!” giggled Curly modestly.
“You said it!” snarled Moe as he grabbed a pipe wrench and twisted Curly’s nose. While Curly suffered, Optimus, Arsha, and Megumi looked at each other, a little hesitant about a cat food eating contest as Mr. Flufferkins COULD challenge them to that.
“Better start learning to like Friskies,” chuckled War.
“Are we sure this ain’t some joke?!” asked Ironhide.
While the participants in the 3V2R were developing strategies, two ladies were beginning the broadcast of the 590,492nd Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale. One lady had black skin and hair, but her eyes were near white and her outfit was white and light-greys and she wore a white rose hair piece in the right of her hair. Her companion was her opposite in terms of skin and hair, outfit color, and hairpiece placement. The lady in white began. “I am Blancalmarem, the white princess of Chizara and the life leader.”
“I am Nemengra, the black princess of Chizara and the death leader,” introduced the lady in black.
“And we kick things off with the opening ceremony!” cheered Blancalmarem. “We have an excellent look at the parade of all spaces ruled by all princesses.”
“In just a minute,” continued Nemengra, “we will join all these ladies and show all the colors and shades of Chizaran Unity and Multiversal Protection.”
“With all aspects in attendance,” supplied Blancalmarem, “it’s sure to be a spectacle. We have Vioazira, the blue-violet princess of Chizara and the sea animal leader; Amartonadii, the yellow princess of Chizara and the health leader; Naratelto, the orange princess of Chizara and the fertility leader; Amavorte, the yellow-green princess of Chizara and the earth leader; Azevordem, the blue-green princess of Chizara and the water leader; Rojenthi, the Red Princess of Chizara, and the war-time leader; Azuliterii, the Blue Princess of Chizara, and the technological leader; Rosadera, the Pink Princess of Chizara, and the peace-time leader; Verdutha, the Green Princess of Chizara, and the environmental leader; Moradelia, the Purple Princess of Chizara, and the history leader; Marrulem, the brown princess of Chizara and the land animal leader; Griforina, the cool-grey princess of Chizara and the air leader; Greterey, the toner grey princess of Chizara and the family leader; Graneutall, the neutral-grey princess of Chizara and the time leader; and Grilcaldo, the warm-grey princess of Chizara and the fire leader.” She then took a breath. “Say all THAT three times fast!” she panted. “Just listen to that crowd as everyone is lining the streets of the Capital Planet, all decked out in their fanciest outfits and eagerly awaiting the start of the parade!” observed Nemengra. “As our contestants plan on how to beat one another, we will join in the parade formation and begin the Union Parade!”
“But first,” interjected Blancalmarem, “a word from one of our sponsors; Pralax Pleasure Paradise!” The broadcast gave a little teaser.
“Pralax Pleasure Paradise!” called the announcer. “Enjoy all the earthly pleasures of all age groups as long as you want and return home a second after you left!”