The F.N.S, Endeavor crew, Autobots, Tarlaxians, and Stooges met in the Gateway Room. “All of them?!” asked Megumi as she got confirmation that every Chronicle Driver was destroyed.
“Not a single one was spared,” answered Dell.
“Can’t we make new ones?” asked Richard.
“The materials were declared unsafe by the Tarlaxian Science Commission,” replied Lukas. “Sludgiona risked losing her doctorate in building them.”
“Can’t she make them with safer materials?” inquired Jandro.
“She’s tried,” sighed Lukas, “but the reaction core was a newer type that held more power. Safer materials just didn’t make the energy flow as efficient.”
“Then why make it at all?” asked Megumi.
“She was more focused on ‘could’ than ‘should’ at the time,” explained Lukas.
“The point now stands,” interjected Mickey, “we former Chronicle Riders need to get used to Vortex Drivers.”
“Well, you’ve got sixteen people willing to help with that,” offered Megumi.
“Thank you,” replied Mickey.
“All right, let’s pass out the new Vortex Drivers,” called Megumi. Dell passed them around to every former Chronicle Rider. “All good?” asked Megumi.
“We got them,” answered Alesandro.
“Hiroki, if you please,” offered Megumi
“All right, the first thing we do,” began Hiroki, “is set the Vortex Driver to our waists.” Everyone followed along and the belt strap wrapped around everyone’s waists and adjusted for their respective size.
“Vortex Driver!” announced the belts. After that announcement, an i.d. tag popped out from the top of the buckles. The new guys stepped back in surprise as the i.d. tags hovered in the air in front of them.
“Go on,” urged Hiroki. “Once you touch them, they will read off your genetic signature.” The new guys then cautiously grabbed the i.d. tags. At first contact, the i.d. tags formed a picture of their Rider forms’ helmets.
“Hey, they look like they haven’t changed our armor’s appearance!” called Alesandro.
“Then you’re still using the armor you’re used to,” chuckled Hiroki. “All right, now, insert the i.d. tag into your belts.” The new guys did as requested. “Now, strike your pose, then spin the wheel to your right.”
“I presume, before spinning the wheel,” mused Jandro, “we say ‘Henshin’.”
“That’s right,” confirmed Hiroki. The new guys then took their poses.
“Henshin!” they called. They then spun the wheel and the wardrobe appeared while their clothes were being converted into the undersuit.
“This is familiar,” observed Jandro. The undersuit then fully formed and the armor was attached to the Riders’ bodies. “Now this is more gentler than the Chronicle Driver’s method,” mused Jandro as he became Kamen Rider Cloak again. All former Chronicle Riders kept their old armor.
“Hey, there’s a progress bar on my helmet’s HUD,” called Alesandro, Kamen Rider Striker.
“I have one too,” interjected Dell, Kamen Rider Construct. “It says it’s reading the i.d. tag library.”
“That’s the Vortex Driver generating your i.d. tag collections,” explained Hiroki. “Megumi’s got the power to gain i.d. tags and store it into a special subspace pocket on her belt so it can be copied and given to every Rider. On the right of the belt is the Tag Purse where you store the other i.d. tags.”
“How do we exchange Steels without cancelling the transformation?” asked Moon-Kyung, Kamen Rider Lance.
“There’s a button on the right of the wheel,” lectured Hiroki, “that releases the i.d. tag without dismissing your armor. Your personal i.d. tag goes into a slot on the left of your waist.” Jason, Kamen Rider Turf, decided to try it. He pressed the button, placed his i.d. tag into the slot Hiroki described, fished a new i.d. tag out of the right side, and inserted it into the belt. “Now, spin the wheel to your right again,” directed Hiroki. Turf did so.
“Grand Zi-O Steel!” called the belt.
“Grand Time!” announced the Ziku Driver’s voice. It then sang a small song. “Kuuga, Agito, Ryuki, Faiz, Blade! Hibiki, Kabuto, Den-O, Kiva, Decade! W, OOO, Fourze! Wizard, Gaim, Drive! Ghost! Ex-Aid! Build! Iwae! (Rejoice!) Kamen Rider! Grand Zi-O!” Turf’s new armor pieces were gold and had the upper torsos of all the main Heisei Riders with Zi-O’s on the top of his head.
“Now THIS is fresh!” praised Turf.
“So, how does one cancel the transformation?” asked Colleen, Kamen Rider Slam.
“There’s a button on the left of the wheel that will eject whatever i.d. tag is being used and dismiss the armor,” explained Hiroki. The new guys tried it and returned to their civilian forms.
“Well, that’s not as complex as I thought,” chuckled Jandro. “It looks like there are more Ascendants on the way.”
“I DO see that in the future,” agreed Dell.
“Then we should start right away,” declared Lukas.
“Oh, speaking of,” called Richard, “I successfully tested mine out. Wanna see?”
“Of course!” cheered Megumi.
“Here we go!” called Richard as he equipped his Vortex Driver. It announced what it was and he inserted his i.d. tag before striking his pose.
“Henshin!” he called. He spun the wheel and became Kamen Rider Guard. He then took out his Ascendant and pressed a button on top.
“Ascendancy!” it proclaimed. Guard inserted the tab into the slot on his buckle and folded it down so the two smaller gears’ teeth lined up with the Vortex Driver’s wheel. “All set!” announced the device. Guard then pressed the button again and the two smaller gears spun the wheel. As they spun, Guard’s armor color changed to silver with gold trim. “Full Ascendance!” finished the Ascendant as the wheels stopped.
“Kamen Rider Guard: Ascendant Base!” proclaimed Guard.
“Sugoi!” (So cool!) breathed Megumi.
“With this kind of power, nothing can stop us now!” boasted Guard. Just then, War appeared with a group of police men. “Er, can we help you?” asked Guard.
“Mickey Mouse, you are wanted for questioning!” snarled War.
“Questioning?!” protested Megumi. “On what charges?!”
“We have proof,” explained one of the police officers, “that Mickey Mouse is willingly aiding and abetting the former Dalek, Caan.”
“What?” asked Guard. “You’re joking! Mickey saw what a normal Dalek did to his home! He wouldn’t join with Caan!”
“We’ve intercepted a transmission between Mickey and Caan,” argued War. “In it, he proclaimed that the virus worked. Now, Mickey, you’re coming with us!”
“I’m afraid I’m not,” replied Mickey. He activated the Gateway and dashed into it!
“Hey! Stop!” called Guard as he charged after Mickey.
“Richard, wait!” called Megumi. Too late. The portal closed. “…Mickey? With Caan?” asked Megumi.
The portal was set for Chima. Laval was surprised to see Guard and Mickey come flying out. Mickey readied his belt and got his i.d. tag out. “Henshin!” he called. He spun the wheel and became Kamen Rider Lux.
“Wh…Guard?!” spluttered Laval. “I haven’t seen you since…!”
“Later, Laval!” snapped Guard as he chased after Lux. Lux summoned his motorcycle and sped to the forest. Guard did the same and pursued him. He converted his sword to rifle mode and fired on Lux’s tires. The bike flipped over and tossed Lux off. Guard then parked his bike and drew his sword, Lux summoned his Keyblade and the two Riders dueled. Being a Keyblade Master, Lux had something of an advantage over Guard. Guard acted rather animalistic and leapt into the air while raising his blade. Lux reversed his grip on his Keyblade and blocked Guard’s blow. Guard attempted to push Lux’s Keyblade back, but Lux was stronger than he looked for a mouse his size. “Mickey,” grunted Guard, “if Caan’s got you in some sort of trouble, you know you can talk to us, right?”
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you why I’m working with Caan right now!” replied Lux. “Rest assured, you WILL know my reasons why.” Just then, it happened. Guard screamed and temporarily turned photonegative as a Dalek blaster bolt hit him. He crumpled to the forest floor, panting all the while and his transformation cancelling automatically. The person who fired was Caan himself.
“Strange, I had this thing set for maximum extermination,” he muttered. “How could I not see his survival happening?”
“I thought we needed everyone alive!” protested Lux.
“Richard is too troublesome,” dismissed Caan. “Still, we’ll be long gone before he or his friends can do anything about it. Come. I DID see that we would leave together right about now.” A portal opened and Lux turned back with regret in his eyes before following Caan. A few seconds later, a portal opened and deposited Emily. She waved a scanner over him, then hoisted him onto his shoulders to take him back so she could treat him.
When he recovered, Richard told everyone what had happened in Chima. Laval was also on Vorton for a visit. Rusty and her team checked for Mickey, but nothing came up. Everyone gathered to hear the report. “Not a single trace of that mouse,” sighed Elphaba.
“I suppose it would make sense,” muttered Arsha. “If Caan’s been hiding from you all, it would stand to reason that he would hide his allies.”
“Why would they be working together anyway?” asked Optimus. “Caan was once a Dalek and Mickey already faced one, from what Michael told us.”
“Caan can see into the future,” remarked Richard as he strung a theory together, “Mickey has powers beyond our understanding. If they think a threat’s coming, it only makes sense that they would work together.”
“Is there any evidence that Mickey planted the virus into the Chronicle Drivers?” asked Megumi.
“Unfortunately, yes,” sighed Dell. “He left a log open in his office at Disney Castle.”
“I’m still amazed,” muttered Richard, “that Mickey Mouse, of all people, would side with Caan.”
“I’m not!” snarled War.
“Pardon?” asked Arsha.
“Keeping secrets and having it blow up in your face seems to be a trait shared by everyone here!” replied War.
“War, what are you talking about?” quizzed Death.
“Megumi and her team never told Batman, Wyldstyle, Gandalf, and Hongo about Vortech!” began War. “They decided to keep that bit a secret from the first of the Chronicle Riders! Optimus got cocky with his power! Jansha was supposed to be a member of the Endeavor’s crew! Arsha was plagued by self-doubt! Amy never told her friends she was the Scarlet Specter! Is there ANYONE who wasn’t afflicted by not telling anyone their problems?!”
“Yo,” offered Blackarachnia.
“You spent most of your time on Mobius,” snarled War, “pretending to be a Decepticon and only told Optimus it was you when you were discovered! Don’t pretend you’re exempt from this, you poison-spewing junk-heap!”
“Go frag yourself with a laser scalpel and take a swim in the Smelting Pools of Polyhex, Tiny!” snapped Blackarachnia as she crossed her fingers in anger.
“Lieutenant, easy,” urged Optimus. He then turned his attention to War. “While a little rude, she DOES have a point; half of that was out of our hands!”
“It STILL happened, and I’m flat out tired of it!” growled War. “I’m tired of Vorton being invaded! I’m tired of us being blindsided by the enemy! I’m tired of seeing people like the Tarlaxians beaten down! And, most especially, I’m tired of us needing to use Vorton in a war-time emergency!”
“Well, I can agree with you on the whole ‘Vorton Gets Invaded a lot’ front,” supplied Lukas. “The good news is that we won’t have that problem anymore.”
“We didn’t think to ask other universes for defense tech,” continued Dell. “The Autobots were generous with their technology and it integrates well with the tech we have here. Not to mention, we didn’t really have a good frame of reference for Vorton’s main power core until we met Arsha. Half of it is magic-based and so is the Endeavor’s central battery. With the help of her engineers and artificers, we’ve managed to fully tap into the power core and now we have 50% more defensive power with plenty to spare for security. It’s just taking a bit longer to install the Cybertronian tech.”
“Look everything over again,” commanded Megumi. “If there’s even a hint of Mickey having tampered with it, strip it down and start over. We’ve all been knocked back by what Mickey did. It’s time to pick ourselves up and get back into the fight.”
“I told you we needed everyone alive!” Mickey shouted at Caan.
“Richard barely contributes to help his wife,” dismissed Caan.
“You don’t know him as well as I do!” argued Mickey.
“In any event, it doesn’t matter,” continued Caan. “He somehow survived my weapon when it was set to maximum.”
“Maybe it’s not as powerful as you think,” muttered Mickey.
“I’ve looked it over,” called Dr. Eggman as he left the lab. “It’s working perfectly.”
“…Then…how did Richard…?” asked Mickey.
“It doesn’t matter!” snapped Metaltron as she came into the room. “What matters is that we need them all to do as we say!”
“We’ll get that,” assured Caan. “We just need to be subtle.”
“I hardly think shooting someone,” hissed Mickey, “is a good representation of ‘subtle’.”
It was time for a 3V2R update and Blancalmarem and Nemengra were sitting in their usual spots in their garden. “I am Blancalmarem, the white princess of Chizara and the life leader,” began Blancalmarem.
“I am Nemengra, the black princess of Chizara and the death leader,” finished Nemengra.
“This particular bout of the Second Round ended on a rather electrifying note,” joked Blancalmarem, “as Bolt Boy defeated Southern Belle!” The audience groaned and booed at the pun. “Oh, come on, the opportunity was there!” replied Blancalmarem with an unrepentant grin.
“Awful pun aside,” groaned Nemengra as she pinched the bridge of her nose, “the two electric-powered heroes engaged in a test to see who could generate the most electric power for a neighborhood.”
“The betting boards believed that Bolt Boy would lose on account of him being only a fourth grader of the American school system,” continued Blancalmarem, “but, surprisingly, he powered more of the neighborhood than Southern Belle.”
“We took the liberty of interviewing Southern Belle,” Nemengra went on, “to see what she made of Bolt Boy.” The giant screen displayed the two Chizaran women interviewing a woman in the stereotypical southern belle outfit, complete with fan and hoopskirt.
“When you laid down the terms of the bout,” began Blancalmarem, “you looked a little apprehensive. Would you care to elaborate on that?”
“Well, Blancalmarem, Darling,” drawled the woman, Southern Belle, “I’m not a lady who is too keen on fighting a child. For all the power his dossier said he had, he IS still a boy.”
“Then what could have prompted him to win?” asked Nemengra.
“That, as God and y’all are my witnesses,” explained Southern Belle, “was me underestimating how much control he had over his powers. For just a young boy of nine years, he’s surprisingly very well-trained in his mastery over electricity.”
“Any opinions on him fighting evil at his age?” quizzed Blancalmarem.
“Only that he shouldn’t dedicate his entire childhood to combat,” answered Southern Belle. “He needs some time to play and explore.”
“So, you’re saying he needs to be a child sometimes?” asked Nemengra.
“Everyone needs to be a child at some point in their lives, Nemengra,” replied Southern Belle, “Most of you Chizarans can attest to that. Now, as I’m a God-fearing woman, I would NEVER say that he shouldn’t oppose evil, just that he needs to balance the good fight out with exploring his world.”
“Well, thank you for your time,” called Blancalmarem, “We know you have a busy schedule with running your mansion and fighting your rogue’s gallery.”
“Hopefully, we’ll see you here soon,” finished Nemengra.
“If y’all want to visit my home, just give me a call and we can take tea in my garden,” offered Southern Belle. The screen went dark and Blancalmarem and Nemengra turned back to their audience.
“Her tea-time is to die for,” sighed Blancalmarem happily.
“While she does like the American Southern Antebellum style,” continued Nemengra, “she’s not totally period in a few respects.”
“For a start, she’s the head of the house instead of her husband,” Blancalmarem went on.
“Her husband is black,” supplied Nemengra.
“Her workers are paid twice the federal living wage,” continued Blancalmarem.
“And the worker population,” finished Nemengra, “is a mix of all ethnicities. She once said that paying her workers and making sure the population wasn’t totally black was her way of being better than her ancestors.”
“Marrying a black man and treating him as her partner in every aspect,” Blancalmarem, “is also a step in the right direction.”
“We’ll be back with the final bout,” Nemengra wrapped up, “but first, a word from one of our sponsors, the Disney Domain!”
“Want to experience the magic of childhood and afford it?” asked the announcer. “Mickey Mouse has a whole universe modeled after Walt Disney World that only costs a stud for entry and staying as long as you wish! Disney Domain: the Most Magical Place in the Multiverse!”