The ship Megumi and her alliance had obtained was twice the size of the Ark and was designed for life-forms of all sizes to work on it. It had a cloaking device on it and was christened the Starwalker. After a round of rock-paper-scissors, Optimus won the right to be the Captain of the vessel. Megumi and Arsha were both First Officers as Death manned Tactical. Tanisha ran the helm and Shalvey was the Communications Officer. Ratchet was the CMO, as usual, and Jandro was Chief Engineer while Bashoon and Sonic were on Security Detail. The Starwalker had entered the outer fringes of Mobius’ solar system. “Activate the Cloak,” ordered Optimus.
“Cloaking device is functioning within normal parameters,” reported Tanisha.
“Set a course for the rendezvous point, all available speed,” directed Optimus.
“Course laid in,” replied Tanisha.
“Engage,” ordered Optimus. “Death, keep an eye out for War’s ships.”
“Aye, Sir,” answered Death. Arsha, Shalvey, and Bashoon looked around the vessel, feeling uneasy.
“Captain,” Bashoon whispered to Arsha, “I speak for Shalvey and Jandro when I say that cloaking devices aren’t exactly legal additions to a ship in our world.”
“You’re right,” Arsha whispered back, “but we’re not in our world. Besides, there are plenty of enemy ships between us and Megatron’s alliance and we need to make that rendezvous in one piece.”
“Well, I won’t tell Realmfleet and the Goblin Imperium if you don’t,” chuckled Bashoon. Arsha winked and grinned. They had just passed Jupiter when a reading came through on Tactical.
“I’m detecting some debris,” reported Death. “200 meters off the starboard bow.
“Tanisha, drop us to one-quarter impulse,” directed Optimus.
“Dropping to one-quarter impulse,” reported Tanisha.
“The debris appears to match that of Shocker Rift saucers,” answered Death.
“On screen,” ordered Optimus. The debris of Shocker Rift Saucers then appeared on the screen.
“Are there any survivors?” asked Ratchet.
“It’s possible,” replied Tanisha, “but it’s impossible to tell unless we decloak and use our sensors.”
“I advise against that,” urged Death. “It’s possible that War left some of her fleet to cloak and lie in wait.”
“That’s not honorable,” scoffed Arsha.
“When she’s on a campaign,” muttered Death, “nothing is more honorable to War than victory.”
“…Tanisha, keep us at one-quarter impulse,” directed Optimus, “until we clear the wreckage, then take us to warp for the rendezvous point.”
“Optimus, if there ARE survivors…!” argued Ratchet.
“I’m sorry, Ratchet, we can’t run that risk,” replied Optimus, the callousness of his necessary order stinging his Spark. “We HAVE to reach Megatron.”
The journey lasted for four hours as Optimus checked Main Engineering. After the hours had passed, Optimus chided himself for lurking in the shadows and, most likely, putting Jandro on edge. He returned to the bridge. “What’s our status?” he asked.
“We’re approaching the rendezvous,” reported Tanisha.
“Optimus, there’s weapons fire ahead of us!” warned Death. “Three of War’s ships are attacking the Dominus! It’s severely damaged!”
“I’m getting a transmission on all frequencies,” called Shalvey. “Audio only. It’s a distress call.”
“Put it through,” ordered Optimus. The call was garbled, but explained the Dominus’ status well enough for all to understand.
“Th…i…egatr…on board the…inus!…ip is un…vy fi…! …e ha…wea…nd…lds are…I don’t…!” The voice belonged to Megatron.
“We’re in visual range,” called Death.
“On screen,” directed Optimus. The Dominus was being fired upon at all sides by three of War’s ships.
“Orders?” asked Death.
“…Ready weapons,” decided Optimus, “drop the cloak, and raise shields. We’re going in.” The Starwalker then shimmered into view.
“War!” called Quake Hammer. “A vessel just decloaked off our port aft!”
“Can you identify it?” asked War.
“All I have is a message from the vessel ordering us to break off our attack,” replied Quake Hammer.
“Tell it to stick its nose elsewhere,” ordered War. “Skyfall, continue with the assault.”
“Aye, Ma’am,” replied Skyfall.
“They’re not disengaging,” reported Quake Hammer.
“Fire warning shot,” directed War. Quake Hammer obeyed. “Any luck?”
“We’re getting an audio message,” answered Quake Hammer.
“Put it through,” sighed War, annoyance creeping into her skull.
“The crew of the Dominus is under our protection!” called Optimus’ voice. “Withdraw or your vessels will be destroyed!”
“What are you doing defending them?!” demanded War. “They’re the enemy!”
“You’re pursuing a wild theory,” answered Optimus. “Withdraw at…” War ended communications.
“Fire on that ship!” she barked.
“I find it unlikely War’s going to…” Death was interrupted as weapons fire rocked the ship.
“I see your point,” replied Optimus. “Let’s show her what she’s up against! Attack pattern Omega! Target the ships’ engines!” The ship turned towards one of War’s ships and fired on its rear.
“The Dominus is hailing us,” reported Shalvey.
“On screen,” ordered Optimus. Megatron’s face appeared.
“Welcome to the party,” he greeted. “I trust things are going well?”
“Better than your end, evidently,” remarked Optimus. “Prepare for emergency beam-out.”
“Can your ship even take that much of a pounding?” asked Megatron.
“We’re gonna have to learn together,” replied Optimus.
“I suppose we have no choice,” sighed Megatron. “I’ll meet you on the ship. Megatron out.” The call ended.
“Prime, restricting our fire to their engines has proven ineffective!” called Death.
“They ARE drone ships, Prime,” suggested Arsha.
“If that’s the case,” declared Optimus, “destroy them.”
“Got it,” confirmed Death as she keyed in commands.
“Ratchet, prepare to receive casualties,” directed Optimus over the comms. “Have Sonic and Bashoon standing by. I want our guests to undergo mental checks.”
“Understood,” replied Ratchet.
“Mental checks?” asked Megumi.
“Just in case War was right,” explained Optimus. The ship rocked as War’s vessel fired.
“Prime, it’s going to take two minutes to evacuate the Dominus,” estimated Tanisha. “Even with our thicker hull armor, I don’t think we’ll last that long when our shields are down.”
“Speaking of,” muttered War, “shields at 30%.”
“Death, modulate a tractor beam to deflect some of War’s weapons fire,” directed Optimus.
“Taking a cue from Star Trek, are we?” muttered Death as she obeyed. To her surprise, it worked. “Well, how about that?” chuckled Death.
“Thank you, Worf,” bid Optimus to the heavens.
“Transports are underway,” reported Jandro over the comms.
“What’s our status?” asked Optimus.
“Prime, this is Megatron,” came another voice. “Hiro’s still on the Dominus! We need, at least, another minute!”
“Looks like we’re going to find out how much of a pounding this ship can take,” muttered Optimus grimly.
“War’s ships have almost closed to point blank range!” called Death. Her ships fired and made the Starwalker lurch violently.
“We’ve lost our armor!” reported Tanisha.
“Prime, we’ve got plasma leaks on decks two and five!” Jandro relayed.
“Optimus, we’re all aboard,” answered Megatron, “but War’s beamed over one of her allies!”
“I’ll get them off the ship!” declared Megumi as she brought out her i.d. tag and fastened the Vortex Driver.
“Vortex Driver!” it called. Megumi then took out her Ascendant and pressed the button.
“Ascendancy!” it announced. She then inserted the i.d. tag, then the Ascendant. She folded the Ascendant over the wheel. “All set!”
“Henshin!” she proclaimed. She pressed the button and the wheels spun, forming her armor first, then coloring it silver with gold trim.
“Full Ascendance!” called the Ascendant. When she completed the transformation to Kamen Rider Royal: Ascendant Base, she charged to Megatron’s position and met Gai Amatsu.
“I’ve read about you!” she hissed as she pulled out another i.d. tag.
“And I’ve heard about you,” chuckled Gai as he pulled out a silver buckle and set it to his waist. It formed a waist strap and fastened itself to him.
“Thousandriver!” it announced. He then pulled out a Zetsumerise Key and inserted it into the left of the buckle. “Zetsumetsu Evolution,” droned the buckle. He pulled out a Progrise key and pressed the button.
“Break Horn!” The key opened by itself.
“Henshin,” announced Gai. He then inserted the opened Progrise key into the right of the buckle.
“Perfectrise! When the five horns cross, the golden soldier, Thouser, is born. Presented by ZAIA.” A mechanical Caucasus beetle crossed its three horns with that of a mechanical version of an Arsinoitherium, a common ancestor of elephants that look like rhinos with two horns. The two mechanical animals then fused into a golden suit and armor with the horns becoming a crown for the purple-eyed helmet. With the transformation finished, Gai was now in his Rider form.
“Kamen Rider Thouser. My power is on a totally different level,” introduced Gai, Kamen Rider Thouser.
“We’ll see!” hissed Royal. “Kamen Rider Royal! Evil will ultimately bow to me!” The two Riders drew their weapons as Sonic and Bashoon led everyone else away from the fight.
“Royal’s engaged with War’s ally,” reported Death.
“Raise shields!” ordered Optimus. “Activate the cloak!”
“I’m not getting any response from the cloaking device!” replied Tanisha. “It’s not working!”
“Well, that’s going to make the trip more interesting!” muttered Optimus. “Set a course for the fallback universe in a way that we can shake War! Maximum speed!”
“They’re getting away!” hissed War.
“Gai’s on that ship,” replied Skyfall.
“Well, he’d better deliver them to me!” snarled War. “All ships, pursuit course!”
“They’re following this ship, if things are going according to War’s scenario,” laughed Thouser. Royal tried to get a hit on him, but was being blocked at every opportunity.
“Well, since I got it,” mused Royal. She then set an i.d. tag into the Ascendant and selected a form.
“Ascendance: Zero One MetalCluster Hopper!” called the Ascendant. The voice of the Zero One Driver then played the jingle as a silver version of Zero One appeared before turning into silver mist and becoming armor for Royal.
“Secret material: Hiden Metal! MetalCluster Hopper! It’s high quality!” Thouser laughed when the transformation finished.
“Fool!” he proclaimed. “You’ll be overwhelmed by Satellite Ark’s truth! You know humans are a malicious bunch! You’ll act according to its will!”
“You sure?” asked Royal. Thouser gasped in surprise, giving Royal the opening she needed to drive her knee into his chest. As he was winded, Royal shoved him into a pod and programmed coordinates into it. She left the pod as it shut the door and left the ship. She then headed to a comm on the wall and signaled for the bridge. The call connected. “Thouser’s gone,” she reported.
“Good to hear,” replied Optimus. “By the way, everyone’s undergone mental checks. Caan hasn’t been anywhere near their minds.”
“Good to know,” sighed Royal as she took out the Ascendant and her i.d. tag, reverting back to Megumi. “I’ll be up there straightaway. How’s the cloak working?”
“We lost it,” answered Optimus. “Jandro’s fixing it right now. Once it’s done, we’re cloaking and shaking War off our tail.
“Good to hear,” replied Megumi as she made her way to the bridge. When she entered it, Megatron and Sonic arrived as well.
“Optimus, kindly tell the blue rat,” growled Megatron, “that he doesn’t need to watch my every move! It’s making me uncomfortable!”
“Did you get that?” asked Megumi.
“Richard will have undeniable proof that you won,” replied Optimus.
“…And what does your husband have to do with this?” asked Megatron, irritated that he was missing a joke.
“Richard bet me,” explained Megumi, “that you would thank us for the rescue before you complained. He lost and he’s going to be wearing a green version of my dress for a year now, complete with hairpiece.” Megatron’s attention was then grabbed by Death’s presence.
“Much as I wish to laugh at your husband for losing his dignity like that,” he muttered, assuring her he DID pay attention, “are you aware that you have one of the Horsemen on your bridge?”
“She’s not the Horseman you should be worried about,” replied Optimus. “Switch to aft view. Maximum magnification.” War’s ships appeared in pursuit.
“…Not that I wish to tell you how to fly this ship,” mused Megatron, “I’d suggest engaging your cloak at once.”
“We lost it during the rescue,” explained Tanisha.
“Bridge, this is Jandro!” called the vampire’s voice over the comms. “Try the cloak now!” Tanisha did so and smiled at the results.
“The cloak’s working again!” she happily reported.
“They’re cloaking!” called Skyfall.
“Track them!” ordered War. Skyfall keyed in commands, but nothing happened.
“Cheap, stupid, so-called upgrades!” she snarled. “I can’t track them! Primitive garbage from that five-horned idiot!”
“Speak of the devil,” remarked Quake Hammer. “He’s calling us. His pod’s made it to his home, right outside the ZAIA Enterprise Japan HQ building.”
“Put him through!” growled War. Gai appeared on screen.
“War, I require a pick-up,” he requested.
“You failed to bring me a single member of the Dominus’ crew!” roared War. “Your ‘upgrades’ couldn’t track a ship while cloaked! Your arrogance cost us victory! Stay there and rot! Your technology and company has failed me! With the HumaGear army at my disposal, I can do so much more! I WILL! I won’t make any more deals with you, you primitive, 0% meat-sack!”
“Now, you see here!” snapped Gai before War severed communications.
“We can head to Vorton and…!” suggested Skyfall.
“I can’t say that’s a good idea,” interjected Quake Hammer. “We’ve lost too much fuel and our weapons and shields are recharging.” War drew in a breath, held it, then released it when she decided.
“Order all ships to break off pursuit and return home,” she muttered. “We’ve lost.”