Mirai-Megumi had returned to the future while everyone was on Vorton, doing their part to try and get Vortech out of Optimus, Arsha, and Megumi. Right now, they were trying to contact Vortoranii so they could get some advice. As they worked, a pink flash of light appeared and formed Rosadera. “What the heck’s going on?!” she yelped.
“An intruder!” called Caan as he and Eggman leveled their weapons at her.
“Hey, hey, hey!” protested Richard as he got between them.
“How did you find us?!” demanded Eggman.
“I walked!” snarked Rosadera. “Look, in all seriousness, what’s going on here?! I got word that you guys made an unstable pocket dimension and now you’re actually working with these schlubs?!”
“We have a common enemy now,” explained Megumi.
“Can she be trusted?” asked Caan.
“Can you?” quizzed Optimus.
“I don’t think any Chizaran wants Vortech to succeed in whatever game he’s playing at,” replied Arsha.
“…Uh, why mention Vortech?” asked Rosadera.
“Because Caan’s right and Vortech’s still alive,” answered Optimus.
“…And you believe a Dalek?” quizzed Rosadera.
“Initially, no,” replied Megumi, “but my future confirmed what he said about Vortech’s status.” Rosadera gulped as she detected no lies from Megumi.
“We can’t hold the 3V2R if Vortech’s still around,” declared Rosadera. “I’m suspending it until Vortech’s well and truly dead!” She made a few calls and was satisfied with her answers. “Okay, with all that out of the way, what are you doing right now?”
“Wasting our time,” grunted Caan.
“And, er, do your enemies know what’s up?” asked Rosadera.
“They’re currently patrolling our space at the moment,” explained Megumi, “to prevent Vortech’s followers from making contact.”
“And we just went off duty,” called Megatron as he, Hiro, and Dr. Borg came in.
“About the unstable pocket dimension,” explained Mickey, “we needed the leaders of each group to listen with a cooler head. We let it collapse a while ago after they agreed to hear us out.”
“Long story short, Vortech’s inside me, Arsha, and Megumi,” continued Optimus.
“The rejected sushi platter,” supplied Arsha as Caan scoffed at the insult, “thinks we can weaken him by separating him from us and Megumi thinks someone named Vortoranii can offer advice on how to do so.”
“Even if she can’t,” finished Megumi, “she’d be a powerful ally.”
“This is pointless,” grunted Caan. “She would have already…!” Caan was interrupted by the arrival of Vortoranii’s ghost.
“Wh…wha…?!” stammered Vortoranii.
“Vortoranii, relax,” advised Megumi. “We’ve summoned your image here to talk directly to you, but it’s not going to last. I know about the conversation you had with my future self and Death, but my current anger about that is unimportant. Let me sum up, Vortech’s living inside the three of us,” she indicated herself, Arsha, and Optimus. “We need any advice you can give to get him out.”
“…Oh,” remarked Vortoranii. “Is that all? I already know about Vortech.”
“…You do?” asked Rosadera.
“Of course,” replied Vortoranii. “Megumi’s carried me around since the Sources. Did you think I wouldn’t know what was going on?”
“The Sources?” muttered Megumi. “No, you and I parted company after the Vortech Wars.”
“Oh, is that what you’re all calling your battle against me?” asked Vortoranii.
“Battle against…?” quizzed Megumi before a horrible theory formed in her head.
“That’s right,” chuckled Vortoranii as her voice changed. “You didn’t contact my former Queen. Who you got was…” her form then changed into the guy they once thought dead! “LOOOOORD VORTECH!” Vortech then cleared his throat. “Too much?”
“WRONG END!” squeaked Arsha.
“What are you quaking about?” asked Caan. “It’s just his image. He can’t harm us.”
“So, all the pawns are now aware of the game,” chuckled Vortech. “So small, so scared. I must say, I do enjoy playing with you all. I don’t want this game to end. …Nothing to say? Usually your type spouts a speech about good triumphing over evil. Let me tell you right now, good is hopelessly naïve.”
“Wait a minute,” called Megumi. “Why am I afraid?!” She gave her full attention to Vortech. “I’m not afraid of you! I bested you before, I’ll do so again!” Vortech gave Megumi his full attention.
“As you can clearly see,” he remarked, “you only diminished me!”
“I did, yes,” agreed Megumi, “I shall do worse!”
“Tiny tin girl in tiny tin armor,” taunted Vortech, “thought she could be the dragon-slayer only to realize she’s the damsel in the tower waiting for a prince to rescue her! Farewell, you fools!” He faded away, leaving everyone a little scared.
“…Did he really say I’m nothing more than a damsel in distress?!” snarled Megumi.
“I told you it was a waste of time!” growled Caan.
“I don’t see you coming up with any better ideas, octopus-head!” shouted Hiro.
“To get Vortech out,” explained Eggman, “is going to take something he doesn’t want happening to happen. He knows we’re aware of him now, but he must know we won’t succumb to him.”
“Vortech’s going to fight back,” replied Megatron.
“He needs…a sign,” mused Dr. Borg.
“Something to break his spirit in some way,” supplied Arsha.
“A reminder,” continued Caan, “that there’s something he CAN’T win against.”
“…Wait a minute,” realized Megumi. “I think I have something! Excuse me!” She dashed off to her room and found the chess game. “Right where I left you!” she cheered. She gathered the board and pieces and ran back to the Gateway Room. As she set up the board, Optimus and Arsha reached the same conclusion.
“So, our mystery opponent…!” began Optimus.
“The reason why a chess game is following us…!” supplied Arsha.
“The one moving the white pieces,” confirmed Megumi, “is Vortech. He said so himself, he doesn’t want the game to end. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to make it end!”
“Excuse me, ladies,” bid Optimus as he made the Black Bishop to capture an enemy Pawn at King’s Knight 5. His optics briefly went white as his hand grabbed the White King and moved it to King’s Bishop 2. His optics returned to their natural blue as he saw the looks of fear on everyone. “Did…did Vortech…possess me to make his move?” he gulped.
“He did,” confirmed Megatron.
“That confirms my theory,” muttered Megumi.
“My turn, then,” declared Arsha. She got a Pawn to capture an enemy Pawn at King’s Rook 5. Her eyes turned white and Vortech commanded her arm to make a Rook capture the Pawn she had previously moved. Her eyes went back to normal once the move was completed.
“My move,” gulped Megumi, not looking forward to the possession. She moved a Bishop to capture the Rook Vortech made Arsha move. Her eyes turned white and her arm moved the White King to King’s Knight 2. Her eyes went back to normal as Optimus moved a Rook to King’s Bishop 7. His eyes went white and Vortech used him to move his King to King’s Knight 1. As Optimus regained control of his own body, Arsha moved a Knight to Queen’s Bishop 4. Vortech took control and moved one of his Knights to Queen’s Knight 1. Megumi then moved a Rook to take a Bishop at King’s Bishop 1. Vortech took her over briefly and looked over the board, panicking at trying to find a move. Megumi regained control. “Check and, I do believe, MATE!” At that moment, Optimus, Arsha, and Megumi’s eyes switched back and forth from normal to Vortech’s white as they thrashed in pain before collapsing on the floor.
“What happened?!” called Megatron as he picked Optimus up.
“Vortech happened,” replied Caan. “He’s brought them into his mind. Right now, they’re all facing him, but he’s got control of Megumi’s mind and can manipulate her as he sees fit. He’s working on Optimus’ mind right now, but Arsha has an advantage over his attempts, having been trained since she was a baby to block out mental attacks.”
“Let’s get a view of the fight, then!” declared Rosadera as she snapped her fingers and made a mirror. Inside the mirror, Megumi was chained, Optimus was fighting chains, and Arsha couldn’t be chained as Vortech stood against them.
“Get out of our heads!” demanded Megumi as Arsha transferred her hairpiece to her waist.
“Stop rummaging around in our minds!” snarled Optimus.
“I invite you to stop me!” challenged Vortech. He then saw images of Malnar, Lardeth, Richard, Blackarachnia, Falnii, Gorfanth, and Foresna. “Ah, your thoughts drift to your lovers. How perfectly heroic! How would they feel if you attacked them?”
“You’re not using us like that!” snarled Arsha as she fired a magic blast from her hands.
“Fascinating,” chuckled Vortech as he deflected the blast with his staff, “trained since birth to stop mental attacks. Highly effective.” Arsha fired another blast. “Relax! Relax!” advised Vortech as he absorbed the shot. “If you’ll calm down a moment, you’ll find this a pleasant experience. You’re becoming one with perfection.”
“I SAID OUT!” shouted Arsha as she threw a massive fireball. Vortech blocked it with an ice wall. “What is this place, a mental arena? Some kind of colosseum?”
“This is fantastic!” cheered Vortech. “I’m already powerful, but I’m dealing with Kitsune level magic, especially from a Blender! I mean, I’m going to have rewire the brain so it’s only my will in there, but what power! What magnificence! With Optimus’ power, I’ll be above even the Chizarans! …Oh, look! Cybertronians! There’s information on the Transformers! Oh, this is just dreamy!”
“I’m allowing you access to Cybertronian biology,” declared Optimus. “Specifically, what we run on.” Images of various forms of Energon then flashed by.
“Oh, look at that!” giggled Vortech. “The raw, crystal form of Energon! So harmful, yet so necessary!”
“I could lower my Energon radiation tolerance right now,” replied Optimus. “Go way below safety levels and let stray Energon particles bombard my body with radiation, then I could refuse to transform. After stasis lock, who knows what will happen to my psyche. But, the option is available.”
“What’s he doing?!” hissed Megatron as he saw everything in the mirror.
“Challenging Vortech, it seems,” chuckled Rosadera.
“…Stalemate, then,” grunted Vortech in the mental arena. “Someone needs to control these bodies! With Arsha around, it just makes us too evenly matched!”
“What’s that?” quizzed Megumi. “No, don’t answer. I’m just talking. You said ‘stalemate’.”
“I currently control Megumi’s mind,” explained Vortech as he manipulated the chains around Megumi to drag her across the floor, “you’re still in command of your own, Ms. Royana, we each control 46.3155 percent of Optimus’ head. 7.369 percent is still in the balance. Whoever gets that gets everyone’s minds.”
“Why is MY brain in the balance?!” protested Optimus.
“So, how shall we determine the victor?” mused Vortech.
“Do you play Okamon?” asked Arsha.
“I was quite the avid Okamon player in my day,” replied Vortech. “You’re proposing to play an Okamon match to end this stalemate?”
“Winner takes all,” answered Arsha. “No one can access that portion of Optimus’ mind without winning the game.”
“…What say we take this to the real world, since a Chizaran is here?” suggested Vortech. “For this match, I’ll use Megumi’s body. Not that she has a lot of choice in the matter.” He snapped his fingers and the view in the mirror vanished as Arsha and Megumi’s bodies got up. As they opened their eyes and Arsha transferred her hairpiece to her waist again, Megumi’s eyes were revealed to be white as she chuckled evilly. Vortech had taken full control of Megumi’s body! “You can’t win!” he laughed in Megumi’s voice.
“I invite you to stop me!” challenged Arsha.
“You understand,” remarked Vortech, “when I win, I get your bodies and memories and powers!”
“When I win,” answered Arsha, “you get out of our heads! You leave Vorton! Nobody gets hurt! You understand, nobody gets hurt! Now, declare your deck-type.”
“I shall be using a Saber-type deck,” replied Vortech.
“Then I will use a Wand-type deck,” declared Arsha.
“Rosadera, are you familiar with what’s going on?” asked Vortech.
“An Okamon match for your victims’ freedom,” summed up Rosadera.
“Exactly,” chuckled Vortech. “I think we’ll fight right here in the Gateway Room. So? What do you think of the match?” Rosadera sighed, then decided to humor him.
“The challenge has been set, the terms have been agreed upon, and the chance of victory is agreeable for both sides,” she declared. “I, Rosadera, the pink Princess of Chizara and the peace leader, will be judging. In two hours’ time, your fight begins! Prepare and make ready! Good luck!”
“I don’t need it,” chuckled Vortech.
Blancalmarem and Nemengra began their broadcast with Amavorte and Rojenthi. “Ladies and gentlemen, I wish we could begin this broadcast under happier circumstances,” began Blancalmarem.
“Regretfully, troubling news from Vorton have reached us,” continued Nemengra.
“Rojenthi and Amavorte,” Blancalmarem went on, “received an emergency transmission from Rosadera on Vorton.”
“What they are about to tell us,” finished Nemengra, “will only spell doom if we don’t prepare. Amavorte, Rojenthi, you’re up.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” sighed Amavorte, “this is neither a drill, nor a joke. The greatest scourge of the multiverse, Lord Vortech, the last of the Vortonians, is NOT dead. I repeat, Vortech is NOT dead.”
“He’s been hiding out in the minds of Optimus, Arsha, and Megumi,” supplied Rojenthi. “They’re trying to get him out, but, if they do, he’ll certainly target us.”
“Evacuation to Universe 1-B will commence the instant this broadcast is finished,” explained Amavorte. “Take only what you need. All non-essentials MUST be left behind, no exceptions.”
“Once evacuated,” continued Rojenthi, “all fighters will report to the training camp. I know this is unpleasant to hear, but a draft has been instituted. Preparations for soldiers will be our only chance of returning to our lives, because, from this moment on, it is my solemn duty to inform you all, Chizara and her people are at war with Vortech.” She nodded to the camera people and the broadcast ended.
“I better get started with evacuations,” sighed Amavorte.
“Naratelto’s probably emptying her womb right now,” guessed Blancalmarem, “giving birth to make sure she doesn’t go into battle in a pregnant state. I’m gonna help her.”
“I’ll evacuate our families,” offered Nemengra.
“I’ll get my family to Universe 1-B and await you there,” declared Rojenthi. The garden cleared itself of people, leaving only the wind as its companion.