Okamon, a children’s card game from Arsha’s world as complex as Yu-Gi-Oh with a popular anime supplying it. The idea is that monsters have been using denizens of the Realms to fight in their war to achieve dominance in their world, Salsania. Both players have a set amount of mana and health points, 20,000 each, and five types of cards, Monster, Field, Spell, Attribute, and Attack. The Monster cards show how much health a monster has, how much defense it has, and how much mana it uses for spells. Monsters only use two Attribute cards to enhance the Attack card they’re using. Field cards can turn the tables on an opponent when invoked. Attacks are how the Monster will fight. Spells consume mana and will assist in enhancing a Monster’s chances of victory unless a Field card is used. There are five basic Monster types, Saber, Wand, Archer, Brute, and Story. Saber-type has equal health and defense, but consumes a lot of mana points to use a Spell card. Wand-types are excellent when it comes to mana consumption, roughly the same amount of health as a Saber-type, but their defense is poor. Archer-type has poor defense and consumes a lot of mana, but is excellent with health. Brute-type boast excellent defense and health, but their mana consumption is the worst of all types. Finally, Story-types are poor with defense and health, but mana consumption is the same as Wand-type. Confused yet? Don’t worry, Vortech and Arsha’s fight will demonstrate how the whole system works. Rosadera had summoned two consoles for each combatant to lay their cards down. Three spaces for Monsters, a space under the Monster space for each Monster’s Attack, a space above the upper left of each Monster space for Spells, a space above all three for the Field card, and two spaces below each Attack space for Attributes. There was also a space for discarded cards on the left of the board. Once the consoles activated, Vortech smirked at Rosadera. “No speech about what the fight’s going to be?” he asked.
“I won’t humor you like that,” hissed Rosadera. “Aren’t you the challenged? Isn’t the first move yours?”
“Don’t rush me!” snarled Vortech as the decks for both players appeared. The decks were then divided by card types. They then drew two Monsters, a Spell, a Field, three Attributes, and two Attacks. “Let’s see,” mused Vortech, “I think I’ll call Punchshield Chanter to the field in defense, set a Field face down, and end my turn.” A humanoid knight then appeared, armed with a giant shield with a boxing glove on it, and it knelt behind the shield.
“I summon Swiftjumping Nymph,” announced Arsha. A blue-skinned girl in a cutesy outfit appeared and giggled while winking. “Your Punchshield Chanter can deflect any forward punches, but I intend to utilize that to my advantage. I activate the Spell: Highjumping Victory!” Arsha’s mana went down to 19,800. “She can go over your Chanter’s shield and land a punch there! I’ll have her use the Punch Attack and enhance it with the Attributes: Impact and Diamond! With your Chanter struck down while in defense, he loses half his 2,500 health points and you lose half of that.” She placed the Spell and Attribute cards in their respective places and Swiftjumping Nymph chanted before she leapt into the air and turned her fist into a diamond.
“SHINING METEOR!” called Nymph as she flew down to Chanter at an incredible speed, fist first.
“I play the Field card, Shield Rise!” announced Vortech. “Punchshield Chanter can now raise his shield up to block Nymph’s attack and we all know the effect he has!” Chanter raised his heavy shield up and blocked the punch. “No matter what Attributes are used,” continued Vortech, “the rebound will rip through Nymph and decrease her health AND yours!” The instant Nymph’s fist made contact with the shield, she crumpled to the ground, clutching her fist, and screaming in pain. Her 3,500 health decreased to 1,750 and Arsha’s decreased to 19,125. “Anything you wish to set down, or shall I go?” Arsha saw the Field card in her hand, then smirked.
“No, I think I’ll let you go,” she answered.
“Your mistake,” chuckled Vortech. “I call Former Brute Telandro to the field and I’ll have his Attack be a kick enhanced with the Resonate and Dust Attributes. Before I attack, I’ll set this Field and end.” A hulking knight appeared. “Best play a Field card now. If not, your Nymph’s health will drop to zero and you’ll lose half of that health. ”
“No, I think Nymph’s Effect will give me the health advantage here,” chuckled Arsha. “The instant she is destroyed in battle, she activates an amplified reverb effect. While I DO lose 875 health, you lose her original amount and the Attack CAN’T be stopped when Attributes are used!” Telandro rushed at Nymph.
“SINGING DUSTER!” shouted Telandro as he executed his kick.
“STOP, YOU IMBECILE!” called Punchshield Chanter. Too late. The attack hit Nymph and she was sent flying backwards as she faded in laughter while Arsha’s health went down to 18,250 while Vortech’s health dropped to 16,500.
“Er…oops,” gulped Telandro.
“That was quite the lucky break you had there,” chuckled Vortech. “That’s all the luck you’re going to get, though. I have no intention of letting you get away with that. You best summon a good monster.”
“Oh, I intend to,” replied Arsha. “I summon Chansus the Necromantic King to the field!” A rotting corpse of a bearded man in royal clothing appeared. “I’ll then have him cast the Spell: Revenance to return Swiftjumping Nymph to the field as his undead servant!” A zombie version of Nymph then appeared and bowed to Chansus before assuming an attack position. Arsha’s mana then dropped to 19,300. “I’ll then play the Field card: Undead Unity! All undead Monsters will have their Attack strength multiplied by the amount of undead Monsters on the field! As there are two, my Monsters’ strength is doubled!” The two Monsters roared in appreciation at the power boost and prepared to attack. “I’ll have Chansus attack Chanter with a staff swing boosted by the Attributes: Cyclone and Wave, then Nymph will kick Telandro with the Attributes: Multi and Amplify! Go! Attack them now!”
“That’s a big mistake!” laughed Vortech. “I play my Field: Sanctified Purity! The Undead return to a fully living state! If I recall, because you played Undead Unity, your former zombies are now hurt!” The flesh of the zombies flowed back onto their bones and their skin returned to a living state as they charged.
“STORMING SWING!” called Chansus the former Necromantic King. He hit Chanter, but was attacked by a reverb effect, a FATAL reverb, meaning the Field card Arsha played was against him! He faded away, screaming into oblivion as Arsha’s health decreased to 14,000.
“RESONANCE CROSSBOW!” called Nymph as she kicked Telandro multiple times and then faded painfully, dropping Arsha’s health to 12,040. Vortech’s health only dropped to 15,000.
“Not good,” gulped Arsha as she set a Field card.
“My turn,” chuckled Vortech. “I call one last Monster, Olphenant.” An elephant-like knight appeared. “Now, I shall cast a Spell: Trumpeting Rally!” Vortech’s mana went down to 19,000. “With this Spell, all Saber-types have their attacks boosted! I shall then have Olphenant use his mace and augment it with the Burn and Twin Attributes, then Chanter shall use his shield with Amplify and Electric, after which, I shall have Telandro use his mighty fists with Impact and Drop! Since you have no Monsters, I can attack you directly! Tear her asunder!” Olphenant’s mace then copied itself and they set themselves on fire!”
“MORNINGSTAR METEOR!” he called. Electricity surrounded Chanter’s shield.
“SHOCK-QUAKE!” he announced. Telandro then leapt into the air and enlarged his fists.
“DYNAMITING BASH!” he shouted.
“I play the Field card: Wall of Redirection!” called Arsha.
“WAIT! STOP!” shrieked Vortech to his Monsters as he recalled the Field card’s effect.
“While I DO take direct damage,” explained Arsha, “it’s less than you wanted. I only take 3,000 instead of the 9,000 as usual. You, on the other hand, since it will destroy your monsters, will lose 6,000.” Arsha’s health dropped to 9,040 and Vortech’s dropped to 9,000 as his Monsters faded away.
“Very lucky!” hissed Vortech as he set a Field face down. “It’s your go!”
“I summon Swanelle the Dancer,” announced Arsha. An Elf with wings and a swan motif to her ballet outfit appeared. Vortech laughed.
“She’s hardly the strongest Wand-type!” he boasted. “Heck, she’s probably the biggest consumer of mana put of all the Wand-types, almost takes as much as a Saber-type!”
“Perhaps, but her effect is very potent,” counted Arsha. “If she’s summoned after the fall of two monsters, she can resurrect them in their original forms. Thus, I bring back Chansus the Necromantic King and Swiftjumping Nymph as they were before!” A fully alive Nymph and a now-rotting Chansus arrived on the field again. “I then have Swanelle cast a Spell: Wands United!” Arsha’s mana dropped to 18,020. “With three Wand-types on the board, she has boosted their Attacks threefold! Next, I have Swanelle kick with Blade and Cyclone! Then, I have Nymph use another Kick with Diamond and Amplify! Last, I have Chansus use his staff with Burn and Reach! Destroy him!”
“RAZOR PIROUETTE!” called Swanelle as she spun and gathered the most fearsome winds with her tutu before kicking the winds towards Vortech.
“DIAMOND SLAM!” shouted Nymph as her leg turned into diamond and she flew through the air with her foot extended and aimed at Vortech.
“INFERNO’S GRIP!” roared Chansus as he swung his staff and fired a stream of flames towards Vortech.
“I play the Field card: Strength Resurrected,” called Vortech. Telandro reappeared and took the brunt of the attacks. Vortech’s health dropped to only 8,700.
“What the?!” yelped Arsha. “When did…?!”
“Just now,” replied Vortech. “You really should be more careful with your mana. Do you recall the effect?”
“…Once that card is played,” gulped Arsha, “those with lower mana lose their monsters and 3,000 health!”
“And I believe that’s you,” chuckled Vortech as Swanelle, Nymph, and Chansus faded away. Arsha gulped as her health dropped to 6,040. Telandro stood grinning with Vortech as Arsha set a Field face down. “Face it,” taunted Vortech, “you cling to a lie! Diversity is weakening you! I’ve proved my point! I’ve demonstrated that the weakness of those that are inferior only leads to weakness overall! All it takes is one differently-minded person to destroy what you hold dear. Just one person! You’ve got someone trying to tear down what you perceive as perfect, am I right? I know I am. Why else would you fight Dr. Borg? Why else would Optimus fight his own brother? Why else does Megumi fight Hiro? Yet, for reasons that elude me completely, you won’t accept it! You still believe that differences are inherently good! By the gods that died with my people, you make me want to puke! What is it with you?! What makes you fight for diversity? Clinging to innocence? Wanting to make a society where differences don’t matter? Something like that, I bet! …Something like that was posed to me. I…I’m not sure how I first heard about diversity being strength. Sometimes I think it was my family who told me diversity was strength, sometimes I think it’s the propaganda of Vortoranii. If I really wanted to know, though, I suppose I could take the TARDIS! My point is this: diversity actually killed my people. When I saw how many people were still killing each other beneath Vortoranii’s radar over some differences, I decided it was time to create a new universe! I admit it! That’s what prompted my search for the Foundation Elements! That’s when I decided to be the last of the Vortonians! Why can’t you people accept the truth?! I mean, you’re a Realmfleet Captain! You’re obviously intelligent! You must see the reality of diversity! Do you know how many times your current Age of Unity nearly ended over a Fae pollination squadron going to the wrong flowers?! Do you know what triggered the end of the previous Age? An argument over whether or not taxes were the way to go! Do you know how many different ideas were spouted?! It’s all a joke! Everything that’s ever been preached about diversity, it’s just a joke that went on too long! So, why do you insist on retelling the joke?!”
“…Because I don’t see diversity as a joke as, genetically speaking, it brought me into the world,” replied Arsha. “Incidentally, I DON’T see my life as perfect, nor do I want to. I see a life that can be constantly improved upon, but you don’t see continual improvements to life as something that’s necessary. In my eyes, I don’t see a demi-god, I see a child that doesn’t want to change. I say you’re wrong, diversity IS strength. I don’t know about the rest of the multiverse, but, without it, the Realms would collapse in on themselves.”
“You honestly believe that?” scoffed Vortech. “You’re more naïve than I thought. In any case, this will be the end. Because he was brought back, I hereby have Telandro use his fist altered with Earthquake and Drain and attack you directly.”
“GROUND-BREAKING LEECH!” called Telandro as he punched the ground and created a fissure that ran towards Arsha and reduced her health to 3,040. 1,000 of her mana vanished as Vortech’s mana replenished to its full 20,000. Arsha set a Field face down.
“You haven’t a hope of defeating me or freeing Megumi and Optimus,” declared Vortech. “Face it, you’re done. Go ahead and summon a Monster, Telandro will cut it down.” Arsha looked at her hand, then grinned.
“He won’t get the chance,” giggled Arsha. “Vortech, did the Spell: Circumvent exist when you played Okamon?”
“…What?” asked Vortech.
“Did the Spell: Circumvent exist when you played Okamon?” repeated Arsha.
“No, what IS Circumvent?” asked Vortech.
“I’ll explain when the Monster I summon casts it,” replied Arsha. “Speaking of which, I summon Kuwagor, the Fiend!” A four-armed, stag beetle-looking humanoid appeared; dressed in black robes and armed with knives.
“What good is HE going to do?” scoffed Vortech. “He’s only boosted when he has Attributes added to his Attack. It’s not going to be enough to cut me down, especially with Telandro.”
“Now is where I explain the Spell: Circumvent,” declared Arsha. “When it’s cast, the Monster can go around the enemy Monsters and attack the player’s health directly.”
“It still won’t be enough,” dismissed Vortech. “Even with both Attributes added to a Kick, he’s only going to lower my health by about 6,400, not enough to defeat me.”
“Yeah, except,” countered Arsha, “it’s not just a Spell being used. You see, I still have a Field card to play: Attribute Triad!”
“…No!” breathed Vortech as horror crossed his face.
“That’s right!” cheered Arsha. “Attribute Triad allows me to use a THIRD Attribute to his attack, thus it means his attack will be 9,600, far above your health! If I recall, you DIDN’T set a Field at the end of your turn.”
“YOU CAN’T DO THIS!” pleaded Vortech.
“Watch me, boy!” challenged Arsha. “I play the Field: Attribute Triad! Oh, and thank you for suggesting a Kick for his Attack. I think I’ll supplement it with Twin, Burn, and Swift! Kuwagor, finish this duel!”
“With pleasure!” cheered Kuwagor as he split into two copies, let the feet set themselves on fire, and ran around Telandro at such a speed, both copies looked like blurs. “BURNING SPEED ROUND!” called both copies of Kuwagor as they swung their feet towards Vortech.
“Oh, come on!” squeaked Vortech.
“That’s the name of the game, don’t wear it out!” finished Arsha. The attack hit Vortech and his host, Megumi, crumpled to the floor as Telandro vanished, the health dropped to zero, and Optimus woke up.
“Oh, my processor!” groaned Optimus. He then opened his optics and examined his hand. “Oh, good, I’m in full control. …MEGUMI!” He and Arsha then dashed to Vortech’s former host, Megumi.
“Megumi, can you hear me?!” called Arsha.
“…Loud and clear,” groaned Megumi as she opened her eyes. They were no longer white like Vortech’s. They were her normal brown again. “Good game,” praised Megumi.
“I had a good Okamon teacher,” chuckled Arsha. “Believe it or not, I got the idea from Optimus’ memories with that…er…holo-droid, right?”
“You saw my YuGiOh duel with that thing?” asked Optimus. He then flashed a cocky grin. “I was amazing, wasn’t I?”
“Boast while you can,” called a voice that sent fear racing up and down Megumi’s spine. Everyone turned to see Vortech in his old body picking himself up.
“You know the fight terms!” hissed Rosadera. “You will leave at once!”
“Oh, of course,” replied Vortech, “but Arsha was ‘mum’ on where I would go to in order to satisfy leaving Vorton!” He then opened a rift and let himself fall into it while War, Skyfall, Quake Hammer, and X-PO came out of another.
“MY SHIP!” she called.
“Ah, an Android army, splendid,” chuckled Vortech. “Good, you shall be my minions.”
“Our mission,” countered the HumaGear crewman, “is to protect the multiverse.”
“Sorry,” dismissed Vortech, “but your mission is to obey me.” He brought out a ZetsumeRiser, cloned it, and attached them all to the HumaGear crews of all ships in War’s Fleet. They resisted for a few seconds, but it proved no good. They became more obedient to him.
“Awaiting Vortech Zetsumerise Key,” droned all the HumaGears.
“Excellent!” chuckled Vortech as he made the Zetsumerise Key based on him and handed them all to his new soldiers. “It will be an empire of me!”
“VORTECH!” called the Zetsumerise Keys as all HumaGears pressed the buttons.
“Me, me, me!” laughed Vortech as the Zetsumerise Keys were inserted into the belts and the sides were pushed.
“ZETSUMERISE!” called the belts as they changed all of the HumaGears into perfect copies of him.
“Me too,” chuckled the first of his android clones.
“Captain Vortech,” commanded Lord Vortech, “set course for Chizara. Once there, all ships will hold position until Megumi decides to challenge me.”
“Aye, aye, Fleet Admiral Vortech,” replied his first clone. All of War’s former ships then opened a rift and flew straight to Chizara.