As the Ark, Nemesis, Tiger, Virginia, Endeavor, and Scorpion pursued Vortech’s hijacked fleet, a Tarlaxian fleet joined them. The Hammer of Tarlax was currently under Eelinape’s command as Scorpainia had to stay behind to focus on the baby in her womb. Megumi was checked over by Emily in the Virginia’s Sick Bay. “All signs are good,” declared Emily. “You’re free to go.”
“Thank you,” bid Megumi. “I need to talk with everyone on the Ark.” She headed to the transporter room and beamed over to the Ark’s Conference Room to meet Rosadera, Arsha, Oak, Caan, Mickey, Eggman, Sonic, Richard, Optimus, Ultra Magnus, Megatron, Starscream, Dr. Borg, Tormo, War, and Hiro.
“You doing okay?” asked Richard.
“Bit of a headache from Vortech’s possession,” replied Megumi. She then gave a glare to Hiro and Caan. “Hiro, Caan,” she greeted, not even bothering with honorifics.
“Megumi,” growled Hiro, dropping the honorifics as well. The tension could be cut with a knife before Megumi changed the subject.
“What’s our status?” she asked.
“Still pursuing Vortech,” replied Optimus.
“He doesn’t have a host anymore,” mused Arsha. “Does that mean he’s more vulnerable?”
“Vortech never needed a host to survive,” answered Hiro.
“He can’t really make Vortexons anymore,” supplied Megumi. “I remember seeing that during the Okamon match.”
“Unfortunately,” sighed War, “he’s probably reprogrammed the HumaGear crews of my fleet to obey him. He’s still got an army.”
“Why is he going to Chizara, though?” asked Oak.
“…Funny you bring that up,” mused Arsha as she tried to think about why.
“He’s still unsuspecting of us,” interjected Caan. “We should increase speed and fire on sight before he suspects an attack! With any luck, the power systems of each ship will be disabled and Vortech will be weakened!”
“Each ship has independent power systems to prevent that from happening,” replied War. “I planned for such a method of attack.”
“Then any tactical insights would be appreciated,” declared Tormo.
“See, that’s the funny part,” remarked Megumi. “Optimus, Arsha, and I are aware of more of his thoughts now, but one of them has been confusing me.”
“What’s that?” asked Rosadera.
“Why do his thoughts turn to Chizara?” asked Megumi.
“…She’s right, that makes no sense and Vortech is blocking my ability to peer into his timeline for me to get any answers,” muttered Caan.
“What do you mean?” asked Eggman.
“Vortech’s endgame was to smash all universes and sub-dimensions into one giant universe,” explained Megumi. “That could only be possible by gathering the Foundation Elements.”
“Is there something on Chizara that would make gathering them easier?” asked Sonic.
“No, the Vortonians asked us to destroy it completely,” answered Rosadera. “He saw us reduce the device to dust, then to atoms, then to nothing.”
“I think the better question,” remarked Optimus, “is why did Vortech decide to bide his time?”
“Vortech’s been awake since the battle for the Sources on Foundation Prime,” recalled Megumi. “That was three years ago. It took Hiro that long to get more recruits for Shocker Rift, but it took Vortech way less time to gather the Foundation Elements once he found Foundation Prime. So, why is he ignoring Foundation Prime if there’s nothing for him on Chizara?”
“Perhaps he knew I was after him,” boasted Caan.
“No offense, Caan,” remarked Hiro, “…actually, ALL the offense, you fled from him along with me when he made the Quad and turned on us all. Neither of us were in a position to stop him back then. It took Megumi, Lacey, and all of their allies, including all of the Doctor’s incarnations, to stop him. But no dimension was attacked in his name! He’s just been sitting inside Optimus, Arsha, and Megumi! There’s something else in his head that not even they knew about.”
“Speculation of his motives aside,” interjected War, “attacking him now will do us no good. Doing so will only condemn us to fruitlessly pursuing him for the rest of our lives. We need a permanent solution.”
“She’s right,” declared Mickey. “I’m sick of this skullduggery! We need to end this now!”
“Then we need our smart people to come up with a miracle,” replied Optimus.
“The resources of Shockwave’s lab,” offered Megatron, “should help all of our scientists to produce a solution to this crisis. Eggman, you and I will tell Shockwave of this development.”
“I’ll join you,” offered Dr. Borg.
“I’ll have Ratchet and Perceptor assist you,” declared Optimus. “Maybe Tails can help too.”
“Lukas, Dell, and Liam will help as well,” announced Megumi.
“I’ll have Thangred, Melandra, and Marshii help you guys,” proclaimed Arsha.
“Hiro, I suggest you train for the coming battle,” suggested Megumi.
“Sure,” muttered Hiro.
“Let’s finish this, people!” declared Megumi. “Vortech’s going down again!”
Once all the scientifically-minded people were in Shockwave’s lab on the Nemesis, they began making numerous plans to try and defeat Vortech. “What about a Sentry nest keyed only to Vortech’s genetic signature?” asked Dell.
“That requires more metal than we have,” muttered Shockwave, “and there’s no guarantee that Vortech won’t consider your Sentries.”
“There IS the machine you and Metal Sonic used to control that city Transformer,” surmised Eggman.
“Mr. Prower here,” replied Shockwave, “had his Nutzanbolts eat it and destroy any and all information on it.”
“Besides,” supplied Tails, “Vortech could grow big, from what Megumi said, and Metroplex isn’t around to save us.”
“This is getting us nowhere!” hissed Lukas.
“Well, we don’t really have much choice,” griped Marshii.
“Lads, Lassies, let’s not fight,” suggested Liam. “Only if we work together do we…”
“Wait a cycle,” remarked Perceptor as inspiration hit him. “I believe we’re asking the wrong question here.”
“Explanations?” asked Shockwave.
“It’s not ‘How can we beat Vortech?’,” elaborated Perceptor, “it’s ‘Why did Vortech choose those three specifically?’. Megumi, I can understand, but Optimus considered him a myth and Arsha never even heard of the stories surrounding him.”
“…He’s right, why choose them?” muttered Shockwave as the wheels were turning.
“Maybe, for some irrational reason,” mused Ratchet, “he fears their power combined. I mean, Arsha’s a young woman, yet she’s got plans to unite the Realms and that requires a lot of power in some fashion. On top of that, she’s skilled in magic.”
“Optimus has that Matrix and his own magical abilities,” supplied Dell.
“And Megumi can use the abilities of anyone with that belt of hers,” recalled Marshii. “But, the question is, is that enough to make Vortech afraid of them so bad he wants that power under his control?”
“Megumi’s been the one with the greatest connection to Vortech,” offered Lukas. “Maybe she could tell us?”
“Her answers will either make or break Perceptor’s theory,” replied Shockwave. “Let’s ask her.”
“I’ll call her here,” offered Dell as he took out his cell phone and dialed Megumi’s number. He heard the ringing until he got a response.
“Moshi moshi?” asked Megumi.
“Megumi, darlin’, could you come over here for a second?” asked Dell. “We need some data to either prove or disprove a theory.”
“I’ll help in any way I can,” replied Megumi.
“That’s all I ask,” finished Dell. Megumi hung up and she was beamed over to Shockwave’s lab.
“What do you need from me?” asked Megumi.
“When Vortech had control of you,” inquired Shockwave, “did you get any reason why he chose you, Optimus, and Arsha?”
“…Now that you mention it, yes,” replied Megumi. “He did some research on Optimus and Arsha and was terrified of them seeing the multiverse. When I accidentally reactivated his memories and soul three years ago, his thoughts immediately went to them. With the power of the Matrix, Optimus and Arsha’s magical abilities, Arsha’s political and naval know-how, and my Vortex Driver, Vortech feared that such power could finish him in the long run, so he sought to control us. Is there anything else you want to know?”
“That won’t be necessary,” answered Shockwave, “but thank you.” Megumi bowed as she called for a teleport back. “Well now,” mused Shockwave, “perhaps we should make something based around combining their powers.”
“I think I have something in mind,” replied Tails, “we just need an Ascendant and Optimus and Arsha’s i.d. tags.”
“I can provide them,” offered Lukas.
“You propose that we make a new power-up to combine their powers?” guessed Shockwave.
“If things go right, yes,” answered Tails.
“We had best get started, then,” declared Shockwave.
War, Megumi, Arsha, and Optimus were called to Shockwave’s lab about an hour later. “I understand you have something?” Megumi asked all of the scientists.
“We do,” replied Lukas. “We had to use my Ascendant to make it, but it’s a noble sacrifice. Besides, Dell offered to make another one since he worked with them more than I did.”
“We just need you three to test it out,” explained Tails as he pointed to Megumi, Optimus, and Arsha.
“Why us?” asked Optimus.
“Because, if our equations hold,” replied Shockwave, “you three will understand what fusion truly is.”
“Wait a minute, I want to make sure I got that right,” interjected Megumi. “You guys made an Ascendant that would allow someone to fuse with two people instead of just one?”
“Not exactly,” answered Dell. “We set it so that only you can use it and only fuse with Optimus and Arsha. Vortech fears your powers combined, so we need to use that against him.”
“And you need us to test it out,” surmised Arsha.
“Correct,” confirmed Dr. Borg.
“Then let me have it,” declared Megumi.
“Presenting the Transcendant!” announced Lukas as he handed over the device. It could fit like the Ascendant could, but the wheels were the size of the one on the Vortex Driver and had Optimus’ image on the one facing her right and Arsha’s on the remaining one. Megumi inserted her i.d. tag, then pressed the button on the Transcendant’s top.
“TRIPLE ASCENDANCE!” it called. She then inserted it into the driver. “TRIPLE SET!” She then struck her ready pose as Optimus assumed his usual melee ready stance and Arsha went into a stance that looked like she was ready to dance.
“Henshin!” announced Megumi.
“Henshin!” Optimus and Arsha repeated. Megumi pressed the button again and changed first into Royal, then her suit bulked up and turned white with gold trim, making her Kamen Rider Proto-Vortex, then the bulk flew off and revealed her final form of Kamen Rider Vortex!
“I didn’t…” she muttered before Optimus and Arsha turned into mist and fused with her. Her new armor had Optimus’ face on her right shoulder pad and was armored like him, as was her left leg, while Arsha’s face turned into her left shoulder pad and her left arm and right leg were armored after her. Her helmet gained Optimus’ antennae and Arsha’s bun and hairpiece. Her cape was still white and she examined herself.
“POWER OF THREE! ASCENDED TRINITY! KAMEN RIDER VORTEX: TRINITY SOUL!” cheered the Transcendant.
“That just begs the question of who’s in charge,” muttered Eggman.
“Megumi?” asked Marshii. “Optimus? Arsha?”
“…I am all of them, yet none of them,” replied the Rider in a totally different voice than either Megumi, Arsha, or Optimus’. The voice was clearly feminine, but spoke in an otherworldly tone. “I am their combined whole, Kamen Rider Vortex: Trinity Soul.”
“…I was NOT expecting that!” gasped Eggman. “But, I was expecting not to expect something, so it doesn’t count.”
“Is there…?” gulped Ratchet.
“They all reside in me,” explained Vortex: Trinity Soul, “and they’re as unnerved about what happened as much as you are.”
“Unnerved is putting it mildly,” muttered Ratchet.
“How much do you know?” asked Shockwave.
“Everything about the lives of all of my components,” answered Vortex: Trinity Soul, “especially what’s going on. A question still lingers in my mind; why did you ask for War?”
“While War was influenced by Vortech when he possessed you,” explained Tails, “she was trying to take over the Chizaran Satellite Network to make space-based weapons to target Caan.”
“Yeah, I remember that,” sighed War as she looked away, ashamed.
“Some of the weapons you were designing are quite sophisticated,” continued Eggman, “all in a bid to destroy Caan.”
“Are you saying you think we can use the satellites to destroy Vortech?” asked Vortex: Trinity Soul.
“I think WAR was, actually,” replied Tails.
“It’s possible,” explained Marshii, “that while she was influenced by Vortech, War was creating a weapon against him. I have to say, that’s impressive.”
“The Ascendant’s program,” elaborated Lukas, “came with various mental safeguards to shield us from Vortech. If those safeguards were expanded upon, they could be used to trap Vortech.”
“Combined with dimensional technology,” supplied Dr. Borg, “we could create a small pocket dimension made from the safeguards that could contain our enemy.”
“Natural entropy of a dimension that size,” continued Dell, “will make it decay within seconds of the portal closing and Vortech won’t be able to escape. Thus, he’ll die along with it.”
“We’ll need the satellites to both project the safeguards and close the portal,” mused War. Everyone then winced.
“Therein lies a tricky bit,” remarked Tails. “Even with more help, Vortech’s fleet is still a match for ours.”
“He needs his attention drawn away from the battle in space,” elaborated Shockwave.
“And the main satellite controls need a means of control set up on the ground,” continued Dell, “as well as on board the Virginia.”
“We need someone to set up the ground controls on Chizara,” finished Marshii, “and draw Vortech’s attention away from the space battle.”
“I have an uneasy feeling,” remarked Vortex: Trinity Soul, “that someone is me.”
“Don’t tell Caan,” answered Eggman, “but I would prefer that he does it. However, while Vortech DID restore his clairvoyance with a bit of his own being, it’s not enough to close the portal.”
“Besides, we’d have a continual lock on you to bring you out of there if things go awry,” assured Tails.
“…Well, my components and I agree that it’s the best option,” declared Vortex: Trinity Soul. “When we get to Chizara, we’re putting an end to this once and for all!” She then took out the Transcendant and split into Arsha, Megumi, and Optimus.
“Minna-san, we’re only getting one shot at this,” reminded Megumi. “There can be no margin for error. We’ll tell everyone the plan in an hour.”