Megumi had changed into her dress and put on her makeup and crown. She had brought Malnar and her parents, Team Dark, and Jazz with her to Vorton. It had…expanded. The Tarlaxians and the Horsemen had come to Megumi with a proposal to turn Vorton into a commercial port and defensive outpost due to its closeness near the stars that power it. Megumi had agreed and so helped out where she could on the newly titled “Vorton Expansion Scheme”. The idea was to take numerous asteroids, connect them, expand the atmospheric shields to accommodate for the new size so people can walk outside, and install various shops, theaters, and conference rooms for many universe travelling species. Right now, the lower and middle rings of asteroids had been connected and various venues were set up. Docking bays had also been declared open and the construction crews were currently keeping the upper ring of asteroids in place as the supports were being built. The main area where the Vorton Gateway rested was at the center of it all with an internal ring of asteroids serving as the main Promenade. Megumi looked out at the main window of the Gateway Room and sighed happily. Nothing soothed her soul more than looking at the stars, imagining other worlds. Just then, Malnar made a questioning noise. “Shouldn’t that have closed?” she asked as she pointed to the open portal within the Gateway.
“I’m expecting more company,” explained Megumi. The Gateway then deposited Batman, Wyldstyle with her blue hair, Gandalf in white robes, and Takeshi Hongo. “Gandalf?” quizzed Megumi. “What’s with the white robes?”
“After Saruman left Orthanc,” explained Gandalf, “someone needed to fill the void. Given my experience with the Enemy, Sauron, I was asked to take his place, meaning I had to leave the Shire.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” sighed Megumi. “I know how much the Shire means to you.”
“Thank you, my lady,” bid Gandalf.
“Now, Wyldstyle…actually, is that your name now?” asked Megumi.
“If you want,” replied Wyldstyle. “I go by Lucy back home. It’s the hair, isn’t it?”
“Er, yeah, actually,” confirmed Megumi. “You know, I’ll ask later. Right now, we have a problem. The Convergence is taking place now and a bunch of us had vanished and ended up in other universes. Those universes are having the same problems and Hiro’s most likely going to capitalize on it!”
“What’s the plan, then?” asked Batman.
“We need to find the dimensional coordinates of the target universes,” declared Megumi. “We have people from the universes merging with this one. I’d like you to meet King Orbak, Queen Elmpam, their daughter, Malnar, Shadow the Hedgehog, Rouge the Bat, E123-Omega, and First Lieutenant Jazz of the Autobot Militia. Everyone, meet Batman, Wyldstyle, Gandalf the White, and Takeshi Hongo, the first Kamen Rider.” At that moment, Jazz fell over, a big, fat, goofy grin plastered on his face. “Er, Jazz is a huge Kamen Rider fan,” explained Megumi.
“How big?” asked Hongo.
“…You know, I’m not sure how big of a fan he is compared to Hiroki,” mused Megumi. Just then, there were rhythmic steps coming towards the group. The one making the steps looked like a mechanical man with bars coming from his head to his scalp. Jazz got up and got into a defensive stance.
“Easy,” urged Batman.
“Dudes, I’ve seen a few Cyberman episodes of Doctor Who with Optimus!” whispered Jazz. “I know how dangerous that thing is!”
“Not this particular Cyberman, I assure you,” interjected the Cyberman. The voice wasn’t the monotone Jazz had expected.
“Everyone new, this is Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart,” introduced Megumi, “our Chief of Security.”
“A pleasure to meet you all,” greeted the Brigadier. “I take it the new friends are a result of the Convergence?”
“Exactly,” confirmed Megumi. “Tell me, how’s the new PO?”
“It’s developed its own personality,” reported the Brigadier, “but requires something else. It wants to talk to you, specifically, in Conference Room 4.”
“I’ll be there straightaway,” replied Megumi. “Would you mind giving everyone a tour of the place?”
“Of course,” obliged the Brigadier. “If you all will follow me, please.” Everyone followed the Brigadier as Megumi headed to a transporter pad.
“Conference Ring,” she directed. She then vanished in blue light as her atoms were sent to the requested transport pad and reconstructed once they arrived. She looked herself over to see she didn’t grow an extra limb or lose a bit of her dress. When all was deemed correct, she left the pad and headed to Conference Room 4. Once there, she opened the door to see a slender robot with a small hover skirt, pincer style claws, and a square head with a pair of antennae and a single red eye. “You wanted to see me?” asked Megumi.
“Yes,” confirmed the robot in a monotonous female voice. “I have decided on a new name. Since there are no other PO robots of my class, the Omega class, I am calling myself POmega.”
“Fair enough,” replied Megumi. “Anything else?”
“I require a new voice,” continued the newly christened POmega. “Liam and Lukas had already set up a randomizer, but Lukas was taken before they could initiate it. Could you operate it? You would just need to press the button when I tell you to.”
“All right, can do,” confirmed Megumi. She pressed the button.
“All right, let’s check this one out,” mused POmega. The voice sounded like Fred from Scooby Doo. “Mmmm, no. Cute, but no. I don’t think this is it. Try again.”
“Got it,” replied Megumi. She pressed it again.
“Testing, testing,” tried POmega. “…No, I don’t think Brent Spiner wants his voice used for a robot again.”
“…We are NEVER going to get our friends back at this rate,” muttered Megumi as she pressed the button once more.
“Check, check, check,” tested POmega. “…A step in the right direction. British, female, but I’m not sure I want Dame Maggie Smith as my voice. Once more.”
“Here’s hoping,” sighed Megumi as she pressed the button one last time.
“Hello? Hello?” called POmega with an Emma Watson voice. “Hello! Yes, this sounds perfect! Yes, Emma Watson will do nicely!”
“Perfect!” cheered Megumi. “Now, I gotta get back to the tour group.”
“Have you managed to take a reading on them?” asked POmega. “Each universe is constructed differently, with different time-scales. They could help in finding our friends if they’re in those universes.”
“Good idea,” replied Megumi. “I’ll get a reading once the tour’s over.”
“Very well, then. I’ll just assist Dell and R9,” declared POmega. “They’re arguing whether or not the Flow Regulator needs replacing or the power core needs overhauling.”
“Didn’t the Flow Regulator get replaced over a dozen times?” quizzed Megumi as she remembered the reports.
“Precisely why I’m siding with Mr. Conagher in overhauling the power core,” confirmed POmega. “If you’ll pardon me.” They left the Conference Room and headed to a wall panel.
“Computer, locate the Brigadier’s group, Dell Conagher, and R9-D7,” commanded Megumi.
“The Brigadier is showing off the Promenade and Dell and R9-D7 are in Engineering,” replied the computer. Megumi and POmega went off in separate directions. Megumi found a transport pad and stepped on.
“Promenade,” she ordered. She was then beamed to the Promenade as the Brigadier’s group turned a corner.
“And this is the Promenade, the main commercial hub,” lectured the Brigadier. “Any form of activity and the Promenade will take you there.” Just then, he noticed Jazz was a little pensive about something. “Mr. Jazz?” asked the Brigadier.
“The more I listen about this place,” mused Jazz, “the more I realize I heard of someone claiming to see Vorton, even though it’s a myth where I’m from.” That’s when Megumi got an idea.
“Does your universe have Sonic the Hedgehog?” she asked.
“Of course, it does,” growled Shadow. “Stupid blue faker!”
“Did he ever talk about someone named Vortech?” continued Megumi.
“He said he was running around the video games of the past with Mario,” replied Shadow.
“Hey, yeah,” recalled Jazz. “He also said he met with Ex-aid and a few other Kamen Riders. Wait, were you one of them?!”
“I was, indeed,” confirmed Megumi. “So that gives us a little more room to work with.”
“I don’t follow,” called Elmpam as she scratched behind one of her ears.
“Brigadier, since you’ve worked the Gateway more than I have, you can explain,” directed Megumi.
“With pleasure, Ma’am,” obliged the Brigadier. He then turned to the tour group. “Is everyone familiar with the concept of atomic construction?”
“That we’re all made of small particles with a charge,” replied Malnar. “That’s beginner knowledge for a schoolkid. What do atoms have to do with it?”
“In every universe, there is a small atomic difference for life-forms,” continued the Brigadier. “Each universe is unique in some way. Some have a totally different charge in their construction, some have their atomic charges flipped. The protons are negatively charged and the electrons are positively charged.”
“An anti-matter universe,” interjected Jazz.
“Er, yes, how did you…?” asked the Brigadier.
“One of us Autobots went to one,” explained Jazz. “The only reason she didn’t go boom the instant she set foot in it was because there was some sort of energy that altered her so she could exist in that universe safely.”
“That would be the rift’s doing,” replied the Brigadier. “It tends to translate a life-form so it can exist in that universe. Now, we CAN get a small reading on how one was originally constructed and guess their universe, but there are also dimensional timelines to consider. Now, we still have a reading on Sonic, so if we can run that past our database on universes, we can narrow the search down. Taking a reading on you and your compatriots, Mr. Jazz, could help us narrow the search down a little more. The only way it could be helped any further is if we had a map that pinpointed your universe. As of now, we need to go the slower route.” Just then, the comms system chimed. Megumi took the call.
“Go ahead,” she directed.
“This is Emmanuel,” came a voice with a French accent. “The Dominus just decloaked right outside our shield perimeter.”
“That’s too close for comfort,” declared Megumi. “Red alert. Raise shields.” The Red alert siren rang throughout the station as Megumi morphed into Tora-Onna and led the group to the Gateway room, where all the action was coordinated. “Rusty, send a message to the Dominus,” Megumi ordered a woman in a Dalek dress. “Order them to break off their advance.”
“Megumi, YOU are being hailed,” reported the woman, Rusty the former Dalek.
“I am?” asked Megumi.
“Yes, by name,” confirmed Rusty.
“On screen,” ordered Megumi. Hiro then appeared on the new viewscreen with Megatron and Dr. Borg flanking him. Jazz and Malnar visibly flinched. “Hiro, old friend,” greeted Megumi. “I’d say I’m happy to see you, but then I’d throw up from lying.”
“Come now, must we resort to being unpleasant with each other?” asked Hiro. “After all, wouldn’t this be much simpler if we could reach some mutual understanding?”
“You want to conquer the multiverse, I want to stop you,” hissed Megumi. “I think we understand each other pretty well.”
“Fine, we’ll just skip the pleasantries,” sighed Hiro. “I wish to talk to you about Caan and his new companion.”
“Did he abandon you?” asked Megumi.
“Why don’t we talk about this in private?” requested Hiro. “If you wish, I can allow you to have two other companions and I will be limited to these two here.” He pointed to Megatron and Dr. Borg.
“How’s it hanging, Mega-skeeze?” asked Jazz.
“Ah, so my optics are NOT playing tricks on me,” snarked Megatron. “How are you, given the circumstances?”
“A little on edge,” replied Jazz.
“Daddy, wasn’t she executed?” Malnar asked as she pointed to Dr. Borg.
“I was,” interjected Dr. Borg. “Arsha made me waste a new body within the Fae Republic’s Capital Tree.”
“So YOU’RE the one that made her contract Malmaho disease!” snarled Malnar as she summoned a fireball in each hand.
“Easy,” urged Megumi. She turned to Emmanuel. “Assign the Dominus a flight path. I want him at Air Lock 2.”
“What?!” protested Emmanuel.
“I want to hear him out,” replied Megumi. “Give him a flight path to Air Lock 2. Malnar, Jazz, and I will meet and discuss things there.” Emmanuel was still stunned, then shook it off and assigned the Dominus a flight path.
After the meeting, the Dominus departed from Vorton and left the universe. Megumi was sitting alone in her old room. Her door then rang. “Come in,” she bid. An older Japanese woman then came in.
“Am I interrupting something?” asked the woman.
“Okaa-san!” (Mother!) cheered Megumi. She then hugged the woman, her adopted mother, Haruna Hishikawa. She then broke off the embrace as they took a seat.
“I must say, Vorton’s really expanded since I was last here,” chuckled Haruna. She then noticed her daughter’s expression. “Megumi?” she asked, snapping Megumi out of her thoughts.
“Gomen,” (Sorry) apologized Megumi. “I just had a chat with Hiro.”
“Oh?” asked Haruna.
“He came here with a startling proposal,” explained Megumi. “Shocker Rift wants to enter into a truce with the Vortex Alliance until we have retrieved our wayward friends.”
“A truce? Why?” asked Haruna.
“He says he has something on his mind and wants to focus on that for a time,” replied Megumi. “He’s treating this like a business deal. You’re more business oriented than me or Hiroki, so any advice you have would be valuable.”
“This sounds more like a matter of diplomacy,” replied Haruna. “Not really my department.”
“With respect, it IS your department,” countered Megumi. “Don’t you need a bit of diplomacy when you conduct a deal?”
“Perhaps, but nothing on the level of two nations,” remarked Haruna.
“I’m not sure that either of us lead a nation,” mused Megumi. “In any case, you understand the predicament. If I disagree to this truce, then Hiro attacks our home, perhaps kidnaps you and uses you as a hostage against me, as he did when he worked for Vortech.”
“And if you agree, you risk being slowly conquered,” realized Haruna.
“An unhappy choice,” sighed Megumi. She then got up. “I’ve asked Haitao for advice, since he’s my main diplomat, but he doesn’t know. I’ve even asked our new friends what they would do. Three of them are actual royalty. Still, they’re unsure. So, I need your advice. What should I do? How can I guarantee victory for me in the long run?”
“You rarely ask me for advice,” remarked Haruna. “This must be serious.” She then stood up and looked out the window. “While I’ve never been in this exact situation, I do know what helped me in my endeavors. I recommend you do the same. Stall him. Tell him you need to consult with your friends, you need to meditate on this, anything you want, but you should stall for time.”
“Time? For what?” asked Megumi.
“I don’t know,” answered Haruna. “What I DO know is that the time of crisis is not now. When it arrives, you must keep your options open.”
“…Very well,” sighed Megumi. “I’ll see what his reaction is.”
The next day, his reaction was a pleasant one as he told her to take all the time she needed. His ship would be hanging around, watching them. Megumi felt like there was a stalker outside her door every day. She was going to the Promenade to talk to the foreman of the construction crew when she heard footsteps. “Hello?” she called tentatively.
“My lady, there you are!” came a Texan drawl. Megumi released her breath, it was Dell Conagher.
“What can I do for you, Dell?” she asked as she turned to face her.
“I think I can help you with deciding how a truce would go,” explained Dell, “with a little help from Elphaba and the Brigadier.”
“Oh? Go on,” invited Megumi.