Megumi headed to the Gateway Room with a big, fat smile on her face. “Hail the Dominus,” she ordered Rusty.
“Megumi?” quizzed Rusty.
“Your colleagues are geniuses,” replied Megumi. “The Dominus, please.”
“Hailing frequencies open,” reported Rusty. Hiro, Megatron, and Dr. Borg then appeared on screen.
“Ah, Megumi,” he greeted. “I trust you have an answer?”
“As a matter of fact, yes,” replied Megumi.
“I know that grin, I’ve made such a grin myself,” remarked Megatron. “You have some sort of advantage over us.”
“No, no, merely a grin of knowing the playing field is now level,” assured Megumi. Hiro then looked worried. “I offer my guess to your plans and an explanation to how I leveled it. I’m willing to bet that, when you said “our” friends, you meant yours. After I told my friends what you proposed, they got to thinking how they can turn it to our advantage. Lo and behold, they did. Brigadier, make your Cyber-mite’s presence known to them.”
“What?!” yelped Hiro. Just then, a Combatman yelped in surprise as a metallic, worm-like machine crawled across his console. It then projected Shocker Rift’s map of the multiverse.
“It doesn’t match up perfectly with ours,” continued Megumi, “but, considering we have Vorton on both, we can use that as a reference point. Now, in exchange, we’re willing to surrender a Mr. Starscream into your custody, then we both agree not to attack each other until BOTH sides have our military capabilities at full strength. Agreed?”
“…I must compliment you, Madame,” remarked Megatron. “One day, you must tell me how Cyberman technology got past Soundwave!”
“That’s not important right now,” replied Megumi.
“I think it is!” snarled Hiro. “If you think we’re going to agree to this…!”
“Then you would be right,” interrupted Megatron. “Tell me, what did my First Lieutenant of military matters tell you?”
“He just went on and on about how we’re going to be slaves to the Decepticon Empire,” replied Megumi, “how he’s going to turn us into ashes, all that stuff. Nothing of tactical value. Check with him if you wish.”
“I may do just that,” answered Megatron.
“I don’t see a reason to agree to her terms!” argued Hiro.
“They have an Autobot amongst them,” explained Megatron. “While he may act the stereotypical, music obsessed, Michael Jackson fanboy, black man, Jazz is good at extracting information from people. Starscream knows a fair bit of Decepticon Intelligence. I’m not going to run that risk. We’re just going to have to agree to her terms to get Starscream back.”
“…Dr. Borg? Opinions?” asked Hiro.
“We need to accept,” replied Dr. Borg.
“You too?!” protested Hiro.
“We cannot risk losing the soldiers we have,” insisted Dr. Borg. “I know you believe us to be more powerful, but power is nothing without numbers.”
“…Fine, we accept your terms!” sighed Hiro. “Neither side will attack the other until BOTH of our military might is built up. We will retrieve Starscream in an hour.”
“You can retrieve him at these coordinates,” offered Megumi as she keyed in a command to beam the coordinates to the Dominus. “See you in an hour.” Hiro snarled before ending the call and having the Dominus leave Vorton’s universe. Megumi then turned to Rusty. “Get me the After Academy Detention Center,” she directed. “I want to talk to War.”
“Detention Center receiving,” reported Rusty. The person on screen wasn’t War, but a female student in Death’s house with white hair and a black headband.
“Megumi, I hate to sound rude, but I AM busy,” urged the girl. “Please make it brief.”
“Sophie?” asked Megumi. “I was trying to reach War.”
“She’s currently talking to new arrivals,” replied the girl, Sophie Moore. “They are three new Autobots, a human, a Transformer-sized chlorophyll-based life-form, and a few Mobians.”
“Transformer-sized chlorophyll-based life-form?” repeated Megumi. She then turned to a computer console. “Computer, locate Jazz. I want to know if he’s familiar with a Transformer-sized chlorophyll-based life-form.”
“Jazz is on the Promenade with Team Dark,” reported the computer.
“Thank you,” bid Megumi as she headed to the transport pad. “Promenade,” she commanded. She was transported there and found the four a few steps around the Promenade. “Jazz!” she called. The four had stopped their conversation and looked to her.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“I just had an interesting conversation with the detention center,” explained Megumi. “Are there Transformer-sized chlorophyll-based life-forms in your universe?”
“Yep, the Seedrians,” confirmed Jazz. “We thought they went extinct, but a Seedrian ambassador, Cosmo, proved us wrong.” Megumi then moved towards a small screen.
“Computer, get me War,” she commanded. The call then came to War’s communicator, audio only.
“Might I ask what you’re doing, calling me at such a time?” came the familiar gruff voice of War.
“I want to discuss something with you,” replied Megumi. “Specifically, two things. First, I think the new arrivals would want to talk to Jazz and Team Dark.”
“Are they with you?” asked War.
“We’re right here,” rasped Shadow.
“…Fine,” sighed War, “Switching to visual.” War’s scarred face appeared before she moved backwards to reveal the new arrivals. Their faces lit up when they saw Jazz.
“Sir!” cheered a small, yellow bot with horns.
“Jazzy!” called a female bot in purple and black.
“Shadow,” grunted a hulking bot with half of a T-Rex head and neck on each shoulder.
“My beloved friends!” greeted a woman with a rose affixed to her hair.
“Good to see you again!” called a green woman with a rose on each side of her head, the Transformer-sized chlorophyll-based life-form.
“Halo!” (Hello!) greeted a male Mobian Komodo Dragon in Indonesian.
“G’day!” answered a male Mobian Quokka.
“Cool! New friends to play with!” giggled a male Mobian Bee in a flight helmet.
“All right! Now we’re talking!” cheered Jazz. “Everyone, I want you to meet Master Sergeant Bumblebee, my fellow First Lieutenant, Blackarachnia, the Dyno-bot commander, Command Sergeant Major Grimlock, Sira Mayworth, the Grand High Witch of Mobius, Ambassador Cosmo of Greengate, Sergeant Agus Atmadja the Komodo Dragon, Corporal Wilson Andrews the Quokka, and Charmy Bee!”
“So the spider-bot spoke truly,” remarked War. “She IS an Autobot.”
“Was it my optics that made you doubt me?” asked Blackarachnia as she pointed to her crimson optics.
“You must admit, you’re wearing the colors of the enemy,” grunted Grimlock, “especially that peacock being held here.”
“I presume you’re talking about Starscream?” asked Megumi. Everyone on the screen turned to her. “I apologize, I asked a question without introducing myself. My name is Megumi Hishikawa, leader of the Vortex Alliance and Queen of the Feudal Nerd Society.”
“A pleasure to meet you,” returned Sira. “In any event, yes, we WERE talking about Starscream.”
“This girl Rider-kicked him good!” lauded Jazz.
“Rider-kicked?” repeated Wilson.
“Not another Kamen Rider,” grumbled Grimlock.
“We’ll not be releasing Starscream any time soon,” boasted War.
“Unfortunately, that is exactly what we must do,” countered Megumi.
“…I beg your pardon?” asked War.
“Hiro, Megatron, and Dr. Borg visited Vorton and offered a truce,” explained Megumi. “I changed the terms a little. We’ve taken their map to pinpoint our new arrivals’ home universes. In exchange, we’re handing Starscream back to them.”
“…You’re agreeing to a truce with HIRO?!” argued War.
“Megatron’s going to ignore the terms of this truce too!” supplied Blackarachnia.
“Dr. Borg is also a member of the Fae!” continued War. “They’re the best at finding loopholes!”
“I think I’ve closed them off when I laid out my counter-terms,” assured Megumi.
“What were your EXACT words?” asked War.
“That, in exchange for getting their map, we would release Starscream back to them,” replied Megumi. “In addition, neither side will attack each other until we’ve reached our full military might. That would include ships and soldiers.” War released a breath.
“I think you just covered our butts,” she sighed in relief. “If you just said ‘army’, she would convince Hiro to attack when their navy’s built up and neglect the army. In any event, I strongly advise against giving up Starscream! He’s Megatron’s First Lieutenant!”
“And is usually willing to spill it with the right amount of pressure, whatever version he is,” supplied Megumi. “This one’s more resilient than the rest of them. Besides, he’s as confused about this as we are. He’s not useful to us.”
“…Very well, we’ll release him,” grumbled War.
An hour passed. A universe was chosen. The Virginia and the Dominus landed opposite of each other at a desert landscape. Those allies that were in War’s custody had rejoined Jazz and Team Dark and were filled in on what caused them to be where they are now. With everyone on the same page, they met with their allies and glared at their respective enemies. Grimlock had a hand on a currently terrified Starscream. Starscream then spotted Megatron across the imaginary border. “Er, any chance I can stay here?” he gulped.
“Unfortunately for us, no,” grumbled Grimlock. “You’re going back after we got a map to our home universes from them.” Starscream gulped again.
“Let Starscream come to us!” called Hiro. Grimlock shoved Starscream towards the other side. He got the message and started walking. The walk took about two minutes until Starscream was at Megatron’s side, albeit looking terrified.
“What have you told them?” inquired Megatron in a threatening tone.
“They know nothing!” gulped Starscream.
“You don’t mind a cortical psychic patch to check that, do you?” quizzed Megatron, clearly enjoying his First Lieutenant’s fear.
“Not at all, My Lord,” replied Starscream. Soundwave then stuck him on the back of the neck with a cord and attached the other end to the back of his own neck. Starscream cried out in pain for a few seconds before Soundwave terminated the procedure.
“They know nothing,” confirmed Soundwave.
“We shall leave, now!” called Hiro to Megumi. “Good luck building up your allies! I’ll see you soon!” Hiro and his group then entered their saucer and left the universe. Megumi released a breath.
“You know, in some twisted way,” mused Sira, “I rather enjoyed seeing Starscream squirm.”
“Well, that concludes that part of the bargain,” mused Megumi. “Now, we must return.” They boarded the Virginia. Megumi found her way to the bridge.
“Megumi on the bridge!” called Emily as she stood up from the Captain’s chair. Tonje was at the upper weapons station, Amelia took the upper science station, Liam had the upper Engineering station, Mikhail had the upper comms station, Irina took the lower weapons station, Sheela took the lower science station, R9 handled the lower Engineering station, Hongo was on the lower comms station, and Tanisha was the pilot.
“At ease,” bid Megumi as she settled into the Captain’s seat while Emily took the First Officer’s seat. “Tanisha, take us out. One quarter speed, then punch it to seven once we enter the rift. Let’s get back to Vorton.” The Virginia was taken up and left the planet as it opened a rift. It made its way back home to Vorton. As they were making their approach, Mikhail and Hongo got something.
“Megumi,” called Mikhail, “we’re getting a call from Vorton.”
“Apparently, the Hammer of Tarlax is there, carrying Scorpainia,” continued Hongo. “She wants to discuss something with you.”
“Tell her I’ll meet her at the airlock,” replied Megumi.
“We’re assigned Flight path 2 to Airlock 6,” reported Mikhail.
“Amelia, make the necessary course corrections,” directed Megumi.
“Aye, Ma’am,” confirmed Amelia. The Virginia made its way to Airlock 6 and docked with it. Everyone stepped off and met with a scorpion-like humanoid. With human arms as well as scorpion claws and a scorpion tail with stinger. Megumi was embraced by the scorpion-like humanoid and patted on the back roughly.
“It is good to see you again, my friend!” cheered the scorpion-like humanoid as she pulled back.
“A pleasure to see you too, Scorpainia,” returned Megumi. The scorpion-like humanoid, Scorpainia, the Tarlaxian Queen Empress, laughed a deep, belly laugh. “I suppose you need an explanation for why I was away.”
“No need, R9 told me everything,” replied Scorpainia. “He described Hiro as looking a bit angry at having to agree to his enemy’s counter-terms. A very smart choice, in my opinion, given the chaotic nature of the Convergence. My reason for coming here is two-fold. First, I’ve found a few denizens of the Emboramiis’ universe. I’ve already met them, lovely people. Malnar had identified them as members of her future spouse’s senior staff and has named them thus: Laverda the Centaur, Dalengor the Shadow Dragon, Marshii the Mermaid, Falnii the Zephyr, and Jandro the Vampire. We’ve taken more readings on them and are running them against the maps. My second purpose is simple, I want to establish a permanent Tarlaxian presence on Vorton. Hiro’s most likely going to attack Vorton once the truce ends.”
“I see no problem with a permanent Tarlaxian presence,” mused Megumi. “We should discuss this after I meet with Malnar’s compatriots.”
“They’re getting a tour of the Promenade,” explained Scorpainia. “Come! I will take you to them!” They took the transporter pads to the Promenade and met with Elphaba and the group. The Centaur had tan skin on his human half. The Shadow Dragon was in her humanoid form. The Mermaid had a medical cross on her tube top and had robot legs around her tail. A woman with dark grey skin wore clouds like a dress, presumably what Scorpainia called a Zephyr. The Vampire was a man with long, flowing, black hair, and wore a black dress. Elphaba caught sight of Megumi.
“Everyone, this is Megumi Hishikawa, my boss here,” she introduced.
“A pleasure to meet you,” greeted the Centaur. “I am Commander Laverda Lancelor of the Endeavor.”
“Lieutenant Commander Dalengor Mardem, at your service,” greeted the Shadow Dragon.
“I’m Doctor Marshii Borontho, Lieutenant Junior Grade and CMO of the Endeavor,” introduced the Mermaid.
“I…I’m Ambassador Falnii Loftanaf,” stammered the grey woman.
“And I am Jandro Dormu of the Grelnak Vampire Clan,” finished the Vampire.
“Welcome to Vorton,” greeted Megumi. “I promise you; we WILL find your respective universes and bring you home. Please excuse me.” She then headed off to a café and ordered something. She sat at a table and waited for her order.
“Someone looks distracted,” mused a voice. Scorpainia had arrived with Jazz’s holo-form and Malnar. “Do you mind?” asked Scorpainia as she indicated a seat.
“Go ahead,” replied Megumi. The three took their seats and gave Megumi their attention.
“Did you get a chance to meet new people from home?” asked Malnar. “Some of them are part of my future wife’s Senior Staff. Well, one of my future wives. Falnii’s another one. Then we’ve got our future hubbys too. Three boys and three girls, all from different social classes, coming together to unite the Realms!”
“A peasant becomes royalty,” chuckled Scorpainia. “You know, I came from poor stock. Megumi, I don’t know if I told you about my…Megumi?” Megumi was staring at a spot on the table, concerning Scorpainia. “Megumi, are you okay?” asked Scorpainia.
“Scorpainia, do you remember when you saved my world from Shocker Rift after the Vortech Wars?” asked Megumi.
“How could I forget?” chuckled Scorpainia. “It was touch and go for a minute there. I almost got my head whacked off by Saruman.”
“We were then declared too dangerous by our respective countries,” remarked Megumi.
“A danger you were founded on, since different is dangerous in your world,” mused Scorpainia.
“Mobius is still going through that,” sighed Jazz.
“As are the Realms,” interjected Malnar.
“…Perhaps it’s because we need to get along somehow, since we never learned how to have civil debates,” muttered Megumi. “After this crisis, the Feudal Nerd Society will be disbanded.”
“Disbanded?!” yelped Scorpainia.
“I’ve made up my mind!” insisted Megumi. “It’s for the best!”
“Look, I get that you miss your old hangout,” soothed Scorpainia, “but you’ve built a new one.”
“It’s not the same!” snapped Megumi. “I made a mistake in having us stay on-campus! We’ve lost our old home because of it! Before the Vortech Wars, we just hung out. Those were the good years. The Castle Nerd Skull I knew is long gone and now, it’s time to move on.”
“And do what?” asked Jazz. “I’m all for going with the flow, but the old Praxian desire for a plan does shape me.”
“…I’m not sure what’s next,” admitted Megumi. “I thought I would be going into my mother’s business, but that’s impossible, given my lack of fashion aptitude. I’m more of a historian. …I suppose I COULD go into archeology. The Mausoleum of Emperor Nintoku always fascinated me.”
“And is this the one in your home universe?” asked Malnar. Megumi nodded.
“Your universe is pretty remote,” remarked Scorpainia. “And what about Richard? How’s he going to survive in Japan? From what he told me; his understanding of your language is subpar.”
“…I hadn’t considered that,” realized Megumi. “One thing IS clear, though; the sooner we find a career and disband, the better. Hiro won’t be so eager to target us.”
“I disagree,” replied Malnar. “If Hiro is as unsavory as people say he is, then he’s going to leap at the opportunity to pick you off one by one.”
“…I don’t know,” sighed Megumi, “maybe all the fun’s gone. I feel like every possibility’s been explored with us.”
“I’m sure there’s something that you haven’t tried,” assured Scorpainia. Megumi went back to staring off into space, even as everyone’s meals arrived.