Ultimate Origins: Chapter Twenty-one

City at War: ZECT

 

Tendou and Dylan crouched on a rooftop in the Angel Grove Reconstruction Zone. The zone formed a ring around Demon City, which confined hordes of demons and creatures—except for the Worms.

 

Created by the villain Xanathor, the Worms could leave the boundaries of Demon City by covering their true monster forms in lesser pupa forms. Once free, a Worm could molt into its monster form.

 

Worms typically left Demon City in small groups. They stayed low-profile for the most part, murdering individuals, and then stealing their shape and memories to appear human.

 

Rarely did they gather in large groups—which was why Dylan was stunned. He and Tendou watched dozens and dozens of Worms gather just within the boundaries of Demon City. The Worms shifted back and forth as if waiting for something.

 

“What are they doing?” Dylan asked.

 

“Standing there,” Tendou said. His voice was calm and casual as always.

 

Dylan rolled his eyes. “Yes, I see that, but why?”

 

“Maybe they don’t have anywhere important to go,” Tendou said.

 

“You're a real help,” Dylan said sarcastically. “I'm so glad we decided to team up.”

 

Dylan was a member of ZECT, a branch of the Silver Guardians formed by Dr. William “Billy” Cranston to contain Worm outbreaks. Cranston chose Dylan to wear the Kamen Rider Kabuto armor to fight alongside ZECT. But the mysterious Tendou had intercepted the Kabuto Zector and used its power for himself.

 

Cranston didn't take that very well. He mobilized his remaining ZECT Kamen Riders to attack Kabuto. Dylan tried to talk his superiors out of the attack. He didn't know anything about Tendou’s past, but he knew he could trust the Rider. He'd seen Kabuto fight and protect the innocent, and that was all that mattered.

 

Dylan was originally a member of the strike force tasked with hunting Kabuto. He was given the Gattack Zector, which he gladly accepted to fight against the Worms as Kamen Rider Gattack. But he refused to fight against Kabuto.

 

“We should fall back,” Dylan said. “I can get to base; see if I can find any information about why-”

 

“You shouldn't be here,” a voice said from behind.

 

Dylan snapped around—and Tendou casually turned—to see Hurricane Green standing along with a group of about 13 Worms.

 

“You...” Dylan said as he rose to his feet. He narrowed his eyes at the Green Ranger. “You're one of the Hurricane Rangers...What are you doing with the Worms?”

 

“I don't want to hurt you, Rider,” the Green Ranger said.

 

Dylan found the Green Ranger's sincerity surprising. “If you don't want to hurt us, now would be a good time to leave.”

 

“He can't,” Tendou said as he slowly rose to his feet. “He can't stand down, not any more than we can. We were meant to have this battle.”

 

Hurricane Green unsheathed his sword. “If that's true, you were meant to lose, so save yourself the embarrassment. What's happening doesn't concern you. So back away.”

 

“And just what is happening?” Dylan asked.

 

“War,” Hurricane Green said. “Angel Grove’s about to erupt into war, and Demon City will be at the center.”

 

The Riders’ zectors buzzed through the air nearby.

 

Tendou lifted his hand to his chest and caught his zector. “Then we will wage war. For the sake of peace.”

 

“I hate it when you get philosophical,” Dylan said.

 

He lifted his hand to his chest and caught his zector.

 

Tendou armed his zector and spoke a command that sounded almost casual. “Awaken.”

 

Dylan armed his zector. “Awaken!”

 

They snapped their zectors onto their belts, and the belts spoke the command: “AWAKEN.”

 

Bulky armor clamped around their bodies as they assumed their Masked Forms.

 

“Cast off.” Kabuto flipped his zector’s beetle horn.

 

“Cast off!” Gattack flipped his zector’s stag horns.

 

“CAST OFF.” Their bulky armor snapped free and shot off, revealing their slender Rider forms.

 

“CHANGE BEETLE.”

 

“CHANGE STAG BEETLE.”

 

12Kamen Rider Gattack’s armor was blue with yellow trimming. Blue stag-beetle horns extended from the sides of his helmet. His bug-like eyes were red.

 

The Worms charged forward to attack the two Riders.

 

Hurricane Green stayed back, his sword held casually across his shoulder.

 

A Worm lunged at Kamen Rider Kabuto. But Kabuto easily dodged and smashed a roundkick against the Worm’s side.

 

He followed with a combo of punches that pushed the Worm backward, then smashed a sidekick against the Worm, hurling the creature backward. The Worm crashed against a group of its fellow grunts, toppling the creatures off their feet. 

 

More Worms dashed onto the rooftop and charged towards Kabuto. The Rider armed his blaster and fired, blasts sparking through the creatures. Three of the Worms leapt through the blasts to attack.

 

Kabuto unsheathed his dagger and slashed through the Worms with bursts of spark while spinning past them. He pushed forward into the group of Worms and swung his dagger through a series of strikes and slashes that sparked through the creatures with quick and deadly efficiency.

 

The defeated Worms collapsed and exploded with bursts of green-tinted flame.

 

The Green Ranger lowered his sword and dashed forward to attack.

 

Hurricane Green smashed a jumpkick upside Kabuto’s head. The blow whipped the Rider off his feet with enough force to send him hurling over the roof.

 

The Green Ranger leapt from the roof and dove to attack while holding his blade downward.

 

Kabuto climbed to his feet and looked up to see the Ranger diving towards him. He swiped his hand across a panel on the side of his belt. “Clock up.”

 

His belt spoke the command: “CLOCK UP.”

 

Time seemed to slow to a near stop. But in reality, Kabuto’s powers distorted time to allow him to move at hyper speeds.

 

Hurricane Green’s descent had slowed to a crawl’s pace.

 

Kabuto leapt upward and smashed a kick against Hurricane Green while in midair. He spun with another kick. But Hurricane Green spun faster and slashed his blade across Kabuto’s armor with a burst of spark.

 

The blow whipped the Rider from the air, and he crashed onto the street below.

 

Hurricane Green landed on his feet and dashed to attack the Rider.

 

Kabuto pushed himself to his feet and took a step back—stunned, for the first time he could remember. He didn’t know a Ranger would be able to match his clock-up speed.

 

“Sound Bite!” Hurricane Green swung his sword, which hurled a blade of jade-tinted, sonic energy. 

 

Kabuto leapt upward to try avoiding the blast, but he didn’t move fast enough. The sonic-energy blade exploded against his armor with massive bursts of sparks. The blast hurled him backward, and he smashed through a nearby wall.

 

The Rider crashed into a hollowed-out, abandoned building and tumbled across the floor. His belt spoke the command: “CLOCK OVER.”

 

The flow of time returned to normal as Kabuto rose to his feet.

 

***

 

Above, Gattack smashed a trio of punches against a Worm, and then snapped a sidekick that bashed the creature off its feet. 

 

Guns suddenly blasted through the remaining Worms with bursts of spark. A squad of ZECT soldiers fanned out on the roof, took position, and opened fire again.

 

A teen stepped from the ranks of the soldiers. He wore casual clothes, and his bleached-blond hair was cut short. His name was Marx. And he was a Rider.

 

The teen lifted his hand to his chest and caught his zector. He armed his transformation device, worn on his wrist. “Awaken.”

 

He snapped his zector onto his bracer, and the bracer spoke the command: “AWAKEN.”

 

TheBeeMaskedFormBulky armor clamped around his body as he assumed his Masked Form.

 

Kamen Rider TheBee lunged forward and smashed a punch against a Worm, knocking the creature backward. The Wasp turned and smashed an uppercut against another Worm’s body, and then smashed a hook punch across the creature’s head, whipping its body backward.

 

“Group A, lay down cover fire,” he ordered. “B Group, use your blades for close-quarter combat.”

 

A group of ZECT troopers opened fire with rapid, high-yield rounds that sparked against the Worms. Another group charged forward, armed blades that extended from their guns, and slashed through the creatures.

 

TheBee took the point, bashing through the creatures with slow but powerful punches, each blow smashing against a Worm’s body with more force and effectiveness than hundreds of the troopers’ bullets.

 

The Rider dodged a Worm’s strike and smashed a punch against the creature, hurling the Worm off its feet.

 

The last of the Worms fell, and TheBee turned to face Gattack.

 

Gattack lowered his guard. “What are you doing here?”

 

“You didn’t think we’d notice all this Worm activity?” TheBee asked.

 

“But-”

 

“Don’t,” TheBee said. “We know you’ve been hanging around with Kabuto…Now you’re both on INET’s hit list. Drake and SaSword too.”

 

Kamen Rider Drake and Kamen Rider SaSword had also splintered away from ZECT after receiving their powers.

 

TheBee armed his bracer.

 

“Cast off.” He flipped the stinger on his bracer. His bracer echoed the command: “CAST OFF.”

 

His bulky armor snapped free and shot off, revealing his slender Rider Form.

 

“CHANGE WASP.”

17

His armor was mostly golden, with black trimming like a bee, and black, bug-like eyes.

 

The Wasp lunged forward with a flurry of punches that Gattack blocked or parried.

 

Kamen Rider Gattack smashed a sidekick against the Wasp, knocking him back a step, and then lunged forward with a punch.

 

Kamen Rider TheBee dodged the blow and smashed an uppercut against the Rider’s chest. The Wasp bashed a hook punch across the Rider’s helmet, then smashed a trio of punches against the Rider’s chest. The last punch hurled the blue-armored Rider off his feet.

 

Gattack crashed against the roof and tumbled backward. 

 

TheBee armed the stinger on his bracer. The weapon crackled with green tendrils of power.

 

A figure suddenly dropped from the skies and crashed against TheBee, knocking him to the roof. The figure looked up: it was the Dragonfly Undead.

 

Gattack tilted his head and rose to his feet. “Isn’t that-

 

The Undead dashed forward, slashed across the Rider with a burst of spark, and leapt through the air towards Demon City.

 

***

 

Below, several Undead under the control of the unseen Kamen Rider Leangle charged towards the ranks of Worms defending the border of Demon City.

 

Kamen Rider Kabuto stepped from the abandoned building and watched with confusion.

 

Hurricane Green stepped up behind the Rider. “It’s starting soon.”

 

Kabuto looked over his shoulder at the Ranger. “What’s starting?”

 

“I already told you,” Hurricane Green said. “War.”

 

Kamen Rider Gattack leapt down from the rooftop above and landed near the Ranger.

 

Hurricane Green looked back to the Rider. “I’ll tell you again…Leave. Your being here only complicates things.”

 

“How?” Gattack asked.

 

“Didn’t you ever wonder where those zectors came from?” Hurricane Green asked. “INET captured the first wave of Worms and used their cells to make the zectors. And for a power source? He used a virus. Your zectors are powered by the shadow virus Centhrax used to nearly wipe out the city.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 22