DRAMATIS PERSONAE

 

Hikaru- Former Kamen Rider Black

Kouishiro- Former Kamen Rider Kuuga

 

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/kamenrider/images/2/27/Kotaro_Minami_in_Black.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20170610142834 Image result for Yusuke Godai henshin pose

 

 

THE ULTIMATE POWER RANGERS

 

Seth Park- Blue Ranger

Kira Hart- Yellow Ranger

Tyler Oliver- Red Ranger

Mat DeSantos- Green Ranger

Kym Cranston- Pink Ranger

 

Gokai_Cast

 

 

 

Ultimate Legacy: Chapter Thirteen

Card Game

 

PRELUDE

 

A lone figure watched from the center of the artificial solar system. He stood on a chunk of black rock and held the broken helmet of the Titanium Ranger.

 

The stranger, Kamen Rider Decade, stared at the helmet's broken faceplate. “Father...” He looked up towards the Legacy Galleon in the distance. “I promise you…I will finish what you started…”

 

***

 

PART ONE

 

The Legacy Galleon floated along the outskirts of the Armada Hub, a patchwork of planet scraps and asteroids, linked with energy conduits, which spanned the size of a solar system. Thousands of Armada battleships patrolled the fragments of space and time within the Hub.

 

The rangers remained still within their cockpit, as if their slightest movement would draw attention.

 

"So..." Mat said. "We should run, right? Run quickly?"

 

Tyler smirked. "No," he said. "This is our chance."

 

"To die?" Mat asked.

 

Kira nudged his side. "I thought you found courage back on that Flux World?"

 

"Courage, not stupidity," he said.

 

"It's not stupid to learn about the Armada," Tyler said. He pointed to a massive patchwork of planetary fragments that floated in the center of the artificial solar system. "It looks like they're trying to create their own galaxy."

 

Seth kept his gaze fixed on the asteroids within the artificial solar system. "It's not just that," he said. "You see that green ship? In the asteroid field? That's the Armada's SDU: Special Destruction Unit. It uses a cannon powered by gigarollium, strong enough to destroy an entire planet."

 

***

 

The Armada Flagship hovered near the center of the artificial solar system.

 

General Damaras approached Prince Vekar on the bridge. “Prince Vekar…The SDU has arrived at the operation point.”

 

Levira stepped next to the general. “With that ship’s gigarollium cannon, it will be effortless to destroy our remaining enemies…”

 

“Prepare the cannon,” Vekar said, thinking of the destruction he could bring down upon the Power Rangers. “Those irritating renegades will burn to ash!”

 

“Are you sure, Your Highness?” Damaras asked. “It’s true the cannon is capable of great destruction….but if used incorrectly…it could hasten the Shattering.”

 

Vekar growled with annoyance. “Silence! You dare question me?! Do you know who my father is?!”

 

***

 

Tyler and the rangers joined in the crew hold after hiding the Legacy Galleon behind an anomaly.

 

Seth paced across the deck as he finished telling the others about the cannon. “One shot…that’s all it would take.”

 

“You seem pretty familiar with this thing,” Kym said.

 

Seth ignored her. “That’s not the only problem. If you overpower the cannon, it can destroy remnants of space-time.”

 

“Well that’s not a good thing,” Mat said. “Everything’s unraveling fast enough already.”

 

“Is there anything we can do?” Kym asked.

 

“If we rob the ship of its fuel, the gigarollium…” Seth said.

 

“All we’d have to do is sneak on board,” Kira said with a smile.

 

Tyler listened from his chair. “Seth and Kira, you two go.”

 

Seth arced an eyebrow. “I didn’t say it was a good idea.”

 

Tyler smirked. “I have a plan.”

 

***

 

The Ultimate Blue Ranger and Ultimate Yellow Ranger landed on an asteroid near the SDU ship in the distance. The two Rangers pulled out their Titan Ranger Keys.

 

“Overdrive! Start up!” They inserted their keys into their morphers. “TIIIIIIITAN Rangers!”

 

Kira shifted into Titan Yellow, and Seth shifted into Titan Blue.

 

image001

 

The Rangers snapped grappling lines and swung over a wide crater; they landed and slid down a hill of dirt, and skid to a halt at the bottom.

 

Titan Blue and Titan Yellow looked up to see the green battleship hover above the asteroid.

 

They ran beneath the ship and fired their grappling lines; the grapplers latched onto the vessel’s ventral hull and reeled them upward.

 

***

 

“That was easier than I thought,” Kira said as she and Seth moved through the dark corridors of the ship.

 

Seth held her back before she could turn a corner. “Careful. They’ll have guards on patrol…don’t assume you can move around without being careful.”

 

“We’ll be fine,” Kira said with a smirk. “I’ve got some good stuff planned.”

 

“Do I even want to know what that means?”

 

“Probably not.”

 

***

 

A few minutes later, Kira finished dressing herself and Seth as X-Borgs — poorly. Their outfits looked like plates of cheap aluminum, and they wore buckets over their heads.

 

Seth shifted uncomfortably. “You seriously think this will work? This is ridiculous…”

 

“Oh, come on,” Kira said. “Where’s your faith?”

 

“Not in this bucket on my head.”

 

Kira groaned with annoyance. “You’re no fun.”

 

A pair of X-Borgs moved towards them from the other end of the corridor.

 

“This is it,” Kira said. “Time for a test run.”

 

She walked towards the grunts, and Seth followed reluctantly.

 

She crossed her right arm over her chest with a salute and grumbled. “Gou.”

 

The X-Borg returned the salute and walked past the two rangers.

 

Kira smiled beneath her shabby helmet. “See? It worked, didn’t it?”

 

Seth shook his head. “I’m…at a loss.”

 

“Do you know where the gigarollium is?”

 

“Yeah,” Seth said. “This way…”

 

***

 

On their way through the ship, Seth and Kira stumbled upon a crew hold filled with crates, tables and gates. X-Borgs and Zergs sat in the room and played various games, from cards to table-tops.

 

Kira tilted her head and whispered. “Seriously?”

 

“Their games are like strategy training,” Seth whispered back.

 

“That doesn’t make this any less ridiculous…”

 

Two Zergs grabbed Seth and Kira from behind. The rangers’ instincts screamed at them to twist free and fight, but they waited, not wanting to blow their cover if unnecessary.

 

The Zergs squawked something in a robotic language and led Seth and Kira to the nearest table, sitting them down.

 

Seth looked at the Sabacc Cards spread across the table. “I guess they want us to play…”

 

Kira smirked beneath her shabby helmet. She knew she would draw attention if she refused to join the game, so she played along.

 

Kira picked up the cards and nodded at the Zergs. “Gou!” She heard Seth grumble beneath his breath. “It’ll be fine,” she whispered. “I don’t lose.”

 

The Zergs joined Kira at the table. She dealt fast enough to keep the grunts from noticing her slide several cards into her sleeves.

 

They placed their bets, sliding credit chips into the central pot. While Kira placed her bet, she casually replaced two of her cards with the ones she stuck up her sleeve. She understood the game just well enough to cheat — the true challenge came from face cards that shifted value throughout the rounds of the game.

 

After several rounds, the first Zerg played his hand: 15. Not bad.

 

The second Zerg laid his hand: -18. Even better.

 

Then Kira showed her cards: -20, closest to the value of 23 or -23 without going over. She won.

 

Kira smiled and swiped her credits.

 

***

 

They continued to play, hand after hand. Kira kept sliding cards into her sleeves and used them when their values changed to helpful numbers. She continued to win, always beating the Zergs, who sometimes came close to 23, a Pure Sabacc, but still failed to best Kira.

 

After each loss, the Zergs grumbled with cybernetic noises. They watched their credit piles get smaller and smaller, while Kira’s grew bigger and bigger.

 

Word of the match spread across the ship. X-Borgs rarely, if ever, bested Zergs in strategy games. Grunts from several desks left their posts and went into the crew hold to watch.

 

Seth leaned over Kira’s shoulder before she dealt her next hand. “Kira…” he whispered. “It’s time to go, don’t you think?”

 

She nodded and whispered back. “Right. This will be my last hand.”

 

She reached towards the cards, but an armored hand grabbed her wrist.

 

“Stop right there.” An Action Commander, Yokubarido, lifted her arm. “You…You have some serious skills for a grunt, don’t you?”

 

 image003

 

Kira shrugged. “Gou?”

 

“Heh.” He lifted her from her chair, spilling cards from her sleeve. The villain lifted her other arm, spilling more cards. “Looks like you’ve really had your way around here. Who are you people?”

 

X-Borgs and Zergs shuffled around them and ripped off their helmets.

 

“I see…” the Action Commander said. “I thought you were too skilled for X-Borgs. But I never thought you were the rogues…Who would have guessed we’d meet here?”

 

“Well…” Kira said. “Now that you know…”

 

She and Seth pulled off their disguises and shifted into fighting stances. Zergs and X-Borgs started to attack, but Yoku kept them back.

 

“Wait, wait…” the Action Commander said. “In a real duel, the side that fails to see the cheating is at fault.”

 

The villain eyed the two Zergs who lost to Kira, and they scurried backward. The villain started pacing around the table.

 

“You two are rather brave to come here. Rather brave…” he said. “To commend you, I will give you a chance.”

 

“A chance?” Seth asked.

 

Yoku leaned over the table and stared at Kira. “If you beat me, I let you leave. If you lose, you let me capture you both and collect the bounties on your heads.”

 

Kira smirked. “Sounds good to me.”

 

She reached towards the card deck, but Yoku grabbed the cards before she could touch them. “No, no, little human. I won’t let you touch these cards…”

 

The Action Commander took a seat and shuffled the cards. “Let me show you…a proper duel.”

 

“OK…” Kira said. “In that case, Seth will play instead of me.”

 

Seth arced an eyebrow. “What?”

 

“It’ll be OK,” Kira said as she stood and placed a hand on his shoulder. “You’re normally pretty good. What do you say?”

 

Seth hesitated before answering. “Okay…”

 

He took a seat across from the Action Commander.

 

Yoku dealt. “Just because you switched players doesn’t mean you won’t chat…we’ll play with Open Card Rules.”

 

The villain dealt the cards face up, so they could see each other’s hands.

 

They lifted their cards and started the first round. Then the second.

 

Yoku began to pull a card from the center deck, but Seth snatched his hand. “I saw that…you pulled from the center of the deck.”

 

Kira crossed her arms over her chest. “Now you’re the one who’s cheating…”

 

“That’s nonsense,” Yoku said as he pulled his hand away and stared at his cards. “If you have no evidence, you have no proof. Now…your time is at an end, you wanted thugs.”

 

He placed down his hand. “Pure Sabacc.”

 

Seth grinned as his cards changed values. He laid down his hand, a rare hand, and the only one that could beat a Pure Sabacc: The Idiot’s Array, three cards with a value of 0, 2 and 3.

 

“What?!” Yoku shouted as he knocked the table away. “How?!”

 

“Skill,” Seth said with a fake solute. “We’ll be going…”

 

Seth and Kira turned and started to walk away, but Yoku commanded the grunts to stop them.

 

“In that case, just kill them!” Yoku shouted.

 

The X-Borgs and Zergs moved to stop the rangers.

 

Kira sighed and turned to face them. “Talk about a sore loser…”

 

“Kill them now!” Yoku shouted.

 

The grunts charged. But a trio of their own number turned against them, bashing them off their feet. The three attackers dropped their disguises, revealing their true selves: Tyler, Mat and Kym.

 

They regrouped around their teammates.

 

Yoku trembled with rage. “What…?!

 

“Not so bright, are you?” Mat asked. He pulled a glass cylinder from his jacket; the cylinder contained a green chunk of rock. “I’m assuming you know what this is, since you built a whole ship for it.”

 

“The gigarollium!” Yoku shouted.

 

“Yeah, we kind of stole it while Seth and Kira distracted you.” Mat flipped the cylinder in his hand. “Your security sucks, by the way.”

 

“Kira cheated to win all those matches, to gather you here,” Seth said. “And she may have helped me cheat too.”

 

Kira gave an innocent shrug.

 

The teens armed their morphers and Ranger Keys. “It’s morphin’ time! Ultimate Transform!” They inserted their keys into their morphers: “POOOOOWER RANGERS!”

 

They stepped into fighting poses.

 

“Ultimate Red Ranger.”

 

“Ultimate Blue Ranger.”

 

“Ultimate Green Ranger.”

 

“Ultimate Yellow Ranger.”

 

“Ultimate Pink Ranger.”

 

“Ultimate Task Force…” They called out together: “Power Rangers!”

 

The Red Ranger crossed his arms over his chest. “Say boom.”

 

Yoku tilted his head. “What-”

 

The ship exploded with bursts of shrapnel and flame. The Rangers anticipated the explosion — having planted the bomb. They leapt through the debris and landed on a patchwork planet below; Yoku and his grunts crashed around them.

 

Slowly, the Action Commander climbed to his feet as his grunts regrouped behind him.

 

“You dare destroy my ship?!” he shouted. “Give me my gigarollium!”

 

“That’s not happening.” The Red Ranger twirled his blade. “Come on. Send your grunts. Charge us…”

 

The Action Commander screamed. “Kill them, kill them, kill them!”

 

The X-Borgs charged to attack.

 

“Let’s make this showy,” the Red Ranger said as they returned the charge.

 

The Rangers swapped weapons.

 

The Blue Ranger and Yellow Ranger duel-wielded Power Sabers. They smashed through the X-Borgs with swords whirling, slashing through grunts with bursts of spark.

 

The Pink Ranger and Green Ranger held back and duel-wielded Power Blasters. They opened fire, blasting through the grunts, whipping them to the ground.

 

The Ultimate Red Ranger kicked through two groups of X-Borgs and jumped at Yokubarido. The Ranger landed with chops and slashes of his sword, forcing the villain backward.

 

He pressed forward and launched a flurry of side-kicks that bashed Yoku off his feet. The creature crashed and tumbled across the ground.

 

The Rangers regrouped as Yoku climbed slowly to his feet.

 

“Don’t underestimate me, you wanted thugs!” the Action Commander shouted. “No matter what you do, I will win!”

 

The villain snapped volleys of cards that cut through the air like blades. The Rangers twirled their weapons, slashing the cards with bursts of spark.

 

The Yellow Ranger flipped her buckler and pulled out her Seraph Yellow Key.

 

“You like card games?” she taunted. “Check out ours.”

 

They all armed their Seraph Ranger Keys. “Seraph summon! Ha!” They inserted their keys: “SEEEEEERAPH RANGERS!”

 

Energy wrapped around them like wings as they morphed into the Seraph Rangers. Kira shifted into Seraph Yellow, Seth morphed into Seraph Blue, Tyler shifted into Seraph Red, Mat morphed into Seraph Black, and Kym shifted into Seraph Pink.

 

 image005

 

The Rangers armed their Seraph Morphers and Seraph Cards.

 

“Tensou!” Seraph Red and Seraph Pink slid their cards into their morphers, clamped the devices shut, and thrust the weapons forward. “Twistornado!”

 

They fired straight-line whirlwinds of red and pink energy that slammed into Yokubarido. The winds thrashed the monster with massive bursts of spark, tearing through his armor.

 

Seraph Black and Seraph Yellow slid their cards into their morphers.

 

“Tensou!” They thrust the morphers forward. “Rock Rush!”

 

They fired energy waves that hurled rocks and boulders; the debris smashed Yokubarido with bursts of spark, sending him staggering backward.

 

Seraph Blue armed his card and thrust his morpher. “Tensou! Presshower!”

 

Water geysers erupted beneath Yokubarido, hurling him into the air. The Action Commander flew backward, crashed, and skid across the ground.

 

Two Zergs rushed to the fallen villain’s side, as the Rangers armed their weapons.

 

“Seraph Striker,” Seraph Red commanded. The Rangers combined their weapons into a cannon launcher.

 

“Seraph Striker, ready!” they shouted as they slid their cards into the cannon. “Dynamic Victory Charge!”

 

They triggered a massive surge of golden energy, shaped like a shield, which smashed through the Zergs with massive bursts of flame, ripping them apart.

 

Slowly, Yokubarido climbed to his feet and staggered through the flames.

 

The Rangers shifted back into their Ultimate forms, arming their Ultimate Ranger Keys, Power Blasters, and Power Sabers.

 

They inserted their keys into their weapons, which pulsed with power: “FIIIIIINAL WAAAAAAAVE!”

 

The Pink Ranger and Yellow Ranger fired energized bullets that blasted through a Zerg. The Blue Ranger and Yellow Ranger dashed forward and slashed through streaks of energy that tore through a grunt.

 

Then, the Red Ranger fired an energized bullet, and then slashed his sword. The blade fired a wave of energy that splashed against the bullet, forming a surging energy pulse that tore through Action Commander with massive bursts of spark. The villain exploded into pieces.

 

Luckily, no enlargement beam followed; the Armada Flagship didn’t have eyes on the fight.

 

The Green Ranger sighed with relief. "Can we get out of here now?" he asked. "There are about a bajillion Armada ships waiting to-"

 

Explosions sparked around them, shockwaves hurling them off their feet. They crashed and tumbled across the ground, and when they looked up, they saw their attacker: Kamen Rider Decade.

 

 https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/kamenrider/images/3/36/Decade.png/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/180?cb=20140318062207

 

"Another Action Commander?" the Yellow Ranger asked.

 

The Red Ranger shook his head. "No, he looks different."

 

"Rangers..." Decade spoke in a deep voice, artificially digitized. "I've been watching you for some time. Now that you're here, in the Armada Hub, I wanted to introduce myself. I am Kamen Rider Decade."

 

"We don't particularly care," the Red Ranger said. "The Armada...are you with them or against them? That's all we need to know."

 

"Neither," Decade said.

 

"Ask him the three questions," the Green Ranger said to his leader. "How many Walkers have you killed? How many people? Why?"

 

The Red Ranger glanced towards his teammate, who shrugged. "I'm not sure where that reference came from," the Green Ranger said.

 

"We are not so different," Decade said. "We are both children of broken worlds. Shattered realities. We could be the-"

 

The Red Ranger pulled out his blaster and fired. Decade barely had time to dive and roll aside as sparks tore through the ground around him.

 

The Ultimate Red Ranger twirled his blaster and holstered his weapon. "We don't play games. We'll be on our way, and you'll stay clear."

 

Decade laughed as he climbed to his feet. "You don't play games? That is all you do, you pathetic children. I heard you speak of a card game?"

 

He pulled a card from his belt, slid the card into his belt buckler, and clasped the buckler shut. The buckler spoke the command: "BLADE!"

 

 image009

 

Energy flashed around him like bar codes as he shifted into Kamen Rider Blade.

 

The Rider unsheathed his sword. "I wanted to meet you here so you could see for yourself. See the future of our existence if we are to rebuild from the rubble of the Wheel of Time."

 

He opened a fan of cards on his sword hilt, pulled out a card, and swiped it through his weapon: "TACKLE"

 

He shot forward like a bullet and smashed against the Red Ranger, hurling him backward. Before the others could attack, Blade swiped another card. "LIGHTNING."

 

He swung upward through a streak of lightning, slashing the Blue Ranger and Pink Ranger off their feet.

 

"You do not comprehend the power you wield. That we wield." Blade snapped around with a reverse side-kick that bashed the Green Ranger backward.

 

The Rider chopped and swung upward, slashing the Yellow Ranger with bursts of spark that whipped her off her feet.

 

"You waste the Grand Powers you collect by restoring Time Shards...a pointless endeavor."

 

The Red Ranger lunged and swung his sword through a flurry of strikes. The attack forced Blade several steps backward as he swung his sword to parry the attacks, metal clanging against metal.

 

"And what is it you do?" The Red Ranger pressed his attack.

 

"Isn't that obvious?" Blade parried and slashed the Red Ranger aside.

 

Blade pulled another card from his belt, slid the card into his buckler, and clamped the buckler shut: "DRIVE!"

 

image011 

 

Energy flashed around him like bar codes as he shifted into Kamen Rider Drive.

 

The Rider throttled forward and bashed the Rangers aside one-by-one.

 

The Rangers rolled quickly to their feet and armed a set of Ranger Keys. "Shift into Turbo!" They inserted their keys into their morphers: "TUUUUUUUUUURBO RANGERS!"

 

The team morphed into the Turbo Rangers. Tyler shifted into Red Racer, Mat shifted into Green Racer, Seth shifted into Blue Racer, Kira shifted into Yellow Racer, and Kym shifted into Pink Racer.

 

 image013

 

The Turbo Rangers armed their weapons.

 

"Turbo Lightning Sword!"

 

"Turbo Thunder Cannon!"

 

"Turbo Hand Blasters!"

 

"Turbo Star Chargers!"

 

"Turbo Wind Fire!"

 

They charged at hyper-speed and attacked; Drive returned the charge. They dashed back and forth through blurs across the landscape, clashing and firing faster than the eye could see.

 

The Rider round-kicked Red Racer, double-punched Blue Racer and Green Racer's faceplates, and kicked Pink Racer and Yellow Racer backward. Crackling with the Speed Force, Drive spun with a final kick that smashed the Rangers with massive bursts of lightning, hurling them off their feet.

 

They crashed and tumbled, and the impact knocked them back into their Ultimate Power Ranger armor.

 

Slowly, they climbed to their feet.

 

The Red Ranger armed his Power Saber and Power Blaster and kept the weapons low. "Who are you."

 

The Rider laughed softly beneath his breath. “So now you listen...Unfortunately for you, I am no longer in the mood to talk.”

 

He pulled two cards the Rangers didn't recognize. The cards flashed with golden light that enveloped the Rangers, shifting them into the dreamscape of a Time Shard.

 

***

 

PART TWO

 

(New Generation Year Six)

 

The dreamscape shifted to a scene of Earth during the apocalypse. A lone figure road a motorcycle through the rural streets outside Atlanta, now decimated by the U.S. Military following a counterstrike against the Gods of Hell. The counterstrike failed.

 

Hela, a Norse goddess, claimed the city as her own.

 

Minami Hikaru sped away from the city as fast as he could. Formerly Kamen Rider Black, he knew he needed to do something to fight back against the madness of the world. But more importantly, he needed to find two loved ones he abandoned nearly two decades ago. He knew he could never have a normal life, so he left them for their own good. But now, he wanted nothing more than to make sure they were safe.

 

***

 

Hikaru pulled to the side of a curb in a rural Midwest neighborhood. A part of him wanted to run. He didn't know what to say or how to act.

 

He thought of Kyoko, his sister through adoption, and Katsumi, her late brother's girlfriend. He protected them during his battle against the Gorgom Syndicate in 2001, and left them after, never to see them again. Until now.

 

He knocked, and Katsumi answered. Her eyes opened wide, and she stopped breathing at the sight of Hikaru.

 

"H-" she started to say his name, but her breathe caught in her throat. She shook and nearly fainted.

 

"Katsumi?" a voice called from further inside. "Who's there?"

 

Kyoko walked towards the entryway and stopped as soon as she saw him. "Hikaru..."

 

Hikaru nodded, tense with anxiety. "Katsumi...Kyoko..." he started to say. "I know it's been a long time, but...I'm here to help."

 

***

 

The dreamscape shifted to an image of Hikaru fleeing to safety with Kyoko and Katsumi.

 

Tyler and his teammates watched with growing anxiety.

 

“This is just like a Time Shard…” Kym said. “How did Decade pull us into a Time Shard?”

 

Tyler shook his head. “I don’t know...” He kept his eyes fixed on the vision of Hikaru. “But that looks like one of the Riders whose powers he’s stealing.”

 

“He looks…grumpy,” Mat said.

 

Kym shook her head. “Not grumpy…sad.”

 

***

 

Hikaru took Kyoko and Katsumi to Corinith City, an INET Safe Zone. Once there, Hikaru broke into an INET compound and started researching a way to fight back against the darkness spreading across the world. Like all Earth’s Riders, Rangers and virtual heroes who fought during the Second Countdown to Destruction, Hikaru lost his powers after the battle. He needed to regain that power.

 

He stumbled upon a possible solution when he researched the Dark Man and his small army of Marauders. One soldier in particular caught his attention.

 

“Agito…” Hikaru whispered.

 

Hikaru formed a plan, and knew he’d need help.

 

Hikaru assured Kyoko and Katsumi he’d come back for them, and then left to find Kouishiro, the former Kamen Rider Kuuga. Kouishiro spent most of his days at the hospital bedside of his fiancé, Maya, a friend to the Power Rangers.

 

A Forsaken trapped Kamen Rider Wizard in Maya’s mind, rendering her unconscious, and Kouishiro found himself powerless to help her. He jumped at the idea of regaining power to fight for Maya.

 

Hikaru explained what he learned. The Dark Man gathered the shattered King Stones following the Second Countdown to Destruction. Although the fragments lacked energy, they retained the genetic coding that allowed the creation of the original Kamen Riders: Black Sun, Shadow Moon, Kuuga and Ryuuki. The Dark Man used that coding to craft the powers of Agito. He gave those powers to a man named Shouichi Tsugami, whose family researched individuals with paranormal abilities. The Agito powers overpowered Shouichi and turned him into one of the Dark Man's pets.

 

Kouishiro nodded thoughtfully after hearing the story. "So if we stop Agito...we could get our powers back from him..."

 

He thought of Maya, trapped in unconsciousness by the power of the Forsaken called Lanfear. He needed power to defeat her. Rider power.

 

"How do we do it?" Kouishiro asked.

 

Hikaru pulled a smart phone from his pocket and slid it across the table. "We defeat Agito ourselves and take the King Stone fragments from him."

 

Kouishiro lifted the smart phone, which showed images of an abandoned INET lab. The lab held two early prototype armors: Kamen Rider G3 and Kamen Rider G3-X.

 

"These?" Kouishiro asked. "They're outdated by a decade..."

 

"We have something Agito doesn't," Hikaru said. "Experience. Skill. Both are more powerful than any suit of armor."

 

Kouishiro sighed. "I'll remind you you said that after Agito rips you into scrap metal."

 

Hikaru shook his head. "He won't have a chance."

 

***

 

Hikaru and Kouishiro broke into the abandoned INET lab and “borrowed” the G3 and G3-X Rider suits. They packed the suits into cases on their motorcycles and sped off. Their destination: The Marauders hideout…maybe.

 

“You’re not sure where they are?” Kouishiro asked over the roar of the wind.

 

“They move often, rarely staying in the same place for long.”

 

“Don’t you think you should have mentioned that?”

 

“Agito’s powers are a part of us,” Hikaru said. “We’ll find him.”

 

***

 

The images shifted at a heightened pace, showing Hikaru and Kouishiro break into several compounds during their search for the Marauders. They fought Hand ninja, loyal to the Dark Man, and remnants of the RinJuken, also loyal to the Dark Man. But they didn’t encounter the Marauders.

 

“Well…” Mat said as he watched. “At least they’re persistent.”

 

***

 

Hikaru and Kouishiro approached their next target; a small compound hidden in the Blackened Mountains outside the ruins of Angel Grove.

 

“This is it,” Hikaru said. “I can feel it.”

 

“You’ve said that six times,” Kouishiro said.

 

“This time, I’m right,” Hikaru said.

 

“You’ve said that six times too…”

 

“Come,” Hikaru said as he moved forward.

 

Kouishiro followed.

 

***

 

Hikaru and Kouishiro crashed through the windows of the compound. They landed in an empty hallway darkened with shadows. And from the shadows leapt Genin, lesser soldiers of the Hand.

 

The soldiers lunged at the former Riders.

 

Hikaru grabbed a grunt by the hand, twirled him around, and bashed him against three of his comrades.

 

Kouishiro kicked a Genin upside the head and bashed an elbow against the villain’s face. He kicked the legs out from another soldier, and punched a third soldier to the ground.

 

The two moved quickly and efficiently, having battled the Dark Man’s minions for days.

 

When the last grunt fell, a blur of motion dashed through the hall and knocked the two former Riders to the floor. They quickly rolled into crouched stances and looked up to face their attacker: Agito.

 

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“That’s him…” Kouishiro said.

 

Hikaru and Kouishiro stood slowly and armed their Rider Belts. These Rider systems operated with barely a spark of The Power, making them clunky and limited. Still, the two Riders hoped to last long enough to take their true power from their opponent.

 

They snapped into their transformation poses and shouted in unison. “Awaken!”

 

The belts unfolded with mechanical sounds, expanding and wrapping around their bodies.

 

Hikaru transformed into the suit of Kamen Rider G3.

 

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And Kouishiro transformed into the suit of Kamen Rider G3-X.

 

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Agito shifted into an offensive stance. Wisps of flame traced along the outlines of his chest and gauntlets.

 

G3-X armed his massive chaingun, the GX-5. "I'll lay down cover fire. Go!"

 

G3-X opened fire, cannon blazing with the sound of a chainsaw. Massive bursts of spark tore against Agito's armor, knocking him several steps backward.

 

G3 leapt through the air with a flying side-kick that bashed Agito, hurling him off his feet. The enemy Rider crashed, tumbled across the ground, and rolled into a crouched stance.

 

Agito armed his double-bladed scythe and leapt through the air to attack.

 

G3-X blasted the Rider from the air with bursts of spark. Agito crashed, smoke sizzling from his armor, as he rolled to his feet.

 

Unrelenting, G3 charged with a volley of punches that pounded Agito's armor.

 

Agito grabbed G3's wrist, twisted, and punched the inferior Rider's chest. G3 staggered backward, and Agito pressed forward with a punch of fiery energy. The punch smashed G3 with enough force to shatter his breastplate and hurl him backward. The Rider crashed and skid backward as sparks sizzled from his broken armor.

 

"Hikaru!" G3-X shouted. He poured on the power from his cannon, blasting Agito with a storm of bullets that sparked against his armor.

 

Agito charged through the bullets and ignited his body with fiery power. G3-X intensified his fire, but the blasts don't slow the enemy Rider at all.

 

G3-X cursed beneath his breath. I knew this was a bad idea...

 

Agito swatted the blaster aside and kicked G3-X with enough force to hurl him through the air. Agito crouched as energy sizzled around him; he leapt through the air with a flying Rider Kick aimed straight towards G3-X.

 

In midair, Agito kicked G3-X with explosive force that smashed the left side of his chest plate and shattered his left eye piece.

 

G3-X crashed alongside G3, and Agito landed behind them.

 

The evil Rider stalked towards his opponents.

 

G3 rolled his hands into fists as he climbed to his feet. Rage burned through his blood, and his heart pounded in his chest. He wouldn't lose. He abandoned his own humanity to fight the forces of evil, and he wouldn't let himself lose, not this close to the end.

 

Kamen Rider G3 stumbled towards his opponent. The Rider hissed the words his former enemies spoke to him many times. "I will tear...the King Stone...from your gut."

 

Agito lunged with a punch. G-3 ducked, punched Agito's gut, and grabbed the evil Rider's buckler. G-3 lunged closer, armed his blade, and stabbed the evil Rider's gut repeatedly, strikes sparking on impact.

 

G3 howled with rage as he tore the buckler from the evil Rider's armor. Agito flashed with fiery energy as he blasted back into his human form and collapsed, losing consciousness.

 

G3-X caught his breath as he stepped closer to his teammate. "You did it..."

 

G3 tore his broken armor away, letting it crumble into a pile of scrap at his feet. Hikaru held the King Stone towards Kouishiro.

 

"You'll know what to do..." Hikaru said.

 

G3-X tore off his own armor; it collapsed into a pile on the ground. Kouishiro took the King Stone, closed his eyes, and felt its power. The former Rider possessed the ability to shape gems with similar energy signatures to the King Stones, which was how he created various rings for Kamen Rider Wizard.

 

"It's...different," Kouishiro said. "This isn't the same power we had before. It's...changed. New. But it still has our genetic signatures."

 

He held the King Stone towards Hikaru. "Take it with me."

 

The two former Riders grasped the stone, and it ignited with golden power, recognizing their touch. The Stone split in two, one for each man, and spread energy through their bodies, tidal waves of ice-cold heat.

 

A belt and buckler wrapped around Kouishiro's waist, and the King Stone formed at the center. The same thing happened to Hikaru.

 

Hikaru rolled his hands into fists. Without hesitating, he snapped into his transformation pose. "Awaken!"

 

Kouishiro followed. He snapped out his arm, moved through his transformation stance, and slapped the sides of his belt. "Awaken!"

 

Energy flashed around them as they morphed into their new armor.

 

Kouishiro became a Rider similar to Kuuga, but more edged, with a golden chestplate. Hikaru transformed into a Rider similar to Black Sun, but with thicker armor tinted with shades of dark green.

 

Kouishiro snapped into a fighting stance. "Kamen Rider, Agito!"

 

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Hikaru snapped into his familiar fighting pose. "Kamen Rider Black, RX!"

 

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Finally hearing the commotion, a pair of Marauders leapt onto the scene: Hell Blade and Wraith.

 

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Hell Blade armed his swords and rushed towards Kamen Rider Agito, and Wraith armed his staff and charged towards Kamen Rider Black RX.

 

Hell Blade chopped and slashed; Agito side-stepped and dodged, letting the strikes force him several steps backward. He felt good being back in the fight, feeling the power of a Kamen Rider, despite its intrusive nature. The power felt like thorns stretching through his vessels. But he liked it.

 

Kamen Rider Agito lunged with a pair of punches that bashed Hell Blade's chest, sending him staggering backward. Agito snapped a pair of kicks that knocked the swords away from the villain, and spun with a reverse side-kick that bashed Hell Blade to the ground.

 

Hell Blade tumbled and rolled to his feet.

 

Agito crouched, and his headpiece snapped open. Energy sizzled beneath his feet in the shape of his Rider symbol. He sprang into the air with a flying side-kick.

 

"Rider Kick!" His kick bashed Hell Blade with massive bursts of spark and lightning that hurled the villain through the air.

 

Meanwhile, Black Sun faced Wraith. Kamen Rider RX circled Wraith while blocking and dodging the swings of the villain's staff. The Rider felt power pour through his body, like refreshing cool water, but tainted with a coat of filth. He recognized the feeling well. And he embraced it, using it to give him strength.

 

He round-kicked Wraith and punched the villain's faceplate, knocking him several steps backward.

 

The Rider placed a hand by his buckler. "Electro Saber!"

 

He pulled a saber of crackling, electric energy from his belt.

 

Wraith chopped his staff. But RX slashed through the staff, splintering it to pieces, as he lunged forward with a kick upside the villain's head. The blow whipped Wraith backward, and he crashed into the ground.

 

RX started to press forward, wanting to bash the fallen villain until his face collapsed, but Agito held him back.

 

"We got we came for," Agito said. "Come on, before more of them show up."

 

Reluctantly, RX relaxed his fists. He followed Agito as they fled from the compound.

 

***

 

The vision ended with a flash of light; Tyler and his teammates collapsed to their knees, overwhelmed by the intensity of the scene. A Time Shard typically felt like a revelation, but this felt more like a violation, like a Time Shard tearing through their minds.

 

Decade held the Agito and RX cards as he laughed, softly. "You use the Grand Powers of Rangers to unlock Time Shards. I capture Time Shards to unlock the Grand Powers of Riders. You wish to reassemble the shards of time and space...I wish to use them as weapons. There is no going back to the Wheel of Time. This is our new existence. And we, the chosen Champions of The Power, can shape it to our whim."

 

Kira groaned with pain as she climbed to her feet. "You're...insane!"

 

"In a world where time and space no longer exist, insanity is the only constant."

 

“That's deep,” Tyler said sarcastically. “But you're forgetting something...”

 

“And what’s that, Ranger?” Decade asked.

 

The teen pulled out the cylinder of gigarollium, hurled it through the air, and pulled out his blaster.

 

Mat opened his eyes wide with panic. “Are you freaking-

 

Tyler blasted the cylinder, which erupted into flames that tore through the patchwork planet with the destructive force of a supernova.

 

To be continued…Chapter 14