Episode 041: Project Titan

Author's Note #1:

Okay, now that Goro is going to start with Project Titan. The armor that will be christened from that is VNZ-2000 G.O.L.E.M. Regardless how you spell it, GOLEM in all caps or just Golem. The GOLEM armors is a combination of the Ride Armor from the Mega Man X series, the Robobot Armor from Kirby: Planet Robobot, the titular mecha of Gurren Lagann, the METEOR units from the Gundam SEED (Destiny) series, and last but not the least, the Power Loader from the Alien franchise. Considering the fact that the Alien film franchise draws inspiration to the Metroid series, there are so many references to Aliens in Metroid not only from Samus herself being based on Ellen Ripley; and her archnemesis Ridley is named after director Ridley Scott.

This chapter has some nods to Super Robot Wars V involving Rosalie and Chris's taste for men. In the game, Rosalie and Chris interact to Athrun the fact that they have a crush on him. Here, they'll likely interact with the Space Explorers and later Goro for that matter. The unfortunate part with SRW V is that it didn't include Team Dai-Gurren. But, luckily (as far as how many times I would explain this), the Space Explorers are the closest equivalent to Team Dai-Gurren since we have a Kamina in Go, and Micchi is the closest equivalent to Simon, while Samus is both Yoko, Nia, and Viral. Makoto is, of course, Rossiu. Mayu is Kinon, and lastly Keiichi is both Kittan and Dayakka.

"When the safety of the universe is once again threatened, the six Space Explorers are once again summoned into the stage of battle in their never-ending crusade against evil that plagued even in the depths of space. This is also a tale of a man in pursuit of his destiny, beneath his overwhelming pride is a sense of determination and selflessness."

(*Opening: "Darkest Before Dawn" by Daichi Miura*)

[~Itsumo kotae sagashiteita~] (I was always looking for an answer)
[~Nande sou kiku hito mo ita~] ("Why?" some people asked me)
[~Asamoya kemuru michi kakenuketa hibi~] (A path covered with the morning haze I used to run through it all the time)

[~Motto takaku sou negatta~] (Higher I wished to go)
[~Kuyashisa wo fumi katameta~] (Then came the frustration I had to stomp it down)


[~Kono sekai ni furisosogu asahi wo dareshi mo ga matteiru~] (Everyone is waiting for the rising sun that cast light over the world)
[~Hitori de mo hitori janai soko ni iru no wa kimi hitori janai~] (Even when you are by yourself you are not alone it's not only you who is there)

[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]
[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]
[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]
[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]

[~Kono sekai ni furisosogu asahi wo dareshi mo ga matteiru~] (Everyone is waiting for the rising sun that cast light over the world)
[~Hitori de mo hitori janai soko ni iru no wa kimi hitori janai~] (Even when you are by yourself you are not alone it's not only you who is there)

[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]
[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]
[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]
[~Ohh...oohhh~ Darkest Before Dawn~]

-Welcome to the Aurora-

After securing a win against the Kamui Tribe warlord, Shingetsu. Goro meets up with Sento, who was watching their fight along with Taki and Natsu. The fight between men was intense to the point who is the strongest. Either way, Shingetsu was satisfied, despite having lost to a human being.

Tusk, one of the Aurora's crew catches up with Goro and Sento. After a few seconds before Tusk leads them to the gigantic submarine, Nakajima arrives in a nick of time to catch up to her boss.

"Sorry, I'm late Goro-chan. I thought I couldn't make it.", Nakajima huffed. As she ran her way to the docks to meet up with Goro and company.

"Don't worry. I'm glad you could join us, Nakajima.", Goro smiled.

"Finally, I wanna see what a giant submarine looks like from the inside!", Sento sounded so excited.

Curiously, Taki is not too familiar with submarines. Or, more particularly, this submarine the size of an aircraft carrier. As 400 years back in the past, submarines still didn't exist at that time.

("So those Irregulars are residing in a large ship hidden underwater..."), the kunoichi spoke to herself. Like Goro, she refers Ange and her friends as "Irregulars" due to the fact that they rarely interact with a group of women (plus one man) from a distant planet.

The large submersible emerges from underwater, that is Aurora; the flagship of the Norma and DRAGONS. Moments later, Tusk leads Goro and his party into the ship.

Once inside, the crew took notice the presence of Goro, Sento, Taki, and Natsu. Oh, the same goes for Nakajima.

"Holy moly, I can't believe this place is a ladies' club!", the young kunoichi looked each of the people inside.

From a distance within the mess hall, the Space Explorers - consisting of Go, Mitsuzane, and Mayu watched the sudden appearance of Goro and Sento.

"It's that guy and his kunoichi harem!", said Go.

"I wonder what he and Kiryu Sento are planning to do...", Mitsuzane added.

While the two men are looking on what Goro and Sento are up to, Rosalie and Chris appeared to see the appearance of the two men.

"Hey, isn't that the guy we just saw in the beach?", Rosalie asked.

"There a lot of macho men like us around this planet.", Go insinuates. "But, that guy's a motherfucking asshole! Nevertheless, he's one magnificent bastard. Back when we're about to catch that Reaper Bugster, turned out he planned it-"

"I'm not talking about you, dumbass!", Rosalie tells the loudmouth to keep quiet.

Then, Go goes Kamina at Rosalie, "HEY! HEY! HEYHEYHEYHEY! Don't interrupt me when I'm talking!"

"Who do you think you are?", Rosalie is angered.

Before Mitsuzane of all people butts in. "Who do you think you are, eh? Just who the hell do you think I am!?"

"The likes of you could never even dream of filling that guy's shoes!", the white haired girl calls the two men for yelling at her and Rosalie like immature children.

"Has the guy ever done something for you?", Go butts in again. "The guy's a glory-hogging jackass!"

Irritated, Mayu reminds the two what real men must not do; yelling at girls. "Get your act together, you two! Yelling at girls don't make any of you guys like men!", then turns her attention to the two Norma. "You sure about that, Rosalie and Chris? I personally think Izumi-san is cool."

"No! No! No! Nobody can handle a candle to him!", Rosalie continued.

"Yeah, you said it. It's that Izumi guy or bust for me.", Chris added.

The loudmouth again continued, "Umm, the guy is actually dating that kunoichi from the past."

"What's her name?", asked Rosalie.

"Taki.", Mitsuzane brought up.

Go insinuates that each time Taki is around or shows up in the battlefield. She could even make guys like utter pansies. And for that matter, both Rosalie and Chris teased the two Space Explorers that each time that Goro is in action, the ZETA Tech CEO has reduced both Go and Mitsuzane as utter pansies. Granted, Goro has all the charms, charisma, and genius to his image. And, a fun fact - Goro is popular by the women in his company.

But there's another thing on the other two women's minds - Kiryu Sento. Unlike Goro, who is sharply dressed in a nice suit, Sento wears ragged clothing and comes from the Touto region.

Meanwhile, as Goro and Sento continued exploring the place, Ange appears before them.

-Shingetsu's Next Move-

Elsewhere in the Kamui Tribe's mothership within the depths of space…

The entire soldiers of the tribe are assembled in the throne room, where Shingetsu is addressing his men. Asserting his authority to his underlings, the soldiers obeyed him with no hesitation.

"I have come to address you all, that our time has finally come!", said the warlord. "We finally know where the treasure is… Pandora's Box! The humans kept the treasure in the Touto region of Japan; but, they have a strengthened military power. The only thing for us to reach Pandora's Box is to infiltrate Touto, that means we don't need to cause too much attention. However, there's an opposing faction is standing our way. It's not the Kamen Riders, but rather Faust. Those cowards are using other humans as guinea pigs to further their own desire. We must crush Faust from within. For now, we must make our assault into Touto in order to gain the box before Faust does."

Shingetsu plans to set their sights into the Touto region in Japan. Now that he already knows where Pandora's Box is contained, it's only a matter of time that the Touto government should prepare themselves for an invasion lead by an army of demons from outer space. While allowing his army to attack Touto, Shingetsu decides to go alone in the shadows, with the intent of destroying both Faust from within and anyone who dared to stand in his way in claiming Pandora's Box as his own; once he has in possession of Pandora's Box, Shingetsu will rule the universe with an iron fist, and all life forms will worship him as some kind of god.

"Never fail me, or one of you will face death. Once Pandora's Box will be in our grasp, the entire universe will kneel before me, so we can assert our superiority in the name of power.", Shingetsu finally concludes his speech. His men cheered passionately in return.

"All hail, Lord Shingetsu!"

-Introducing the Full Bottles-

Meanwhile, back on Earth. Inside the Aurora, as Ange guides Sento and Goro around the Aurora, as Taki followed the two men, Samus runs into the veteran kunoichi.

"You.", Taki turned around at the sight of the bounty hunter, with the latter had her arms folded.

To Taki's surprise, the presence of Samus also reveals that the Space Explorers themselves visit the vessel. The Norma and DRAGONs, to which Goro refers them as Irregulars out of indifference, they use the vessel in their fight against a certain Tuner.

When the kunoichi interacts with Samus, Taki kept her arms folded as well facing front as the two women converse as if they don't know each other.

"I was wondering why is Izumi Goro planning coming here?", the bounty hunter asked.

"It's likely he's planning to construct something that may involve putting this Reaper down.", the ninja sighed. "Still, the more I had a hard time understanding about machines and other things in the modern word, things are proven to be difficult for me."

For Taki, she still suffered the difficulty of understanding about today's technology and how they can help in combat. And she still preferred to use archaic methods, she knew what it felt like to experience learning and using technology like a true modern-day ninja. But, with Goro around to help her out of it was no problem at all. Taki admits she was grateful towards Goro for that matter.

"As for those people around you... You seem to know well.", Taki continued, this time referring to the other Space Explorers.

"Like myself. Both of them had their own shortcomings in their pasts.", Samus replied. "Mitsuzane had a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a fateful event that befell him three years ago. Luckily, he's recovering from it and is quite a steel-willed veteran. Go grew up far away from his sister and unaware of the whereabouts of their parents. Makoto and his little sister were orphaned, sucked into the Ganma world when they were children. Alain was stripped of royal title in the Ganma world. Mayu lost her parents and twin sister to a Phantom. After all of them survived their respective ordeals with the help of those who helped them, they eventually reached out to me and becoming a team of heroes who protect the world. And, Keiichi nearly attempted suicide when his music career fell in shambles before meeting Mitsuzane."

Samus admits that she and the rest of her crew have their own share of flaws as when Taki willingly clarified the people that reached out to the bounty hunter. Then, Samus asks the kunoichi if Goro had a fateful event that changed him forever just to make sure since this is a talk between two women only.

"Goro was orphaned when his parents died in a car accident 17 years ago.", Taki spoke about Goro's past, as the latter did confide to her before. "It's strange how his family's inheritance were entrusted to him while growing up with his grandfather. In spite of all the success he had, turns out the loss of his parents took a toll on him; underneath his superficial pride is that he's emotionally deprived deep inside, all while he is working hard to the point he could barely sleep properly and desperately looking for a purpose in life."

"He did seem to change a bit ever since you settled into his home.", the bounty hunter said.

"That's the way if they want to find a goal in life.", the kunoichi replied. "I find it difficult to get along with people who would become close to me other than him."

That in mind, Taki admits that she does care for people around her; namely her student, Natsu. And, her love interest, Goro. It shows that the ninja herself has more hidden depths beneath her cold and serious exterior as ninjas like herself prioritize mission above all else.

-Sento Showing Off His Inventions!-


"I wanna wonder why you came here?", Ange asked both Goro and Sento.

"I forget to tell you guys. I was planning a top-secret project. But, now I decided that it's no longer a secret for now.", Goro began explaining. "The plan goes like this - constructing a heavy duty armor based on a transforming mecha as a means to combat the Bugster called Reaper."

While observing Goro and Sento from a distance within the hangar where the Ragna-mails are docked. Samus realizes that Goro was planning for something to beat Reaper. It also helps that Sento of all people is here.

Ange, despite skeptical of what Goro is coming up with that idea, clarifies on what is he planning to build a mech suit. Goro states that it's for counteracting enemies that are also riding on similar walking mechs as well. Samus recalled the presence of the Dai Okubis of the Kamui Tribe as these mechs are equivalent of two Ex-Aid Maximum Gamer Level 99s.

"Seriously, that joker's planning to reverse-engineer those Ragna-mails?", Go asked.

The young Kureshima rebutted, as Goro's plan regarding Project Titan is much more different than constructing giant robots. "No, it's likely different from those Ragna-mails. Since those mechs like Villkiss respond to the feelings of the pilot. But, he's into something similar in terms of modular upgrades like how Villkiss strongly reacted to Rider Gashats."

That said, Sento prepares to show off some of his inventions before Goro could think about starting with Project Titan. Sento pulls out a smartphone that he created called the Build Phone, then pulls out a yellow Lion Full Bottle, then inserts it on the slot where a wheel pops out of nowhere and the phone transforms into a dirt bike...

*Build Change!*

"Whoa!", Goro exclaimed. "How in tarnation were you able to come up with that, Sento-kun?"

"His phone turned into his own freakin' bike! Not too shabby, I suppose.", Go observed from a distance. "So, what will that dude planning to do?"

Then, Goro pulls out a Robot Full Bottle, the same Robot Full Bottle that Taki gave to him. The kunoichi sealed the essence of a Robot Smash in a Full Bottle; and after purifying said bottle, she gave it to Goro. Suddenly, the Robot Full Bottle began glowing at the presence of Villkiss.

"That's strange, how did this thing started glowing?", Goro looked at the Full Bottle.

Goro comes to another theory; though Samus happens to know a similar phenomenon involving Villkiss's strong reaction to the Rider Gashats. Villkiss and the other Ragna-mails like Theodora (Hilda's Ragna-mail) and Cleopatra (the blue one belonging to Salia) responds to the will of their pilots. Therefore, it also has a strong reaction to Full Bottles as well.

"It seems these machines, including Villkiss can response to the feelings of the pilot.", Goro deduced. "Not to mention, it has strong reaction to any trinket it comes with like a Full Bottle. Very well, we better start working with the mech suit here."

-VNZ-2000 GOLEM-

Sento, Goro, and Nakajima begin the construction process of the mech suit. It took two to three weeks for them partially complete a trial version of this mech armor.

However, Goro manages to christen the official name for the armor: VNZ-2000 GOLEM.

See you next mission...

Kamui Tribe's demons count:

-Destroyed: Rexspider 1, 2, & 3 (Tsuchigumo), Meowitzer (Nekomata), Snorephant (Baku), Fraillow (Yosuzume), Rexspider Queen 1 (Jorogumo), Raywolf (Raiju), Pallyshoul (Karakasa-obake), Armor Dullahan x5 (Oboroguruma)
-Destroyed by Special Reaction Squad: Two unnamed creatures based on the Bake-Bi, One unnamed creature based on the Abura-Dokkuri, Gorgon Queen (Akamata)
-Captured by Taki: Ripperzel (Kamaitachi), Rexspider Queen 2 (Jorogumo), Croc-a-Chomp (Waniguchi), Glaciess (Yuki-Onna), Rexspider Queen 2 (Jorogumo), Shukaku (Tanuki), Kappa

Kamen Riders featured:

-Space Explorers' side: Huntress (Rider Gashat), Lazer (Rider Gashat; both sides with CR), Specter (Eyecons), Necrom (Eyecons), Mach (Signal Bike), Ryugen (Lockseed), Mage (Wizard Rings)
-CR side (all Rider Gashats): Ex-Aid
-Neutral: G7 Icarus (G7 Armor Keys, Full Bottles), Build (Full Bottles)

Genm's Life Count: 99 (refilled)

Full Bottles Count:

- Build:
*Organic: Rabbit, Gorilla, Lion, Harinezumi, Taka
*Inorganic: Tank, Diamond, Soujiki, Drill, Gatling

-G7 Icarus XYZ:
*Organic: Crow, Kamakiri, Kurage
*Inorganic: Stealth, Bakudan, Scope, Ambulance

*Organic: Spider, Tanuki, Kappa
*Inorganic: Reizoko, Launcher, Drill, Robot

*Organic: Dragon

*Inorganic: Watch

Author's Note #2:

Samus explaining to Go's troubled past being unaware of the whereabouts of his (and Kiriko's) parents is that can be easily agitated at the mere mention of Banno. This was implied in volume 1 as any mere mention about Banno can make Go really pissed off; we all know what a sick bastard Banno really is.

It's unknown how Shingetsu knew the whereabouts of Pandora's Box, but the chances how did he managed to find out is likely in his encounters against Night Rogue.