+LOCATING HOST+

+SIBLING UNITS FOLLOWING+

+COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF IMAGINATION LOCATED IN DIMENSION 0-1-9-2-7+

+DIMENSION CONFIRMED AS A NULL DIMENSION+

+IMAGINATION LEVELS ARE HIGHER AS VIEW IS INCREASED+

+NEW HOST LOCATED+

+INITIATING DIMENSIONAL SHUNTING+

# royal protocols engaged #

# sibling units connected to this unit #

# brother unit 4479 is shunting to dimension 0-1-9-2-7 #

# dimension is considered a null dimension #

# brother unit has located host #

# hosts for all units located in same vicinity as host for brother unit #

# initiating dimensional shunting #

Another day, another gathering for the Feudal Nerds Society. All of the ladies and one man in our large, poofy dresses, the rest of the men in armor or fancy clothes. It was quite the large group and with all sorts of nationalities. We had Duke Emmanuel from France, our one man in the dress, Duke Lukas from Germany, Lord Michael from England, Lady Irina and her brother, Lord Mikhail of Russia, Lady Livia of Italy, Lady Tanisha of Africa, Lord Haitao of China, Lady Sheela of India, Lady Tonje of Norway, Lady Xiomara of Spain, Lord Joshua of Australia, my right-hand man, Sir Richard, and his sister, Dame Emily of the U.S. and my brother by adoption, Prince Hiroki of Japan. I am Princess Megumi, head of this little band. We had gathered around our table in the castle, an abandoned factory spruced up to look nice for the new occupants, and I had called for quiet. Hiroki and I sat at the head with him on my left. To my right sat Richard, Emily, Emmanuel, Lukas, Irina, Mikhail, and Sheela directly across from me. To Hiroki's left sat Haitao, Livia, Tanisha, Tonje, Joshua, Michael, and Xiomara directly across from him. "My assembled nerds," I began, "This has been a good year for the F.N.S. In fact, in the four years since we've started, we've been enjoying ourselves in our little quests to be champions of nerd-kind, such as LGBTQ protection," I pointed to Lukas, Tanisha, Tonje, and Emmanuel, "feminism," pointing to Sheela and Emily, "and broadening culture," pointing to Haitao, Hiroki, and Xiomara, "and succeeding in said quests. However, I must warn you, this is no time for complacency! For there are still toxic parts of nerd culture that are festering today! I, myself, have seen basement trolls attacking others online just to feel satisfied before I logged out of DeviantArt this evening!" Someone shouted "Shame!" at this. "Shame, indeed, Emmanuel," I continued. "Still, we must not be too despondent. For, if we had no cause, we'd be nothing more than a gaggle of people with our own petty squabbles getting in the way of true enjoyment! Thus, we flourish. With that, I say Happy Anniversary to our Feudal Nerds Society!"

"Happy Anniversary!" was the resounding reply. We then started eating our meals. It was Pizza Friday. As we ate and talked, Emmanuel pricked his ears up. Joshua noticed this.

"Something wrong, mate?" he asked.

"I thought I heard something," replied Emmanuel.

"A sort of tinkling noise from the ceiling?" asked Irina. Emmanuel blinked.

"As a matter of fact, yes," he confirmed. "Why do you ask?"

"I hear it too, tovarisch," (comrade) replied Irina. This time, everyone pricked their ears up. Sure enough, there was a tinkling noise.

"Maybe it's a rat," suggested Haitao. Hiroki tensed up.

"I hope not," gulped Tanisha. "We don't need one chewing on wires."

"Hey, enough!" yelped the musophobic (rat-fearing) Hiroki.

"Yeah," continued Richard. "If one rat gets through a live wire, we'll have the worst mess ever to clean up. On top of that, we'll have to relocate our castle if the place burns down, and I don't think we have the finances to move."

"You know," pondered Lukas aloud, "I heard somewhere that some rats can weigh four or five kilos."

"I said shut up about the rats!" insisted Hiroki.

"I don't think rat claws make a metallic tinkling, even on metal," mused Emmanuel.

"Weapons out," I ordered. We reached under the table and got our respective weapons. I had a rapier. Richard had a broad sword. Emily had a fencing foil. Josh's bolo, Tanisha's kaskara, and Hiroki's katana came out. Emmanuel took out a bow and arrow set. Lukas had a crossbow. Tonje had a battle ax, Mikhail had a shashka. Irina had a kinjal. Sheela slipped on her bagh naka. Xiomara drew her cutlass. Haitao gripped his liuyedao. Michael held his falchion and Livia pointed her cinquedea at the ceiling. In fact, we all pointed our respective blades at the ceiling. It was then that sixteen objects landed on the table as our backs were turned. After we all gave a yelp of surprise, we whirled to face the table and stared at the devices. They were rectangular and colored greyish black with a silver trim. They had some sort of blue circle in the center and a slot on top.

+CONNECTING WITH SIBLING UNITS+ announced the first device. Wires connected the devices to make a four by four square and the center circles started projecting something. It looked like a sea of gray against a cosmic background that seemed to be spitting out objects before they dissolved. It looked like London Bridge, a rocket, an atom, the Eiffel Tower, 42, and a race car were among them. Then part of the sea of gray floated to make a circle in the air. At that point, a blue, swirling vortex opened and a strange being came through. A caption beneath the being read "Lord Vortech". It looked like he was made of solid space with glowing eyes. He wore a mask that covered his face and mouth and a bronze helmet with curved horns. He had a tattered cape held by some sort of shoulder guards and some sort of ruined, brown pants with a belt holding it in place. The belt had a red circle above the buckle and he carried a staff with three circles held by rods at the top. The creature, I assume is what the caption called Lord Vortech, started walking forward while the vortex let the devices projecting these events pass through as well as a cubical robot with a telescopic, purple eye, an antenna on top, and claw like hands dangling off the bottom. The cube robot was identified as Senior Brother Unit and it sped off in search of something as it switched a red light on. As it moved, the light turned green.

"Hey, I found a thing!" it reported. Vortech turned to face it. "Er, I mean, anomaly located, Master." Vortech walked towards the robot and chuckled to himself in a raspy tone.

"Yes!" he called. "I found it!"

"Er, YOU found it?" asked the robot.

-This Unit Must Agree With Senior Brother Unit- supplied another device.

"After all these years of searching," continued Vortech, "it really exists! Foundation Prime!" Vortech waved aside some of the gray to reveal 10 images in a square pattern. He turned to the first device. "Call the Rogue Driver and his host!" The first device's circle blinked twice before another vortex let a man through. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! First off, let me explain some of my backstory, I was adopted after my father, Hiro, had killed my mother. I felt nothing but hatred in my heart for the three years I lived on the streets. I ran from the orphanage that housed me until I was nine, a hellhole if I ever saw one, and just wandered with no direction and no purpose. The streets were not kind. I almost became an animal. That's when she came. Her name was Haruna Hishikawa, a high society widow. I'm using European name order instead of traditional Japanese here. She took me in and gave me a home. Over the course of a year, she soon became Mom. She introduced me to my liking of Princess style dresses. Then, on my 14th birthday, he came back into my life, the man that had ruined my childhood. He tried to reclaim me, but the court had fixed him good. Last time I saw him, he was being led away to life imprisonment with no chance of parole. That trial was 10 years ago, before my family and I moved here to Virginia, and I had lived a life of bliss and friendship until I saw his face just now. He was wearing some sort of highwayman getup, complete with wide brimmed hat, and a black device was attached to his waist. Unlike the other devices, this one had a red circle and a gun on each hip. And, unlike the robotic tones the other devices spoke with, this one had a sarcastic, biting tone. This was identified as the Rogue Driver

"Well, well, well!" it chuckled. "It looks like Mister Cube found something!"

"So, this is Foundation Prime?" asked Hiro.

"The proof is right there!" explained Vortech as he pointed to the images. "This depicts the Foundation Elements; artifacts from the start of time! Scattered across the dimensions, and only I can gather them in one place!"

"And such elements will allow us this power of creation you've promised?" asked Hiro.

"Indeed, they shall, my dear Hiro," confirmed Vortech.

"Just so you know," gulped the cube robot, "the Foundation Elements are the cornerstones of Time and Space, so they're…kind of important to the…entire multiverse!" The robot briefly chuckled.

"Your services are no longer required," replied Vortech. He used his staff to open a portal behind the robot.

"But the elements can't be safely harnessed!" yelled the robot as it was sucked into the portal, piece by piece. "It's too dangerous! AND WHAT ABOUT THE PAY RAISE YOU PROMISED MEEEEEEEE!" The instant the last component of the robot was sucked in, the portal closed. Lord Vortech then started laughing.

"I will have them all!" he giggled. "I will control their power! I will make UNIVERSES collide!" As he started laughing again, Hiro rolled his eyes.

"Lunatics, am I right?" muttered the Rogue Driver. Then Vortech started shaking violently and the started shifting in size at random intervals. Hiro backed off.

"NO!" shouted Vortech. "I will not be...denied perfection!" He shrunk back down.

"What was that?!" demanded Hiro.

"That, my friend," explained the Rogue Driver, "is what happens when you stay in the dimensional vortex for too long. Your body can't keep its stability for much longer."

"My dedication to this work…has…taken its toll!" elaborated Vortech. "Not…for much longer can I freely pass between dimensions!"

"What?!" snarled Hiro. "If this whole thing turns out to be a bust, we're stuck here!"

"Maybe Lord Vortech can't pass between dimensions…" mused his belt.

"But there is another way," supplied Vortech. He then started using his thoughts to raise a citadel with the images of the Foundation Elements in the center. As this was going on, Vortech started laughing.

+EMERGENCY DIMENSIONAL SHIFT+ announced the first device. All of the devices started going into a portal with Hiro screaming after them. The video ended. We blinked.

"And…you guys are?" I asked the devices.

+WE ARE DRIVERS LIKE THE ROGUE UNIT+ explained the first device. That's when all the drivers attached to our waists. They each spat out a small, light blue disk from the slot on top.

"What the heck are these things?" asked Hiroki.

+EXPLANATIONS WILL COME LATER+ announced my belt. +FOR NOW, RESCUE MUST COME FIRST+

"Of the cube robot?" asked Richard.

+NEGATIVE+ replied my belt. +RESCUE OF ALL HOSTS' PARENTS+

"Beg pardon?" quizzed Michael.

+ROGUE DRIVER HOST HAS TAKEN YOUR PARENTS HOSTAGE+ explained Tanisha's belt. That raised a major red flag and so we all whipped out our phones and called our parents. All we got was their respective voice mail greetings. As the reality of the situation sunk in, rage filled my heart.

"Hiro wa, anata wa amarini mo tōku ittekimashita!" (Hiro, you've gone too far!) I hissed in my native Japanese.

"I hate to sound like the, er, 'downer', of the group," replied Lukas, "but if we are to fight Vortech and Hiro to save our parents, how will we get there?"

+SUMMONING STEEDS+ announced my belt. That's when the vortex opened to release a horse for each of us. These horses were metal and had wheels hidden in their bellies.

"I'm guessing that these horses turn into motorcycles?" asked Xiomara.

+CONFIRMED+ replied my belt.

"Then I guess it's time to put our horseback riding and motorbike training to good use!" I declared as I mounted my steed. The others mounted theirs as well. We trotted toward the table to grab a last slice of pizza for the road. Once we had gotten our slices, we charged towards the portal, on our way to save our parents.