Her eyes awaken.
Eyes awaken? Open. Open is the right word for what she did.
Wait, who is she? She sat up, brain buzzing as her disconnected thoughts bounced against each other. She had a name...she was…
Tackle? What kind of name was Tackle? That’s a thing you do, not be. She shook her head, still feeling jumbled, and tried to observe her environment...this place was familiar.
She was on a metal table, a sheet covering her body. The room was gloomy and dark, and her body felt different...something was wrong. Was she lighter?
Tackle swung her legs over the table, stepping off and letting the sheet fall away-finding her limbs felt like jelly. Her first attempt to stand resulted in her falling flat on her ass, splayed out on the tile floor. It didn’t hurt. Falling on the floor should hurt. She tilted her head down, eyes widening at what she saw.
She was covered in scars...She had just been operated on again. Again?
When she gripped the leg of the table to support herself, she felt the material buckle in her grip. That was metal, why was it so easy to bend…?
It was a question for later. She had just woken up on a mysterious table in a mysterious place with a lot of new scars, which was usually an indication of something very bad happening to a person. And if the table wasn’t going to support her…
A few minutes later, Tackle was walking out the doors with her new walking cane-a pole of metal she’d ripped from the table, made thick enough to support her weight. The double doors she’d found that led out of the first room were locked...until she squeezed a bit harder than usual.
Was this what Shigeru felt?
Who was Shigeru?
The halls were long, every turn identical. Grimy tile floors, flickering too-dim lights, and dark green walls. Every door she saw only led to other operating rooms. Every step, she could feel her legs getting a little feeling back. This pattern held until she found herself staring at two doors, with a sign next to them.
This place had a fucking lobby?
Tackle sucked in a breath, rearing back on one foot and slamming her foot into the doors-with enough force to bust them both open, leaving a dent in their center.
This was a lobby, sure, but it was much the same as the rest. Poor lighting, a grimy carpeted floor, and the same damn wallpaper. Only difference was the figure hunched over the front desk...a twisted form that could only be a Kikaijin. That was a pretty simple name to suss out what it was-Machine Monster. But why was she familiar with machine monsters? Whatever. She can finally stand on her two feet, hefting her cane up to use as a club. Tackle rushed forwards, swinging for the back of the head...but the impact only made the limp form flop from the desk, dead. It was some kind of robot minotaur man, she had to guess. It was mostly the robot bull face. The horns.
Wasn’t wearing a shirt.
She stared for a moment longer, before the intercoms crackled on.
Was that her?
“You have awoken...do you like my decor? It’s unfortunate, but when my revival subjects rebel...I often must poison them!”
She looked around quickly, seeing three sets of doors. One was marked Administration…
Hefting her newly rechristened club, she heads down that way.
“Hoh? You wish to see the one behind your current position?”
She came to a door marked SECURITY , kicking the door in once more...only to find the room dusty, disused, and empty of anyone living. Anyone...living. There was a corpse in a chair, in front of a set of monitors.
Tackle stepped inside, inspecting the body. A man, around her height, in a bomber jacket, tank top, and jeans.
He wasn’t going to be using them any time soon, so…
One corpse-robbing later, she was finally not naked-the Jacket felt nice. Familiar. Pants-Also nice. Just to have her junk not exposed to open air anymore. She also found something in the pocket-a plastic and glass rectangle with a few buttons. Maybe something related to security? There was even a weird plug at the bottom...buttons didn’t do anything, though. She tossed it before moving on.
“I regret to inform you, but I’m somewhere a little... nhnehhe ...lower! You won’t find me by bumbling around the abandoned parts of the facility!”
That gave her pause. What to do, then?
She glanced down at the tile floor, knocking against it with her heel.
She twisted the tip of her club into a tight point, hefting it over her head and screaming as she drive it down like an oversized, improvised nail. It stuck in and with some shifting, it was at the right angle for her to…
Call on instincts.
She walked backwards, getting a running start as she lept, somersaulting in the air and using all her momentum to drive the hunk of slightly-sharp metal down. The force was enough to collapse the section of the floor she struck, allowing her to fall deeper into the darkness…
Tackle wasn’t going to stop until she had some answers.
This new area was darker...but not disused. Stark metal and stone told her that this was not meant for humans. It was meant for creatures like the dead Kikaijin. Modified humans...power in , soul out . She had a feeling that….something like that happened to her. But they never got to step two.
With a sigh, she strode down the hallways, following her instincts...but perhaps, something more. It was like she could...smell something, but not. An extra sense. It was strongest around the lights and outlets she passed, and it came in waves. And it was very strong up ahead, but somewhat different. Felt wrong.
She was on guard when she entered the next room, a wide and rectangular one full of odd pillars covered in small lights. It was cold as hell, too…
As she strode through, that wrong feeling began moving around her slowly. This close, it was definitely something that was “alive”, but she couldn’t quite place where it was yet. Until suddenly, a spray of something white and sticky blocked her path...and made a spider-web between two of the pillars.
A grating voice rang out through the room. “Kyehehehe! You’re not going anywhere, woman! You now face…”
She felt the signal move, and drop behind her. Tackle whipped around, hefting her club up.
In front of her was a twisted arachnid-man, mechanical arms dangling from his back as his biological spider-head drooled...some kind of steaming fluid.
“I’m the great Arach Biodroid! The first of my master’s great works!”
Clenching her fist, Tackle frowned. “You look like the first of your master’s shitty jerks.”
“ Your banter lacks punch!! ” The creature leapt forwards, swiping a hand at the side of her head. It felt odd-she could tell he was incredibly fast, but...she had enough time to react, ducking under the attack and swinging her right fist up in a rising uppercut. The creature’s knocked off kilter by the sudden counter, giving Tackle enough time to double-handed swing her club into the side of his head-hard enough to dent it in the middle and send him crashing through one of the pillars.
The Arach Biodroid tumbled, before catching himself on all fours like the beast-man he was. “Khh...you BITCH! ”
“If we’re talking about lacking punch and being a bitch…” She smirked. “You’re the only one here in that position.”
With a screech, the Biodroid launched himself at her once more, but managed to tackle her this time, pinning her arms slamming her into the pillar behind them-denting the meta and hurting much less than it should’ve.
“The master will recover this data! I’ll bring him your corpse as recompense!”
Tackle’s response was to spit in one of his eyes and headbutt him as hard as she could in the other. This opened a gash across her forehead, but sent him stumbling back and screeching. With blood flowing into one of her eyes, she realized that she was sensing more of that...something coming from these pillars. Did they have something electric in them?
“Damnit...I won’t let you humiliate me like this!” With a shifting of his hands, Arach capitalized on her moment of confusion to blast webbing at her left hand and pinning it to the pillar’s impacted metal panelling. Though it looked like webbing, it felt like razorwire. She cursed under her breath, feeling it slice into her hand as blood began to ooze around it.
The creature slowly smiled, but Tackle wasn’t paying attention. Something was...bubbling up. Memories, mixed with an inherent awareness of her body. Something had changed...she was like someone that she’d known before.
A smile slowly creeped across her face, as the Arach Biodroid seemed to notice her growing confidence.
“The hell are you grinning for?! You’d have to be insane to try and escape my webs-they rend flesh from bone!”
Her response was to point a finger to the sky, taking on the airs of a smug philosopher.
“An old friend once said...that when one hears the sky, the land, and the very people of the Earth...crying out...you must listen. I can’t remember his name...his face...or even why he means so much. You know what I did remember?”
Recognition flashes across the arachnid’s compound eyes. “ No… ”
“I remembered how he transformed.”
Tackle swung her arm forwards, ripping the panel from the pillar and sinking the wire deeper into her flesh. The blood was flowing faster now, but she didn’t care. Gripping the metal with her free hand, she blocked another desperate blast of razor web before wrenching the metal away. It was like taking off a glove...if she’d been wearing one.
“You’re…you’re mad! ” The Biodroid stepped back, shaking in fear as Tackle lifted her hand.
Below what had been flesh and blood once, stripped of its false front, she only had coils of living electrical wire-forged into the functional shape of a hand.
“Yeah, I’m mad. Mad as hell. Let me show you my rage!” She twisted, slamming her exposed left hand into the pillar-and gripping the exposed electrical wires. The feeling was incredible, a flooding of strength and vitality, as an aura of the energy quickly grew around her hand. Sparks flew, and she knew what to say.
“Henshin... TACKLE!! ”
A belt formed around her waist, a central buckle with two slots at either side. Bursting from the wall and ceiling, two small insectile machines flew in-On her right side slotted a ladybug. On her left, a japanese rhinoceros beetle. The two insects slotted in, their wings snapping open to form a T in the center...and expose two rapidly spinning turbines.
“N-No, the Zecters!! How-” The Arach Biodroid was interrupted by a bolt of lightning, launched back by the force of Tackle’s transformation. He watched in fear as her armor formed.
Spreading out from the belt were hexagons of data-infused nanites, forming two armors overlapping each other. The first, the right side-a power based on existing modifications to her body that had been upgraded, the ladybug. The left, a power based on someone precious to her, a warrior that fought with electricity. One would think the two would conflict...but they didn’t. Sleek red armor formed over her limbs, her chest, and head-before sparking pipes of photons carried further energy throughout, forming yellow accents that travelled up to her helmet. The lights travelled through the eyeplates as some of the extraneous armor folded up, becoming a proud horn jutting from her forehead.
The computerized voice of the belt announced this hybrid form as well as it could.
CHANGE: LADY RHINOCEROS
With a final flash of energy, she had become a Kamen Rider...and she remembered her history.
“My name...is Misaki Yuriko. I am Kamen Rider Tackle.” She clenched her left fist, electricity crackling across it.
“And I’m not letting you leave this fight alive.”
The Biodroid let out a terrified whine as she began walking towards him, leaping back and blasting a wide razorweb at her...but she wasn’t putting up with that shit, swiping her left hand and catching it in midair-wrapping it up into a tight bundle while it was still connected to his jaws. With a squeeze, more electricity pumped out her left hand, zapping the android hard enough to explode whatever mechanism let him produce the lethal substance and send him reeling.
“N-No, I can’t have failed-!!”
“Learn to accept it. You don’t have much time left.”
She had been operating on instinct the entire time, so...why stop here? She reached down, pressing a button on her beetle, then her ladybug.
Finally, she smacked her right fist down onto the central T-Shape.
THREE: ULTRA CYCLONE KICK.
Her right foot began to glow, red and yellow energy swirling around it. Taking a running start, she leapt up- front flipping to gain momentum before slamming the charged boot heel first into the monster’s face and bouncing off. When she landed, Yuriko lifted her right hand and curled her pinky and ring finger, slowly bringing it down as if she were a religious figure...and she’d just blessed her own finisher.
The Arach Biodroid stumbled back, a large glowing T-Brand across his forehead. “G-Ghuh...M-Master Kaaaaaate!!” With that, the brand shattered, and the contained energy flowed right into the point of impact. The explosion left almost entirely destroyed his body-leaving only chunks of metal and meat.
That name...Doctor Kate was the poison-loving monster that Tackle had once died to destroy-sacrificed herself to save Shigeru from. If that flowery monster had survived...tried to revive Tackle as some kind of weapon in this strange Delza Army Base-or whatever it was-then she’d made the worst mistake of her fascist life.
She strode forwards, exiting through the doors on the other side of the room.
“I’m going to finish our battle, Shigeru. I promise.”
Yuriko eventually found herself in a large hall, the perfect size to hold some kind of rally. Far above her was a podium on a balcony, and beyond that, the ceiling was completely hidden in shadows. The room was lit by industrial caged lights, the kind you’d see in a factory...or a submarine.
“How impressive, Tackle! You’ve done well!” A man’s voice rung out, and she slowly cracked her neck in preparation.
“I’m not here for underlings. I want Kate.” She sparked her left hand, not willing to put up with this.
The clapping stopped, and...he started laughing. It was definitely that voice from the intercom…
“Pfffhehahahaaha!! Oh, oh my! You didn’t seem to get the memo…” Striding from the shadows onto the podium...was a middle aged man with a goatee, wearing a black suit with a blood red tie. On his waist was a simple belt with the Delza Army insignia as a buckle, and on his lapel...A plumed Cockscomb. The same flower Doctor Kate was based on.
He threw his hands out, presenting himself. “I am he, my lovely creation! Master Kate himself! The SON of Doctor Kate!”
This was just...so goddamn confusing. “Bullshit. She wasn’t even as old as you, and I doubt getting turned into a fucking flower made it any easier to have kids.”
“That’s why she dedicated her superior genes to producing a son before going through the process. I was born in 1965.”
“So you’re the world’s ugliest ten year old, got it.” She crouched down, prepared to strike.
“That’s what I meant about not getting the memo, Tackle!” Master Kate had glee in his voice as he spoke. “It’s not 1975 anymore!”
She stopped for a moment.
“ It’s the year 2020. ”
Those words ran through her like a bolt of lightning, losing her balance for a moment. “You...you’re lying.”
“Not a word of untruth. After you destroyed my mother, after Stronger destroyed the glorious Delza Army... I remained! Hidden away with our last remaining soldiers, I LIVED . We assisted all the organizations to come! Neo-Shocker, Dogma and Jin Dogma, Badan, Golgom and the Crisis Empire!! But as they fell to the Kamen Riders, WE REMAINED! ” Master Kate threw his right arm out at his side, his left hand gripping the podium. “I am the Master of the Neo-Delza army! And I have CONQUERED DEATH! ”
“What?!” She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“That’s right! Through my genius BioDroid process, we can revive any modified lifeform into even greater strength! You, Yuriko Misaki! You were my greatest experiment yet-To take what we’ve made already and improve it! Compared to your former self, your power is IMMENSE!! ”
“And I’m going to use it to crush you, you literal son of a bitch .”
The man chuckled. “I cannot have that just yet...so I leave you with a special treat.”
Dropping from above...was something that chilled Tackle to her bones. It was clearly a version of Doctor Kate, but...sleeker, armored, with an emblem across her chest of the same flower-a plumed cockscomb.
And then five more dropped down .
“I thought it would be rather oedipal of me to revive my mother-and after what you did to her, there wasn’t even enough undamaged DNA to reproduce her body! So instead...I just saw what would happen if I used the process on her wrecked genetics anyway. The result are some wonderfully programmable cannon fodder, no? And in case you get bored too quick… STEEL!! ”
Dropping down with them was...Staff Officer Steel, in all his bulked out, wrecking-ball wielding glory.
“I brought this asshole back too!! Less upgraded than you, of course, but...say hello to Biodroid Officer Steel!”
The armored foe’s eyes flashed red, as he and the Kate Biodroids approached.
Yuriko cracked her knuckles, glaring through the helmet. “I’m going to shut you down.”
“Maybe someday. For now, I take my leave! Enjoy...Perhaps next time, I’ll have something even more special prepared for you to fight! Ta Ta~” With a flourish, Master Kate disappeared back into the darkness, leaving Yuriko to deal with her foes.
She clenched her fists, posture ready.
Steel began swinging his steel ball over his head, grunting as he flung it forwards. As it flew, the Kate Biodroids rushed after it, moving more like animals than soldiers-hunched over and bestial.
Yuriko leapt, planting her right hand on the ball as she flipped over it. With a surge of energy-it felt like the Ultra Cyclone attack that had once destroyed her, in fact-she blasted it down into the ground. This left the hefty bludgeon embedded in the floor, and Yuriko using the momentum to slam her foot into the nearest Biodroid.
This smashed through the sleek helmet it wore, exposing the rotting corpse below, as the others leapt at her. With fluid movements that felt entirely natural, she dodged each swiping blow, sweeping the legs of the nearest one to her...so she could grab its leg in mid air, slamming it into another and smashing them both to pieces. This left the remaining three...until Steel’s efforts to get his wrecking ball back in his hands smashed one of them to pieces. Remaining two .
“Kill...you…” The two Kate Biodroids stepped back, flanking Steel as he lumbered forwards. What Yuriko remembered was...this guy was stronger than Shigeru.
But now... so was she .
With a flick of her left foot, electricity began surging around it. Yuriko took a running start, sliding like a baseball star-which only increased the charge via friction. Finally, she reached her target-swinging her charged foot up and planting it against the metallic monster’s chest. The force wasn’t enough to knock him over-but it was enough to make him swing his arms out to keep his balance...and hit his goons in the chest . The electricity spread out and fried whatever biological components made these things “Biodroids”. However, this gave Steel the chance to grab her ankle. As the two creatures fell, he began swinging her over his head like a ragdoll before throwing her through Master Kate’s little bragging balcony, sailing into the next room.
Covered in debris and stone, and now in some kind of advanced lab. She glanced around to make sure Master Kate wasn’t just hiding under a desk, or something-but her Electro-Sense only gave her a signal from the equipment and a large, empty tube marked ESCAPE POD .
The sound of heavy steel slamming into stone told Yuriko that her opponent wasn’t letting up. He was basically a counter to Stronger...who was a physically powerful person with electricity powers. That was her too, now. But she had something else in her pocket-Or, really, on her belt.
Standing to face him, Yuriko decided to try something. She hit the button on her ladybug twice.
The second hit made the belt say something else, so...that’s what she was hoping for. Finally, she hit the T.
THREE!! ULTRA CYCLONE SMASH!
Yuriko rushed forwards, tackling Steel off the edge of the doorway and back into the rally room. Their momentum carried them crashing down, cratering in the stone below...but she didn’t let up.
“This is for Shigeru! For Mister Tachibana! THIS IS FOR ME!! ”
Arms still wrapped around the man’s waist, she swung her legs forwards, slamming her heels into the ground in a reversed german suplex. Then, screaming in rage, she flung Steel over herself, sending him skidding.
The energy was still gathering, and Yuriko knew exactly what to do. She jumped towards the wall, kicking off at an angle to bounce off the opposite wall, gaining more and more height.
“ CYCLONE DRILL KICK!! ”
Her final jump off the wall was at an angle, giving her rotation as she double dropkicked Steel in the chest. On impact, she kept rotating, the energy swirling around her. With a final burst of energy, she pierced through his armor, skidding to a stop on the opposite side and leaving a gaping hole in his chest.
Steel stood there for a moment, slowly raising a hand to the hole.
He slowly falls back...and explodes.
The fight was over.
But her battle was just beginning again.
A few hours later, Yuriko was out of the facility-when she got past all the creepy medical stuff, it turned out she had been under a flower shop . This Master Kate guy was pissing her off more and more every moment.
As she crushed the door’s handle and stepped out, Yuriko tried to figure out where she was. The skyline was so strange...wait, that tower-That was Tokyo tower.
This was TOKYO?!
She felt her gut fall, hands shaking. Quickly, she jumped up, onto the roof of the little two story building, to get a better look.
These buildings, this skyline...This city . It really was the future. She had...she’d died, and some freak brought her back for kicks. Would Shigeru even still be alive? Maybe, with the modifications, but it was...could she even find him? Should she even find him?
She felt herself begin to cry...but she steeled herself.
No. He deserved to rest. He one hundred percent wouldn’t be , but she was going to find him when this was over. This fight-against the ghosts from their past-was for another ghost.
Still, she...would probably need a new identity. Being dead for about 50 years wasn’t going to help…
Jo Yuriko sounded like a fine name.
She hopped from the rooftop, hands in her jacket pockets, ready to start this new journey.
She’d probably need a glove for that left hand, though.