Chapter 6: The Reason Why Some Lie

The moment the second Anomalocaris Dopant fired its bevy, Shotaro had quickly changed to LunaJoker while Diamondhead formed more walls while Kamen Rider Double used his arm as a whip to block the attack before grabbing Asuka and her mother to drag them to safety. Growling at the failure, the Dopant cut his losses, diving into the water.

"Get back here!" Shotaro ordered as he ran through the water alongside Diamondhead. Seeing no sign of where it could have gone, he could only impetuously slap the water surface. "Damn it! That other Dopant was a decoy!"

"So where's the real one?" Diamondhead asked.

"Shotaro," Philip suddenly spoke. "It wouldn't be wise to fight underwater. We should retreat."

"You sure about that?" Diamondhead offered. "I've got a couple aliens that do well in the water. Maybe I could help?"

"Perhaps," Shotaro acknowledged the offer. "But right now, we need to see how they're doing." With that, the two turned back to normal behind a pillar, watching Asuka clutch the doll in hand.

"See, Papa saved us!" Asuka told her mother. "I told you he would!"

"Asuka..." Miyabi hesitated, before giving a smile fake as a three dollar bill. "You're right."

The thoughts of both the "hard-boiled" detective and the American superhero were the same. 'Asuka really believes that Kamen Rider is her father as she holds that doll in her hands. She needs to know the truth before something terrible happens to her.'


Back in Miyabi's office, discussions concerning the new tower continued. Ben and Asuka had been left outside, since it was obvious how much Asuka loved her new friend. "Tomorrow shall be another day of negotiations for the land." Miyabi announced. "Of course, Asuka will be coming with me."

"Are you serious?!" Shotaro asked incredulously, walking in. "Don't put your daughter in the line of fire!"

Miyabi remained unperturbed. "All of this is to make my dream come true. Asuka also knows that."

"Maybe, but that's only because you tricked her into following you!" Shotaro argued. "Any other parent would do anything to keep their child out of harm's way, but you just keep trying to drag her onto the battlefield!"

Miyabi sighed as she walked towards him. "You may be right about my daughter's safety, but I've come too far now. If I give up at this point, then everything I've done will be for nothing. I'm sorry, but this is the only path forward." With that, she walked out.


Outside, Asuka and Ben sat on the balcony, Ben watching Asuka make crayon drawings of the various forms of Kamen Rider Double.

"Ben-san, Papa turns into a lot of colors, doesn't he?" Asuka asked. Ben kneeled to look at the drawings. "Why?"

"Ah, that!" Ben said. "Yeah, each color gives him different powers. Red gives him fire power, yellow gives him moon powers, gray makes him metallic, blue makes him a sharpshooter, green grants him wind, and purple, or maybe black, gives him balance."

"Really?!" Asuka asked in awe.

"Of course!" Ben smiled. "If you don't mind me asking, why do you think Kamen Rider is your father? You were about to tell me in the car the other day before we got interrupted. Is it to do with that doll?"

"Yes," Asuka answered. "When Papa vanished a long time ago, I was crying and crying and I wouldn't get out of bed. I missed him so much. That was when Mama told me about what happened to him."

"Really. Would you be okay telling me?" Ben cocked an eyebrow in interest.

"Of course!" Asuka smiled, reveling in the opportunity. "She told me it was a protective charm Papa sent me. His face was scarred in the fight, so he wears a mask to hide it. He became a masked knight to protect the city of Futo. She then said that if I held it and prayed, Papa would come to protect me!"

"That's what she told you?" Ben asked as he sat next to her.

"Yes!" Asuka was practically bouncing in her seat. "She said Papa would protect me. I believed that and always joined in Mama's work."

"Wow..." Ben could only nod dumbly hearing why she thought Shotaro was her father. "That's quite the tale." Ben's mind became awash with the idea of telling the truth, planning on talking with Shotaro and Philip on the matter.

'It's obvious that telling her the truth would be the right thing, especially if it keeps her out of trouble,' Ben thought. 'But is it worth ripping her security blanket to shreds?'


"It seems both of you are half-boiled," Philip noted over the three way call. "You intend on not telling Asuka the truth and keep her living a lie?"

"Philip, this isn't telling her that Santa Claus isn't real," Ben argued. "This would basically mean that her father's gone and won't be coming back. It'll wreck her sense of security and her faith in her mother!"

"Agreed," Shotaro concurred. "She's gotten this far with the belief that her father is protecting her. Telling her the truth as bluntly as you wish would shatter her world view, and who knows how she might lash out? I don't want to find out if our enemies would be targeting vulnerable children for potential Dopant candidates."

"Let's deal with that can of worms at another point," Ben decided to direct before that dilemma overtook the real problems. "You were mentioning something else, Shotaro?"

"Ah, right," Shotaro focused on the more important task at hand: the fake Anomalocaris Dopant. "Seems that the fake Anomalocaris Dopant was Takamura's subordinate. But Takamura claims that he knew nothing about what he was doing."

"Of course he did," Ben snorted. "But doesn't that mean our trail's gone cold from that."

"Not really," Philip said. "That was the limit of the police investigation. Remember the Gaia Memory Takamura's subordinate used?"

"Yeah. The insides were exposed from the looks of it," Shotaro recalled.

"Then that means that what Takamura's subordinate had was a test product. An incomplete prototype," Philip revealed. "Whoever's selling Gaia Memories wouldn't provide test products to their customers."

"Wait, then that means..." Ben's gears spun at this revelation.

"Takamura is in direct contact with the Gaia Memory manufacturers!" Shotaro concluded. Hearing the sounds of the Ultimatrix activating, Shotaro turned to see XLR8 standing in Ben's place. "Ben? What are you doing?"

"Just...an idea I had involving Philip, I gotta talk to him, so be right back!" XLR8 answered as he ran away.

"What just happened?" Shotaro asked in confusion.


Saeko and Kirihiko Sonozaki stood within the factory within Takamura's building. Workers were walking around, inspecting the Gaia Memories made on the production line.

"Hmm, so this is a Gaia Memory factory," Kirihiko mused. "Funny. This is my first time inside of one."

"My apologies, president," Takamura bowed to Saeko. "She'll be dealt with soon enough."

"Don't you forget, Takamura," Saeko countered. "The Anomalocaris Memory is only on loan to you from Museum for a final test run." Holding said Memory in her hand, she continued. "This is merely a subcontract. There are other places that could serve as replacements for a factory of this size. Do not think it doesn't apply to you."

Hearing this, Takamura began to panic, quickly taking off his glasses. "I...I'll...speed up the plans." Pointing to Saeko's husband, he added. "But this time, I'd like your husband's help."

Kirihiko smirked. "So that's how it is? I'm up? Good."

Takamura continued. "How am I supposed to get to Miyabi with that half-and-half Kamen Rider and his shapeshifting sidekick protecting her?"

Kirihiko's smile grew wider. "It's no problem, my good sir. I've had an interest crossing blades with them for some time." Pulling out his belt, Kirihiko activated his golden Gaia Memory.

NAZCA!

Hearing this, Takamura took the Anomalocaris Memory, a dark blue one with an Anomalocaris postured like an "A" through the mandibles making up the stem, revealing a tattoo similar to a port on his left hand and activating it.

ANOMALOCARIS!

With that, both the Anomalocaris and the Nazca Dopants stood side by side.


Info-Dealer swooned over a bowl emitting an alluring aroma, pulling off the cover to reveal a piping hot bowl of ramen. "Itadakimasu!" He cried before slurping some noodles up. "Ohhh, yes! Futo Ramen is the best!" Santa-Chan sat nearby, looking at some boiled bamboo shoots.

"Merry Christmas," Santa-chan simply said as he placed it in Info-Dealer's bowl. "Here's a present for you."

"Huh?" Info-Dealer asked. "Santa-chan? You...don't like bamboo shoots?"

"Yeah," Santa-Chan then began reaching for the meat in Info-Dealer's bowl. "I'll take your barbecue pork in exchange."

"Hey! Not on your life, Santa-chan!" Info-Dealer protested. "Give that back!"

"Don't worry about it!" The two men began to argue over who got what before Akiko made her presence known.

"HEY!" She screamed. "Info-Dealer, you were about to mention something earlier."

"Oh yeah, that's right!" Info-Dealer recalled. "So I was saying that there may be something on Takamura's land. Or, under it, more specifically. Either way, you can hear the rumbling of machines at night, like constant construction equipment. The sounds also seem to come from underground."

"Underground," Akiko mused over what she was told. "Now that's quite the mystery. A real urban legend!" Smiling at she'd been told, Akiko decided to reward them. "Thanks for that interesting info you gave me! Consider your ramen for the day my treat then!"

"THANK YOU!" Info-Dealer and Santa-chan said simultaneously before continuing their order. Akiko made the report to Philip as the two informants began shredding through their meals like beavers on trees. When she ran back after finishing her call, she saw that the two had been stuffing themselves.

"My eighth helping, please," Info-Dealer ordered.

"Same for me!" Santa-chan requested. Akiko could only scream at the incoming leak in her wallet from the information she'd been given.


Philip mused over what Akiko had told her. "A facility under Takamura's land? His compatriot using a test run Gaia memory?" Philip gasped in realization. "That's why the second Futo Tower would interfere!" With that note, he remembered another important task. "Ah right, I should look up information on Kusuhara Daizaburo." His body flashing, he made his way through the Gaia Library, looking at a particular entry as he looked at his hand.

"Papa! The usual please!" Asuka's voice rang.


"Seriously, Akiko?!" Ben could only comment hearing a crying Akiko complain about her hemorrhaging wallet. He'd let Shotaro know that he'd meet with Asuka atop the site of the second attack, and the "hard-boiled" detective insisted on giving him the SpiderShock watch, which lay on his right arm, opposite to the Ultimatrix. "Say that you'll pay for the next meal, not the current one, or this is gonna happen!"

"Who were you talking to, Ben-san?" Asuka asked.

"Ah, my boss. She's new to the business, and just got conned out of a whole lotta money," Ben chuckled as he answered. "But I've been thinking about something. Your Papa."

"Yes? What is it?" Asuka asked curiously.

Ben struggled to find the right words. "Kamen Rider did mention someone he loved dearly. It...could've been a daughter, but like I said, he's very tight lipped about his identity. But there's still a good chance he's your father! I wouldn't say it's impossible."

"You mean it?!" Asuka smiled, her theory apparently confirmed.

"Of course!" The moment was interrupted when a slimy tentacle reached for Asuka, Ben quickly grabbing her and rolling away from the tentacle, firing a small tracker on her shirt. His eyes trained on the originator: the Anomalocaris Dopant, chuckling at the display before him.

"Ha ha ha! Fancy seeing you here kid!" The Dopant chuckled in Takamura's voice. "I'm on a tight schedule, so just give me the kid, and I'll let you go without a problem."

"Yeah. Like I'm dumb enough to believe that. Besides, her mother's my group's client, so you're only going to get her through me!" Ben quickly put himself in front of Asuka, arms raised in front of her protectively.

"You've got guts, kid. You'd do well as an enforcer in our company, but you're testing my patience, and I need to get rid of that kid's mother. Just give Asuka to me, and I promise not to harm you," Takamura growled.

"Not going to happen!" Ben declared, his face twisting into an angry scowl.

Huffing, the Anomalocaris Dopant quickly hucked out a tooth, making Ben reflexively grab Asuka as he rolled away from the organic bullet. The moment Ben closed his eyes, though, the Anomalocaris Dopant ran towards Ben and wrested him from Asuka, causing the girl to cry out in fear. "Ben!" With that, the Dopant began to wail on the untransformed teenager, slapping him with his monstrous right arm before kicking him in the chest a few times, but those few kicks hit with heavy power, leaving Ben to suffer from a coughing fit and a black eye as he lay kneeling on the ground. "I tried to make it easier for you, but you just had to be stubborn about it. Now, are you going to let me take Asuka or do you have anything else to say?"

"Nothing I can say...in front of the kid. And the answer's...still no!" Ben grunted as he continued coughing. The Dopant growled again, kicking Ben in the chest again and making him collapse in another coughing fit.

"Stop!" Asuka pleaded. "Please! Will you leave Ben-san alone if I go with you?" The Dopant nodded in response to this, and sent his tentacle arm to wrap around the young girl. "Ben! Please be okay!" She pleaded as the Anomalocaris Dopant carried her away.


Shotaro was making her way to the place where Ben said he'd meet Asuka, but heard the sounds of screaming and looked up, seeing the faint figure of the Anomalocaris Dopant...carrying Asuka! And from that, he could assume that Ben couldn't be in a good state.

"That bastard!" Shotaro angrily said, pulling out the DoubleDriver and the Joker Memory, attaching the former to his waist and activating the latter.

JOKER!

Pulling his right arm across his body, he announced. "HENSHIN!" With that, he plugged the Joker Memory in the left slot as the Cyclone Memory appeared in the right slot. Crossing his arms, he pushed the Memories in opposite directions, making the DoubleDriver's buckle resemble a "W".

CYCLONE! JOKER!

With that, CycloneJoker Double ran in the direction he saw the Dopant go, before blue energy blasts fired around him, making him stumble before he gasped when he saw the assailant: a chuckling Nazca Dopant.

"Hey! Kamen Rider-kun!" The Dopant greeted happily.

"What the?" Shotaro could only ask in utter bafflement.


As Miyabi and her companions walked within the building, she called out, "Asuka? It's time to go!" Seeing no response to the knock, she opened the room, calling for her daughter again. Her phone rang, but when she saw what was written on the text, her blood ran cold as ice.

I'm playing with your daughter!


As the Nazca Dopant held his sword, he walked towards the recovering Kamen Rider. "When I set eyes on you after you attacked my previous client, I've been thinking about you. A shame your shapeshifting friend couldn't come, but I'm sure I'll run into him soon enough."

"Really?" Shotaro snorted. "I'm so honored."

The Nazca Dopant chuckled at Shotaro's sarcasm. "Yes. And now it's time for you to be sliced in two by my Nazca Blade!" With that, the Dopant rushed with the katana-like sword in hand. Kamen Rider Double may have been fast, but the Nazca Dopant dodged every kick like he was reading their mind. The few strikes he made were blocked easily and countered with sword slashes. Seeing that unarmed combat wasn't going anywhere, Shotaro quickly decided to swap Gaia Memories.

HEAT! METAL!

The moment the Dopant prepared to strike, Shotaro blocked the attack with the MetalShaft, and as the two opponents dueled, Philip's eye caught onto the Dopant's waist.

"Shotaro! Our opponent possesses a Memory Driver! He's a commander in the organization!" Philip noted.

"Not good! We need to finish this or Asuka's going to be..." Shotaro responded.

"Now! Vanish from my city!" The Nazca Dopant declared, pointing the Nazca Blade towards them. Forming a pair of orange energy wings reminiscent of the glyphs of its namesake, he ascended into the air, preparing to make a diving slash.

"Philip, can you leave this to me?" Shotaro asked. Philip had a pretty good idea what his partner would be doing.

"All right. But I have a really bad feeling about this," Philip said. If he was there, he'd probably shrug his shoulders. "Oh well." As the Dopant made landfall, the Nazca Blade and MetalShaft clashed with sparks flying. Shotaro was quick to slide the staff and lock the Dopant with his sword overextended after giving him a flaming punch.

"Futo doesn't belong to you!" With permission given, Shotaro quickly activated the Trigger Memory.

TRIGGER!

With that, the Trigger Memory took the place of the Metal Memory, resulting in a new combination.

HEAT! TRIGGER!

After transforming, Shotaro unloaded several shots from the TriggerMagnum, these infused with flames, and creating a massive explosion that engulfed the Nazca Dopant. When the smoke cleared, the enemy Dopant was nowhere to be seen, and Kamen Rider Double was left limping out.

"Just like I thought. How recklesss of you..." Philip could only mutter before Shotaro turned back to normal, and just when he sat down, he saw that Spider Shock had come in its spider mode, most likely sent by Ben to let him track down Asuka. Before that, however, he realized what happened to Philip and made a quick call to his Stag Phone.

"Hello?" Akiko's voice rang over the phone.

"Philip, are you there?" Shotaro asked to confirm.

"No, it's me Akiko," His master's daughter answered. "Shotaro?"

"How's Philip?" Shotaro wanted to know. He briefly heard the sounds of effortful grunts before Akiko responded.

"He's still unconscious." Shotaro sighed hearing that answer from Akiko.

"Shit. He might've taken some recoil damage from me being too wild. Ben might not be in good shape either, given he gave me the Spider Shock. Akiko, please keep an eye on Philip. Hopefully, I can catch up with Ben and check on him," Shotaro said.

"Eh? What? What?!" Those were Akiko's last words before he hung up. Readjusting his hat, Shotaro made his way to Asuka's location, using the SpiderShock to follow the tracker Ben had planted on her.

Unbeknownst to him, Kirihiko was still kicking, and not at all deterred. He may have been a bit winded, but he was from out of the fight. "Defeated...by a simple counter attack?" He slammed his fist in frustration at the unbelievable action. "That can't be! Is Kamen Rider a fool?" Soon, Kirihiko let out a mirthless chuckle. "No. It's because he's a fool that he decided that could be the case," Kirihiko's musings on his fight with Kamen Rider Double were interrupted when he saw a telltale flash of emerald light from the top of the nearby building: Ben Tennyson had transformed, and most likely was about to aid his family's nuisance. "But, I've still got enough for another fight!" Kirihiko chuckled as he activated the Nazca Memory.

NAZCA!


As Jetray flew through the air, it could be noted that Ben's condition had left an effect on his appearance. His right eye, given a nasty shiner in human form, had swelled up, and sparked while letting out a weak neuroblast every now and then.

"This was the direction the Spider Shock said they were going, so best to keep track- GAH!" Jetray's musings were interrupted by a sudden blast to his chest, leaving him crashing to the ground. "Not going to be good fighting like this on the ground. Best to stick to a grounded form." With that, Jetray prepared to transform into Armodrillo, but in the Aerophibian's place was not a Talpaedan. Rather, it was a being reminiscent of living magma and rock made into a humanoid form, and the very first form Ben had ever transformed into. His head was given rock patterns reminiscent of a skull while being lit on fire, though his right eye had numerous cracks surrounding it. His feet had two toes on the front and one in the back. Finally, the Ultimatrix symbol lay on his chest.

"HEATBLAST!" The alien declared in a deep voice. "Not what I was going for, but I'm not gonna say no to a nostalgic form like this!"

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Codon Stream Entry: Heatblast

Species: Pyronite

Home World: Pyros

Magma-based beings from the star Pyros, these beings are quite the powerhouse, and a force to be reckoned with. Evolution for a high heat environment has granted them powerful control over fire and heat. They can not only breathe out fire, but also unleash streams of it, create blades of fire, absorb flames to power themselves up, and fly via propulsion like a rocket. They also wield the ability to manipulate rock and earth to limited extent, and manipulate heat to melt substances like rock into magma. Pyronites, on their home world, are daredevils and thrill-seekers, practicing their pyrokinesis through extreme sports like lava-surfing and dune buggy races.

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"Ben Tennyson. At last, we meet!" Ben's opponent chuckled as he cleared the smoke. "Such an honor to meet you face to face!"

"Who are you, buddy? The Knight Dopant? The Blues Dopant?" Heatblast demanded to know.

"Ha ha ha! I...am the Nazca Dopant. One of the true commanders of this city. My organization owes you a great debt, Tennyson-kun!" The Nazca Dopant introduced himself, bowing dramatically.

"For what? Weeding out the dregs of your group? Because I'll happily do it again and again!" Heatblast cracked his knuckles at this.

"No, no no no! My company's profits went up when you become famous! People really want to be like you! Gain powers that turn them into gods! And we're more than happy to provide!" The Nazca Dopant revealed.

"Y-y-you what?!" Heatblast stammered in shock. "You're using my image to parade your glorified drugs?!" Flames began burning around his clenched fists. "When I'm done with you, you're going to be using all those profits for your medical bills!" With that, he put his hands together, coalescing the flames into a giant fireball, and threw it at the Dopant who proceeded to easily dodge the attack, leaving a flaming crater in his wake. Deciding to get up close, Heatblast rocketed forward, flames firing from his feet like the thrusters of a rocket, raising a cocked fist. The Nazca Dopant dodged the easy attack, but was surprised when Heatblast spun and kicked, the thrusting flames working like a large fiery whip. It was an attack that the Dopant rolled to dodge, unsheathing the Nazca Blade.

While he made a slash at Heatblast, the sword simply bounced off his rocky skin. "What the?"

"Surprised? This guy's not the toughest, but he can still roll with the punches. And turn up the heat!" With that, Heatblast inhaled before unleashing a stream of fire from his mouth like a western dragon would, another attack the Nazca Dopant dodged. With that, the two of them got in a melee fight. Ben might not've been the martial artist Kamen Rider Double was, but that didn't make him helpless as an unarmed combatant. Aided by a Pyronite's enhanced strength and speed, he utilized a more freestyle form of fighting, dodging and weaving attacks before retaliating with flame enhanced punches. In time, the Pyronite managed to land a blow into the Dopant's gut, winding him and leaving him vulnerable for a headlock. "Now, then. What say you and I have a little chat? What's your boss's plan, eh?"

"You'll...get...nothing!" The Dopant grunted before slamming him in his bruised right eye, making Heatblast immediately let go as it seared with pain. "You're quite the opponent, Tennyson! It's no surprise our clients look to you as an inspiration. But this fighting? It's so unnecessary! If you join us, you'd become a hero! All we want is to help society by removing the dregs that weigh it down! Quite frankly, Kamen Rider Double does a service by weeding out the weaklings unworthy of godly power! And we would be more than happy to have you onboard!"

Heatblast listened to his enemy's suggestion, putting one hand under his chin in thought. "You know what? There may be one scenario I'd help you."

"Really? What would that be?" The Nazca Dopant asked, intrigued.

"It's if you'd build a bridge and JUMP OFF IT!" Heatblast retaliated with another blast of fire. The Nazca Dopant took the brunt of the flames, knocking him back quite a distance. Smoke and soot covered his body, and the man coughed as he recovered.

"So that's your response. I'm a little disappointed, but no matter. TIME FOR THE FIGHT TO END!" With that, the Nazca Dopant's wings reformed, and he rose once again for another diving slash. With that, Heatblast began charging a giant fireball, about the size of an exercise ball, and while the Dopant descended, Heatblast quickly moved out of the way, making the slash miss while he threw the fireball, which exploded into a massive inferno, leaving large amounts of smoke.

"I've wasted enough time with you," Heatblast muttered as he turned away. "I've got a kid to save." With that, Heatblast ignited his feet before creating a trail of flames that he rode like a surfboard.

Like with Kamen Rider Double, Kirihiko managed to get out of the flames, though still somewhat singed. "Such power. No wonder our customers would want to be like him! He makes the Magma Dopant seem as harmless as a birthday candle. Perhaps with some adjustments we can improve on the design, but no matter. I'm looking forward to fighting both of you at once! That should be a truly interesting match!" With that, Kirihiko finally collapsed from the exhaustion of two back-to-back fights.


Miyabi's mind raced like a cheetah that had drunk a gallon of black coffee, her long-suppressed maternal instincts firing on overdrive as she made her way to Takamura's office. When she entered, a hidden elevator brought her to an area completely unfamiliar to her. It was an industrial complex full of pipes, hissing and whistling like a basket of snakes ready to strike. The sound of a bouncing ball caught her attention, and she saw that Takamura was amongst a series of pipes, and nearby was a tied up Asuka, tears of fear running down her cheeks. Miyabi gasped, running towards her daughter. "ASUKA!"

"MAMA!" The cries of Asuka made her run faster, and she soon found herself face to face with Takamura, making her gasp as the realization clicked. "Takamura! You're the one after my life?!"

"Kusuhara-san," The man tsked in disapproval. "Your daughter doesn't smile often. Does she?" He threw the ball with great strength, making her gasp as it bounced against some of the pipes. "Seems like we don't like the same things, do we?" Takamura continued chuckling as he saw Miyabi's lips quivering. "Maybe it's time to change that!" With that, he pulled out the Anomalocaris Memory and revealed the port-like tattoo on his hand.

ANOMALOCARIS!

With that, he jammed the GaiaMemory into his palm, and with the splashing of some disgusting, watery slurry, he transformed into the Anomalocaris Dopant. With that, he grabbed Asuka with his normal arm. "If you come close to my land, then say goodbye to your precious little girl!"

"Please, no! Let her go!" Miyabi begged as she reached towards her, only to be smacked away into a pole.

"Mama! I-i-i-it's a lie, isn't it?"

"Oh, and if you're thinking that a certain gaijin will help you, I've already taken care of him. He won't be a nuisance ever again!" The prehistoric monster chuckled sadistically at the memory of beating Ben up.

"Y-y-you...he was only a kid," Miyabi could only whimper. "He had nothing to do with our disagreements!"

"On the contrary, ma'am, he became involved the moment YOU hired him, so you only have yourself to blame for his condition!" The Dopant countered. "But don't worry. Your family will reunite soon. In the afterlife, that is!"

"That's enough outta you!" Heatblast declared as he flew in with a flaming dropkick followed by Kamen Rider Double, as CycloneJoker sucker punched the monster, causing the Anomalocaris Dopant to stagger off-balance, causing him to let go of Asuka, with her quickly running and clinging to her mother.

"PAPA!" Asuka cried as she saw Kamen Rider Double before her.

"You bastards! How dare you get in my way?" The Anomalocaris Dopant growled as he unleashed another bevy of tooth bullets. Heatblast quickly formed a wall of fire with a wave of his arm, melting the bullets to nothingness. Shotaro, deciding to send his own aid, quickly pulled out the Trigger Memory and activated it.

TRIGGER!

With that, he replaced the Joker Memory in the DoubleDriver with the Trigger Memory.

CYCLONE! TRIGGER!

With that, Shotaro pulled out the TriggerMagnum and released a series of wind-enhanced energy shots.

"S-stop!" The Anomalocaris Dopant quickly extended its tentacle and had it swipe at the projectiles before then grabbing Asuka. "Drop the weapon, or I'm shooting her!" Seeing the situation, Shotaro's grip on the gun trembled, while Heatblast reluctant lowered his flames' intensity.

"You trust in us, don't you Asuka?" Shotaro asked. Asuka gave a slight nod at the question.

"You bastards!" The Anomalocaris Dopant screamed as he raised his clawed right hand. However, before he could slash at the little girl, Shotaro activated the Luna Memory.

LUNA!

With that, the Cyclone Memory was taken out, and the Luna Memory took its place.

LUNA! TRIGGER!

With that, Shotaro fired from the TriggerMagnum, sending a single yellow bullet. However, when it got close to the Dopant, it suddenly curved around and struck the Dopant in the back of the head, sending Asuka flying. Seeing the hostage situation was no longer a problem, Heatblast quickly began sending a series of flaming cutters similar to crescent moons, each of which exploded and sent the Dopant flying. Shotaro was quick to catch Asuka, all the while Heatblast continued his assault, sending a series of fireballs at the Dopant.

"Asuka!" Miyabi cried out as Shotaro gently passed her over to her mother.

"Did...papa save me?" Asuka wondered.


As Shotaro followed up with the Pyronite, the two unleashed a combined bevy of fireballs and curving yellow bullets, not giving any quarter to the prehistoric Dopant. The Dopant growled before his body glowed blue before it transformed into a gigantic Anomalocaris, albeit with four frontal appendages, and quickly leapt towards Heatblast before dragging him into the water.

"BEN!" Shotaro shouted. With that, he began shooting at the Dopant as he jumped in and out of the water, crushing Heatblast in its jaws. "Philip! Get the HardSplasher ready!"

"I'm summoning it now!" Philip confirmed.

"Get offa me!" Heatblast protested as he was dragged underwater, dousing his flames. Grunting, he tried to reach for the symbol, and managed to release a brief surge of heat that caused the Anomalocaris Dopant to let go of him, managing to hit the symbol to activate a new form. In his place was now a creature similar to a combination of shark, alligator, angler fish, eel, and leech. His body was covered in mostly gray scales, and a phosphorescent light lay atop his forehead. He also had four-webbed-fingered hands. and two webbed two-toe feet, as well as visible gills. A black, fish-like tail made up his bottom half, and he had a black dorsal fin on the back of his head, and the Ultimatrix symbol lay on his chest.

"RIPJAWS!" The fish declared in a deep voice similar to someone with water in their throat.

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Codon Stream Entry: Ripjaws

Species: Piscciss Volann

Home World: Piscciss

Piscciss is an artificial planet mostly made of water, with land only making up 2% of its total mass. Previously, the planet was engaged in a war with Pyros, and was also the host for a part of the Map to Infinity. The world teems with dangerous, predatory sealife, sentient or not, and one example is the Piscciss Volann. These aliens are very much attuned for aquatic predation, having gills that allow them to breathe underwater, and can turn their legs into tails that allow them to swim at great speeds and with high control. Their phosphorescent lights allow them to navigate not only in deep water, but also stun their prey, leaving them prime for their sharp teeth and strong jaws, a combination easily capable of shredding steel to filings.

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With that, the two predators engaged in brutal fighting, with Ripjaws catching one of the Dopant's frontal appendages before chomping down, leaving it to roar in pain. The Dopant sent out more teeth bullets, but the Piscciss Volann simply dodged with all the agility of a, well, fish in water. However, the Dopant's multiple legs allowed it to move at slightly faster speeds than Ripjaws, but just before it could clamp down on Ripjaws, the front of the HardBoilder smashed into the back of its head, making it roar in pain again. With that, it was revealed that the back was yellow, making the vehicle now more similar to a jet ski. Ripjaws surfaced and locked eyes with Kamen Rider Double and gave a brisk nod towards him, one returned by the masked rider. At once, Ripjaws swam towards the giant Dopant, his claws bared and ready to swipe, which he did, striking at the Dopant's mouthparts. With a roar, the Anomalocaris Dopant surfaced and retreated towards a pile of rubble and tossed it towards the alien fish, his eyes widening as he dove into the water, the Dopant following close behind. Shotaro saw what was going and followed likewise, not noticing a dim green glow at the surface.

While following the target, Shotaro felt a sudden chill like some dark wind had billowed through the sea somehow, but seeing how the Dopant had been weakened, he decided to ignore it as he readied for the finale, loading the Trigger Memory into the TriggerMagnum, and turned the lower barrel upwards.

TRIGGER! MAXIMUM DRIVE!

With that, the two jumped from the water like a majestic whale, the Anomalocaris Dopant surfacing to look for their alien ally, and unaware of the incoming attack. "Now! Count up your sins!" Charging yellow energy in the barrel, the sounds of beeping emerged. "This clinches it!" The Dopant realized what was happening, but even as it readied a bevy of tooth bullets, its fate was sealed. "TRIGGER FULL BURST!" With that, a series of yellow energy bullets fired from the gun, and while they struck the tooth bullets, that wasn't the end, as they swarmed the giant Dopant like piranhas in a feeding frenzy. The Dopant bellowed in pain as an explosion blew out from it.


"Yes father," Saeko obediently answered over the phone. "My apologies for the sloppiness of my subordinates. Takamura's contract is to be cancelled posthaste." When she ended the call, she huffed. She could admit she was happy to see her husband attempt to get Ben Tennyson on their side, but she was angrier with Takamura's failure to assassinate Miyabi.

"Useless fools, the lot of them..." She could already tell that the Gaia Memory factor would be going up in flames in a short while.


Wishing for him to face justice, Kamen Rider Double had pulled an unconscious Takamura from the water, while his Anomalocaris Memory lay in pieces. Ben was nowhere to be seen, something that made Shotaro curious, especially since Philip seemed rather tight-lipped.

"Papa!" He heard Asuka call, seeing the girl run accompanied by her mother. "Are you...really Papa?" Her head hung low, while a sad look was on her face, giving competition to a starving puppy in how much it broke his heart. He walked towards her and, hesitantly, looked at her. "Will you do your greeting if you are my papa?"

"Of course," Philip's eye flashed as he spoke to himself. With that, he moved his hand forward. Soon, Asuka felt familiar motions, as a hand tossled through her hair in a circular manner.

"You remember...you are my Papa!" Asuka cried in joy. What was said next, however, left her in confusion.

"...A-Asuka," Shotaro stated, his voice having an uncharacteristic stammer. "I...I'm not the one comforting you."

"...What?" Asuka's confusion turned to fear as she realized what Shotaro said was true: his hands, splayed before her face in shock, were nowhere near the top of her head.

"...My little Asuka," A hoarse, ghostly whisper rang in her ears as she looked up and screamed at the sight before her. It was a being similar to the Western interpretation of a ghost: its body was a pale white, and cracks formed across its body like a spiderweb, but a set of them lay on his chest like an eye, while, noticed by Kamen Rider Double but not by the others, the Ultimatrix symbol was planted like the iris of said eye. One of its claw-like hands was curled away, and she realized it was this creature was her father. Within the cracks of the body lay a single emerald eye, and its body ended in a wispy tail. "I think you should learn...the truth."

"The...truth?" Asuka asked, her skin pale as paper.

"When I disappeared that day, your mother gave a...kinder description of what happened to me. Those injuries didn't just scar my face, they caused my spirit to detach from my body, and unfortunately, I could not return back to it." The ghostly being continued. "But I heard what your mother told you when you were crying in bed that night. About how I became a masked warrior who would come for you when the time came. In that moment, I had a purpose to stay on this world: something to keep me stuck to this world like the string of a kite. But that didn't mean it was easy."

"Papa? Is that time away from us why you're...like this?" Asuka continued to ask in trepidation.

"Unfortunately, yes," The ghost of Daizaburo continued. "In time, I began to lose more of my humanity. My skin became this...crusty, cracked mess, and sunlight started to feel unbearable should I stay in it for too long. I began to forget more of myself: I forgot the feeling of enjoying a warm, filling dinner with you, and events started blurring together. But all the while, I kept myself strong, so I could be the knight you needed. And it was your love, and the belief in your mother's tale, that strengthened my connection to this world."

"You're saying my belief in you...kept you here with us?" Asuka wondered, reaching to touch her father's ghost, only to phase through his body like air.

"Yes. Yes, indeed," Daizaburo gave a nod at this. "When the time came to protect you as your mother continued my dream, though, I found myself helpless. I lacked the power to do much as a ghost, but I could possess people as vessels to fight in. And who better than the newest masked hero, Kamen Rider Double, to be my body? I suppose you could say that we became a...Kamen Rider Ghost, for lack of a better term." Said Kamen Rider gasped at the story Asuka's father was weaving. "And thanks to him, the ones who threatened you and your mother shall never hurt you again."

"Papa, does that mean...you'll stay with us?" Asuka asked, her face having a hopeful smile.

Daizaburo let out a heavy sigh before giving his answer. "...No. I wish I could. Truly, if I could stay with you, I'd stick with you, and watch you grow up. But with my goal of protecting you done, there's nothing to keep me in this world. Already, my spiritual strength is getting weaker, and it's harder for me to stay with you." With that, his right arm began to fade, like it was turning into grains of sand tossed into the ocean.

Asuka began to tear up at this, trying desperately to cling to her father. "Papa...please. Don't go..."

"Asuka, I want you to know something," The ghost of Daizaburo said as he embraced his daughter. "A person doesn't truly die when they take their last breath. If someone still remembers them, then they're still alive. It's only when everyone forgets about them that they are truly dead. I will always be in the next world, watching you. I want you to know how proud I am for how strong you were. But can you do me a favor?"

Hearing her father's words, the despair on her face began to clear up. "Y-yes Papa. What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to keep supporting your mother and Kamen Rider. I sense something terrible is coming to our beloved city, and both will need all the support they can get. Once the danger has passed, then our second Futo Tower can be built in peace. Can you promise me that?" Daizaburo asked, continuing to cling to her.

Hearing her father's wishes, Asuka thought before giving a shaky nod of acceptance. "Okay Papa, I promise. I'll support Mama and Kamen Rider from here! You can count on me!"

With that, the ghost fell through her body, before turning to face her from the ground. "Thank you...Asuka. I love you and your mother, and we will see each other again when the time comes. Not before, not after. Until then, remember that I will always be with you…right…here." With that, Daizaburo had a ghostly finger pointed towards Asuka's heart, before he began to fade away, like pieces of dust blowing in the wind.

"...D...Daizaburo..." Miyabi whispered, tears pooling as she recalled her loving husband. Turning to her daughter, she stuttered as she looked to find the right words. "Asuka...I..."

No words were said as Asuka ran to her mother and wrapped her in a hug. "You were right. Papa did come to protect us! Not the way you said, but he still came to help us!" Asuka said, a teary smile on her face.


With that, the ghost huffed for a few minutes before hitting the Ultimatrix symbol, revealing the ghost to be Ben.

"Well, I think that plan worked out swimmingly," Ben smiled as he thought to an earlier discussion with Akiko and Philip.

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Akiko and Philip weren't expecting Ben to arrive soon or look like he'd been strolling, though Akiko remembered XLR8's speed and realized how Ben got back so quickly. "Ben-kun. Philip told me Shotaro said you'd be coming with some idea and you needed his help?"

"Yeah," Ben stepped into the Narumi Detective Agency, seeing Philip come forward. "So, Philip? You got what I told you and Shotaro, right?"

"Yes. How Miyabi told her daughter that her father was scarred and hiding his face in a mask and armor. That's why she believes Kamen Rider is her father," Philip summarized.

"Good. So the two main options are that we keep her living a lie when she might get in danger trying to reach out to her Papa, or lie to her and break her heart," Ben continued.

"Neither option would be good for her, or for Shotaro, so what are you saying?" Akiko wondered.

"Simple. We'll make a third option. I know this is going to sound a bit crazy, but maybe Asuka can hear what happened from her father," Ben suggested, an idea that caused both Akiko's and Philip's eyes to widen in astonishment at Ben's audacious plan.

Akiko was the first to recover, as she quickly looked at Ben incredulously. "Ben? Are you saying that you're a spirit medium?"

"Not really. But I've got the next best thing. Bit risky, but I think I should be okay" Ben activated the Ultimatrix, switching to a form neither had seen. The ghostly being that had later claimed to be Daizaburo.

"GHOSTFREAK!" The being spoke in its raspy whisper.

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Codon Stream Entry: Ghostfreak

Species: Ectonurite

Home World: Anur Phateos

Hailing from the dark world of Anur Phateos, Ectonurites are creatures that are very reminiscent of Earth ghosts, specifically the western version. They can become invisible to the naked eye, fly through the air, go through walls, possess others, and use telekinesis. However, they are very vulnerable to sunlight, and will burn violently, hence why they wear special light-absorbing suits to protect themselves, though they can remove this at will. With this, they gain the ability to fire energy beams, unleash strong tentacles from their chest, and grow stronger in the dark.

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"B-B-B-BEN?! Are you dead?!" Akiko screamed in shock.

"Heh heh heh. No," Ghostfreak answered. "But this form does come with some specific powers that could be useful. And apologies in advance for this, Akiko." With that, Ghostfreak into Akiko, who screamed as she suddenly went limp before standing up again. Philip, however, was greeted to a shocking sight: Akiko's eyes had changed drastically, having black sclera with spiderweb-like cracks stretching across her face while her irises had become a vivid emerald. "Every lie has a kernel of truth, they say." The shocking thing was that while Akiko was speaking, it was Ghostfreak's voice that came from her mouth.

"Ahhh!" Philip realized. "I presume this...Ghostfreak has powers most Western media depicts them to have, then. Invisibility, intangibility, telekinesis, and possession!"

"Exactly! Just don't tell Shotaro. I don't think he can lie on command, so let his reaction to my appearance be genuine. Just let him know we've got a plan to break the truth to Asuka," Ghostfreak continued. "I just need you to do a look-up. A gesture that could make it clear I'm her father, so I can tell her...a truth."

"Hmmm...I'll let you know what I find. Perhaps, though, it would be prudent to leave Akiko's body before the Ultimatrix potentially runs out of charge," Philip acknowledged while clutching his book. "It would be inconvenient to find out what happens if you're still in her body when you turn back to normal."

"Ah, good point," With that, Ghostfreak got out of Akiko's body before turning back to normal. Akiko remained woozy for a few minutes, but her eyes turned into fireballs as her voice's pitch lowered.

"Ben-kun!" The green slipper was raised, and Ben was in its path.

BONK!

"OW! I'm sorry I possessed you, but I had to make a point!" Ben said in an attempt to defend himself.

"Doesn't mean it feels weird having someone inside me!" Akiko pouted.

"Again, I'm sorry Akiko. You were the only other person apart from Philip I could possess," Ben bowed before Akiko in remorse. "All the same, I've gotta meet back with Shotaro on this Dopant. See you in a bit!" With that, Ben turned back into XLR8 and sped out of the room.

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"At least Asuka knows the truth that her father won't come back, but she can be comforted by the knowledge that he's still watching her from above," Ben sighed in relief as he ran back to where the family and Kamen Rider Double were. "Asuka, are you okay?!"

"I...I'm alright Ben. Papa's...not here with us any more," Asuka told him.

"Oh...oh geez. Asuka, I'm...I'm so sorry," Ben said, his voice tinged with sadness.

"It's alright. He's at least happy that me and mama will be safe now," With that, Asuka gave him a hug as she had a tearful smile, though loosened her grip as he let out a small grunt of pain. "Ben-san? Thank you for protecting me and Mama."

Hearing this, Ben could only chuckle as he patted the young girl on her head. "Any time, kiddo. Any time."


"Ow!" Ben winced as Akiko put an ice pack on his bruised eye while she made him lie on the bed in Narumi Detective Agency. His chest had also been covered in bandages, seeing how Akiko screamed in horror as she saw how her "otōto" bruised so badly.

"You are getting bed rest, mister, and you are not getting out until those bruises clear up. Big sister's orders!" Akiko commanded as she forced him down as he tried to get up.

"You may be my boss, Akiko, but you're not my big sister!" Ben protested.

"But I'm still older than you, and you're staying under my roof. So if you get hurt, I'm responsible for helping you get better. Got it?" Akiko playfully flicked him on the nose. All the while, Shotaro typed up his report on the matter.

"Construction of the second Fūto Tower has been put on hold until further notice, especially as Kusuhara Miyabi has decided to step down from the council for now. However, it at least seems that Asuka and Miyabi will finally be able to enjoy their time as a mother and daughter, while also giving her a lie that is close enough to the truth but not one that breaks her sense of safety. All the same, we have a promise to uphold: to make sure that the city we and Daizaburo loved does not fall in the hands of those who wish to make it cry," Shotaro narrated the report. Philip, while all this happened, was drinking vinegar like cocktails, as Asuka giving it to him somehow freed his butt from the trashcan. "You looked up Daizaburo's habits and told Ben about them, didn't you?"

"Enough. I'm not done testing what else vinegar can do!" Philip countered.

"Oh, you!" Shotaro chuckled.

"Uggh..." Ben moaned, his thoughts turning back to what the Nazca Dopant had said, an act that didn't go unnoticed by Akiko.

"Ben? What's wrong?" Akiko's face warped into one of concern.

"It's just that...I fought the Nazca Dopant, and he told me that they got a lot of customers want to be like me. They want power beyond those of ordinary humans. I just feel..." Ben began before Shotaro got up, a cold look on his face.

"Stop that train of thought, now," He growled in a low voice, one that made everyone shudder. "You are not to blame for the actions of those that sell Gaia Memories to others. The only thing you're guilty of is doing the right thing with the power you have. Maybe you were irresponsible at times, but you were ten, hardly an age known for being mature. You couldn't have known that these villains would cash in on your image to peddle their products to innocent people. So don't waste time on that fiend's words. Focus on helping us take these guys down; the ones who actually make our city cry."

"He's right, Ben," Philip agreed, stopping his drinking. "Put your effort into fighting the ones actually selling Gaia Memories to monsters like Kaga and Takamura and the vulnerable like Togawa and Marina."

"Just do what you've always done, Ben," Akiko gently answered, rubbing the young man's shoulder with a compassionate smile. "That's the best way to help our city."

Ben let out a sigh, giving a small smile. "Thanks guys. It helps hearing that from you."


Author's Note: And with that, another case complete, and the real debut of the Nazca Dopant. I know I said they'd impact the fight, but I feel individual fights against them, and a direct reveal of Ben's effect on the city, warranted a better delivery. If you're wondering how Ben pulled off that trick of Ghostfreak being Asuka's father, keep in mind Ben has had good moments of cleverness, like his sleight of hand with Simian back in Alien Force. All the same, things aren't any better: even if Asuka isn't living a lie any more, Kirihiko has proven a dangerous opponent to both Ben and Kamen Rider Double, and will not be going away any time soon. Also, my sincerest apologies for how long it took to get to this: I was finishing my Master's, and that took priority over my fanfic work.

On a sadder, real world note, I would like to pay my respects for Minori Terada, the actor for Ryubee Sonozaki. May he rest in peace. On that note, I would also like to pay my respects to Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama. I am quite the fan of the original series and Z, so it's sad to hear that he is no longer with us.


Next Time: Cockroach Terminator

A new Cockroach Dopant claims to be a hero, but his more violent means may prove dangerous for anyone in his way, innocent or guilty. All the while, Philip finds himself engrossed in a street dance, putting him in the eyes of the Sonozakis, who have a VERY vested interest in getting him back to them for their nefarious purposes.