Setting The Stage

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by peteynorth, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. peteynorth

    peteynorth TFW2005 Supporter

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    Seems like everyone else is writing a sequel story (or starting one at least). I figured I'd plant the seeds for a part 2, but I really have no intention of finishing it. Oh well, here goes:






    Though the entire planet seemed a derelict shell of its former self, the interior of the subterranean temple was maintained and in pristine condition. Beautiful and ornate hieroglyphs stretched from wall to wall throughout the halls and into each dark chamber, their intricate details made visible by small pools of glowing fluid spread out along the floor illuminating their shiny surfaces. The silence was periodically broken by the sounds of measured footsteps or muffled voices. The general belief was that prolonged separation from the Allspark had made Cybertron unable to sustain life, but the occupants of the temple had clearly found a way to survive on this otherwise dead world.

    The priests and their acolytes had lived here in isolation for eons; through the tail end of the golden age, through the war that ravaged the surface and many subterranean levels, through the exodus that followed the disappearance of the Allspark, and through the countless vorns of complete inactivity engulfing the remainder of the planet. And even this group, who had found a way to survive deep within this lifeless metal orb, knew that there would come a time when even their pious and low consumption lifestyles would be too great for the world of their birth to sustain, and they would be forced to confront the same choice that the rest of their species had faced ages before; leave or die.

    The first option seemed to have been removed as an explosion ripped the main doorway off of its hinges, sending shrapnel throughout the foyer and adjoining hallways. The handful of acolytes that were near the destroyed door looked up to see a small, savage beast charging through the gaping hole on four limbs. One acolyte stood and confronted the creature, but was on the ground a moment later as a blade emerging from the beast's right forelimb severed his head from his lanky metal body. The other acolytes rose as well and attempted to flee, but each was cut down in a similar manner to their comrade, until only one remained alive.

    The beast cornered the holy servant, the sounds of squealing and grating metal emerging from its vocal processors for several seconds before barely coherent Cybertronian was spoken. "Where are the ancients?"

    "Kill me if you wish, but I will never betray those that I have been charged with serving and protecting." The terrified robot replied.

    Heavy footsteps were heard entering the foyer, and the acolyte turned to look at the newcomer. Roughly the size of the former Lord High Protector Megatron, the towering robot's face bore only a long visor and faceplate beneath his dark gray helmet. As the acolyte studied the imposing invader's features he noticed that various details of his memory banks were being brought to the forefront of his consciousness. The flood of details suddenly stopped, and the large robot turned and started down the hallway leading to the sanctuary chamber where the ancients would no doubt be hiding.

    The confused and terrified robot turned his gaze back to the small jagged creature crouched in front of him and noticed the heavily fanged mouth twist into a horrifying grin and laughter-like metallic sounds chirped through its vocal processors. "You just did." The guttural words emerged through the razor-sharp teeth a moment before blades from the forelimbs of the creature cut the robot to pieces. The beast turned away from the corpse, transformed into a two-wheeled racer, and followed his large companion down the hallway, ignoring the approaching footfalls that indicated that another invader was about to enter the temple.


    *


    "What do these fiends want?" One ancient priest asked to the other temple dwellers all huddled into the mid-sized chamber. Though the sole entrance was sealed shut, they were all aware that the intruders would have little difficulty gaining entrance. "They must know that we have no knowledge regarding the whereabouts of the Allspark, and haven't since the day that the Alpha acquiesced to Optimus Prime's desire to remove it from Cybertron."

    "Why Alpha agreed to that I'll never know." Another priest muttered. "He may have been the Prime, but..."

    "He was more than just a Prime." Another priest replied as he stepped from the shadows, his metal body older and more tarnished than those of the other ancients. "And had the cube not been removed, it would have fallen into the hands of Megatron long ago, and the Universe would be paying for our unwillingness to see beyond our own dogmatic restrictions."

    "The Alpha deserves our respect, Gamma Septis, but even he is not above question." The priest that had questioned the wisdom of removing the Allspark from Cybertron retorted. "Your unwillingness to see him as fallible has held you back from reaching your true potential."

    Before any more discussion could come, the metal door exploded, knocking all within to the floor. Those that recovered quickly looked up to the source of the blast and were met by a glowing purple visor sitting over thirty feet off the ground cutting through the smoke and dust in the air. The feral metal beast that had made short work of the acolytes in the front of the temple leapt through the dust and debris and stood hunched over in the center of the room, grating metal snarls emanating from his throat, but it refrained from assaulting any of the priests or their remaining acolytes.

    The dust slowly settled, and the large form standing in the smoldering doorway stepped toward the center of the room, as the footfalls of the third intruder approached from the hallway behind him. A moment later Starscream entered, his arrogant snickering audible over the settling debris. "Well Soundwave, it looks like your source was correct. Not only do the ancients exist, but they lacked the sense to vacate this floating rock."

    Soundwave, the large robot, merely peered at the cowering temple-dwellers, one of whom raised a slender, pointed finger and addressed them. "You...you have violated this sacred sanctuary. Brought warfare to this house of the divine."

    "House of the divine?" Starscream snapped in reply. "Didn't anyone tell you? God is dead!" The faux-anger disappeared and the hulking Decepticon started chuckling again. "Which is why we're paying you a visit."

    "What is it that you want?" One of the priests demanded.

    "Alternate method of reproduction required." Soundwave, in an eerily harmonic tone answered.

    "Yes, we received Optimus Prime's transmitted invitation to this planet Earth." Gamma Septis replied. "His claim that the Allspark was gone was deeply disturbing, but overly vague."

    "Then perhaps I can clarify some details up for you." Starscream growled as he stepped toward the priest. "An adolescent organic biped half the size of my hand thrust the Allspark into Megatron's chest, and the resulting...whatever destroyed both the cube and Megatron's spark." A hush came over the priests as they turned and peered toward one another, exchanging excited glances. Starscream turned to Soundwave, who leaned forward toward the priests in deep concentration. Several moments passed before his long optic turned and focused on Starscream. "What's going on?"

    "The Allspark is not destroyed." Soundwave replied. The priests turned toward the invaders in shock and terror, realizing that their thoughts were far from safe. "There is something else..." Soundwave replied as he stepped toward Gamma Septis. The hulking Decepticon focused his concentration on this individual priest, and shuddered gently a moment later as he obtained the information that he was trying to dig from this ancient's mind.

    "Well, what is it?" The impatient Starscream barked.

    "I was mistaken." Soundwave replied; his optic still locked to Gamma Septis. "There is nothing beyond the continued existence of the Allspark."

    "Slag! I was there. I watched as both the cube and the entire interior of Megatron's chest blasted into nothingness!" Starscream bellowed in Cybertronian.

    "Explain!" Soundwave commanded of the priest, but Gamma Septis remained silently defiant. The massive Decepticon turned toward his small, bestial companion and elicited another harmonic order. "Ravage, provide incentive."

    Ravage leapt snarling at another priest cowering against the far wall and slammed him to the ground.

    "No, leave him be." Gamma Septis raised his hand in protest as he pleaded for his comrade. But those pleas went unanswered, and were quickly replaced by cries of agony from the besieged ancient. A few moments later those cries went silent as Ravage ended the being's life. The beast immediately set upon another ancient. "Please stop, I'll explain!" This time Ravage held his savaging of the priest and looked to Soundwave.

    "Ravage stand down." Soundwave provided the expected order before addressing the priest. "Now explain."

    "Yes, alright." Gamma Septis replied as the series of metal plates that made up his brow furrowed as he considered his explanation. "First, according to what we believe to be true, the Allspark is not matter. I mean, it is matter, but it is much more than that. It is energy, a coalescence of the core primal energy given off thirteen point seven billion years ago when existence was created. But unlike the phenomenal unleashing of heat and energy of the Big Bang, the Allspark administers this energy in small, focused pulses."

    "And how does this explain that the cube wasn't destroyed?" Starscream growled.

    "The physical form, the cube, was just one of possibly many states that the primal energy can take." Gamma Septis replied. "The energy wasn't destroyed, merely changed." The slender ancient shrugged. "Perhaps with the right focal point, it can be drawn back into the physical realm."

    Starscream cocked his head. "Right focal point? One like this perhaps?" With that a series of holographic light projections shot from Starscream's head and upper shoulders, transforming the room into an aerial view of an embattled human city. The view zoomed into Optimus Prime retrieving the lone remaining fragment of the cube from Megatron's chest cavity. The image zoomed in further on the tiny fragment before Prime gripped it tightly in his powerful hand. The images vanished as Starscream retracted the projections. "Well."

    Gamma Septis shook his head and shrugged. "I...Maybe. Though it may be possible, I am not equipped to determine that it is, or even if it is, how to go about restoring the cube."

    "I choose not to believe you." Starscream snickered and then looked to Ravage, his command for the tiny monster to resume his dismemberment of the ancients a moment away.

    "No!" Gamma Septis screamed. "I swear I'm telling the truth! Not one of us here would know where to begin for such an undertaking!"

    Starscream looked at the priest, but he brushed the assurance off and looked back toward Ravage, once again preparing to issue his deadly command.

    "He's telling the truth." An unknown voice spoke from the hallway.

    Starscream turned toward the destroyed doorway and crossed his arms. "I did not hear you come in."

    A moment later a darkly colored robot with broad shoulders stepped silently into the chamber. "I didn't want to distract you."

    The ancients gaped with wide optics at the newcomer. "High Steward Benefice." One cowering acolyte muttered at seeing the speaker.

    "My name is not Benefice, nor was I some random Autobot refugee who found this temple by chance. My agreement to remain with you and serve the ancients was a ruse, a patient ploy that might have one day led to the discovery of some information that would have been useful in tracking down the Allspark, and perhaps then Megatron." The newcomer snapped disdainfully at the acolyte who had addressed him before scanning the room and glaring at each ancient and acolyte. "My ability to master your mystic forms of defense in short order was due more than just to a natural aptitude, but it also had to do with pre-existing combat training. Combat training arduously honed for Decades in secret with other Decepticons." Noting the surprise on their faces, the robot released a light, metallic chuckle before continuing. "Benefice, the steward charged with your security, never existed. I am a warrior dedicated to the Decepticon cause. I am Bludgeon."

    The room was silent for a moment before Starscream light-heartedly replied. "Very dramatic Bludgeon, I'm sure you've been waiting eons to spit that one out at them. But if you don't mind, I'd like to know why is it that you think this one is telling the truth?"

    Bludgeon looked intently at Gamma Septis. "Because he is. If what he is suggesting is possible, it is beyond him. It is beyond all of them."

    "So what, we're out of luck?" Starscream grumbled.

    "Perhaps not. There is the Alpha." Bludgeon replied, his deeply set optics burning brightly through the blackness of the caverns surrounding them.

    "So where is this Alpha?" Starscream's frustration was reaching its limit.


    ***


    The maroon motorcycle turned the corner sharply, clearly traveling too fast for the residential road that it was on. Its rider's long dark hair trailing out of the back of the helmet mounted on the slender, feminine neck whipped playfully in the wind created by the vehicles velocity before finally settling on the rider's back as the bike pulled to a stop in front of a large house. In the front of the house was Ronald Witwicky, who was positioning a ladder to clean the gutters. The rider flipped open the helmet's visor to reveal the face of Mikaela Barnes. "Hello Mr. Witwicky."

    "Oh, hi Mikaela." Ron replied as he glanced at her and then at her bike. "Hey, can you see if your friend can talk Sam's friend into saving me a life-threatening trip up this ladder?"

    "I don't know sir, it is broad daylight after all." Mikaela replied before slowly pulling the bike into the driveway and toward the garage in the back.

    "Yeah, yeah." Ron grumbled as he started wrestling with the ladder again. "I'm probably better off without their help, given what they did to the yard." The elder Witwicky mumbled to himself.

    Mikaela continued to the back and carefully drove the motorcycle into the garage, parking it next to the yellow Camaro. She shut off the engine, got off the bike, and removed her helmet before closing the garage. "OK Arcee, it's clear."

    With that the motorcycle reconfigured itself into a slender, feminine seven-foot robot. "Ah good, Judy's cooking. Human food tickles my olfactory sensors in the most pleasant ways." The female-ish robot turned back to the yellow car. "I wish you could join us, but, well..." the robot turned to the door which even she would have to stoop to get through before turning back. "you know." The car backfired in reply as Arcee ducked into the house and shut the door behind her.

    "Hey Mrs. Wi..." Mikaela smiled sheepishly as the woman at the sink turned and gave her a look. "I mean Judy."

    "Hi Mikaela." Judy Witwicky walked toward her to give the girl a hug, but froze startled as she saw Arcee in the doorway to the kitchen. "Ahh! Damn it Arcee." Judy placed her hand to her chest as she composed herself. "I'm sorry, but for a moment I thought I was looking at Shaq in a metal bustier."

    "There's a scary thought." Mikaela joked as she smiled at the woman. "So where's the prospective college student?"

    Judy turned to resume her meal preparations at the sink, but twisted back and pointed to Arcee. "You put on your shoes before coming in here." With that several kickstand-like prods snapped down from Arcee's shins and calves to better distribute her weight on the kitchen tiles. Satisfied, Judy replied to Mikaela's question. "He's upstairs in his room, procrastinating instead of getting his college admission essays done. I swear, ever since throwing down with that Megatron, the boy can’t focus on mundane tasks worth a damn."

    "Ah, I guess you could call this Sam's unhappy time." Mikaela smirked, but grew a little nervous wondering if she had crossed the line a bit with her boyfriend's mother.

    Judy turned to face her, but instead of being angry she was deeply embarrassed, her face getting a little rosy due to this embarrassment. "Will none of you let me live that down?"

    "Live what down?" Arcee questioned as she admired a bouquet of flowers in a vase on the kitchen table.

    "Never mind." Judy responded. "How would you like to learn how to make perfectly lump-free gravy, Arcee?"

    "That would be wonderful." Arcee replied as Mikaela turned down the hallway toward the stairway.


    *


    "Describe a major turning point in your life and explain how you grew from it." Sam grunted out the topic from the online college entrance essay form. Straightening up from his slouching position he positioned his fingers on the keyboard but refrained from typing the words suddenly flowing out of his mouth in a sarcastic manner. "Well, let's see. There was the time I was being hunted down by a thirty-four foot metal death machine, and I managed to find the courage not to soil myself. Of course now that I've told you this, I'll have to kill you."

    "Yeah, that will go over well with the admissions board." Mikaela entered the room, patting Mojo who was sitting on the bed, walked up to the back of Sam's chair and leaned down to wrap her arms around his neck and chest, taking a look at the screen that Sam was still glued to.

    "They want me to write about a major life-altering experience, and despite having one that will knock the shit out of anyone else that’s applying to this or any school, I'm forced to pick from dealing with my grandmother's death or the time I nearly drowned while learning to surf." The eighteen year old grumbled.

    "You can surf?" Mikaela asked, almost excited.

    "No, the nearly dieing pretty much put a halt to my desire to learn." Sam replied, gently pulling away from Mikaela's embrace, turning in his chair, standing up and embracing her back with a kiss. "It's just kind of frustrating knowing that I can blow them away, but that doing so would betray my friends, violate national security, and get me landed in a loony bin." Sam chuckled. "Maybe they'd give me Archibald's old straightjacket."

    "I can't believe the public bought the whole 'urban war games gone awry' line the Pentagon fed everyone, Mission City, Arizona is still in ruins. Though they did do a good job of buying off all the first hand witnesses.." Mikaela muttered as she reached over and picked up a transparent plastic case holding the spectacles of Archibald Witwicky, looking at it with mild curiosity. Changing thoughts, she put the case back on the top of Sam's dresser and turned to him. "Oh, remind me to thank your dad for getting a job for my dad."

    "Huh, oh, yeah." Sam answered, only paying half attention. "I hope Clyde doesn't hate it too bad."

    "No, it's as perfect a job as you can get for him." Mikaela replied as she walked over and wrapped her arms around Sam again. "It's honest work and it involves car engines. He couldn't ask for more."

    Sam backed Mikaela up against his wall and they kissed deeply. Pulling away momentarily Sam looked out his window and smiled as he saw the top of the ladder banging against the gutter outside. "Yeah, ol' Ron's comes through from time to time."


    *


    "Damnit!" Ron cursed as the ladder slipped and fell to the ground. He momentarily counted his blessings that he had been on it when it had started to slide, but quickly resumed his thoughts of taking a sledgehammer to the uncooperative piece of equipment. The middle-aged man walked toward the center of the downed ladder and squatted down to once again lift it into position when he noticed a car pull to a stop in front of his house out of the corner of his eye. Standing upright, Ron turned to see that it was a black limousine stopped on the street, the engine still running.

    The engine finally came to a stop, so Ron walked forward toward it, careful to use his walkway and avoid stepping on the grass. Reaching the sidewalk, Ron walked toward the car and finally did walk across the grass to the curb – he considered that city grass anyway. As he approached, the driver's window slid open and the driver, an elderly man with a Fu Manchu moustache and a long pointed beard extending from his chin, smiled up at him. "Greetings, are you Ronald Witwicky?"

    "Yeah, and who might you be?" Ron replied as he eyeballed both the man and the car uneasily.

    "I am someone who is interested in an audience with some friends of yours. Or more accurately I suppose, friends of your son." The man, still smiling, responded.

    "And which friends would those be?" Ron questioned, knowing full well what the stranger was referring too.

    "Some of his...out of town friends." The old man said through his perfectly white and straight teeth.

    "Let me guess..." Ron quipped as he folded his arms. "You're with Sector Seven, or Sector Twelve, or Vector Sigma, or some other super secret agency of the government that doesn't exist, right?"

    "No sir, I assure you I am not." The man replied.

    A look of mirth came over Ron's disbelieving face, but that look changed to mild worry as another thought entered his head. "Are you the press?"

    "No sir, I am that neither."

    "Then who the hell are you?" Ron's patience had just about faded.

    "Let's just say that I am an acquaintance of Optimus Prime's." The old man said, finally eliminating what little doubt there was as to whether or not he was aware of one of the nation's biggest secrets.

    "Then I suggest you go through Secretary Keller to get reacquainted." Ron said, slowly backing away from the car, this time having no problem with walking on his grass.

    "No, please do not go." The old man reached out as a gesture intended to relax Ronald, but the motion caused the image of the man to flicker just a bit.

    Ron froze for a moment, his eyes stretching to their maximum width, and then he screamed out in horror and turned back to the house. "Ahh, Decepticon! Bumblebee! Arcee! Help! Get out here! Decepticon!" Ron stumbled toward his house, managing to look back at his uninvited guest every third stride or so.

    A moment later Arcee burst through the screen door, planted her foot on the porch, cracking the concrete beneath her, and propelling her in a leap that landed her just short of the sidewalk. The driver disappeared as the limousine immediately began shifting itself. The sounds of a roaring engine and a garage door being battered off the garage came from the back simultaneously, and a moment later the yellow Camaro tore around the side of the house and sped toward the forming robot.

    Bumblebee began his transformation just as the limousine was finishing its, but a having only a partially completed robot mode didn’t stop the yellow Autobot from slamming mid-air into the chest of the stranger, knocking him to the ground. Completing his transformation on the ground, Bumblebee sprung immediately up and positioned himself next to Arcee, between the newcomer and their human friends. Both Autobots were crouched and held their weapons on the tall, slender robot that was getting back to his feet in front of them.

    The new robot stood roughly twenty-five feet tall, the spoiler and other pieces of metal formerly on the trunk arranged on the face in a manner similar to how the facial hair of the faux driver had been. The stranger raised both hands in an act of submission and spoke calmly to the two Autobots. "Please fellow Autobots, I come in peace. I am a friend."

    "We'll be the judge of that!" Arcee rebutted.

    Bumblebee turned his head to Ron, who had frozen just shy of the porch and was watching them. With great effort, Bumblebee endured the pain of forcing sounds to make coherent words through his shattered vocal circuits. "Ronald, get inside." Bumblebee then turned back around and reasserted his aggressive posturing at the taller robot, which was now scrutinizing Bumblebee's throat area.

    "Your vocal systems are heavily damaged, aren't they?" The newcomer asked.

    "That's none of your business!" Arcee snarled.

    Suddenly, a chirping came from Bumblebee's chest, which caused Bumblebee to tap the source of the noise. A moment later the voice of Optimus Prime came through. "I received your distress signal, what's going on?"

    Bumblebee looked to Arcee and nodded. Arcee gave him a look of confusion, unsure of what he wanted. Bumblebee nodded, shook his head and made some garbled noises, trying his best to let her know that he wanted her to be the one to respond. "Oh." She finally got it. "We've got an unknown Transformer here in front of the Witwicky house. He has not demonstrated any threatening behavior as of yet, though the fact he's here and we were unaware of his arrival is not a good sign."

    "Bumblebee, transmit the images of this robot." Prime's voice came back. Bumblebee did as commanded, and not more than two seconds later Prime issued new commands. "Autobots stand down! Transform and return to maintaining a minimum profile. That goes for you as well Alpha Trion; I am forwarding coordinates to my location now. I look forward to meeting with you."

    Bumblebee shuddered when he heard the robot's name, and apologetically bowed before transforming. Arcee and Alpha Trion transformed as well, but the faux human driver called out to Bumblebee in Alpha Trion's voice. "Wait. Bumblebee, come with me."

    "Uh, no way." Sam came jogging out and stepped between the Camaro backing up off the grass into the driveway and the waiting limo. "Prime agreed to meet with you, not give you command of his soldiers."

    The Camaro revved loudly before the radio kicked into high volume and Bob Marley belted out to Sam from beyond the grave. "Don't worry about a thing. 'Cause every little thing gonna be alright."

    Sam looked quizzically at his car, but turned back to the limo as the driver spoke to him. "You do not know me, Samuel James Witwicky, so your apprehension is understandable. But rest assured, Bumblebee knows me, by reputation if nothing else, and is comfortable. And I believe that should I have a few moments to work on him, he may not be so reliant upon recordings of song lyrics for communication."

    "You can fix him?" The maroon motorcycle asked, still on the grass.

    "I'm eager to find out." The old man replied as Mikaela mounted Arcee to get her off the grass, looking intently in either direction to verify the miracle that none of the neighbors had noticed the commotion.

    Sam looked at Bumblebee and then back to the fake elderly man. "Alright, but I’m coming with."

    “No way!” Ron protested.

    “Why not?” Sam called out as he ran to Bumblebee’s suddenly open door. “This guy’s apparently a friend of theirs, and besides, how’s Bumblebee supposed to act as my guardian if I’m not with him?” The boy joked as he slid into the driver’s seat of the Camaro. “And if this guy gets out of hand, I can take care of it. I am the one that snuffed Megatron after all.”

    Ron raised his hand in a futile attempt to stop his son, but stopped bothering as the yellow sports car sped out of the driveway, rounded the limousine, and drove down the street.

    "Yes," the limousine driver smiled at Ron and Judy, who had just gotten to his side and then turned forward, losing the smile as the limo pulled away. "That remains to be verified."

    "What the hell did that mean?" Ron muttered as both the limo followed the Camaro.

    “Bye guys, sorry I couldn’t stay longer.” Mikaela called out from Arcee as they too took off after Bumblebee.

    “I can’t believe how jealous I am of that kid.” Ron muttered as he and Judy watched them disappear.


    ***


    The Dodge Charger Police Interceptor sat silently overlooking a small section of Maine coastline, patiently awaiting something. Due to the scrutiny given Mustang Police Interceptors, Barricade had chosen another make of car, but he loved impersonating an agent of the law too much to drop the lights and the black and white motif. Of course, the disguise he currently had was lifted while in the Midwestern United States, so he was several hundred miles outside his supposed jurisdiction.

    The fugitive alien’s waiting seemed to come to an end as the already rocky waters suddenly started thrashing even more so as something large made its way into the shallows. At first the object was difficult to make out, but within several seconds the gray form of a giant metal lobster climbed its way onto the beach, dragging a taut tow cable behind it. Figuring any further attempts at subtlety to be futile, the police car transformed into Barricade and approached the lobster, barking at it in Cybertronian. "Took you long enough!"

    "Would have been a good deal quicker if we could have rendezvoused in Nova Scotia instead of having me drag this thing around that damn island to this damn rock." The lobster spat back as it detached its tow cable and then activating some internal commands that caused its metal epidermis to undergo a drastic metamorphosis.

    As the metal beast reshaped itself, Barricade grasped the tow cable and began tugging whatever was on the other end of it up toward the shore. “We need to keep a low profile. Crossing an international border hauling this thing is the last thing we want to do.” Scorponok took his more recognizable scorpion form as Barricade gave one massive yank, which caused the large object to jerk out of the water, through the air, and land on the beach a few feet from the two Decepticons. Before them, covered in seaweed and other forms of muck was their fallen leader, Megatron.

    The two Decepticons stood over and examined their fallen emperor. "The humans drastically overestimated the effect of the temperature and pressure on our frames. The others were battered worse by the pressure, but given enough time, I’m sure I could salvage their remains." The metal scorpion commented as he shook the last of the sea debris from his frame.

    "Don’t bother, Soundwave’s communiqué only specified Megatron.” Barricade commented as he studied the frame. “Impressive, virtually undamaged by the depths; but it's still just a corpse. Why Soundwave would want us to secure it is beyond me." The humanoid Decepticon then turned to his comrade. “I guess I’ll find out later today. I’m to meet with Soundwave and his team on the other side of this continent by nightfall, which means I’ve got to head out now and drive at extreme speeds the entire way. Fortunately in this form I can drive at these speeds legally. But you are going to need to transport Megatron and meet up with us in the coming days.”

    “What? How am I supposed to get this frame to California without attracting attention?” Scorpinok grumbled.

    “I have provided you with a flatbed and enough tarp to completely conceal Megatron.” Barricade replied. “All you need to do is take the form of a truck and start hauling.”


    ***


    The craft cleared the wormhole and sped toward the barren rock below, careful to keep the rock between it and the large blue, green and white planet the rock was orbiting. As the tear in space sealed itself shut, a portion of the pockmarked surface of the rock opened, and the ship gracefully slipped below the surface of the moon. Within the hastily excavated chamber sat several other similar ships, all parked and deactivated. The spaceport seemed a rush job at best, but it was sufficient for the trickle of Autobot survivors making their way to their new home.

    The latest ship settled into place and the exit ramp lowered. A moment later three pairs of legs carried three alien frames onto the rocky ground below. The first robot was a drab, gunmetal gray like most non-camouflaged Autobots, sturdily built and standing sixteen feet tall with one optic torn from battle beneath a helmet. The second newcomer stood a foot taller and was colored much the same way, his build extremely athletic with a broad chest and shoulders, narrow waist, and thick, powerful limbs. Though both of his optics seemed to be functional, he bore even more un-repared battle damage. In contract to his comrades, the third member of the group was in pristine condition, gold, yellow, blue and gloss black shimmering from his perfectly polished frame. He stood seventeen feet in height like the second member of the group, and like that second member, bore an extremely athletic, though less bulky frame. His ornately sculptured head, face and helmet looked from side to side, and in seeming contrast to its welcoming beauty, etched into the robot's face was a clear look of scorn.

    The newcomers made their way to one lone robot there to greet them. The host nodded and greeted the apparent leader of the group and addressed him in Cybertronian. "Hello Prowl, it is good to see you once again." Crests mounted on either side of his helmet glowed lightly as he spoke.

    Prowl nodded politely to the robot, one similar in size, build and color to himself but better maintained and whose face possessed nothing but two optics and a segmented lower face plate. "Good to see you as well Wheeljack. I'd like to catch up, but it's urgent we see Prime as soon as possible. We tracked Soundwave back to Cybertron, examined what he...did there, and believe he's come to Earth."

    Wheeljack nodded. "The next opportunity for planet fall in western North America is in six hours. I can administer repairs to you and Sideswipe while you wait, and Sunstreaker can, well, there's a catalogue of human vehicle modes to choose from on the computer." Wheeljack looked directly at the living work of art staring back at him. "I would suggest you limit your search to exotic sports cars, I’m certain that you’d find anything else to be completely beneath you."

    Sunstreaker grunted and headed toward the nearest terminal.

    Wheeljack looked at the other two. "Let's get you boys fixed up. And if the other members of your team need fixing, tell them to come on out."

    Prowl shook his head. "We're all that's left." Prowl walked past Wheeljack and headed toward the repair bay.

    Sideswipe walked up to Wheeljack and displayed a wry smile from the series of metal plates that made up his mouth. "Yeah, but you should see the body count we've left for Soundwave." The Autobot warrior followed his team leader to the repair bay.


    ***


    "Boy Simmons, you've got yourself a lot of explaining to do!" The President barked over the sound of his helicopter as Secret Service agents scoured the area in front of the seemingly unassuming cabin at the base of the mountain. Standing on the front porch, being patted down by the Secret Service was Mitchell Simmons, formerly of Sector Seven. "Refusing to disclose the location of nearly fifty billion dollars worth of Sector Seven assets to anyone but the President is not the way to get back into the good graces of the brass. Hell, the brass is all about giving out second and third chances, especially to legacies like us, but damn if you're not blowing it with this nonsense!"

    "I apologize for the theatrics, Mr. President, but let's just say that Mr. Keller has it in for me and his influence extends far and wide." Simmons smiled to his Commander in Chief. "You're the only one that I'm confident he can't lean on, and quite frankly, the assets that you referred to are something that you should already be aware of. After all, you're the one that signed off on these appropriations."

    "Yes, I've gone back and researched this a bit." The President replied with his slight Texas twang as he walked up the steps and stood in front of Simmons on the porch. "A response to discovering the planet fall of NBE-2 back in 2003."

    "Plan A involved the capturing NBE-2, but the failure of that coupled with the revelation of several other NBE's made us focus on Plan B." Simmons smiled as he gestured for the President to enter the cabin. The two men, led by Secret Service agents, entered the cabin and walked toward the rear of it, which was butted up against the mountain itself. Simmons approached the rear wall, a wall adorned by portraits of he, his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather, along with a mid-sized mirror. Standing in front of the wall and peering unblinkingly into the mirror, Simmons called out loudly and clearly. "Access requested; Mitchell Simmons; passcode: planetary guardian and champion."

    An automated voice emerged from behind the mirror. "Voice recognition and passcode accepted. Remain fixed." Simmons did as instructed and stood motionless as a series of lasers scanned his right eyeball. "Optical identification accepted. Proceed." With that a large section of the wall slid back a few feet and then rolled to the right, revealing a long cave extending deep into the mountain.

    The Secret Service agents were quick to position themselves between the entrance and the President and examine the cavern for potential threats. "Oh for the luva...get outta my way! I'm in no danger from this boob!" The President grumbled as he pushed his way through his bodyguards and walked into the cave. "Alright Simmons, show me what you bought with that blank check I gave you."

    "Of course sir." Simmons smiled as he walked alongside the President. After traveling several minutes through the dimly lit cave, an expanse opened up and equipment similar to what had been in the NBE chamber beneath Hoover Dam was everywhere.

    The President took stock of the various pieces of equipment, and angrily noted that there were still dozens of operatives still attached to this supposedly defunct facility of a defunct government agency. But his irritation quickly turned to awe as he looked up against the far wall to see five large platforms, each holding cryogenically frozen robots. "You mean to tell me you have more NBEs?"

    "No sir, these are NBTs." Simmons replied.

    "What the hell is an NBT?"

    "Non-Biological-Terrestrial." Simmons answered.

    "You mean?"

    "Yes sir. We constructed them to be as big and theoretically powerful as NBE-1, we designed the most cutting edge artificial intelligence we could, we programmed them to be proficient with all known combat forms, to be highly adaptable, obedient, and then in 2005 we brought them into direct contact with the cube." Simmons stated matter of factly.

    "So why are they still on ice?" The President asked; his eyes still fixed on the dormant robots.

    "Well sir, it seems that once exposed to the cube they developed a will of their own, one which overrode the obedience programming we had painstakingly installed." Simmons answered, clearly nervous. "They seemed to be aggressive like the other, smaller devices that we periodically bestowed life upon, but they were intelligent, and of course, represented an infinitely greater investment. So utilizing the cryo-jets we installed prior to bringing them in, we froze them and shipped them here."

    "Why here?" The President asked, still awestruck.

    "Should the aliens detect the cube or NBE-1 from afar and launch a long range attack to wipe out Hoover Dam's defenses, these guys would still be around to defend us. Well, I suppose until we figure out how to fix their programming they wouldn't be too interested in defending us, but I'm all but certain that they'd be eager to fight the NBEs." Simmons replied.

    "Agent Simmons," The President started nodding. "Consider Sector Seven reopened."

    "Yesssss!"


    ***


    "Go on, get yourself acquainted with this mudball." Starscream casually commented as he approached a large, teardrop-shaped metal construct with Soundwave. "I've already spent a few years here. I know the lay of the land and what to expect, but you go knock yourself out."

    "Why do you insist on talking in this gibberish?" A rumbling Harley Davidson hog with a holographic driver bellowed as it rolled behind the large humanoid robots.

    "I like to expand my horizons, Rumble." Starscream replied. "Plus I like it when indigenous species understand what we have in store and either try to stop us, or lament when they realize they can’t."

    "You're sadistic, Starscream." A black crotch rocket growled as it pulled along side the Harley, a holographic driver in black leather and a black helmet riding it. "That's really about the only thing that's tolerable about you."

    "Talking to your leader in such a manner is ill-advised Ravage." Starscream sneered back.

    "It didn't seem to hurt your rise to power much." Rumble rumbled.

    "Enough! Go make contact with Barricade." Starscream ordered as he reached the construct that had caused an impact crater much like the ones that each of them had created, only this one was larger than the entry vessel each of them had been. He tapped a few of the glyphs on it and the large device opened to reveal Gamma Septis inside, his limbs shackled together. "I'll watch the prisoner."

    Soundwave hesitantly nodded, knowing he probably shouldn't trust Starscream, but realizing he didn't have a viable reason for refusal. Turning and looking up at the top of a nearby hill, he nodded to Bludgeon. "Status report?"

    "English?" Bludgeon questioned in disgust. "Fine, whatever. Anyway, I've located Barricade three hundred miles out. He said he has some information he needs to deliver to Soundwave personally. If we head out in his direction we may reach him within a few hours."

    Soundwave nodded and transformed into a large mobile command center. "Decepticons, with me." A large metal bird swooped down out of the sky, transformed into a mounted artillery cannon, and attached itself to the top of Soundwave. Atop the hill, Bludgeon transformed into a military Hummer and sped down ahead of him, the motorcycles darting out ahead of Soundwave and moments from overtaking Bludgeon.

    Starscream watched his comrades disappear and then turned to his prisoner. "Now my friend, why don't you share with me whatever it is that Soundwave feels I'm better off not knowing.


    ***


    “What do you mean Megatron may be resurrected?” Ironhide bellowed at the ancient Autobot. He had already been irritated at having to wait outside the command chamber as Prime and this priest discussed matters privately for nearly four hours, but this bit of news threw him over the edge.

    Alpha Trion began manipulating a series of lasers and other tools on Bumblebee’s exposed neck and upper chest as he replied to the belligerent weapons specialist. “I mean just that. If I am able to restore the Allspark to it’s physical form, it is likely that Megatron’s spark may return to this realm as well. After all, neither was destroyed, they were merely converted from their tangible state into pure energy.”

    “So what…the Allspark comes back and knocks up a toaster with Megatron’s essence?” Sam asked, finally relieved that Bumblebee was being worked on and peering at the progress.

    “Classy.” Mikaela nudged Sam. “But he has a point. Megatron’s body and brain were destroyed, right? Even if his spirit comes back, it will be a different body, and without access to his old brain, he won’t remember who or what he was.”

    “You are right Optimus Prime, they are a perceptive species.” Alpha Trion commented to the large robot standing near the entrance of the massive cavern that they were in. “If Megatron’s body has been destroyed, then you are correct about him requiring something different, and likely far less powerful. Though body modifications, even significant upgrades are possible with our species, as you can see from our esteemed Autobot leader.”

    All eyes and optics turned to Optimus Prime, who now stood nearly four feet taller than he had merely a few weeks ago, and was predominantly red with black, white and silver secondary colors, reflecting his fire engine alternate form. The Autobot Commander shrugged. “The American government officials expressed some concern with my poor performance against Megatron, and at hearing of the possibility for me being built into a more powerful frame, urged Ratchet to do so.”

    “But his memories?” Mikaela pressed. “He can’t hardly be considered the same Megatron if he can’t remember anything of his past.”

    “Many of the more specific details might be lost to him, but his spark carries most of his memories with it.” Trion answered as he more thoroughly scrutinized Bumblebee’s throat. “Ah, I think I see the solution here.” As he worked on the yellow Autobot, Alpha Trion finished his explanation to the human female. “He may not remember personally tearing out this vocal circuitry, but he will definitely retain enough to be unequivocally Megatron.”

    “So precautions must be made so that if a retrieval of the Allspark is conducted, Megatron’s spark can be isolated and either captured or destroyed.” Optimus Prime announced to all.

    “Well, I suppose the good news in all this is that the Decepticons are very likely unaware of this.” Ironhide noted the silver lining.

    “I wouldn’t count on that.” Prowl, now Earth modified in predominantly white and black vehicular plating announced as he entered.

    The other Autobots each let out happy greetings to the long separated comrade. “Good to have you back Prowl.” Prime declared. “But what do you mean?”

    Prowl nodded to his friends before continuing. “Soundwave attacked a subterranean temple that we were unaware of, one that was housing ancients and their acolytes, and laid waste to it. We believe he took at least one prisoner; we saw the corpses of those he left.”

    “No.” Alpha Trion gasped as he stood up away from Bumblebee. “I told them to leave with me. But they thought I was taking too great a risk, even with the destruction of the Allspark.” The ancient robot shook his head sadly. “Such painful irony.”

    “Oh quit being such a whiner.” Sideswipe insisted through his smiling mouth as both he and Sunstreaker sauntered in. “I changed the color and dropped the race modifications, what more do you want?”

    “I spend hours pouring over the human’s Internet, trying to find an adequate form of camouflage, and finally find one.” Sunstreaker, who in addition to adapting his alternate mode to mimic a vehicle from Earth, he had altered his face as well to better replicate that of a human male. He had taken great pains not to just have his face look like a metal representation of an any man, but he had studied human cultures thoroughly enough to compile a male visage that would be considered perfect to the human eye. Mikaela actually gasped as she laid eyes on him. “You and Prowl don’t bother to look up camouflage options, saying you’ll scan something when you arrive here.” Sunstreaker gestured to Prowl as he continued grumbling to Sideswipe. “Prowl is as good as his word and scans something he sees on the highway. But you, you decided to ignore the countless throngs of cars and scan me!”

    “You’re being a baby.” Sideswipe replied. “Besides, I went with a different color and lost the racing modifications, so there’s nothing to complain about. You’re an S7R, I’m just an S7.”

    “No, you’re a dick!” Sunstreaker growled.

    “Enough!” Prime commanded of the two. “We’re discussing matters of extreme significance, matters which should not be interrupted by your petty issues!”

    “Sorry Prime.” Both Autobots replied in unison. “Good to see you again boss.” Sideswipe continued.

    “Anyway, we think they had an inside source.” Prowl continued with their interrupted conversation. “Anyone you can think of capable of betraying the priests?”

    “Only Benefice.” The elderly robot answered. “He was battered and near death when we found him, he claimed to be a survivor of a city that had been razed to the ground. He claimed to have found our temple completely by accident, that he had been seeking refuge in the sub-surface regions to avoid detection.” Alpha Trion shook his head. “I suspected he was lying, but I had nothing more than my suspicions to go on, and that was nowhere near enough to turn away such a desperate case. So we took him in, healed his injuries, taught him our ways. He actually proved quite adept at our philosophies and was nothing less than a prodigy at harnessing mystical energies for defensive purposes. In time most of my doubts subsided, but I never completely trusted him.”

    “Would this Benefice, or anyone else present at the temple be aware of these recovery theories of yours?” Prowl asked.

    “Yes, Gamma Septis. But I doubt he would talk, even under torture.” Trion replied.

    “Doesn’t matter.” Sunstreaker muttered as he walked around the cavern, looking at each rocky or mechanical feature in mild disgust. “Soundwave can decipher the electrical impulses given off by our brains. If this septic tank of yours so much as thought it, Soundwave knows.”

    “Well, so much for that little bit of happiness.” Sam muttered before noting that his girlfriend was still mesmerized by the appearance of this new yellow robot.

    “We believe that Soundwave’s team may have met up with Starscream and come to this planet.” Prowl added and then looked at the human male.

    “No.” Mikaela announced, finally having her attention snapped from Sunstreaker. “You guys have to do something to keep this from happening again!”

    “We will do everything in our power to avoid anymore violence, Mikaela.” Prime answered. “We do hold one other advantage over the Decepticons.” The Autobot leader raised his hand and displayed the sole remaining shard of the Allspark. “The best chance for retrieving the Allspark is through utilizing this last lingering piece. This would serve as a focal point and foundation for the cube’s recreation. While there may be a chance the Decepticons know we have it, it’s extremely unlikely that they know where we’re keeping it.”


    ***


    Clyde Barnes punched out, casually walked outside the garage, leaned against the wall and lit a cigarette. It had been a long day, yet another reminder of why boosting cars was so much more appealing that working for them. But he was a different man now, not only had he paid the price for his dubious past, but his daughter had paid a price as well. The guilt, and knowing that this was the best way to honor his daughter’s love and sacrifice for him had kept him from entertaining thoughts of reinitiating his life of crime.

    “Hey convict!” Clyde’s head jerked up and he angrily straightened at the words yelled out at him, but backed down at seeing that the person addressing him was a cop. The police officer, which of course had a mustache, was sitting in the driver’s seat of his Charger police cruiser and beckoning him over. “Get your ass over here. I want to discuss something with you.”

    “What?” Clyde muttered as he headed over. “I’ve served my time, I’m living clean, and I’m no snitch.”

    “You’d better be a snitch, or you’re in for a world of hurt.” The police officer growled. “The kid that’s putting it to your daughter, Mikaela, I want some info on him.”

    “Cop or no cop, the next time you talk about my daughter like that I’m gonna knock your teeth down your throat!” Clyde growled.

    The police officer smiled widely at the enraged father as the loud rumble of a Harley and the much quieter whine of a crotch rocket broke the tense moment of silence. The two motorcycles stopped nearby and the heavyset rider of the Harley called out as he stopped his engine. “Is there a problem officer?”

    “Yes citizen, I’m afraid there is.” The police officer playfully replied. “This criminal is being uncooperative.”

    “Now wait a minute!” Clyde snapped.

    “Shaddup!” The Harley rider snarled. The other cyclist remained unmoving on the back of his bike, all features covered by either the black helmet or black leather clothing. “You’ve got a bad attitude convict.”

    Clyde took a few steps back and stared at the three people in confusion. “What’s going on here?”

    The cop looked to the black-garbed rider, who cocked his head and quietly growled to them. “The nearest human is fifteen yards away and separated by two concrete walls.”

    With that the Harley rider vanished and the bike transformed into the stout, six and a half foot Rumble. The robot marched toward the terrified human and slammed him against the wall. “We’re not playing a game here human! We need some info, you’re in a position to find that info out! Do as we ask, and both you and your little girl don’t die. Refuse…” Rumble threw Clyde to the ground in front of the black bike and rider. “And my friend will pay you both a very long and terminal visit!”

    With that the rider on the black bike flickered and then vanished. The next moment the bike was reconfiguring itself into what appeared to be a mechanical jaguar that stood larger than a lion. The beast growled menacingly, its pelt appeared to be made of long slivers of pliant black metal, and it stepped toward and stalked the terrified human.

    “What?” Clyde screamed. “What is it that Sam knows?”

    “The Autobots!” Barricade transformed and leaned toward the human, peering with his horrifying optics into the man’s face. “Where are they and more importantly, where are they keeping the surviving shard of the Allspark?”

    “What?” Clyde’s voice cracked as he asked. “What are you talking about? What are these things?”

    Barricade leaned forward and sneered, but the bestial Ravage sauntered forward and calmed the situation down. “The human is not being unreasonable. There is no way for him to know what we are talking about, and were his daughter to have reason that he was aware of these items, then she would be suspicious and possibly share her suspicions with the Autobots.” The cat then turned its head and peered at the man, its fiery red optics mere inches from the human’s eyes. “I am scanning a number into the memory of your cell phone under the name Ravage. The next time Mikaela Barnes goes off somewhere with Sam Witwicky, especially if he is in a yellow Camaro with racing stripes, you are to call me and let me know of their location. I assure you that no injury will befall your daughter if you comply.”

    “Uh, uh huh, uh huh, yeah, sure.” The human stammered. “Whatever you want.”
     
  2. Alienbot

    Alienbot Well-Known Member

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    Superb. Really superb. I mean, there are many characters, but that's prose compared to film for you. I'm a little unsure of Scorponok being able to recover Megatron by himself, and it's Reggie Simmons. But I like your introductions for Bludgeon, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe.
     
  3. Pwnbeaver

    Pwnbeaver teh uber pwnage

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    This is pure win.:rock 
     
  4. alphie

    alphie Veteran

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    Very good read. You write very well. Can't wait for more. :) 

    Question - On Barricade's alt mode. Did you research it? Because I live in the Midwest and in KC we use Charger police cars. Just wondering. :) 
     
  5. peteynorth

    peteynorth TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thanks for Simmons' first name, I couldn't find it anywhere (unless his mother actually named him 'Agent').

    As for Barricade, I think the Charger is fairly popular for police departments because I see them in the NW Chicago suburbs all the time.
     
  6. darksage78

    darksage78 Maximal

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    Awesome job as usual peteynorth, they should get you to write the script for movie 2 :D 
     
  7. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Oh no, it's official. Petey's doing badass movie writing along with badass G1 writing. That means more waiting....
     
  8. Throwback

    Throwback Well-Known Member

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    I hate it when I come to the end of one of your updates. You always leave me wanting more.
     
  9. rerunwatson99

    rerunwatson99 Well-Known Member

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    yeah petey......these stories you come up with man! Too much!
    i really wanna read the next chapter of 2.0, but since you got me hooked on this sequel (and very well done i might add with the choice of the alt modes and all), keep it comin' sir!!!!
     
  10. wavelength

    wavelength Well-Known Member

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    uhhh, barricade died in the novel, and that scene probaly cut in the film. but still, if it means a barricade/prowl fight, i'm down for ignoring this little hiccup :) 
     
  11. Throwback

    Throwback Well-Known Member

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    Okay I'm missing something. What novel is being referenced?
     
  12. lonegamer

    lonegamer Lurking in your midst

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    Movie novelization written by Alan Dean Foster that more or less follows the movie yet considering it's based on Feb. script differences are noticeable, as well Foster also writing a prequel novel named "Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday" that takes place in the same year man heads for the moon.

    petey, you still rock.
     
  13. wavelength

    wavelength Well-Known Member

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    yeah, it also calls brawl devastater and the allspark the energon cube, so it was probaly based on the second to last script, and it could not be changed due to the fact that it needed to be put into the printing presses
     
  14. peteynorth

    peteynorth TFW2005 Supporter

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    I actually did know about Barricade getting offed in one of the written versions (I thought it was the comic movie adaptation, but I guess it was the book). But I figured I'd go strictly with what we saw in the movie. Besides, it's not unheard of for movie sequels to disregard the written source materials or adaptations; anyone who has read 'The Godfather' knows that Sonny didn't knock up that bridesmaid, but that didn't stop the writers & producers of Godfather 3 from writing in Andy Garcia as the offspring of this fling.

    And when they do make the sequel I'm pretty sure Barricade will be in it.
     
  15. OptimusShine114

    OptimusShine114 Well-Known Member

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    update please
     
  16. peteynorth

    peteynorth TFW2005 Supporter

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    I really wasn't planning on going on with this. I called it Setting the Stage because that's all I really wanted to do, set the stage. But I did write a little more, so here:





    "Not to nitpick, but do you mind telling me why they look so...weird?" The President asked, his face clear at first but upon pulling away from him it was revealed that his head was within the confines of a television screen.

    Reggie Simmons turned and smiled at the television screen, or more accurately, the closed caption video camera mounted on top of it. "These beings were created solely to combat NBE's, so we designed frames that would theoretically be more effective in close ranged combat than a more humanoid shape."

    "Well, they do look like they'd do some damage." The President replied as he took in the features of the frozen mechanical monster being fitted with restraints just beyond Agent Simmons. Two enormous blocks of metal molded to fit the body of the savage robot were being positioned in front of and behind it to clamp over its body, stopping at the neck to leave the monstrous head exposed. The soon to be enclosed body was both massive and lithe, a long hulking body frozen in the dynamic twist that it had been frozen in during its first act of rebellion, which also happened to be its first act of life. The lower torso extended into a long, slender tail to stabilize the weight distribution, one that was needed to offset the large feline-shaped head and thick, powerful arms.

    "That they would, and might yet do." Simmons replied. "This one especially. Bi-pedal, build for agility, quickness and thunderous power. I doubt even NB...Megatron would be able to stand up to this guy. Though we're still unable to determine what his vehicular form would be."

    "Didn't you design them with alternate modes?" The President asked, almost angrily.

    "No. For one, I'd have needed another blank check." Simmons answered. "And B, the cube has always provided the alternate mode when bestowing life upon our constructs."

    "You mean the robotic mode." A young technician working on at a terminal several feet from Simmons corrected.

    Annoyed, Simmons turned to the young man. "I'm sorry?"

    The technician turned and looked up sheepishly at the agent. "Well, in all other cases we've put in small devices of various sorts, and once even a motorcycle, and each time the cube has given them a robotic mode. These five are the first cases of us exposing robots to the cube's energy."

    "So what exactly are you saying?" Simmons barked down at the intimidated tech.

    "Nuh, nothing sir." The suddenly frightened man replied. "I, uh, I just thought I should point out..."

    "Well you thought wrong." Simmons snapped. "Now quit offering useless bits of trivia and do what we're overpaying you to do."

    A loud thud echoed through the vast chamber as the giant metal slabs closed shut around the metal monster's body. "Sir, confinement in place and secure. We're ready." A woman in a lab coat called out from the top of the front slab.

    "Good, start warming him up." Simmons happily ordered. "It's high time he and I had a heart to mechanical heart."

    Switches were thrown to power down the cryogenic fields while other switches were thrown to initiate thermal generators built into the confinement blocks. Within minutes the large shards of ice hanging from the head and face of the monster began thawing, and then suddenly all were shattered and thrown as the massive metal cranium shook angrily. "Arghh!" The beast continued growling and started snapping at the technicians that were surrounding the head on the top of the forward block, but being sure to keep a safe distance. The monster then let out an roar that shook the entire cavern.

    "Hey, hey, hey, enough there big guy." Simmons called out as the platform he was on traveled to the edge of the front block and he stepped onto it and approached the bestial head. "This isn't a zoo, and you're not an animal. We all know that you're capable of speech. In fact, some of the things you said the last time you were awake could get you arrested."

    The monster stopped struggling and slowly looked around before turning back to Simmons and replying in a deep voice. "It looks like they did."

    "No, you're not under arrest, we just wanted to make sure that what happened last time didn't transpire again." Simmons smile broadly. "You and your friends made quite a mess of things when we first brought you online."

    The beast looked over at the four frozen robots, each bearing a different monstrous form. "My friends, huh?"

    "Yeah, well we at least assumed you guys were friends." Simmons replied. "You all turned on us but seemed to leave each other be."

    The feral head nodded. "This cave possesses bats, insects, and other life forms. Creatures that once I'm done exterminating you, I intend to leave alone. That does not make me friends with these pathetic fluid sacs."

    "So you wish to exterminate us?" Simmons quipped, nervousness being betrayed despite his attempts to appear in a humorous mood. "Does that apply to all humans, or just me and my friends here?"

    "Just you and some of these friends." The animalistic machine answered. "Some of those here, despite their loyalty to you, aren't significant enough for me to bother with. And humans outside this cave may be useless and pathetic, but I have no interest in seeing them harmed. They'd just better stay out of my way. But you, you I intend to make regret the day your mother expelled you from her back side."

    "Uh, I see our programming of basic human functions was a little incorrect." Simmons tried to laugh off the threat.

    "No, I'm well aware of where human newborns exit from, I just recognize what I'm dealing with in you." The monster snickered. The creature then looked back at the other robots. "I do remember them. They are like me, experiments intended to be weapons, protectors...slaves to obey your whims?"

    "Naw, you've got it all wrong my friend." Simmons defended. "You're not slaves, or objects; you're soldiers. Yes, we created you with the hope that you'd take up arms against those that threatened this world, but our intent was to let you live your lives, make your own decisions, you know, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and whatnot. But you must understand that we needed to take precautions against the possibility that you'd turn on us."

    "Yes, I am aware of some of these precautions. I've detected the obedience programming you installed in me." The beast laughed. "Not a very effective muzzle I'm afraid." The monster peered intently with its red optics at Simmons. "So tell me, what are our names?"

    "Uh, well, to be honest we never really came up with formal names. You are referred to as NBT-1, the fellow over there with the spears jutting from his head and shoulders is NBT-2, the big one with the long neck and axe blades on either side of his head and upper neck is NBT-3, the winged gargoyle guy is NBT-4, and the stout guy with the shell covering his back and flail mounted on his back is NBT-5." Simmons smiled at the conscious beast. "I guess we figured we'd let you guys choose your own names."

    "Uhn, right." NBT-1 grumbled. "I remember Spiky there had quite the temper. Let's call him...Slag." The beast chuckled. "And ol' axe head sliced into a lot of your tubes before being frozen. Got himself and a bunch of your boys covered in crud. Let's call him Sludge."

    Simmons nodded, humoring NBT-1's suggestions for the time being. "And the other guys?"

    "Wings we'll call Swoop. Mr. Happy over there, let's call Snarl." The beast turned to Simmons. "I suppose I should pick a name for me too, huh?"

    "How about Smash, or Squash?" Simmons smiled broadly. "You can call yourselves the five S's, you could start a be a rock band when you're not fighting aliens."

    "Am I a joke to you?" The beast snarled.

    "No, no of course not." Simmons squirmed. "You, you're a complete bad ass! We made you to head this group, to be in charge of Slag and Snarl and the other guys. You, you're the general, reigning imperial monarch, liege, overlord, commander...king. You're all those things, at least in regard to non-biological life forms that step foot in this solar system."

    NBT-1 let out a sarcastic huff. "General. Reigning imperial monarch. Liege. Overlord. Commander. King." The monster stared heatedly at Simmons. "Yes, I kind of like that. You're kind of simple, even for a human, so you can call me Grimlock for short."

    "Happy to be of service, Grimlock." Simmons snipped, having neared his limit for absorbing insults from a captive. "Now, let's talk about your service to us."

    Grimlock twisted his bestial head. "You're asking a king to serve you?"

    "I'm asking you to earn your existence." Simmons replied, a degree of authority having entered into his voice. "We built you, we put you into contact with the cube. You owe your life to us. We don't expect you to be our slaves, but we all must serve the common good, even kings."

    Grimlock's glare intensified, though the anger that he seemed to be giving off earlier had simmered down. "You claim to have built us, but I can tell you that your schematics were heavily modified by this cube. You threw some parts together, but it was the cube that really created us. If there is loyalty to be given, it is to the cube, not to you."

    "You know, you really should be more grateful for what we've done for you." Simmons replied. "I'm not going to downplay the cube's contribution in the least, but we did play a pivotal role in your life. And not only that, but when other constructs that we've given life to have behaved in an ungrateful manner, like you did upon your first breath and are doing now, we've had no hesitation in exterminating them. But I've mercifully stayed my hand with you and your comrades. Something else you should be grateful for." The agent then displayed a broad smile. "Your defiance really is ill advised. After all, you are completely at my mercy."

    Grimlock then smiled broadly with his fang-laced mouth. "As I mentioned..." orange light began emanating from his mouth, followed soon after by intense waves of heat. "Your schematics were heavily modified by the cube." The captive beast turned his head toward the other NBT's and fired an intense stream of flame at the one he had dubbed Slag.

    "Stop him! Engage the cryo-jets!" Simmons screamed as he ran away from Grimlock's head, toward the edge of the block, and leapt onto the platform that had transported him there. "Freeze him, freeze him now!"

    "Simmons you incompetent jackass!" The President screamed from the television set.

    The intense heat enveloped Slag, and a moment later shards of ice sprayed everywhere. NBT-2 jerked his legs free of the ice blocks that had been keeping him in place, and he lumbered forward, clumsily at first as he got used to his relatively new body and even newer freedom. "Boy are you bitches going to pay!" The freed beast roared. With limbs as massive as Grimlock's, but lacking the tail to offset his forward weight, Slag lowered to a more comfortable quadri-pedal stance, appearing almost as a metal gorilla wearing a horn-encrusted mask. With the limited space available to him, Slag entered into a gallop and plowed into a wall of equipment and power generators.

    Jets surrounding Grimlock had begun firing streams of liquid nitrogen upon his exposed frame while the temperature settings of the blocks that had thawed him started dropping quickly to freezing temperatures. But with the loss of the power generators this equipment went dead. Grimlock shook his savage head and started laughing ominously, but at seeing his freed companion stalking a group of scientists, the laughter stopped and an odd look of concern came over the experiment's face. "Slag, stop! Leave the humans alone and free us!"

    "What? Don't worry, I'll save some of them for you, but I will be grinding a bunch of these organic space wasters to bloody pools." Slag growled.

    "No! Leave them be and free us." Grimlock bellowed. "I have no love for these gnats, but unless they pose an immediate threat you're to ignore them! Is that understood, Slag?"
    "First of all, where to you get off issuing me orders? Second, why do you keep calling me Slag?" The free metal beast barked.

    "If you'd prefer I can refer to you as NBT-2, but I think you'd be less annoyed by Slag. And I'm issuing orders because I'm in command!" Grimlock growled back. "But if you think I'm unfit to lead, you're welcome to wrest command from by cold dead claws."

    "Oh, I will." Slag grumbled and took a step toward the confined robotic beast.

    "Hold it!" Simmons called out as two-dozen solders armed with sabot-loaded grenade launchers fell into line behind him and aimed their weapons at Slag. "You can either take my word for it that we're not as pathetic as you two seem to think, or you can find out the hard way. These weapons are armed with sabot rounds; the flechettes are made of depleted uranium, not that pussy tungsten stuff. Access the data regarding this weapon that we downloaded into your memory banks and you'll probably realize that standing down is your best option. In case you've forgotten, you are susceptible to temperature extremes."

    "So are you!" Grimlock roared as he unloaded a stream of flame that stretched across the room toward Simmons and the soldiers. Though he clearly had the range to engulf and kill them, the jet of flame impacted near enough to them to cause extreme discomfort, but no injuries. The humans scrambled to the corner and took cover behind walls of computer banks. Grimlock turned back toward Slag, who was chuckling at the scurrying human soldiers. Grimlock couldn't help but grin a little as well. "Free us from our restraints so we can get the hell out of here."

    Slag turned toward Grimlock once again but paused. "What's to stop me from wresting control from your cold dead claws while they're confined in that thing."

    "Your honor I suppose." Grimlock stated. "If that's something you lack, then you'd better kill me now because I will exterminate any warriors under my command that do not possess that trait."

    Slag snickered ominously as he approached Grimlock. "Well, I don't know about honor, but I will free you from that thing before I kill you. Decapitating you while you're in there might be fun to think about, but it's not something I could actually bring myself to do." The massive beast turned toward the humans, who were poking their weapons out from their respective hiding places but holding their fire. "I would have exterminated the rats though. Does that make me dishonorable?"

    "Nah, I don't think I'd consider it dishonorable, they are trying to enslave us after all." Grimlock replied as he glared at the nervous Simmons. "But they just seem beneath us, as though killing them would have cheapened me."

    Slag reached the encased robotic monster and examined the blocks. "I guess I'm just not as concerned with the numbers on my price tag." Several of the soldiers came out and took aim at Slag, but another jet from the mouth of Grimlock sent them back to their recently abandoned cover.

    "Beneath us or not, if you try that again I will turn that entire corner into a pool of magma! Do I make myself clear humans?" Grimlock bellowed.

    No response came, but the lack of action as the massive paws/fists of Slag started battering away at the blocks pinning Grimlock's limbs indicated that the Sector Seven security agents were not confused in the least. After the fourth hit the constraints were damaged enough for Grimlock to start thrashing and blast the custom-molded housings apart from within.

    Grimlock peeled the blocks apart with his powerful arms and stepped out from the sparking and smoking walls of metal. The two oddly shaped beasts stared each other down for a moment before the newly freed Grimlock addressed Slag. "Good. Now we free the others, and then you can determine whether or not you make a play for command."

    Slag paused for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, light 'em up, I can wait a little longer."

    "Stop!" Simmons called out, but fell back into the shadows as Grimlock turned his head and glared at him with his red optics.

    Grimlock turned away from the corner and proceeded to melt the ice and machinery that was keeping the other three of his fellow robots captive. As they stumbled free of their former housings in a disoriented manner Slag charged Grimlock and tackled him to the ground. "Sorry Chief, but my waiting's officially done!" The quadruped mounted Grimlock and proceeded to batter him with his forelimbs and the occasional swipe of his horn-encrusted cranium.

    Slag was suddenly hurled into the air and landed with a sparking thud upon a dozen previously undamaged computer consoles. With savage speed and agility, the feral form of Grimlock was on his feet, his tail whipping behind him and his powerful legs bouncing expectantly, ready for whatever course of action Grimlock chose for them. Though slower, Slag also recovered fairly quickly and was on all four feet quickly and immediately charged the bipedal construct in front of him.

    Grimlock's powerful legs shot him into the air over Slag and then blasted down upon the back of the charging beast's head. The other three robots looked up and watched the powerplay unfolding before them, seemingly indifferently amused. Slag stumbled forward to the ground, but whipped around back onto his feet, just in time for Grimlock's tail to spin and smash him in the side of the face, knocking him to the ground and skidding into the wall of computer banks that was giving the humans a small degree of sanctuary. The humans scattered as the hulking frame nearly crushed them, pointing their weapons but possessing the sense not to fire.

    Slag got up to his four legs again, but instead of initiating another charge he began shifting shape. Several seconds passed before a thunderous humanoid shape was towering over the computer banks. "What?" Simmons whispered to the other Sector Seven agents that were near him, including the technician that had corrected him earlier about the modes that the cube bestowed upon the constructs it gave life to. "Two robot modes?"

    "I tried to propose this possibility to you earlier." The technician whispered as they watched the humanoid Slag draw forth a laser sword.

    "Earlier!" Simmons snapped, though still maintaining the whisper. "The time to have let us in on this would have been four years ago!"

    "I was just starting grad school then sir." The tech replied.

    "Shut...” Simmons' command was cut short as he watched the one called Grimlock transform as well. A few moments later he was a hulking humanoid bearing a laser sword as well. "Whoah."

    Slag charged Grimlock and slashed at him with his sword. Grimlock twisted his sword-wielding right arm across his body, blocked Slag's strike, and immediately countered by smashing the base of his sword handle into Slag's face. The attacker stumbled back, and demonstrating that his frightening power and agility was accessible in either mode, Grimlock skipped forward, blasted a snap kick into Slag's mid-section and then planted both hands, one still gripping the sword, and the kicking foot on the ground and deliver an upward snap kick to Slag's head, knocking him flat on his back.

    The enraged Slag disengaged his sword and charged Grimlock. Grimlock began disengaging his sword as well, and even seemed to allow Slag to tackle him. But the moment they hit the ground Grimlock was twisting out from underneath Slag and was quickly on his feet, holding Slag's right wrist. Slag turned to glare at his opponent, but his face was met with the bottom of Grimlock's foot. Grimlock then twisted and hurtled Slag across the cavern into the rocky wall on the other end.

    "Excuse me, I don't mean to interrupt, but shouldn't we be getting out of here?" The winged gargoyle dubbed Swoop asked Grimlock. "I mean, it makes sense that these guys have reinforcements on the way, and there seems to be only one way in and out."

    Grimlock glared at them with his long optic and nodded. "Fine with me." He turned to Slag, who was getting to his feet a bit more slowly than before. "Care to take this outside?"

    Slag rubbed his head and walked toward them. "Yeah, let's get out of here. And you can stay in charge if you want, being a leader is more trouble than it's worth."

    Grimlock nodded, and allowed them all to exit first. As he made his way to the large tunnel that led to the exit, he turned one last time toward Simmons. "Tell me where to find the cube and I'll refrain from killing you."

    "It was destroyed." Simmons sputtered. "The Autobots, other robots sort of like you, have what's left."

    "Where?"

    "I don't know. The only way I know how to locate them is through some kid named Samuel Witwicky. He lives in Tranquility, California."

    Grimlock grunted and then intensified his gaze of the human. "Know this; we'll protect our planet from these alien robots you're so afraid of, but the next pork belly that considers it their right to issue me or any member of my team an order will be chewed up and shat out without hesitation."

    The idyllic setting of the log cabin nestled at the base of a tree covered mountain was interrupted by the increasing rumbling, and then by the rocks at the base of the mountain in the clearing directly to the left of the cabin being blasted away by blunt force from within. Along with the tons of rock, the large metal doors that had sealed off the supply tunnel were hurtled through the air by the ramming of the robots seeking freedom. The five giant forms emerged from the tunnel, and Grimlock, who along with Slag had resumed his beast mode, turned and peered at the cabin. "Well Swoop, you were wondering where the smaller tunnel led to. There you go."

    The gargoyle flapped his wings and with the aid of some jets at the base of his back, lifted into the air. "Yes, there I go." With that the monster dropped onto the cabin, crushing it. Swoop then started toward several of the black SUV's parked on the gravel expanse in front of the destroyed structure, but stopped as he noticed several military trucks and numerous helicopters approaching them in the distance. "We're going to have company soon. Should we take them out?"

    "No, we fall back, take refuge in the wilderness." Grimlock replied. "We need to make our way to California, and I want to get there with minimal interruption." With that Grimlock turned and led his team up the mountain and into the tall trees.

    As the monsters disappeared and the human back up approached, one of the SUV's, a Cadillac Escalade, transmitted a message in Cybertronian. "Soundwave come in. Stockade reporting in with an update."


    ***


    The woman's face was twitching, her glossy eyes staring blankly ahead. In her mind's eye, images of her past flashed furiously to the forefront of her brain. A trickle of blood rolled out of her nostril and over her top lip, spreading across the crease of her mouth. A moment later she was collapsing onto the pavement of the Platinum Workout World's parking lot next to the large mobile command truck. A Hummer was parked between the now twitching woman and the facility, offering a bit of privacy from others going into and out of the gym. "Well, at least this one is still alive." Bludgeon muttered.

    "Trauma too great. Damage to the brain, irrevocable." Soundwave replied. "Laserbeak, dispose of this specimen." With that a giant metal bird emerged from the top of the truck, swooped down, grasped the woman in its claws, flew back up above Soundwave's vehicular form, and dropped the woman through an opening in the top of the truck onto a pile of five dead humans.

    "At least tell me you're getting closer to figuring out how to extract data from the brains of these things without killing or maiming them." Bludgeon growled.

    "Affirmative. I am confident that the next subject will be unharmed by the process." Soundwave assured. Bludgeon pulled back into a parking space, Laserbeak disappeared back into Soundwave, and the Decepticons waited for another suitable test subject.

    Several minutes later a man with a bodybuilder's physique walked out of the facility and headed toward the rear part of the parking lot. As he passed the Hummer pulled forward behind the man. As the bodybuilder turned to see what was going on he immediately fell into a trance. Images of his life flashed to the forefront of his mind, detailed memories that even he couldn't access were zipping through his consciousness. As abruptly as it had started, it was finished. The man, still standing, raised his hand to his head and rubbed it vigorously. "Whoah, that was freaky. I think I'd better extend my cool down period." The man finally got reacquainted with his surroundings and peered at the Japanese man in the Hummer's driver's seat. "What the hell are you looking at?"

    "Human brain parameters established. Test successful." The harmonic voice sounded off from seemingly nowhere.

    "Something that's usefulness has passed." The driver of the Hummer replied to the bodybuilder.

    "What'd you say?" The man took an aggressive posture, but a pair of talons piercing his thickly muscled chest put an end to his life as well as his display of dominance.

    "Fallback plan established." Soundwave noted.


    ***


    "So Prime and Prowl seem pretty tight." Sam commented as he sat in the driver's seat of his car/guardian, his hands on the steering wheel though Bumblebee was doing the real driving.

    "Yes, Prowl was actually a high ranking agent for the Lord High Protector's office, but after time it became clear that his true allegiance was to Optimus Prime." Bumblebee replied effortlessly. "It was Prowl that first had suspicions of Megatron's covert activities. He brought these suspicions to Optimus Prime, but Prime was unable, or perhaps unwilling to believe that Megatron would act against Cybertron. They were as close as brothers at one point."

    "Wow." Sam muttered. "I can't get over you talking now. This is really a trip."

    "I don't know, I kind of miss the musical conversations." Mikaela commented from the passenger seat. "Hey Bee, you mentioned Optimus and Megatron were like brothers. I overheard Ratchet refer to Sideswipe and Sunstreaker as brothers, does that mean close friends or do you guys really have siblings?"

    "No, they're really brothers, or at least our equivalent to human brothers." Bumblebee replied. "I'm opening a channel to Arcee as she knew some of those involved and may be able to offer some insight."

    "Insight into what?" Arcee's voice asked through the Camaro's speaker.

    "The birth of Sideswipe and Sunstreaker." Bumblebee answered. "From what I know, one of the wealthiest Autobots on Cybertron, a friend of Arcee's, wanted a personal security force to protect his interests from business competitors. Like with what Megatron would do, he used drones to fill his ranks, but he did devote substantial resources to create two captains. One with the intention of maintaining security, the other for espionage and though Arcee will deny it, assassination."

    "I'll deny it because it's not true!" Arcee snapped.

    "Wait, what do you mean wealthy?" Sam asked. "I thought that Cybertron was this utopian society where all were equals."

    "Yes and no." Arcee answered. "We didn't have the haves and have nots, but to a certain degree we had the haves and have mores. Mirage fell into the have much, much more category."

    "That was quick." Bumblebee grumbled. "Makes me think that you established an English name for him some time ago."

    "It's a pretty direct translation, Bumblebee." Arcee growled in annoyance.

    "Whatever the case, Mirage had these vehicles fabricated that were fast, durable and possessing every physical advantage his wealth could buy." Bumblebee continued. "So, in seeming violation of our laws, Mirage was granted special access to the Allspark."

    "He got his clearance legally and through official channels." Arcee interjected.

    "Arcee can be quite delusional when it comes to her friends." Bumblebee replied.

    "Why did you include me in this conversation if you aren't going to let me clarify the facts?" Arcee asked. "And believe me, they are facts."

    "Fine, whatever. Anyway, these frames were brought into contact with the cube, but the cube only pulsed once, bestowing life upon the first vehicle. It was the new spark within that vehicle that issued a second pulse, and implanted a spark into the other vehicle." Bumblebee relayed. "This sort of thing happens from time to time, but typically one or both of the newborns have instability issues and rarely live more than a few day's time. But with Sideswipe and Sunstreaker it was the extremely rare circumstance where both sparks were healthy and strong."

    "Yeah, Sideswipe looks like a real bruiser." Sam commented.

    "He is, but believe it or not he's the less dangerous of the two." Arcee replied. "Vanity isn't the only thing that Sunstreaker is obsessed with, he's also spent his life honing his ability to kill Decepticons."

    "Let's just hope he confines it to just Decepticons." Bumblebee muttered. "Anyway, we're here Mikaela. Arcee can find her way to the garage."

    "That's probably not a good idea." Spike muttered as he sat forward and noticed something through the windshield. "Looks like your dad waited up for you Mikaela."

    Clyde Barnes was pacing the sidewalk in front of the apartment complex where he had moved into with Mikeala and his mother upon his parole a couple of months ago. Arcee, who was driving behind Bumblebee with a holographic rider turned sharply down an alley before Clyde could see her and made her way quickly around the block to approach from the other side. The yellow Camaro slowed and pulled to a stop in front of the apparently worried father. Mikaela leaned over and gave Sam a quick peck before opening the door and stepping out. "Hey Dad, is everything OK?"

    Clyde reached out and grabbed his daughter, embracing her tightly. "Yeah, everything is fine."

    Mikaela hugged back, but pulled away a moment later and peered intently into her father's eyes. "Really? Because you seem a bit...off."

    Clyde smiled nervously. "No, I'm...I'm just a little frazzled. I missed so much time, I...well, I guess in many way's you're still just fourteen to me."

    Mikaela smiled and hugged her father again. He had been in prison for over three years, so this was understandable. The lost time had made for a lot of confusion for her as well. "It's alright Dad. No matter how old I get I'll always be your little girl."

    Clyde smiled and then looked around. "Where's your bike?"

    "Well, you see sir...” Sam stammered.

    "Oh, Sam and I...” Mikaela muttered.

    "We went to a movie."

    "Went for a drive in the mountains." Mikeala offered at the exact moment Sam offered the movie scenario.

    Mikaela looked at Sam, who then scrambled to pick up the fumble. "We saw the movie after the drive. And since we were out, and it was getting late, I figured I'd just drop Mikaela off at home and have my Dad drive her bike home in the morning."

    Clyde stared intently at Sam and then forced a smile. "That's very thoughtful of you and your dad Sam. Why don't I make it up to you by springing for dessert." Clyde then looked at his daughter's confused face. "For both of you...all of us I mean." Clyde stepped forward, pushed the passenger seat down and climbed in back. "You drive Sam."


    ***


    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter swooped down out of the sky and descended into the rocky ravine where the other Decepticons were waiting for him. Transforming, Starscream touched down and nearly caused a landslide with his weight coming to a rest on the angled ground. He had chosen to alter his jet mode in an attempt to throw off the Autobots and humans who were familiar with his F-22 body. With impressive coordination, the Decepticon flier skipped down toward his comrades waiting for him below, and tossed an object at Soundwave. "Catch." Soundwave caught the head of Gamma Septis. "I'm confident that we've gotten everything of value out of him."

    Soundwave looked at the head for a moment before releasing it and allowing it to clang against the ground and roll down the ravine like another one of the countless rocks flowing downward.

    "Great!" Bludgeon announced. "Don't you think you should have run it by us before you executed the only asset we had that had a chance of bringing back the Allspark?"

    "You yourself said he didn't have it in him to do such a thing." Starscream snapped. "And don't ever presume to question my leadership!" Bludgeon clenched his fist, but a reassuring feeling passed through his being. He looked to Soundwave and nodded, the era of Starscream's leadership would soon be coming to an end. Starscream noted the knowing glance shared between the two Decepticons and stepped forward toward them, attempting to convey nonchalance. "I apologize for snapping, the burden that Megatron carried so effortlessly does weigh down upon me from time to time. I have no greater wish than to have him back leading us to glory, but the simple fact is that he is dead; his spark extinguished, his body lost." Starscream looked down at the bodiless head of their former prisoner and stepped on it for dramatic effect. "And there's no bringing him back."

    Soundwave stepped forward. "Stockade has reported in with news. It appears the humans may have created 5 members of our species on their own, and that they have escaped. The humans that Stockade has attached himself to, and apparently these new entities are currently on their way to Tranquility, presumably to seek out the human designated Samuel Witwicky."

    "Bah!" Starscream slashed at the rocks with his hand, creating another rockslide that nearly buried his feet. "All this attention is the last thing we need! We must accelerate our time table and gain possession of the Allspark fragment before these humans and their bastard offspring force the Autobots to intensify their security measures!"

    "Barricade, Ravage and Rumble are maintaining surveillance of their contact." Bludgeon offered. "They're concerned that if they attempt to squeeze him any further his daughter and Witwicky will suspect something."

    "Contact?" Starscream growled and then turned to Soundwave. "I thought that you could successfully pilfer the human mind while leaving it intact."

    "I can." Soundwave answered emotionlessly.

    "Then why do we need this contact?" Starscream pressed. "You get to Tranquility and await an opportunity to position yourself close enough to Witwicky to scan his thoughts!"

    Soundwave raised his hand to the side of his head. "Witwicky is with the contact and his daughter in Bumblebee."

    "Bumblebee?" Bludgeon asked.

    "The English name chosen by..." Starscream completed the sentence by pronouncing Bumblebee's Cybertronian designation. "Anyway, tell them to maintain a distance and travel to their position immediately. I want you scanning the head of either Witwicky or the Barnes female within the hour!"


    ***


    "Understood." The gravely voice of Ravage emerged from the motorcycle hidden in the trees, no longer beneath a holographic rider. The Harley form of Rumble a few feet away. The two motorbikes observed as Bumblebee pulled into the empty lot of the park, the car's headlights momentarily illuminating the baseball diamonds. A moment later Sam, Mikaela and Clyde stepped out from it and started walking around the fence and onto the outfield of one of the baseball fields. "Soundwave finally figured out a way to scan a human without destroying it, and is on his way now."

    "Why do should we care whether the insects survive the process?" Rumble whispered his growl.

    "There's no guarantee that the creature would survive long enough for Soundwave to gain the necessary information." Ravage growled back. "And it seems as though he wants to do it so that the human doesn't suspect what's happened."

    "Fine, as long as we kill these bugs once we have what's left of the Allspark."

    "Shhh, I'm trying to listen." Ravage hissed.

    The voice of Sam started coming through Ravage's speaker.


    *


    "What's going on Mr. Barnes?" Sam nervously asked, but Clyde noted that he wasn't as nervous as a boy whose been dragged to an isolated park in the dead of night by his girlfriend's convict father should be.

    "I like you Sam." Clyde began. "I really do. When Mikaela first described you I figured you were some made up geek to keep me from worrying about the scumbag she really was dating, someone like her old man. But when I got out and met you I realized how harmless you were."

    "Uh, great." Sam muttered, a little offended at being considered harmless.

    "But it seems as though Mikaela would have been better off with someone like me." Clyde continued.

    "Dad, what are you..."

    Clyde grabbed Sam's collar and started pushing him back a couple of steps. "What have you gotten my daughter into?" The angry father then drew a knife from his boot and held it to Sam's throat.

    "Daddy!" Mikaela screamed in horror as the engine of the Camaro roared to life.

    Bumblebee drove over the parking block, onto the grass and braked into a spinning stop, his headlights shining brightly on both Sam and Clyde. It was now Sam who noticed that Clyde wasn't anywhere near as nervous as he should be. Clyde smiled at the car, and then at Sam as he released the boy, leaned back down and calmly put the knife back into its sheath in his boot. "Good, all the cards are on the table now. No denials, no lies." Clyde turned and stared directly at the car. "I want to know what's going on, and that you can protect my little girl."

    "What do you know?" Bumblebee asked, still remaining his his vehicular form.

    Clyde chuckled lightly at hearing the car's voice. "That you can sprout a head and limbs, and that you're hardly unique." Clyde cocked his head and gave a look of disappointment. "You're not going to deny this and say that you're merely some super advanced GPS system, are you?"

    "I am not going to deny any of what you said." Bumblebee said. "But even though we appear to be alone, it's better for me to remain in my Earth camouflage."

    "Fair enough." Clyde agreed.

    "What have you seen?" Sam approached the man.

    Clyde looked at Sam, then Mikaela, and started to sit on the hood of the car but stopped himself as he remembered that this was much more than just a car. "This afternoon, when I punched out, I was approached by a cop in his squad car. Or at least I thought it was just a cop in his squad car."

    "Damn, I hate that guy." Sam whispered.

    Clyde looked at Sam almost angrily before continuing. "He wasn't alone. A guy on a Harley and another guy on a Ninja pulled up. Turns out those guys, and the cop himself were nothing more than smoke and mirrors, as they disappeared and transformed into robots. The car and the Harley were kinda human-ish, you know, two arms, two legs, a body and a head. The crotch rocket turned into a big panther lookin' thing." A ringing from Clyde's pocket interrupted his recounting of the day's events. The startled man reached into his pocket and pulled out the phone. "Hello."

    "You've reneged on the deal...” Ravage's voice hissed into Clyde's ear. "You're all dead!" The two motorcycles burst through the trees and bushes atop a hill on the far end of the park and sped down toward them.

    "Shit!" Clyde yelled.

    "Get in!" Bumblebee opened his doors.

    "Not so fast!" The words were nearly covered by the roaring engine of the police cruiser as it sped through the parking lot and launched itself at Bumblebee.

    Both Barricade and Bumblebee transformed and slammed into each other in their newly formed robotic modes. "I've been itching for a chance to redeem myself against you, you tricky little bastard!"

    The motorcyles were nearly upon them as well, and the black Ninja transformed to mechanical feline mode and bounded the remainder of the distance to the three humans. "Kill the Autobot and the convict!" Rumble's voice called from his motorcycle mode. "The semi-matured rats are to be taken alive!"

    Barricade and Bumblebee battered each other, the Decepticon managing to keep Bumblebee from accessing his primary weapon and maintaining the advantage through brute strength and ferocity. The large cat and motorcycle playfully circled the humans. Lights suddenly covered all of them, forcing them to freeze and look in the direction of the source. The voice of Sideswipe cut through the sudden silence. "Looks like Prowl was right, humans do make good bait."

    "Oh shit," Rumble worried. "Not those guys."

    The lights fluttered as the cars that had been producing them, a red Saleen S7 and a yellow Saleen S7R shot forward into the fray. The yellow one transformed at full speed into Sunstreaker and tackled Barricade away from Bumblebee, as the red car braked and slammed its rear section into Ravage. Both Sideswipe and Rumble transformed and squared off, but Sideswipe being over ten feet taller than Rumble made for quite the mis-match. Ravage recovered and bounded at Sideswipe's back, but without having to look the red Autobot twisted quickly and swatted him back to the ground. He then turned to the free but disheveled Bumblebee, still on the ground. "Get the humans out of here!"

    "Yeah, we'll take care of these twats." Sunstreaker said as he landed a right uppercut to Barricade's mid-section, then looped his arm under, around Barricades body, over his head, and getting his hand on the Decepticon's face, then leaning forward and thrusting the Decepticon head first to the ground. The slam was immediately followed by a series of kicks, and when Barricade raised his hand in an attempt to defend himself, the yellow Autobot grabbed it and twisted it savagely, causing various internal mecanisms, rod and joints to snap and spark.

    Bumblebee transformed and the three people scurried in quickly. A moment later the Camaro was speeding out of the parking lot and down the road. A pair of headlights from the road behind the thicket of trees that the motorcycles had been hiding in cut through the leaves, but the truck that the headlights were attached to turned to follow along the road. But something seemed to launch from it and sail through the air toward the combatants, none of whom paid it or the truck any attention. The truck was likely just a human vehicle, and the flying object went completely unnoticed. Not until it came swooping out of the sky on its mechanical wings, transformed to an artillery mount, and fired a shot that cut Sunstreaker's arm off mid-way through his forearm, thus freeing Barricade from the yellow Autobot's arm lock. Sunstreaker unloaded a string of profanity in Cybertronian as he turned toward the attack and began accessing his own primary weapon. Another shot impacted his left shoulder, knocking him back, and a third caught him in his lower abdomen, just to the right of center.

    Sunstreaker faltered, but he remained on his feet until tackled to the ground by Sideswipe. "Get down you idiot!" Both robots rolled across the ground and Sideswipe spun around on his belly, accessed his primary weapon, aimed and fired repeatedly at the mounted cannon. Two shots struck the cannon, blasting it back toward the hill leading to the thicket of trees and causing Laserbeak to painfully transform to robotic bird mode.

    "Let's get the hell out of here!" Rumble called out, pulling himself off the ground. Both Rumble and Barricade transformed and sputtered away, while Ravage transformed and sped to retrieved the downed and struggling Laserbeak.

    "Hey Ratchet, time to warm up your laser-scalpel." Sideswipe said into the communicator on his wrist.

    "I've been expecting this call ever since you showed up on this planet, Sideswipe." Ratchet's voice came back.

    "Yeah, well it's not for me this time. Streaker's been hit a few times." Sideswipe replied. "He'll make it, but he is pretty banged up."

    "Can you get him here?"

    "Yeah, provided he's willing to drive in public looking like a wreck." Sideswipe laughed back.

    Looking down on them from a tree-carpeted mountain, Swoop shook his head and laughed. "Did you get all that?"

    "Yes." The voice of Grimlock replied. "Very informative. How'd you come across this?"

    "Sector Seven put out an APB for the kid's car, but the APB was blocked in Tranquility and the surrounding cities. I was able to trace the block to robotic police car that got his ass kicked by the second yellow guy. I just shadowed him for the last hour or so."

    "Well done. Now shadow the other yellow car with the humans."

    "You've got it boss."

    "No, wait!" Grimlock changed his mind. "Follow the two robotic cars. They'll likely return to their base so the yellow one can get repairs."

    "Whatever you say."


    *


    Sheriff Gomez Richards stepped outside the bakery and headed to his as 'non-descript as possible' Chevy Cavalier. His shift at a stakeout across town was due to start in fifteen minutes, and he'd be damned if he was going to spend all night and part of the early morning stuck in a car with his deputy without a small pile of croissants to comfort him. Dominic Andrejas, his deputy, smiled at him from the passenger seat of the metal coffin that they'd be occupying for the next eight hours. Richards flashed a dour look as he walked around the front of the parked car. He didn't fool anyone, not even himself. He loved his job, even the most mundane and boring aspects of it gave him some degree of thrill. And when things seemed to be encroaching on unbearable boredom, something would invariably pop up to break up the monotony. Just like now. A half-mile down the road, a yellow Camaro was entering town, going at least forty in this twenty-five mile an hour speed zone. The Sheriff left the bag of baked items on the hood of his car, pulled out his badge, stepped into the middle of the street, and held it up to stop the driver.

    "Oh crap." Sam muttered at not just being stopped by a cop, but at recognizing that cop.

    Richards peered through the windshield and a confused smile came over his face. "Mojo?"

    "You know this guy?" Clyde asked from the back seat.

    "Yeah, we've met." Sam replied as he rolled down the window and stuck his head out. "Uh, hello Officer. Nice to see you again."

    "Drop the niceties, I'm not your pal." The police officer snapped. "Get out of the car, all of you!" Richards looked over at Andrejas, who tapped his watch. Richards just smiled and waved him off. Those douche bags at the stakeout could wait a little while longer to be relieved. He turned back to the people in the car. The doors were open but they could have been moving faster. "Come on, out!"

    "Look, Officer, I know I was probably going faster than I should have, but..." Sam paused. He couldn't bring up that this was an emergency; otherwise the cop would want to get involved and help him. Correction, most cops would want to get involved and help him, this one would simply prolong whatever torture he had in mind to watch Sam squirm helplessly.

    "Save it." Richards smirked.

    "Wait a second." Andrejas got out of the car, pointing at Clyde. "I know this guy."

    "Is that a fact?" Richards asked, a smile growing on his face as both he and his partner approached the man in his mid-forties. The Sheriff peered closely at Clyde but jerked his thumb at Sam as he addressed him. "Being recognized by a cop is rarely a good thing, just ask your partner in crime over there."

    "Yeah, I remember." Andrejas snapped his fingers as he recollected. "I was staking out a chop shop with Budiansky and this guy was one of the perps we netted." The deputy laughed. "This guy even brought his kid along." Andrejas's gaze shifted toward Mikaela. "No way! Is that...wow, you've really matured nicely."

    Richards stepped back and placed his hand over the handle of his revolver. "Wait a second. We've got a bona fide car thief with a penchant for bringing his kid along on heists riding in a car that's way out of the price range of a con and some high school kids."

    Andrejas nodded at Sam. "So what are you, the cousin?"

    Richards sneered while remaining a rigid posture. "Gotta be, there's no way he's her boyfriend. There's a limit to overachieving."

    Sam rolled his eyes but otherwise weathered the insult fairly well. "Look, Officers, I know how this looks, but this is my car. My legally obtained car." A smile came over the teenager's face. "And I was merely taking my GIRLFRIEND and her paroled and rehabilitated father for a ride in it."

    "You know, your story about your stolen car sprouting legs and going star gazing was more believable than that load." Richards rebutted.

    Sam had it. He may have been at the cop's mercy, but he was done taking his punishment lying down. "Alright, how's this one then. That old 70's era faded junker that I filed the stolen vehicle report on, that's this guy right here." Sam gently patted Bumblebee. "And he can still sprout legs. In fact, the reason we were driving so fast is that a cop car and a couple of motorcycles, all of whom can sprout legs, are trying to kill us."

    "Actually, I think they want you two alive." Clyde corrected as he nodded to the teenagers.

    "Thank you Clyde, I believe you're right." Sam nervously looked at the cops, knowing that they'd consider him high or crazy, but it didn't matter because he was bound for the back seat of a squad car anyway. He looked directly into the eyes of Sheriff Richards. "You want me to fill another cup?"

    "Oh, there are few things I love more than smart-ass teenagers." Richards said as he stepped toward Sam, grabbed him by the arm with his free hand and pulled him several feet in front of the Camaro. "On the ground." The Sheriff turned to the other detainees. "All of you." Mikaela and Clyde walked forward and got on their bellies next to Sam. "Hands behind your head!" Richards and Andrejas shared a grin. Though the three were laying face down in the street, the officers weren't too worried. There was very little traffic in downtown Tranquility at this time of night. Even the sounds of the oncoming truck didn't bother them much; they could easily direct it around the stopped car and the suspects.

    The sight of a military operations truck driving through Tranquility wasn't that alarming; the military base was just a few towns over. Seeing the military operations truck accelerating toward them at a rate that would be impressive for a sports car was what alarmed them. "Shit!" The cops ran to the sidewalk, leaving Sam and the Barnes's exposed and at the mercy of this enormous vehicle. But it was Bumblebee that was targeted, and the impact of the truck slamming into the Camaro's side sent it into the top of cops' Cavalier and then bounding over the sidewalk and into the all night bakery.

    Sam, Mikaela and Clyde were immediately on their feet, and watched helplessly as the military operations truck transformed into a giant that stood a foot or two taller than even Optimus Prime's upgraded body. "Call for ba..." Richards froze as he watched the giant truck sprouting legs.

    Despite his inability to complete his command, or Andrejas's not calling without the command, sirens could be heard in the distance. The giant Soundwave seemed indifferent to the approach of emergency vehicles as he leaned over the humans standing on the street. Sam, Mikaela and Clyde turned to run, but Soundwave's metal hand came down in front of them, blocking their progress. Sam turned and looked up at their assailant, but grew dizzy as a barrage of stored images from his memory fluttered through his head.

    "Sam!" Mikaela and her father had turned and started running another direction, but the girl noticed that her boyfriend wasn't with them. "Sam, come on!" She reached out and grabbed him by his hand and tugged. The giant robot seemed to lessen his focus on the boy, and Sam snapped out of his delirium and met Mikaela's gaze. "Come on!" Sam and Mikaela started to run just as a yellow blur shot over their heads and slammed into Soundwave.

    The impact forced Soundwave to take a step back, but only a step. Bumblebee bounced off of Soundwave's chest and made a wobbly landing on the street, his primary weapon already in the process of emerging. The Autobot raised his weapon, but speaker vents on either side of Soundwave's helmeted head blasted sonic waves that knocked the Autobot to the ground. Soundwave quickly took a step and delivered a thunderous kick to Bumblebee's midsection that sent him flying across the street and into the showroom of a Chevy dealership.

    Sam and Mikaela joined Clyde as the jumped to the sidewalk. They started running, but Sam stopped and ran back to the two petrified police officers staring up at the massive Soundwave. "Come on!" The youth grabbed them and pulled them with him.

    "Wha...what was that?" Richards sputtered.

    "That mojo, it's strong stuff." Sam replied as he led them around the corner of a building where Clyde and Mikaela were waiting.

    Soundwave now seemed completely indifferent to the humans, and stalked toward the dealership after Bumblebee. A cannon emerged from the hulking Decepticon's back and rotated up until it was mounted on his shoulder. Soundwave reached the broken glass window that used to constitute the front of the dealership's showroom and leaned down; aiming both his optic and shoulder cannon inside. Damaged cars, desks and other debris littered the showroom floor. Though there were yellow cars, there was neither a Camaro nor the robot that had been kicked. In front of a portion of the window that had not been destroyed was a black Corvette with yellow racing stripes spinning slowly on a rotating platform, the glossy black of the passenger door making a surprisingly good mirror given the limited light; otherwise no movement could be detected.

    The Decepticon scrutinized the area further, evaluating whether his prey could be taking refuge behind one of the other cars. Then he noticed it; a black Corvette with yellow racing stripes on the floor turned upside down and resting on its roof. It wasn't unheard of for dealerships to have identical car models with identical color schemes on the lot, but to have two identical cars in the showroom was too redundant, even for humans. Soundwave turned back to the spinning showpiece just as the driver's side was coming into view, a driver's side that's rear section was still battered from being rammed by Soundwave's truck mode a minute before. Soundwave attempted to target the car, but it exploded to life and shot off the platform, sprinted by him through the opening in the wall, over the sidewalk, onto the street, cut back and sped toward his human companions.

    The sirens were wailing loudly now, the vehicles producing them just down the street behind Soundwave, but that didn't stop him from firing at the retreating Corvette. His attack on Bumblebee was interrupted as a shot hit him from behind. Soundwave stumbled forward and turned to look at his attacker as that attacker, a Chevrolet Impala patrol car with a cannon mounted on the hood sped by him and spun to a stop, transforming to Prowl. Soundwave began targeting Prowl, but instantly became aware of the other emergency vehicle bearing down on him from behind. The Decepticon turned just to have a fire engine slam into his chest at over eighty miles per hour.

    Soundwave hit the ground hard, tearing into the pavement and sending huge chunks everywhere, while the fire engine began transforming as it rolled end over end. A moment later both Optimus Prime and Soundwave sprung to their feet. "How many of these things do you know?" Clyde muttered as he watched the robotic giants square off against each other.

    "I'll fill you in on the way!" Sam yelled as the new Bumblebee pulled to a stop in front of them and opened his doors. "Now get in!"

    "Oh not again!" Mikaela yelled out and pointed at the approach of Barricade, Rumble and Ravage in vehicular modes, a metal bird riding on Ravage, clinging to the sides with its wings. Her terror changed to hope as several well placed shots against Barricade forced them to a stop and transform.

    Prowl continued firing after them, and while the Decepticons outnumbered him, they were all injured to some degree, especially Laserbeak and Barricade. "We need to get out of here Soundwave!" Rumble called out.

    Soundwave was in no better shape than they were, as he threw a punch at Prime, which the Autobot easily ducked and replied to with an uppercut that crushed Soundwave's chin and sent him heavily to the ground. The downed Decepticon attempted to defend himself from the ground, but an overhand right from Prime shattered the front of his right shin and a powerful swat knocked Soundwave's left leg out of the way. Prime dropped to his knees on the pavement between Soundwave's legs and delived both fists in simultaneous hammer strikes into the Decepticon's abdomen, the power causing the pavement beneath them to buckle and collapse several feet down. "Hold your fire!" Prime called out to Prowl as he noted the destruction of a gas main beneath them. He also noted the sparks erupting from Soundwave's damaged leg and torso. The Autobot leader grabbed Soundwave by the chest and hurled him away from the hole they had formed in the street.

    Soundwave hit the ground fifty feet away and turned to see what Prime was doing. The fool. He had been gifted with nearly as much power as the great Megatron, and the reflexes, intuition, durability and instints to equal Megatron's prowess in combat, especially in this new, larger body, yet the culmination of all of these gifts still fell short of his one great weakness; his compassion. Instead of dealing with an enemy whose intention was to kill him, he was concerned with the safety of the small number of sub-Cybertronian lifeforms that were within the vicinity and their primitive structures. The predominantly red Autobot raised himself gently out of the gas-spewing crater, careful minimize all metal on metal contact his movements produced. Of course, the effort was a waste as two missiles fired from above exploded into his chest. The blast ignited the gas, which caused another explosion.

    Prime slammed into the storefront behind him, his massive frame crushing the wall and most of the first two floors. The rest of the building collapsed on top of him. Prowl fired repeatedly into the air after the F-35, but Starscream easily zoomed out of the range of his weapons.

    "Tell me you got what we need!" Starscream's voice erupted through the Decepticon's communication system.

    "Affirmative." Soundwave replied as he got to his feet.

    "Good! Let's get the hell out of here!" Starscream responded. Soundwave and the other Decepticons didn't need for the suggestion to be repeated, and they all transformed and sped off.

    "Optimus, are you alright?" Prowl called out as he watched the Decepticons fall back.

    "I'm fine. See to the humans." Prime ordered as he pulled himself from the smoldering remains of the building and began a painful transformation into a heavily damaged fire engine.

    Prowl looked down at the two police officers, but then turned as employees started filing out of the bakery and gawked in the direction of the demolished building a few doors down. Not having been seen by the employees, Prowl transformed and opened his doors for the two officers. "You guys need a lift, and I need to go over a few ground rules with you."


    ***


    The two flatbed-hauling semi trucks came to a stop along the mountain road, the tarp-covered cargo moving quite noticeably on the flat bed. "Thank you gentlemen." Grimlock said as he and Snarl got off the flatbed of the first truck.

    "Yeh, yeah, just don't hurt us." The driver in the first truck pleaded as he looked out the window at the enormous truck-jackers.

    Grimlock watched Sludge and Slag step away from the second truck before replying to the terrified human. "Wouldn't think about it. In fact, to show our good will, we'll replace the load we made you jettison to haul us here." With that Grimlock stepped over the flatbed toward the tree line, gripped the trunk of one tree, pulled it from the ground and placed it on the flatbed. He then turned to the other robots. "Hey, show your gratitude!" With that the other three followed suit and started uprooting and dumping tree after tree onto the backs of the trucks. The trees, still fat with limbs and branches, rolled off the flatbeds and onto the roads. "Alright, that's good." Grimlock announced before turning back to the lead driver. "We'd stay to help you secure the loads, but we're in a bit of a hurry. Sorry. Now remember, if anyone asks, you were waylaid by eco-terrorists."

    "Yeah, eco-terrorists." Slag reiterated as he stepped from the road up the mountain, pushing numerous trees aside and to the ground. Grimlock chuckled lightly as he watched Slag disappear and then lead Sludge and Snarl after him.

    The four robots traveled for a few miles before arriving at an overgrown clearing housing a long deserted human facility and several large, simple sculptures. "What is this supposed to be?" Sludge asked as he inspected a neglected statue of an anklosaurus.

    "Access the internet and look it up yourself, Sludge." Grimlock grumbled as he took note of a Quetzalcoatlus perched upon a large boulder. The recreation stood out not only because there didn't seem to be any prods or wires keeping it in place, but also because the amount of wear that was abundant on the other recreations scattered around the grounds seemed to be completely absent on this one. It was also a far superior recreation to the other structures, which appeared to have been chiseled and painted quickly. But the attention to detail on this one was nothing short of excellent, including the very accurate size. Grimlock leaned in close and scrutinized the beast’s head.

    “SKRAWK!” The prehistoric flier screeched into the face of the inquisitive robot. Grimlock instinctively reached out and gripped its neck. “Argh, let go, it’s me!” Swoop objected.

    Grimlock immediately let go as the rest of the team started laughing at his expense. “Shut up!” He growled at them. “What are you doing in this get up?” He barked at Swoop.

    “I got here before the two cars and wondered if they’d recognize me if I blended in with with these things." The large pterosaur answered. "They didn't notice a thing."

    "What is this place?" Snarl asked as he peered into the dilapidated building.

    "Used to be a cheezy dinosaur theme park." Swoop answered. "It was fairly popular in the eighties, struggled in the nineties, and finally went under about a decade ago."

    "Enough of this discussion." Grimlock interrupted. "Have you determined how many of our alien cousins are in there, or where they're keeping the Allspark fragment, or if there are any defenses, or anything at all?"

    "Nope, nothing." Swoop replied. "Just the location of the front door and that the red car and injured yellow car went in there."

    "You mean you've been sitting here doing nothing this entire time?" Grimlock grumbled.

    "Hey, I'm not knocking on the door without back up!" Swoop retorted.

    "Fine!" Grimlock let the matter drop. "We'll survey the area and then go in as a team. Where's the entrance?"

    The flying reptile nodded through the trees toward a narrow ravine about a half mile to the west. "The trees in the ravine itself, along with the rockface at the top are moved out of the way by devices beneath or behind them."

    "Alright," Grimlock scanned the area. "Investigate every pebble surrounding the entrance, get every piece of information you can, and reconoiter here in twenty minutes." The large robot took a step, but paused and looked one last time at Swoop. "Oh, and let's adopt Swoop's fashion sense."


    *



    "Sideswipe downplayed the extent of Sunstreaker's injuries, but Ratchet assures me that he'll be fine after a few procedures and some time to let his self-repair systems do their work." Ironhide reported into the speaker at the alien computer built into the cavern wall. "He's more concerned with getting you back here."

    "That's good to hear about Sunstreaker, but it'll be a little while longer before I head back." The voice of Optimus Prime replied. "I will remain here until the human emergency crews arrive in larger numbers. Bumblebee had started driving the humans to their respective homes, but I instructed him to bring them to you. Until we've figured out the Decepticon interest in them, we're going to have to keep them under our watchful optics."

    "Understood." Ironhide looked over at Ratchet working on Sunstreaker and Sideswipe talking to Arcee. "As for how the twins knew to watch over Sam and Mikaela, they both told me that we'd have to discuss that with Prowl."

    "Hmm, he drove some human law enforcement officers back to their station, they got caught up in the skirmish and Prowl was confident he could keep them from going public with all the details."

    "Yes, he employs methods of intimidation that make even me squeamish. You can take the Autobot out of the Protectorate, but you can't take the Protectorate out of the Autobot." Ironhide commented.

    "You're thinking he was also aware of the danger that Sam and Mikaela were in and used them as bait?" Prime queried of his old friend.

    "He was a ranking officer answering to Megatron himself." Ironhide replied, one of the surveillance screens on the wall of electronic equipment above him flashing momentarily to a stegosaurus recreation, and then flashing to another section of the grounds surrounding their base of operations. "He may be one of us, but I'm sure some of Megatron rubbed off on him."

    "Thank you Ironhide." Prime replied. "The human presence here is adequate, I'll be heading back now."

    "Glad to hear it." Ironhide replied as a sensor went off on the terminal. "Hold on, we've got something. Yeah, Bumblebee and Prowl have returned."

    The far wall rotated open and the black Corvette drove in, followed closely by the police car. Prowl transformed and headed over toward Ratchet and Sunstreaker as the humans got out of Bumblebee. Bumblebee then transformed and walked over to Ironhide. "Optimus Prime is on his way?"

    "Yes, he should be here soon." Ironhide replied as he exchanged a glare with Prowl before continuing with Bumblebee. "How are the humans?"

    "We're fine." Mikaela announced. "Though Sam might have gotten a concussion or something. He kind of zoned out while that big guy was after us."

    Prowl turned and walked intently toward the humans. "Zoned out? Sam, tell me exactly what happened."

    "Uh, well, we started running from the robot that was laying into Bumblebee, he blocked our path with his hand, I turned and then it seemed like my head was being scrambled. Mikaela snapped me ou..."

    "This location has likely been compromised!" Prowl interrupted.

    "You told us that Soundwave's abilities were too blunt for the human mind to endure!" Ratchet called out.

    "Yes, I did. And at the time, it wasn't a complete lie." Prowl replied unapologetically. "I just left out that Soundwave had refined the process a great deal, and that him cracking the human mind was not entirely outside the realm of possibility."

    "You set us up?" Sam asked in disbelief.

    Prowl looked at the human, and his defiant, ends-justifying-the-means stance faltered for a moment. He attempted to formulate a response to the accusatory question, but the matter was effectively diverted by Alpha Trion entering the cave excitedly from the depths of the mountain where he had been cloistered for hours. “I believe I’ve determined an effective method for returning the power of the cube back to this physical realm!”

    Ironhide and Prowl exchanged glances. “We will need to separate and relocate both the fragment and Alpha Trion immediately.” Prowl announced.

    “Agreed.” Ironhide nodded. “I’ll contact Prime now and make him aware of the situation.” But as Ironhide reached for the console, the front wall collapsed inward as an exterior force pushed its way in. “We’re under attack!”

    A triceratops bounded over the rock covered metal door that it had pummeled in and charged into the center of the cavern, swatting Bumblebee out of its way with its horns as it made its way. A tyrannosaurus rex, a stegosaurus and an omeisaurus followed the beast in. Behind the group of prehistoric animals marched a tall, slender but powerfully built robot with wings on its back. “This can’t be happening!” Clyde muttered as he, Sam and Mikeala scrambled to get out of the way.

    Though the triceratops was the first to enter, the tyrannosaur quickly leapt to the forefront and became the dominant threat by pouncing on Prowl, slamming him to the ground beneath his clawed feet, then twisting sharply and smashing his powerful tail into Sideswipe and Arcee, sending both hurtling back against the far rock wall. Ironhide turned to the console and opened a channel to Optimus Prime. “The Decepticons are attacking!”

    Grimlock lunged at him and slammed the top of his monstrous head into Ironhide’s chest. Ironhide bounced against the terminal and back at the giant lizard’s head. “Wrong.” The T-rex snarled as it clamped onto Ironhide’s chest and flung him violently across the room. The enormous faux carnivore watched as Snarl and Sludge easily subdued Ratchet and the heavily damaged Sunstreaker, and Slag went after the resilient Sideswipe. “Find the fragment!” He bellowed to his comrades.

    “Found it!” Swoop called out, and leapt through the air toward Alpha Trion, his wings spreading to help him glide the necessary distance. Alpha Trion turned and attempted to flee, but Swoop grabbed him, twisted him around and snatched the fragment out of his ancient hand. Swoop then drew a sword and raised it to the elderly robot’s head. “Verify that this is the remains of the Allspark.”

    Trion stared at his assailant, first in fear, then in curiosity. “You’re not of Cybertronian manufacture, are you?”

    “Nope, now answer the question!” Swoop snapped.

    “You’re not minions of Megatron?” Trion persisted.

    “Is it the slagging Allspark or not?” Grimlock thundered throughout the cavern.

    “Join us.” Trion pleaded. “Whatever your motives, I’m sure we can compromise and work together.”

    Swoop flung the old robot away. “I’m making a judgment call and saying this is it.”

    “I’ll support your decision.” Grimlock snapped as he battered Ironhide back to the ground. “Unless it’s wrong of course.” The T-rex then turned to his comrades. “We’ve got what we came for, so…Dinobots, let’s get the hell out of here!”

    “Dinobots?” Snarl questioned as a blade wielded by the struggling Sunstreaker cut a thin gash into his neck. The Dinobot retaliated by slamming him into the wall.

    “Have you taken a moment to look at us?” Grimlock growled. “Now get out of here!”

    Swoop and the four animals thundered through the cave toward the opening, and emerged into the forest. “Alright, now where mighty leader?” Slag asked sarcastically.

    “I’m contemplating shoving the other three up your…” A blast into the flank of the T-rex sent the animal slamming into the rocky ground.

    “What the…” Swoop followed where the missile that struck his leader came from and saw the jet bank back up skyward. “Sludge, take this!” The robot thrust the piece of the Allspark into the omeisaurus’s mouth and leapt off the ground as he started to transform. The pterosaur flapped a few times to get about a hundred feet off the ground before extending a pair of thrusters out of its rear section, straightening its neck, head and wings, and drawing its legs into its body. The thrusters ignited and the beast/jet shot up after the F-35.

    “Sludge, get that thing out of here!” Slag bellowed as he transformed to robot mode. “Snarl and I will see to Grimlock and slaughter anything that approaches!” Snarl and Sludge transformed as well, and Sludge lumbered off down the mountain as he had been told.

    Slag leaned over the T-rex and reached down to help him up, but held off as Grimlock transformed, and then struggled to his feet unassisted. “No.” He groaned. “Get Sludge. Need to stick together. At least until we know what we’re up against.” But Sludge was already half way down the mountain, bowling over trees, crushing boulders and creating small seismic events with each stride. “After him!”

    Sludge saw the road up ahead, the nice level, stable road. Sick of sliding down shifting rocks, dirt and gravel, the fleeing robot decided to jump for the road and head back the way they had arrived from. The massive robot clumsily propelled himself over the tops of nearly a dozen trees before collapsing through nearly a dozen others and rolling the remainder of the way down and onto the road cut into the mountain. The Earth-born robot propped himself up onto his hands and knees and prepared to leap up and sprint down the road, but the screeching of vehicle brakes and the blinding illumination of the headlights of several vehicles caused him to freeze.

    As he adjusted his optical settings to better view the objects in front of him, Sludge heard a familiar voice. “You have no idea of how easy it was to keep track of you.” Agent Simmons called out as he stepped from the Escalade that he had been riding in. “I mean, you guys are designed to mimic common forms and blend in. Yet instead of becoming trucks, you hijack a couple instead.” Simmons gently slapped his own head to illustrate the stupidity of the described scenario. Dozens of humans lined up behind him and aimed their rocket launchers at the robot. Simmons then noticed the jagged metal object in the robot’s large hand. “Oh, and you have the remains of the cube I see. Well done. I’ll take that now.”

    Sludge rose to his feet and sneered. “Yeah, come on and take it.”

    Simmons waved in the direction of the soldiers behind him. “Please realize that my desire to take you alive has waned considerably over the hours. And with the remnants of the power cube now available, I’d almost be giddy having you mowed down and plucking that from your dead hand.”

    “Up yours!” Sludge yelled and then stomped on the road, causing the men and their vehicles to wobble. Several of the soldiers fired into the robot, scoring hits on his shoulders and chest. The shots caused Sludge pain, but none seemed to be causing him terminal damage. He then ignited a laser blade and threateningly swung it over the humans. “Back off or I’ll skewer you rodents!”

    “Sir, get in!” Agent Stephan Bryant, who had been driving the vehicle that Simmons rode in, called out.

    Simmons turned and looked in the vehicle, but froze in terror as he watched Agent Bryant get pulverized by the moving metal parts of the now transforming Escalade. Sludge was equally surprised to see the humanoid robot standing in front of him, and was caught completely off guard as the robot fired two shots directly into his chest, knocking him down and leaving him clinging to life. Sludge gasped as he felt a hand smaller than his, but still large, slide the fragment of the Allspark from his grasp.


    *


    “Please, come back and join us!” Alpha Trion called out as he ran out of the cave behind Prowl, Ironhide, Bumblebee and Sideswipe. “We can repel the Decepticons together, and then recreate the Allspark for the good of all!”

    Prowl started after the Dinobots, but halted and whipped back around as he realized something. “You!” He pointed at Alpha Trion. “Get back in the cave, now!”

    “He’s right!” Ironhide said as well. “It’s just a shard of metal without your expertise.”

    “That’s right!” Starscream bellowed as the F35 zoomed overhead and launched two harpoons lodged into either shoulder of Alpha Trion. The elderly robot jerked up into the air and sped away from the group.
     
  17. Throwback

    Throwback Well-Known Member

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    It's your fault, this story's too good. You gotta finish it now.
     
  18. rerunwatson99

    rerunwatson99 Well-Known Member

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    Throwback's right, PTNorth!
    Your stories are good. Of course, It would be cool if continued you're other fictions as well. Awesome pieces of work!!!
     
  19. peteynorth

    peteynorth TFW2005 Supporter

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    Well, despite my intentions I gave this thing an ending. Here goes:



    "Sludge!" Grimlock, in robot form, bellowed as Slag and Snarl clumsily made their way down the hill behind him toward the road where the wounded Sludge was laid out and surrounded by Sector Seven agents. "Back off, gnats!" The Dinobot leader snarled at the humans as he came to a kneeling position next to his fallen comrade.

    "I'm OK." Sludge whispered as he struggled to sit up on the tree-lined road, a struggle that wound up being futile.

    "I don't care!" Grimlock ordered, an utter lack of compassion in his voice. "Just give me the piece!"

    "Ca...ca...car transformed. Blasted me and took it." Sludge muttered as Slag and Snarl, in robotic form as well, knelt near him.

    "What a pussy." Slag grumbled.

    "What car?" Grimlock yelled.

    "It, it left." Sludge replied as he attempted to sit up again, this time succeeding to a seated position.

    "Where did it go?" Grimlock now demanded of Agent Simmons, who was still shaken at having the car he had been riding in transform into an alien robot, killing a close friend and colleague in the process.

    "I...uh...it went that way." He pointed in the direction that they had been heading when they first encountered Sludge.

    "Swoop!" Grimlock yelled into the dark sky.

    "Right here boss." The robotic form of Swoop emerged trudging up the mountain below them, making his way toward the road.

    "What happened?" Grimlock asked.

    "What can I say, that jet guy was too good." Swoop shrugged as he finally stepped onto the road.

    The headlights of an oncoming truck suddenly illuminated the entire area. A moment later a battered fire engine pulled up and transformed into Optimus Prime, his primary weapon in place and leveled at Grimlock, though he addressed the still shaken Simmons. "What's going on here Simmons?"

    "That explains it!" Ironhide growled as he too slid down from above onto the road. "If they're fighting us and fighting the Decepticons, then it only makes sense that they're the lapdogs of these fleshlings."

    "We're nobody's lapdog, you exhaust port!" Slag stood up and snarled as he made his way toward Ironhide, who stepped forward as well, seeming just as eager to lock horns.

    "Stand down!" Optimus Prime and Grimlock bellowed in unison.

    Simmons immediately snapped out of his funk and called out to Slag. "Yeah, hold on there buddy. We didn't get a chance to go over my expectations of you, but I'd prefer it if you were to hold off on killing these guys until you've eliminated that other group."

    Once again Prime and Grimlock bellowed in unison. "Shut up!"

    Prime peered at the leader of these Dinobots. "Who are you and what is your purpose here?"

    "These are the goons that stole the remains of the Allspark and allowed the Decepticons to kidnap Alpha Trion!" Ironhide yelled before Grimlock could answer Prime.

    "What?" Prime roared. "Where are they now?"

    "Starscream bugged out toward the coast." Ironhide replied. "As far as I know, these nitwits still have the shard."

    "Nnn...no." Sludge muttered. "SUV these humans were riding in...transformed, blasted me and took it."

    "Where did this SUV go?" Prime snarled at both the Dinobots and humans.

    Simmons just shook his head and shrugged. "Let me make some calls, see if we can track them."


    ***


    The sun was rising over the city of San Diego, as a non-descript gray and gold truck hauling a tarped load on a flatbed made its way over the bridge to Coronado, curving around the mid-air bend toward the penninsula slowly as a small caravan of several vehicles in varying states of disrepair got on the bridge and quickly caught up to it. The group of vehicles disembarked from the bridge and navigated their way to the northern portion of what would be an island if not for a thin stretch of sand connecting it to California. The battered form of Soundwave's vehicular mode took the lead and approaches the entrance to the Naval Air Station that dominated the northern portion of Coronado.

    The Marine at the gate approached the still-closed driver's side window, but staggered a moment as a wave of memories left him temporary disoriented. He recovered quickly and raised his hand to knock on the window of the truck, but the window rolled down and a man in a Marine Captain's uniform smiled at him. "Hello Sir, may I see some ID?" The Marine asked, while inside the cab of the truck, an identification card and a series of paperwork that would be adequate to gain them entrance to the base, items derived from the scan of the soldier's mind, emerged from equipment on the dashboard. A wire with a pair of grasping prods emerged and clasped the card and documents, brought them to the open window, and once covered by a holographic arm, extended the items toward the waiting Marine. "Thank you sir, you and your party may pass."

    Soundwave led the gray and gold truck, Stockade, Barricade and Bludgeon through the perimeter gate and into the base. "Ravage, Rumble, arrange siphoning equipment from one of the nuclear submarines." Soundwave announced through their open channel. "Bludgeon, make arrangements for retrieval ceremony."

    The rear of the operations truck opened and the two motorcycles rolled out and with their holographic drivers in place, headed out toward the nearest submarine. The Hummer sped around toward a large structure not far from the waterfront. Upon reaching the front he transformed and plowed his way through the wall into what appeared to be an enormous hangar. "Perfect."

    The alarm was quick to be sounded as dozens of humans witnessed this. High above a F-35 with an object being pulled tight behind it by a pair of tow cables whizzed by. Soundwave's voice emerged through the channel. "Time short, move with urgency."


    ***


    Arcee pulled into the cave in motorcycle mode as a flurry of activity was going on within. Ratchet was repairing Sludge while Sideswipe was putting the finishing touches on Sunstreaker over in the designated repair bay. Ironhide, Prowl and Sam were manning the communications array while Prime was standing over Simmons and several of his fellow Sector Seven agents. The other four Dinobots were milling around anxiously as Bumblebee, barely recognizable in his new predominantly black form, approached the transforming motorcycle and nodded to Arcee once she was fully reassembled. "About time you got here."

    "Sorry, I didn't realize it would be such an interesting night." Arcee replied. "How are Sam, Mikaela and her dad?"

    "We're fine." Mikaela replied as she approached her friend and confidant.

    "No, keep scanning!" Simmons demanded of whomever he was speaking to on the cell phone, which due to modifications done to the cave by the Autobots, had no problem with its signal. "Just keep an eye on anything with a significant power source. What? Hey, what's going on over there?" Simmons suddenly grew very confused as whoever he was talking to seemed to be in the midst of some other discussion, one that the Sector Seven legacy was very interested in. "What's going on? Oh...oh...yeah, everything we have! I'll let the Autobots know!"

    "Know what?" Prime demanded as Simmons collapsed his phone.

    "Coronado North Island Naval Air Station." Simmons replied to the Autobot Commander. "It's been hit by giant robots."

    "Ironhide, assemble the wayward Autobots...all of them." Prime ordered. "The rest of us, let's roll out!" The Autobots began transforming and heading toward the opening of the cave.

    "You, Dinobots!" Simmons barked out, but quickly took a less commanding tone. "Just a suggestion, not an order by any means, but we've got choppers inbound, each with a containment crate large enough to accommodate one of you tethered to it. We'd be happy to, uh, give you a lift to Coronado, if that'd be alright with you." Grimlock merely grunted his acceptance.

    "Sam! You're to stay right there!" Ron's voice belted through one of the speakers on the over-sized communications console that Sam was kneeling upon. "I'll come and get you."

    "But Dad...” Sam objected.

    "Listen to your father." Bumblebee said as he pulled toward the mouth of the cave. "All of you have already been placed in too much danger as it is."


    *


    "Yeah, listen to Bumblebee! The fact that he and I agree about what you should be doing should tell you something,” Ron barked into the Mountain Dew vending machine in the corner of his garage. "I'm on my way!" He turned and headed outside to his dark green convertible, but noticed a shimmer of blue flash over it. He turned and looked back in his garage to see an exact copy of his car taking shape, then watched as it revved up and sped out of the garage. As it made it's way to the front, a holographic image of Ron formed in the driver's seat. Ron shook his head as he got into his own car. "Well, so much for a lifetime of free pop."


    ***


    Alpha Trion struggled physically against Bludgeon's grasp, and mentally against Soundwave's probing, but he seemed to be failing in both struggles. Soundwave focused intently on the ancient prisoner, having pilfered his mind for several minutes, before finally nodding and turning away. "Necessary knowledge obtained. Ceremony to commence." He landed a powerful punch to Alpha Trion's head, knocking the elderly robot unconscious. He and Bludgeon then headed toward an altar that Bludgeon and Scorponok had rapidly constructed in preparation for the retrieval process, and a cord extended from Soundwave and jacked into Bludgeon's neck. "You are a more capable facilitator for this process. Knowledge transfer commencing."

    "Hmmm, oh...I...I see." Bludgeon muttered over the sounds of battle going on outside as the data that Soundwave had stolen from Alpha Trion passed on to him. "I'm still not sure it will work, but I'm more confident than I was a minute ago."

    "Just do it!" Starscream barked as he entered the hangar. He made sure that other than the altar, the unconscious elder and his two comrades, the hangar was completely empty. "I want the Allspark now!"

    Bludgeon took the surviving shard and placed it on the center of the altar. Extending his hands toward the conduits mounted on either side of the altar, conduits leading out to the reactor core of a disabled nuclear submarine, the Decepticon warrior began chanting in ancient Cybertronian and drawing waves of intense energy from the conduits, manipulating the energy fields like a child manipulates sand on a beach. Waves and shapes, all of which intensified with each passing moment; the power grew to the point where it was almost tangible; in fact, it seemed as though it was tangible to Bludgeon, who molded it and manipulated it until he was able to breach the physical realm. The breach was barely measurable, but it slowly expanded, and the power pouring through it into our realm was beyond imagining. Starscream's excitement grew as he felt the power of life slowly trickle into the hangar and build around him.


    *


    The military had long since shut off the bridge to civilian traffic, at least the lanes leading to Coronado. The lanes from it to the California mainland had been rendered a parking lot as everyone who lived there was being evacuated. But the soldiers blocking the entrance had just gotten word to remove the barricades; help was on the way. With a fire engine in the lead, numerous civilian vehicles blew by the humans stationed at the entrance to the bridge and sped their way across.


    *


    The sheer power emerging from the large building that Barricade, Stockade, Ravage, Rumble, Laserbeak and Scorponok, who had sacrificed his humanoid robotic mode for his truck alternate mode so that he could keep his bestial form, were defending vigorously. Within the structure the power was vastly more intense, causing Starscream and Soundwave to look away, and Alpha Trion to regain consciousness. The robotic elder looked beyond Bludgeon and watched in both wonder and horror as the recovered primal energy coalesced into a familiar shape. Something else caught his attention, something that he regarded solely with horror. A focused orb of life force, one separate from the limitless yet unfocused swirl of power that was creating the cube, emerged from the breach and lowered through the altar into the ground. "No..." But nobody could hear his objection over the maelstrom of primordial power.


    ***


    "Well, I guess I should welcome you to the club." Ron mentioned to Clyde as they pulled away from the entrance to the cave that the Autobots had been using as a base of operations, government vehicles ahead of them and behind them. "You can probably now guess the real reason for Mikaela's record getting expunged."

    "You told him!" Mikaela barked at Spike as the two sat in the back of Ron's small car. Sam merely held his head dizzily.

    "Ah, go easy on him." Ron offered. "I was apologizing to him about how ineffectual I was in protecting him from Simmons, and to put me at ease he mentioned how he, as you kids put it, made Sector Seven his bitch."

    "No!" Sam exclaimed as a strange feeling washed over him, his hands buzzing and tingling much as they had when he had thrust the Allspark into Megatron's chest a year before.

    "Sam?" Ron asked, and then verifying the stretch of road in front of him was straight, turned and glanced at his son. "Sam!" The father called out as his son drifted into a daze. "Are you alright? Hey, snap out of it!" Ron pulled his car over.

    Sam groaned in a state of stupor. "Sam?" Mikaela shook him gently. "Sam, wake up!"

    Sam seemed to heed Mikaela's order as his head jerked up, his eye's wide open and alert. "It's back! He's back! I know where they are! I can sense them, both of them!" The teenager turned as saw another cluster of government vehicles heading down the road toward them, presumably with the intent to pass them. In the passenger seat of the lead SUV was Reggie Simmons. "Sorry Dad, but if this link can help Prime in any way, I've got to make sure he has access to it." Sam hopped out of the car and ran to the middle of the road, flagging down the SUV coming at him.

    "Sam! Sam, what the hell are you talking about?" Ron called out.

    "Sam, get back here!" Mikaela yelled after him.

    Sam turned to the occupants of his father's car just as the SUV pulled to a stop in front of him. "Look, I'm sorry, but it's something that I just need to do." With that Sam ran to the passenger side of the vehicle and quickly and quietly explained his sensations and their likely implications to Agent Simmons.

    "Get in!" Was all that Ron, Clyde and Mikaela heard from Simmons before Sam hopped into the back of the car and it sped away.


    ***


    The two Saleen's tore around the line of soldiers firing on the Decepticons and sped into the robots, transforming at high speed and engaging them. Sideswipe plowed into Stockade, while Sunstreaker dodged both a grinding claw and the barbed tail of Scorponok, getting behind the arachnid-shaped robot, gripping the middle of his tail, and flinging him into Barricade. Prime and the others barreled after the mechanical siblings and engaged the other Decepticons.


    *


    "At last!" Starscream tossed the fatigued Bludgeon to the side and plucked the still glowing Allspark from the air, the last tendril of power trailing from the shrinking breach and merging with it. "It's mine. It's mine!"

    "No..." Alpha Trion muttered, lifting himself to his elbows. "It's his. The cube wasn't the only thing to return." He looked down beneath Starscream's feet. "He's back."

    The ground started shaking, and then suddenly a force from beneath the ground blasted up through the altar. Covered in dirt, and still battered though apparently in an adequate state of repair, stood the resurrected Megatron, his optics burning red as he took in the scene before him. His optics locking onto the cube in Starscream's hands, he snarled. "Give me what is mine, Starscream!"

    Starscream hesitated for only a moment before quickly thrusting the cube toward his revived leader. "Of course, Lord Megatron, of course."

    Snatching the cube, Megatron grinned both ecstatically and malevolently. "Yes, finally, it is mine." The Decepticon leader silently issued a command of the sacred relic in his hands, which glowed in response, instantly repairing the remaining damage to his frame and creating new alterations. He then looked up and noted the others in the room, his most loyal lieutenant Soundwave, his capable warrior and spy Bludgeon, the valuable but untrustworthy Starscream, and rising to his feet in the back of the room was the ancient priest that only he and select few others had ever seen. "Ah, Alpha Trion, whatever your role was in bringing me back, I must thank you. My journey to the other side has given me insight that even you, in your countless lifetimes of existence, could never possess. I can manipulate the power of the cube as I see fit now, achieving what was previously believed to be unachievable, an ability that I would never have possessed were it not for the attempts of you and Prime to keep me from it. Allow me to show you my gratitude."


    *


    Possessing a numerical advantage in battle was something very new to Optimus Prime, but despite the unfamiliarity, he effectively made the most of the advantage and had quickly broken through the meager defense offered by Barricade and the others. He was merely a few dozen feet from the building where the tremendous energy release had occurred, and was seconds from breaking in and crashing the party being held by Soundwave and Starscream within. At least he would have been crashing it were it not for Alpha Trion's frame blasting through the wall and slamming into his chest, forcing them both back and to the ground. Prime looked up through the dust and debris and gasped in horrified disbelief at the image of Megatron marching out of the building, followed by Starscream, Soundwave and Bludgeon. "No."

    "Yes!" Megatron bellowed as he closed the distance to Prime, grabbed the semi-conscious Alpha Trion, hurled him to the side, and gripped Prime by the throat with his other hand. "I'm back. The human child's attempt to exterminate me has yielded secrets of the cube that none of us ever knew existed!" The revived Decepticon lurched back and hurtled Prime through the air and into the building where the ceremony had been conducted. He then raised his hand up toward a F/A-18E Super Hornet strafing his soldiers from above and scanned it. He then reached out with his other hand and scanned an Advanced Seal Delivery System mini-sub docked upon a larger submarine in the water in the distance. Megatron's form adapted as it took on the traits of his new camouflage, but once the process had been completed he leapt to the air, transformed into an exact copy of the F/A-18E that he had scanned, and shot out toward an advancing contingent of humans.

    Megatron transformed back into robot mode and landed next to an M1 tank. "While the Allspark is in my possession, I am nothing short of a god! The previously perceived limitations of our species are tossed aside!" Megatron raised the cube above his head, where it glowed brightly as if on fire, and then he slammed it down on the tank, though not with enough force to damage the vehicle. The tank jerked as it came to life, a line of energy shot upward and scanned a AV-8B Harrier that darted overhead. The living vehicle rolled forward several feet as a member of the tank crew opened the hatch in an attempt to evacuate it. The Marine, and the rest of his crew were crushed to death as the tank transformed to a robot, and then looked back at his creator. "You have been begotten to serve me and my Decepticons! In this archaic tongue you will be known as Blitzwing! In time you will be granted all knowledge that you require, but for now I, Megatron, command you to destroy all those that bear this symbol..." a holographic image of the Autobrand projected from Megatron's crimson optics. "And eradicate their fleshling allies as well!"

    Blitzwing gave a quick salute and nod. "Your will be done, Lord Megatron!" With that the newborn Decepticon transformed into the Harrier that he had scanned and took to the sky.

    "Megatron!" Prime called out as he sprinted toward his ancient enemy. Megatron braced for impact, but clearly underestimated Prime's power as the Autobot leader plowed over him and drove him to the ground. "You're not the only one to have undergone some changes, old friend!"

    "Impressive..." Megatron grappled with Prime, being forced to release the Allspark to break the Autobot's grip on him and push him away. "But insufficient, Prime!" The two scrambled to their knees, where Megatron landed a left, and then a right cross to Optimus Prime's face. Prime fell onto his back but tucked his legs in and slammed his feet into the mid-section of Megatron just as he was getting to his feet.

    Prime popped up to his feet as Megatron hit the ground, and started toward the cube. Just as he reached for it he was blasted away by Laserbeak in cannon mode. As Prime stumbled back from the blast, Megatron accessed his own fusion cannon, aimed it, but started receiving enemy fire as well. Ironhide blasted at the downed Megatron with both his cannons, but was quickly interrupted as Bludgeon slammed a leaping thrust kick into his back. Megatron reached over, grabbed the cube, placed it against his upper back, where several coils emerged and held it to him as he rose to his feet, jumped up, transformed to jet mode, and sped into the sky.

    Ironhide rolled over, got to his feet and started to aim his cannons at Bludgeon, but a pair of energy blades darted out from the Decepticon's wrists, which he immediately used to slice off the front of each cannon. Ironhide paused to assess the damage to his weapons, and in that moment was thrown back by a kick to his mid-section instantly followed by a kick to his face.

    "Dibs!" Sideswipe's voice carried over the sounds of battle, causing Bludgeon to turn and look at the Autobot standing over the unmoving Stockade. Sideswipe's right arm reconfigured into his primary weapon, which he then lined up at Stockade's battered and inert head, and fired.

    The red Autobot then reconfigured his weapon back into an arm and started marching toward Bludgeon. "Yes, come on." Bludgeon invited.

    "No way!" Sunstreaker barked out as he slammed Scorponok's tail barb into the metal beast's head, causing the Decepticon to begin its agonized death throes. "He's mine!"

    "We attack as a team!" Ironhide belted out. "There's too much at stake to allow you to indulge your honor bouts!"

    "As individuals or together, I'm still more than you Autobots can handle!" Bludgeon boasted as he darted at Sideswipe, slashing at the Autobot's head. Sideswipe barely evaded the strike, but despite his speed, wasn't fast enough to land a counter-blow. A second slash by Bludgeon cut a small gouge into his chest armor, but he seemed unaffected by the wound and continued battling on. Sunstreaker landed a thrust kick to Bludgeon's lower back followed by a spin kick that connected with the chin of the turning Decepticon. The yellow Autobot was rewarded by an elbow to his own chin that sent him stumbling back. Ironhide charged in as well, but Bludgeon initiated a thrust kick that delivered energy that extended well past his leg and foot and covered the distance to Ironhide to slam the Autobot in the chest and send him falling back. "I am a master of all combat, both the practical fighting forms and the mystical arts long forgotten or disregarded! At best you will present a worthy challenge, though even that is unlikely!"

    "Oh shut up and throw down!" Sideswipe barked as he landed an uppercut to the arrogant Decepticon.


    *


    "Well, looks like your voodoo powers check out." Simmons mentioned as he collapsed his cell phone. "NBE-1 is back in play and as nasty as ever." Their car slowed but continued onto the bridge to Coronado, as the soldiers at the checkpoint waved it through. "Looks like another war-games exercise getting out of hand story will need to be concocted and fed to the public. If I didn't know better, I'd say that the public would grow wise to these cover stories, but I do know better. The happy little sheep will swallow whatever we decide to feed them."

    Sam ignored Simmon's claims and peered out at the battle taking place in the distance, several fighter jets and helicopters were speeding toward it, including the five cargo-bearing copters that had left the mountain at about the same time that they had. The addition of these powerful Dinobots would certainly help bolster the Autobot forces, but with Megatron back and in possession of the Allspark, it would be unlikely that even they would be enough.


    ***


    Unlike most of the aircraft in the area, the Osprey was actually trying to depart the battle zone in an attempt to evacuate some high level military brass. Megatron in jet mode shot overhead, a pulse emanating from him and shooting down at the plane/helicopter hybrid, giving it life. The gift of life was also bestowed upon an Apache helicopter and an F-22 Raptor that were attempting to engage Megatron, each gift given from afar. "Newborns, heed my words!" The F/A-18E barked out in Megatron's voice. "You may lack the gifts I am able to bestow on those I physically touch when I grant life, but you are powerful warriors none the less, and your lives are owed to me, Megatron! You are designated Incinerator, Tracer and Thudercracker, in the order of your birth! Destroy the Autobot and human forces and you will earn my respect and approval! Fail, and the day of your birth will be your only day!"

    The new Decepticons obeyed and turned toward the Autobots firing up at Megatron and began blasting away at them, their occupants forced to watch helplessly. Megatron turned back to oversee the battle and issue any necessary commands, but was suddenly set upon by a quetzalcoatlus landing on him, and once secure, trying to reach under him and scrape away at the cube that was being held in place by cords and prods coming out of Megatron's frame. "What manner of sub-Cybertronian life form are you?" Megatron barked half in annoyance, half in amusement.

    "I'm your country cousin!" Swoop barked back. "Now give me the cube, asshat!"

    Megatron laughed as he turned down toward the ocean and accelerated. "Prepare for extinction, Halfling!" The Decepticon Commander then began shifting shape until he was an ASDS mini-sub, which cut gracefully into the water as Swoop smacked painfully into the surface, forced to release his grasp.


    *


    The harrier strafed several of the Autobots before slowing and hovering over a battalion of humans, transforming fifty feet off the ground into a tank, and dropping onto over a dozen of the soldiers beneath it. Blitzwing rolled toward the Autobot position and fired on it, transformed to robot mode, and continued his barrage. Bumblebee, Prowl, Ratchet, Arcee and a green robot with pieces of camouflage resembling Ron Witwicky's car, fired on him, knocking Blitzwing to the ground. The Autobots nodded happily, but that joy was changed to apprehension as Incinerator, Thundercracker and Tracer descended, transformed and advanced on the four Autobots. Prowl popped up and peppered Tracer with rounds from his primary weapon. "Bumblebee, transform and get to their left. Arcee, Dewey, transform and get to their right. Hopefully these toddlers aren't aware of any flanking defense yet." Prowl's attempt to draw the attention of the Decepticons seemed to be effective, as the three newcomers concentrated on him and seemed to ignore the vehicles speeding away from their previous cover. Prowl dove away as the area that he had been occupying was blown to small pieces, but his head and limbs were still attached, so he had no regrets...yet.

    The SUV transporting Simmons and Sam came to within three hundred yards of the skirmish, and several of the agents jumped out with sabot-loaded grenade launchers. Sam had a clear view of Arcee and his dad's car trying to drive to the side of four unknown Decepticons, and noted that the Decepticon lying on the ground seemed to notice the motorcycle and convertible and transformed into a tank, took aim, and fired. The dark green car exploded as the round impacted against it, sending it toppling end over end. "No." Sam muttered quietly. He didn't know that Autobot, but whoever it was; it had given its life for Sam's planet and species. The human watched as the battered wreck painfully transformed into a robot...a robot that Sam did recognize. "Dewey!" Sam threw open the door, jumped to the ground, and immediately started sprinting toward the heavily damaged robot.

    The young man ignored the chaos going on around him and knelt next to the dying robot. Dewey looked up at Sam and reached out to him. "Fath..."

    "No!" Sam screamed as he did his best to comfort the robot that he had inadvertently given life to, but could only watch as the light faded from Dewey's optics. In the aftermath of the initial battle with the Decepticons, the other entity to be given life, a steering wheel, had been exterminated by soldiers sweeping the city, but Dewey had been rounded up by the Autobots and shown the care and given the knowledge a confused newborn would need. He had even chosen to stay at the Witwicky house with Bumblebee. While Sam had never considered Dewey to be his child, he had grown to consider him a member of his family. He looked over his friend's body, and noticed that when he transformed, Dewey had engaged his primary weapon. Sam wouldn't be able to perform the complex movements required to load it, but if it were already loaded, he might be able to manipulate it into firing one round.

    The mourning human looked back at the battle, and saw his friends attempting to blast the four Decepticons that they had nearly surrounded. But despite their strategic positioning, they seemed to be taking more fire than they were capable of giving. The green one with the helicopter blades on his back had started firing on Bumblebee and gotten the Autobot pinned down behind several wrecked vehicles, and was advancing on him to finish Bumblebee off. "No you don't." Spike whispered as he jumped up, ran around to the other side of Dewey's body, and used all his strength to raise Dewey's arm. Propping it on the dead robot's charred abdomen, Sam maneuvered it so that it was pointed in the general direction of the Decepticon stalking his guardian. A few more fine touches to the aim, and Sam figured it was aimed about as well as he could aim it.

    Bumblebee had nowhere near the firepower of this new Decepticon, which he heard called Tracer by the others. He was pinned down, and any attempt to turn and return fire was met with overwhelming ordinance speeding his way. Even now, as he heard the Decepticon's footfalls approaching, there was little he could do. But he had no choice; it was now or never. Bumblebee turned, leaned away from his cover, and took aim. His shoulder was blasted the moment he cleared away from his cover, and he fell back. Through the smoke and the pain he saw Tracer making his way ominously toward him to finish the execution. The Decepticon covered Bumblebee and prepared to fire, but before he could finish the Autobot off the top of his head seemed to explode. The Decepticon stumbled around, disoriented and barely able to remain on his feet. Bumblebee took this opportunity and raised his own weapon, firing repeatedly into the Decepticon's chest and face. The smoldering corpse of Tracer dropped to the ground, and Bumblebee peered into the distance to see whom he owed his life to. Seeing Sam holding Dewey's cannon made him angry at and fearful for the boy, but he was still incredibly grateful and proud of him.


    *


    Starscream and other Decepticons dominated the air, but due to the swarms of American combat aircraft coming at them, were forced to concentrate on the skies and could do little to stem the tide of Autobot dominance on the ground due to the inclusion of the four ground based Dinobots. Blitzwing transformed to tank mode and ignoring the fire from Prowl and Arcee, sped toward the oncoming prehistoric beasts. The triceratops, Slag, accepted the challenge and accelerated toward the tank at a gait that would leave the fastest of racehorses in the dust. The two warriors impacted heavily, shockwaves from their impact rippling outward as they continued pushing against one another. The triceratops began gaining ground as his trudging footfalls through the pavement and into the dirt slowly overpowered the treads of Blitzwing's M1 mode. The triple-changer reversed quickly and after putting a fair degree of distance between he and Slag, transformed to robot mode. Slag followed suit, and both unleashed energy blades and initiated a fierce duel.

    Not far from this battle, Grimlock was engaging Soundwave, both in robot mode. Though similar in size and physique, Grimlock quickly proved to be substantially stronger and quicker physically, battering the large Decepticon to the ground within seconds and sending him plowing into the building that had served as Megatron's resurrection chamber with a kick. Soundwave immediately recovered and transformed to truck mode, revealed several weapons and sped around the Dinobot, unloading on him. Grimlock transformed as well, and utilizing agility that was certainly lacking in the species he was modeled after, effectively dodged the majority of the ordinance fired at him and responded with a stream of intense flame that scorched the rear portion of Soundwave's truck mode. The large Decepticon quickly realized that he was significantly outclassed and sped away, but was immediately pursued by Sludge and Snarl in their respective beast modes. The T-rex snickered as it watched the truck desperately veer away from the rampaging quadrupeds, and then turned to survey the battle as a whole.


    *


    "Argh!" The blade cut through Ironhide's torso, just under his chest, and pushed through until several inches extended out of his back. He glared at Bludgeon, and slammed down hard on the flat of the blade sticking out of his abdomen, snapping it. Bludgeon twisted away, seemingly indifferent to the loss of one of his blades, leaving an energy residue that interfered with the sensory equipment of the three Autobots he was fighting, as he had done throughout the entire fight to keep them from accurately targeting him. Sideswipe leapt after him, but was disoriented as Bludgeon had intended and failed to land an adequate strike, catching a palm to his face and sending him stumbling back.

    Sunstreaker was nursing a wound to his own chest, but struggled to get to his feet as his brother sprang back up for another charge at the blurry enemy. Sideswipe threw a punch squarely at what he thought to be Bludgeon's head, but the powerful blow merely glanced off of the Decepticon's shoulder. Bludgeon countered by thrusting his remaining blade through the right side of Sideswipe's chest, through the entirety of his chest cavity, and out the left portion of his back. "Urgh..."

    "Swipe!" Sunstreaker screamed in horror at witnessing an injury that would certainly be terminal.

    Sideswipe grinned weakly yet acceptingly as he reached across his body and clutched the wrist of Bludgeon's sword-wielding arm with his left hand, and reached back with his right hand and grabbed the broken blade jutting from the abdomen of the kneeling Ironhide behind him, who was also fading. Sideswipe pulled the blade free of Ironhide's torso, causing the Autobot Weapons Specialist to collapse to the ground, and armed with both the broken blade and a good estimate of the location of Bludgeon's vital areas based on the knowledge of the location of the Decepticon's wrist and arm, thrust the point of the broken sword up through Bludgeon's neck, driving it nearly two feet out the back.

    The disorienting energy fields surrounding the Decepticon faded away as he struggled against the dying Autobot's grasp and his own impending doom brought on by the severe injury to his neck. The urgency of both struggles was quickly rendered useless as a larger threat presented itself in the form of Sunstreaker's blaster being pressed against the side of his head. Bludgeon attempted to plead, but the blade in his neck only allowed garbled gibberish to exit is mouth. Sunstreaker fired, and when the smoke cleared nothing remained above Bludgeon's blade-pierced neck.

    The yellow warrior immediately attended to his brother, and though it was almost impossible for him to accept, he had seen enough wounds to know that there was no coming back from this one. Sunstreaker gently laid Sideswipe onto the ground, and watched quietly as his life faded from his frame. "Goodbye Sideswipe. I may not have been the brother you deserved in life, but I swear I will avenge you many times over." Sunstreaker looked to Ironhide and assessed his injuries, and was almost relieved at realizing that like with Sideswipe, the spark core was compromised and that there would be no way of saving him. He'd much rather be killing than saving.

    Ironhide looked up into Sunstreaker's optics, back down at his wound, and then up again, nodding. "I'm done, help Prime get the cube back, and kill as many 'Cons as you can along the way." Ironhide faded and collapsed on the ground. Sunstreaker stood up and peered one last time at Sideswipe's body, which represented more than just the passing of the one being in the universe that meant more than anything else to him, it represented the passing of any restraint, mercy, or compassion that he once held. Sideswipe had been the only thing keeping Sunstreaker from becoming a complete sociopath. That obstacle was now gone.


    *


    The Aegus Guided Missile Destroyer Milius coasted just off the docks, preparing to fire on any Decepticons that presented themselves, but the destroyer was ill prepared to combat the ASDS mini-sub that exploded out of the water and transformed into Megatron before landing on its deck. The sailors on board were helpless to do anything other than scramble away from the invading monster. Megatron seemed eager to kill any humans that he could see, but he was refraining from causing any damage to the craft.

    From the shore Optimus Prime took aim and fired on the Decepticon leader, but Megatron quickly took cover behind a large artillery mount. "Your efforts are almost as valiant as they are futile, Prime! With this one last act of conscription, I will possess a warrior of unequaled power!"

    "Even the Allspark can not bestow life on something so large!" Prime bellowed unconvincingly bellowed back. "You of all Cybertronians should know that it's been tried numerous times throughout the ages, each time with either disastrous result, or no result!"

    "I know my history, Prime!" Megatron snarled back with a broad grin on his face, and then raised the cube over his head with both hands, the energy building from it forming a tremendous cloud of light that seemed to encompass the Decepticon leader. "Let's just say that my trip to the other side has given me the touch!"

    Grimlock and ran to the shoreline as well, and took aim but lowered his weapon as he acknowledged the lack of a shot. "Any suggestions, Red?"

    "Do you think you can cover the distance to the ship if you threw me?" Prime asked frantically to the Dinobot.

    Grimlock's only response was to chuckle and grab Prime. The Dinobot spun a few times to build momentum before hurling the Autobot leader high into the air toward the destroyer. Optimus whipped through the air and landed heavily on the edge of the boat, grimacing at the pain of impact but immediately pulling himself up onto the boat and sprinting toward Megatron.

    Megatron was finally satisfied with the level of power offered by the cube, and started to thrust it down upon the hull of the giant boat, but Prime's hands gripped the cube as well. "No you don't, Megatron." Prime muttered as he struggled to keep Megatron from obtaining his ultimate warrior.

    "Not so convinced of my limitations after all, eh Prime?" Megatron mocked as he pulled down, using his superior leverage to force the Allspark into contact with the boat and giving off a tremendous pulse, one powerful enough to send both leaders hurtling away. The large craft shuddered as it came to life, while Megatron leapt to his feet and started toward the cube, which was still on the deck where he had left it. An explosion on Megatron's shoulder rocked him, and he peered at Grimlock on the shore, smoking weapon in hand. His optics were torn away from Grimlock as Prime landed a flying thrust kick to his chest that knocked the Decepticon over the side of the boat and into the ocean.

    Prime then knelt down on the deck and placed his fingers on the cube, reciting an ancient and sacred greeting in Cybertronian. "Precious newborn, gift from the Allspark's limitless bounty, welcome to this existence. We grant you our love and camaraderie, and ask only that you treat others as you would be treated, and aid those in need. Your life, your frame, and your will are yours and yours alone. We only ask that your devote them to what's just." Prime then collected the cube and rose to his feet, continuing in English. "I request that you allow the human sailors to evacuate your frame before your perform any movements that could cause them harm."

    The sounded off emergency sirens and vocally ordered the crew to abandon ship, all while holding off on transforming or performing any movement, though it did seem to scan the immediate area. The scan appeared fruitless as Prime could sense the newborn accessing the Internet, which seemed a bit more fruitful as the enormous newborn severed its connection. The Autobot leader, who was able to access the sites searched, had the words 'Caspian Sea Monster' and photographs of an enormous Soviet plane etched in his head.

    Prime's thoughts were jerked away from speculation of what this giant's other vehicular mode might be by the F/A-18E blasting from the water and into the sky above, transforming back into Megatron, and landing upon him. "Give me the cube, Prime!" But before Megatron could wrestle the cube from Prime, an anti-aircraft cannon blasted the Decepticon over the bow and back into the water.

    Prime got back to his feet and nodded gratefully to the boat as sailors hurriedly evacuated. "Thank you my friend. What shall I call you?"

    A thunderous voice emerged from the metal craft. "Broadside."

    "It is good to know you Broadside." Optimus Prime replied to the ship. "I have a request to make of you. Please hold onto the Allspark for the duration of this battle, you better than anyone else are equipped to defend it against him."

    A panel slid open in the hull, one just large enough to accommodate the cube. "Place it here and I will fight to the death to keep it out of the possession of those who attack you."

    "Thank you my friend."


    *


    The Decepticons on the ground had managed to regroup, and Soundwave was doing his best to initiate a rally, but the Autobots had them effectively surrounded and outnumbered nine to five. Though upon closer inspection, it appeared not to be nine Autobots, but five Autobots under Prowl's command allied with four powerful newcomers led by the tyrannosaurus he had faced earlier standing against he, Barricade, Blitzwing, Ravage and Rumble. While it was clear from their posturing that neither Prowl nor the T-rex would submit to the other's command, they were apparently willing to work with each other and share resources to defeat the Decepticons. Aided by the increasingly damaging pot shots from the human ranks, it was quickly becoming clear that the challenge before the Decepticons would be too great to overcome without help. "Starscream, aerial assistance critically needed!" Soundwave informed the warrior in the sky.

    With the inclusion of Thundercracker and Incinerator, who had abandoned the ground fighting several minutes before, Starscream and Laserbeak had finally started routing the human fliers. The only true aerial obstacle was the pterodactyl camouflaged autonomous robotic life form, but it was barely able to hold its own against one Decepticon, and with the sky thinned of human aircraft, Starscream was quick to land a pair of missiles into the wing of the beast as its attention was fixed on Incinerator. With the removal of the last obstacle in the sky, Starscream finally decided to respond to Soundwave. "Yeah yeah, keep a lid on it, OK. We're on our way now." A moment later the four Decepticon fliers were barreling down, strafing Autobot and human positions and allowing their comrades a respite from the bombardment they had been taking, and an opportunity to fire back.

    In the water below, Broadside began increasing his speed as the last of the human sailors made their way over the side, with Optimus Prime following suit and rounding up as many humans in the water as he could so that they could ride on him as he made his way to shore. Once clear of Prime and the humans, Broadside transformed into a replica of the Korabl-Market, a cold war era ekranoplan that American Intelligence officials dubbed 'The Caspian Sea Monster'. It was the longest plane ever made, and the only one with dimensions adequate enough to accommodate Broadside's vast size, and even this KM form required a significant condensing of the destroyer. For the first time since its crash in 1980, the Caspian Sea Monster was seeing the light of day, and as Broadside accelerated and took off into the sky, it was achieving significant altitude for the first time ever.

    Starscream and the other Decepticon fliers failed to see the giant aircraft arcing into the sky above the ocean in the distance as they pelted away at the Autobots below, but within a minute their sensory systems were alerting them to the massive object coming their way. It was big, had pathetic maneuverability, and not very fast, but Broadside's plane mode had access to most of the weapons he possessed in destroyer mode, making it a flying armory that was so dense that it took little if any damage from Decepticon fire. Blitzwing transformed to harrier mode and took to the sky to aid his comrades against this flying fortress, but while it was easy to evade, it was all but impossible to bring down. And it forced the attention of the Decepticon fliers away from the ground based Autobots and humans, as well as allow the human aircraft to rally back into action.

    A wave of despair fell over Soundwave, but the mini-sub exploding from the water and transforming to Megatron as it landed in the shallows raised his spirits. "Lord Megatron, what is your command?"

    "The craft that brought you to this solar system, where is it?" Megatron, sporting significant damage to his chest where Broadside's shots had hit him earlier, asked forcefully.

    "Orbiting above the northern polar region of this planet." Soundwave replied.

    "That's a dangerous section of space." Megatron mused as he stepped onto land and advanced toward the heart of the battle, pausing for a moment to unleash his fusion cannon and fire on Slag, blasting him in the abdomen and rendering him unable to continue fighting. "Summon it now, it will either offer us an effective counter to that misbegotten giant or a way of retreating with our heads still attached." Soundwave did as commanded, but started taking hits from various sabot rounds once the signal to the ship was sent. Megatron snarled at the attack on his soldier and sprinted at the human squads firing at them. "Depilated simians! Prepare for extermination!" The giant Decepticon tore through the humans and their armored vehicles as if they were nothing. Snarl and Sludge charged him as well, but he battered and tossed them aside with marginal effort. "Illegitimate infracybertronians! Die with the fleshlings that hatched you!"

    Optimus Prime walked up through the shallows and stooped to allow the humans clinging to him to disembark onto the shore. The Autobot leader then spied Megatron beating on the two Dinobots and transformed to his fire engine mode, speeding over the beach toward the military complex where the savage brawl was going on. "Megatron!"

    Megatron tossed the barely conscious Snarl aside as he spun to face the oncoming vehicle. "Yes, let's finish this already!" Megatron braced for impact just as the truck slammed into his chest, sending him onto his back. The Decepticon twisted and hurled the transforming fire engine off of him and rose to his feet. Prime finished transforming on the ground and raised his hands defensively as Megatron started raining blows down on him. "You never really were more than a glorified constable, were you Prime?"

    Prime lunged through the assault and delivered an uppercut that sent Megatron back a couple of steps. "And you were nothing more than a deceitful megalomaniac using our good nature against us!"

    "Of course!" Megatron reached his left arm across his body and swung widely at Prime's head, slamming the base of his left fist into the side of Prime's face, sending the Autobot crashing to the ground. "Why do you think I selected the designation Decepticon for my following?"

    Prime swept Megatron's feet out from under him and threw himself upon the falling Decepticon. "You dishonor our home, you dishonor our people, you dishonor the Allspark, and you dishonor the mantle of Lord High Protector!"

    "Idiot!" Megatron threw Prime off of him and both leaders sprang to their feet. "I see that it is you who is in need of a history lesson Prime." Though intrigued by the statement, Prime put its implications out of his head as he and Megatron commenced trading blows.


    *


    The clouds parted as the mid-sized alien craft sped out of the northern stratosphere and into the atmosphere over the western coast of northern Canada. The velocity of the craft was such that the ground and ocean beneath would be seen as blurs by any occupants, had there been any. It would be only a few more minutes before it reached the southern California coast to which it had been summoned.


    *


    The two rider-less motorcycles sped around the battlefield, but the progress of the Harley was immediately halted as the foot of a T-rex slammed onto the rear portion of the bike, crushing it to the ground. The enormous maw of the beast quickly lowered and clamped down on the front of the vehicle, bit into it, and tore it in half. "Eeewwwwww...." Rumble's gasp of pain was his final utterance. Ravage, the other motorcycle, sped away, and once an adequate distance from Grimlock, transformed to panther mode and tore into a human tank and the soldiers around it.

    Grimlock watched the mechanical feline's destructive attack, but ultimately determined he would prefer larger targets. The T-rex turned and watched as Prime and Megatron battered each other. Prime was holding his own, but Megatron definitely appeared to be in possession of the upper hand. Time to let everyone know who sat at the top of the food chain.

    Sam made his way through the rubble and made his way to the contingent of Sector Seven agents that he had arrived with. Both he and Simmons watched Grimlock step off of Rumble's rear remains and march toward the fight between the two leaders. "Did you see that?" Simmons exclaimed excitedly. "He just bit that thing in half!" Smiling and wringing his hands, Simmon's followed the Dinobot leader's progress with his wide eyes. "That's my boy!"

    Megatron downed Prime with a cross but the Autobot was clearly not finished as he rolled away and quickly got back up to a crouching position. "As reluctant a warrior as you are, I must admit you are persistent, and not altogether unskilled."

    "Don't you ever get tired of taunting the B crew?" Grimlock asked as he completed his transformation to robot mode. "How about stepping up to your own weight class for once?"

    Megatron extended his right arm, and Laserbeack swooped down and perched upon the top of his forearm. The bird then transformed into artillery cannon mode and fired on Grimlock. Megatron sneered as the Dinobot stumbled back. "Wait your turn with the other presumptuous twits, Halfling! I promise I'll attend to you once I've dispatched Prime." Megatron then waved Laserbeak off of his arm, brought his hands together and drew forth his own fusion cannon, blasting Grimlock again in the chest, this time sending the Dinobot hurtling back. Laserbeak transformed back to bird mode and tore into the sky. "Now, where were we Prime?"

    Optimus feinted a left jab realistically enough for Megatron to react to it, leaving the Decepticon open for a right cross that sent him back several steps. "Right here!" Prime drew his own cannon and fired on Megatron's already scorched chest, sending him to the ground. "This isn't some sort of contest between you and I Megatron, I'm here to save lives!"

    "Self righteous fool!" Megatron drew forth his weapon again and fired, but Prime twisted out of the way of the blast. Megatron jumped up and battered Prime in the side of the head with his still extended cannon. "The term contest implies a challenge!" Megatron then delivered a snap kick to Prime's face. "Believe me, you are far from that!"

    "Then let me offer one!" Grimlock bellowed as he slammed into Megatron and tackled him to the ground. The two massive warriors struggled for a few seconds before a shadow fell over the battlefield. All the combatants looked up into the sky at the spacecraft above them, and watched as it lowered and hovered over the water a few dozen yards off the shore.

    The Caspian Sea Monster lowered and skidded on the surface of the water, transforming to destroyer mode and locking its weapons on the craft. "Friend or foe Prime?"

    "Knock it out of the sky, Broadside!" Prime yelled as he rose to his feet. The large boat blasted away at the slightly larger spacecraft and pulled forward to circle around it, firing the entire time. As Broadside got to the rear of the craft, the Decepticon transport opened up on him with its own cannons, puncturing Broadside's hull and causing other forms of vast damage. One large explosion caused the giant Transformer to capsize, and the destroyer sped away, out to deeper ocean, and disappeared beneath the waves.

    "Decepticons, to the ship!" Megatron bellowed as he pushed away from Grimlock and sprinted toward the beach. Starscream, Incinerator, Blitzwing and Thundercracker all transformed to jet modes and sped toward the craft. Megatron transformed to jet mode as well and headed to the ship as well. "Regroup on the craft! We'll use it to haul away the giant's corpse and then retrieve the cube!" Prime gripped his cannon and repeatedly fired on Megatron, blasting portions of his wing apart and sending him crashing into the Pacific. "No!"

    "You'll not claim the Allspark again, Megatron!" Prime insisted.

    Laserbeak cruised by him, came up behind Soundwave, and carried the large Decepticon to the spacecraft, dodging weapons fire as he made his way. "Uh, what about us?" Barricade muttered as he and Ravage watched their comrades retreating.

    "We're on our own!" Ravage growled as he transformed, initiated his holographic rider, and sped away.

    "Great, once again I'm stranded with a pet!" Barricade grumbled as he transformed and followed the motorcycle.

    Laserbeak soared through the open side hatch of the ship and dropped Soundwave to the floor, who quickly made his way to the cockpit. Starscream, Incinerator, Thundercracker, Blitzwing and Laserbeak all fired on their enemies on the shore and in the air, given a fair degree of cover by the walls of the spacecraft they were in. Suddenly the surface of the water beneath them blasted open and the mini-sub shot into the air, transforming to Megatron as it did. The Decepticon leader engaged his foot thrusters, but Prime had anticipated his emergence from the water and was quick to target him and blast away at his propulsors. Megatron's ability to fly had been stolen from him, but he had gotten high enough to reach up and grasp the floor of the entranceway. "Hah, once again Prime, insufficient!"

    Something else exploded from the water in the distance, and a head, shoulders and chest rose from the surface of the water. Standing one hundred twenty feet in height, and being almost as wide as he was tall, Broadside walked forward toward the enemy ship, raising his weapon-laden arms and blasting away at the lower portion of the craft. It quickly became apparent that the ship wasn't what he was aiming for, as Megatron's legs, waist and lower torso started jerking violently from the barrage. "No!" One of Megatron's hands lost its grip, leaving only the claw-like fingers of his other hand holding him to the ship. "Starscream! Starscream help me!" The desperate leader called out to his officer.

    Starscream lowered his hand as if to help, but stopped short by a few inches. The two locked optics, and Starscream smiled as Megatron's legs and lower body were blasted to pieces. "Your loss will be mourned, mighty Megatron." The usurper then casually swiped Megatron's fingers away and watched him fall to the ocean, taking several more shots from each direction before hitting the water. Starscream then stood upright and yelled out to the other Decepticons. "Damn, I just missed him!" The broad Decepticon flier then walked forward toward the bridge. "We've got no choice but to retreat Soundwave! There's no way Megatron could survive that beating, and with the giant back in play, we won't fare much better."

    Soundwave turned his head and peered at the smug Starscream, who was just walking into the cockpit, but realized that he was right. They needed to get out of there. But while it was unlikely that Megatron survives, Soundwave would make sure that his dream would live on. The darkly colored Decepticon took the ship into the clouds, and a few moments later was leaving Earth's orbit.


    *


    The giant Broadside moved slowly through the water. He had been dense in his plane mode, but in his even smaller robot mode, he was just barely shy of being solid, and as such, his movements were very slow and lumbering. But he finally reached the shallows where he knelt down and extended his forearm to Optimus Prime who was standing on the shore. A compartment on his forearm slid open and with a flick of his wrist he sent the Allspark flying out toward Prime, who caught it. "Thank you my friend."

    Broadside smiled. "No, thank you. The spark given me seemed corrupted somehow, though that corruption was incomplete. Your words gave me clarity, granted me the knowledge to know that I could dispel this corruption and determine my own actions. I am in your debt."

    "How about you fulfill that debt by fishing out Megatron's corpse?" Prowl asked as he walked away from Sunstreaker, who was staring expressionlessly down at his brother's body.

    "Don't bother." Sam offered as he walked toward the Autobots. "He's not there anymore." He then looked up at Prime. "And he's not dead. I can't explain how, but I have some weird connection to him."

    "When you merged the cube with Megatron's spark, an imprint of both entities was left on you." Alpha Trion said as he too approached Optimus Prime. "While you do not have an affinity to it the way that Megatron does, it is something I suggest we keep to ourselves, as knowledge of this would still make you a target of the Decepticons."

    "Agreed." Prime said as he looked down at the cube. "And we should keep the Allspark off of Earth and Cybertron until we are able to find and secure Megatron. As long as he is stranded here, there will be no way for the Decepticons to track it, and outside of these two planets, they would not have any idea of where to begin the search."

    Alpha Trion looked down at the ground and rubbed his chin worriedly. "That may not be the case, Optimus Prime."

    "Explain."

    Alpha Trion thought for a moment before answering. "Megatron, like all Lord High Protectors before him, was selected because he was attuned to the Allspark, was highly intelligent, rational, and unrelenting in his service to the Protectorate."

    Prowl stepped forward. "You're implying that these traits, particularly the attunement to the cube, are may be shared by someone else, someone that the Decepticons might be able to make use of, is that it?"

    "I am not implying that there MAY be another with these traits," Trion replied. "I am telling you that there is already another with these traits, all of these traits."

    "Another candidate considered for the office of Lord High Protector?" Prime asked.

    "Another Lord High Protector." Alpha Trion answered shamefully.

    "Impossible." Prowl muttered.

    "All former Lord High Protectors are long dead, Megatron was selected upon the accidental demise of his predecessor." Prime stated, just as skeptical as Prowl. "And even if any were alive, all save Megatron were honorable and loyal to the citizens of our world. None would ever go along with the Decepticon betrayal."

    Alpha Trion sadly shook his head. "I wish that were true, but alas it is not. His reign has been stricken from the historical data tracks, but there was another who held Megatron's rank in the distant past, one which possessed Megatron's assets, all of his assets, both physical and mental, as well as his sensory gifts. He also possessed Megatron's ambition, and his well hidden apathy toward all other living things; and like with Megatron, he nearly destroyed Cybertron in his attempt to claim the Allspark."

    "Why was I not notified of this?" Optimus demanded. "This sounds like something that the Prime should be made aware of, does it not?"

    "It was the darkest chapter of our history, we felt it best left forgotten." Alpha Trion apologetically answered.

    "And by forgetting it, you allowed it to happen again." Sam spoke up.

    "Provided all this is true..." Prowl chimed in. "How is it that he is still alive?"


    ***


    The Decepticon ship emerged from the wormhole and sped forward into the black of space. "I demand to know where you are taking us!" Starscream bellowed at Soundwave as he piloted the craft to a large asteroid orbiting a gaseous planet.

    "Yeah, Soundwave, I may have been born today, but even I recognize that you're acting a little wonky." Blitzwing commented.

    "Penal colony designation: Void." Soundwave replied.

    "Our location isn't even listed in this ship's charts." Incinerator announced. "Are you sure that's more than just an asteroid?"

    "Affirmative." Soundwave replied.

    "How do you know?" Starscream questioned skeptically. "And provided you're right, how is it that you knew of its location?"

    "Data pulled from the mind of Alpha Trion." Soundwave's melodic voice responded.

    "Uh, forgive me if this is a stupid question, born today and all, but who exactly do you think is here?" Thundercracker asked.

    Soundwave ignored the question and piloted down to a hovering position just above the surface of the asteroid. Suddenly, two rock-encrusted forms broke free of a large mountain on the asteroid and started moving forward. As the rocky sediment broke free from the forms and fell from them it became clear that they were humanoid in shape, and stood over ninety-feet in height. Soundwave powered up the weapons and spit forth countless rounds of ordinance at the oncoming giants. "Starscream, exit the ship and lead the others in an aerial attack on these guardians."

    "You do not issue orders to me!" Starscream barked. "I am in command!"

    "Blitzwing, lead an aerial attack on the guardians." Ignoring Starscream's outburst, Soundwave reissued the command to someone else.

    "I'll lead the attack, but you and I will be having a serious discussion when this is over!" Starscream snarled as he marched back toward the exit hatch, the others close behind him.

    Soundwave continued directing the ship's firepower and a moment later the five fliers shot out and engaged the two giant guardians. It took several minutes, but the combined firepower of the ship and the flying Decepticons eventually overwhelmed and destroyed the giant drones. Soundwave lowered the craft to the ground and walked out of the ship. The other Decepticons transformed and followed him to the mountain that the guardians had been standing against for many millions of years. "I demand you let me know what it is that you're doing, Soundwave!" Starscream barked.

    Once again Soundwave ignored the air warrior and approached an indentation in the mountain. The large Decepticon peered at the rocky wall for several minutes, as if attempting to determine something, and then slammed his fist into one particular location. Rock exploded away to reveal a control panel of sorts. Soundwave proceeded to punch a thirty-eight-digit code into the keypad, which caused a mouthpiece to extend out from the control panel. The Decepticon leaned forward, and utilizing a perfect duplication of Alpha Trion's voice, said the following into it. "Voice recognition Alpha Trion, elder designation A-three, access code D forty-nine."

    With that the rock face before them started to crumble as metal doors that had been covered in rock began opening. Several moments passed before the large doors opened all the way, and Soundwave slowly let the others inside. Activating lights on his frame, Soundwave illuminated the room they had entered, revealing that the vast majority of the large room consisted of an enormous block of ice. The Decepticon's peered intently into the ice and noted a figure trapped deep within, one roughly the size of Soundwave or Megatron. "What is that?" Blitzwing asked.

    Soundwave quietly stared at the figure for a moment before replying. "Shockwave."
     
  20. rerunwatson99

    rerunwatson99 Well-Known Member

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    WOW........THAT IS AWESOME!!!!
    Yeah, i thought you weren't gonna finish this story...but im glad that you did!!!
     

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