|05-27-2003, 09:33 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 1: Renewed Aggressions
Author comments: After watching He-Man do a ‘do-over’ I started thinking how a ‘do-over’ Transformers series might go. So, while bored at work I started writing and, well, came up with this.
A few things to note: Megatron is a tank. While I decided he should keep his original coloration (for the most part) I realize that there is no way to have him be a realistic handgun. Prime is a cab-over-engine semi truck again, but this time he had a large sleeper section overhead. Reflector is still a camera, but is only one robot, not three. Soundwave is a Bose Wave radio (still his blue coloration though). Laserbeak and Buzzsaw are camcorders (like with Armada), Ravage is a full sized television camera, Rumble is a portable CD player and Frenzy is a portable MP3 player. The Seekers have been upgraded to F-22 Raptors. Beyond that, everyone is pretty much the same, at least for this episode.
* * *
The footsteps could be heard all the way down the hall, indicating that the newcomer that would soon be turning the corner and coming into view was very large. They were also coming at a brisk pace, letting the two Autobot guards standing outside the control room know that whoever it was that was approaching was on more than just a leisurely stroll.
The guards readied themselves for potential hostilities, even though the chances of that were extremely unlikely. They were deep within the Iacon Command Center, and had the Decepticons attacked they probably would have known about it long before. But despite the improbability that it was a Decepticon approaching them, the guards prepared for the worst nonetheless.
Much to the relief, and surprise, of the guards, Optimus Prime turned the corner and continued his march toward them. His frame was riddled with scorches, dents, lacerations and missing chunks of armor, but if he were in any pain he showed no sign of it. In unison the guards saluted, to which Prime simply nodded. "At ease."
At his approach the door that was flanked by the guards hissed open, allowing the battle weary commander to enter the room. Sitting at a round table in the center of the room were Ultra Magnus, Prowl, Perceptor and Jazz, all of whom were startled to see their returning leader. Magnus quickly stood and addressed Prime. "Sir, we didn't expect you to be returning so soon. The preliminary reports from the southern walls of Iacon indicated that it would probably take you another few weeks to ward off Shockwave's invasion force."
Prime nodded as he made his way to the head of the table and took his seat. "Our defense held better than we could have hoped for, and Shockwave saw the futility of his efforts sooner than most Decepticon warlords would have. Megatron may have no problem wasting energon on a hopeless cause, but his second in command seems to be more frugal."
Prowl leaned forward. "It's funny that you should mention energon." Prowl slid a data pad that was laying in front of him across the table to Prime. "This pad has all of the details, but the long and the short of it is that roughly one hundred fifty vorns ago Sentinel Prime sent out high-speed, long range space probes in an attempt to locate a new supply of energy.
The hopes of finding an alternative source of energy on Cybertron had been all but exhausted, and the remaining supply would only be able to sustain the planet for a few thousand more vorns. That estimate was made before the war with the Decepticons. Needless to say, the amount of energon we have left will be exhausted much sooner than previously expected."
Prime lifted the data pad and punched a few keys. "Not quite soon enough to be considered proactive, but a very wise move by Sentinel Prime nonetheless."
Prowl continued. "It seems your predecessor’s wisdom has paid off. We received a signal from one of the probes nearly two weeks ago."
Prime put the datapad back on the table. "Another planet with energon?"
"Not exactly." Perceptor had never addressed Optimus Prime before, but despite his intimidation he continued. "Like most life-bearing planets, this one is made up exclusively by carbon-based life forms. So while it has no energon, it is loaded with fossil-fuels that can be refined and converted to energon."
Prime shook his head. "I will not bring our war to another world for it to wipe out other civilizations."
Prowl quickly responded. "That's what makes this planet perfect. While it's teaming with life, there is no civilization. No cities, no organized societies, in fact, the probe could not find any indication of a species capable of higher level thought. No sentient beings. For all intents and purposes it's uninhabited."
Prime nodded. "Where is this planet located?"
Magnus replied. "The outer rim of the galaxy. Fortunately Perceptor has been working on artificial worm-hole generation technology for some time now and has built a prototype generator into one of our cargo freighters…” Magnus touched some buttons on a data pad in front of him. “…The Ark."
Prime thought silently for a few moments, before finally addressing his companions. "Alright then. I will select a small crew to accompany me to this planet. We will need to procure enough energon to fuel the trip and the return trip. Energon, which we do not have."
Jazz grinned and spoke up. "We should have that problem covered in time for the launch."
Unseen by the Autobots, a small, winged shaped hid in the shadows.
Kup, Blurr, Gearstripper, Skidmark and Antilock sped through the catacombs toward subterranean Polyhex, leaving miles and miles of siphoning cable behind them. The plan, though nearly suicidal, was simple enough. Megatron kept millions of tons of energon beneath Darkmount. The idea was to break into the fuel reserves from underneath and siphon the energon directly into the Ark's fuel cells.
While the Decepticons considered an attack from beneath to be extremely unlikely, they still posted surveillance cameras in the tunnels leading to Darkmount. That was where Blurr came in. An Autobot created with an abnormal and seemingly unstable spark, Blurr was capable of moving faster than many Cybertronians could see. Rushing past each camera, Blurr would then re-wire the cameras to play looped footage of empty tunnels while the other Autobots carried the siphoning cable ever closer to Darkmount.
"Finally." Gearstripper looked at the hand-held energy reader. "We've got to be underneath, this thing's going haywire."
Antilock and Skidmark lifted a pair of energy-saws out from the back of Kup and turned them on. Taking one last look at each other they then set to cutting through the ceiling.
After nearly two hours Skidmark finally broke through. With extreme caution Antilock helped him cut a hole through the ceiling/floor, and silently lower the cut metal down to the ground.
All optics then turned to Blurr. Blurr lifted the intake valve of the siphoning cable out from the back of Kup and vanished into the bowels of Polyhex. The energon reserve chamber was thankfully devoid of Decepticons, and Blurr quickly attached the siphoning cable to one of the immense energon tanks. Some twists and a few punched buttons later energon was flowing freely through the cable.
Blurr turned to leave, only to be confronted by a tall, orange Seeker. "Prepare to die Autobot." The cone headed warrior lifted his arm-mounted rifles toward the sleek Autobot.
" Trustme,youdon'twanttodischargethatweapondownherewithallthisenergon. Imaginetheexplosion."
"See that ceiling overhead. It's forty feet of solid Cybertronium. Even this blast wouldn't do more than lightly rattle Darkmount."
"All Decepticons would gladly die for Megatron.” The Seeker’s optics shifted toward the energon tanks. “But then again, the loss of so much energon would greatly hurt the Decepticon cause. And I have little doubt that I could kill you with my bare hands without any trouble." The Seeker smiled, lowered his rifles and started walking away. "Just let me sound the alarm first."
In a flash he was tackled to the floor. He whirled around and swung where the blue Autobot was, but he only hit emptiness. Blurr was standing several feet away. "Ican'tletyouhitthatalarmonthewall."
The orange Decepticon simply smiled and raised his wrist to his face. "Alright, I won't hit the alarm on the wall." His cheerful demeanor changed as he spoke into his wrist. "Autobot intruder in the subterranean energon chamber!"
Blurr gasped in terror. The grumpy old voice of Kup came from behind him. "I never thought that I'd be telling you to hurry uuuuhhhhh slag! We've been discovered."
Gearstripper, Antilock and Skidmark quickly followed Kup into the chamber. The Seeker scrambled to his feet and took a defensive posture. "Which Autobot dies first?"
Kup raised his gun, but Antilock, standing to Kup's left, pushed the gun down with his left hand. "We can't fire in here, but...." Antilock quickly spun his body around, and using the energy-saw that he had in his right hand sliced through the Seeker's shoulder-crests and head.
The lifeless orange form fell to the ground just as footsteps could be heard coming down a stairwell from across the room.
Skidmark looked at Kup. "How long do we need to hold them off for?"
Kup shook his head. "At least another fifteen minutes. That Ark's a big ship. But there's only one way for them to come in, so we might be able to do this." With that Kup charged toward the door that led to the stairwell the Decepticon reinforcements were coming down. "As long as they're not in this room we should be able to shoot at them without detonating the energon." At which point all five Autobots began firing up the stairwell, hope welling up in them that they might just complete their task and maybe make it out of there alive. Kup, however, couldn't help but wonder why there would only be one guard for the Decepticon energon cache, and why the reinforcements wouldn't be using the elevator to descend en mass. Those thoughts were pushed aside as the Decepticons began firing back.
Prime looked over the crew that he had chosen to make this journey with him. With the exception of Ironhide, Prowl, Brawn and Ratchet it was a very young crew. But all had proven themselves in some way or another.
"Prime, the energon is loading into the Ark's fuel cells. Kup did it!" Prime nodded at Red Alert and tried to look happy. Kup seemed to have succeeded, but it was virtually impossible that he and his team would make it out of Darkmount alive. Prime only hoped that this journey would be worth their sacrifice.
Prime looked back at his crew. "Autobots, load up. We're taking off once the fuel cells are loaded." The Autobots quickly loaded up the ark with the necessary supplies and then strapped themselves in for the trip.
Ultra Magnus walked over to Prime. "The cells will be full in a few minutes. You should probably board yourself."
Prime nodded. "You're in charge while I'm gone Magnus. Fight well, fight bravely, but most importantly, stay alive. Once we return with the energy reserves we should then be able to take the war to the Decepticons, and eventually win. So just hold out until then."
"I'll do my best Prime."
Wheelie came running up to the two leaders. "Sirs, I've got Kup on the radio! He's in trouble!"
Prime and Magnus ran to the communications station. "Kup, this is Magnus, can you read me?"
"Loud and clear Magnus. You should be receiving the energon now."
"We are, Kup. Well done."
"Sir, we were discovered and some fighting broke out. Antilock, Gearstripper and Skidmark were all destroyed. I sent Blurr ahead to get word to you, as my earlier attempts to reach you were jammed. Hopefully you'll be seeing him shortly."
"Good thinking Kup, we'll keep an eye out for him. No lets concentrate on getting you home."
"That's not going to happen, at least not today. Blurr might be able to outrun the Con's, but I can't. I'm going deeper into the catacombs and hide out there until this blows over. It's my only option."
Magnus looked at Prime, who nodded in return. Magnus turned back to the speaker. "That's a good idea Kup. Just get here when you can. Over and out."
Prime walked toward the ship, Magnus jogging behind him to catch up. "I sent them on a suicide mission. I'm no better than Megatron."
"Sir, you're a military leader. There's no way to fight a war without losing some of your soldiers."
"No Magnus, it was a suicide mission. The fact that they succeeded and two Autobots made it out alive means that I guessed right and Megatron knew they were coming."
Magnus was confused. "Sir, I don't understand."
Prime turned to his second. "After our initial discussion concerning this expedition there was a small 'blip' detected on the radar traveling away from the base."
Magnus nodded. "I remember. So?"
"While defending the southern wall of Iacon I noted the Decepticons using small flying robots primarily for espionage. When I saw the 'blip' I had a hunch that it could be one of these small Decepticons. Our security isn't as tight as it should be."
Magnus, still confused, nodded. "So you think that Megatron is aware of this mission?"
"Yes. Megatron allowed Kup's team to siphon the energon and fill our ship."
Prime turned to Magnus. "He may have enough energon to conquer Cybertron, but his ambition is greater than that. He has aspirations of a galactic empire, and he needs more fuel to achieve that than his vault contains. He wants us to find this fossil-rich planet." Prime stepped onto the boarding ramp of the Ark. "He will either wait until we return and try to steal our bounty, or he'll follow us there. Either way he needs us to launch."
Magnus was stunned. "But if he's on to us, why are you still going?"
Prime looked up at the Ark. "This trip has to be made Magnus. Without this energon we have little hope of defeating the Decepticons, and this planet-wide famine will only get worse and worse until Cybertron can no longer support life." Prime then turned back to Magnus and put his hand on his shoulder. "Besides, the Ark is more heavily armed than any transport vessel should be. We may just catch Megatron off guard."
Prime started walking up the ramp. "But none of that changes the fact that I sent Skidmark, Gearstripper, Antilock and probably Kup to their deaths."
Magnus nodded, but realizing more so than Prime that not only was the sacrifice necessary, it was gladly accepted by those that had made it.
Red Alert called out to Magnus. "Sir, the energy cells are full. We can take off whenever you're ready."
Magnus nodded. "Clear the area and begin ignition sequence."
* * *
"Clearing Cyberton's atmosphere now sir." Jazz called out to Prime. The launch was uneventful. No Decepticon attack, no equipment malfunctions, nothing but smooth sailing. This of course worried the Autobot leader to no end.
They would be far enough away from Cybertron to generate a wormhole within a few minutes. Hopefully Wheeljack had managed to figure out how to use Perceptor’s latest masterpiece by now. Prime looked over to the resident tinkerer. "Wheeljack, is that thing ready."
"Yes sir, just give the word."
Megatron had several space-faring attack cruisers capable of making short work of the Ark, but Prime knew that the Decepticons would refrain from attacking at least until the worm hole was created. Once that happened all bets were off. Prime hesitantly called out to Jazz. "How much longer until we reach a safe distance?"
"Riiiiigggggghhhhhttttt.............now. We've cleared the required distance. Go ahead and use that worm-hole digger."
Prime nodded to Wheeljack. Wheeljack hit some buttons and pulled some levers. Suddenly three blue beams shot out from the front of the ship and connected several miles in front of it. The three beams then separated again, leaving a 'hole' in their wake. It was now or never. "Punch it Jazz."
The gold colored craft shot into the 'hole' and disappeared. Seconds later a larger, black craft streaked into the now collapsing 'hole' and disappeared as well.
* * *
"I don't know about you Prahme, but that thing don't appear to be teaming with life to me."
Prime smiled beneath his mask. "No Ironhide, this is the planet's solitary moon. The planet is behind it."
"And it looks like we've got something behind us, Prime." Prime quickly looked over to Sideswipe at the radar screen. He turned and met Prime's gaze. "It's a ship, definitely Cybertronian in origin. Permission to man the weapons consol?"
Prime nodded. Sideswipe leapt from the radar station and sprinted to the weapons consol, tossing Bumblebee, who was sitting there aside. Bumblebee started to protest, but realized that even he preferred to have Sideswipe there instead of him.
The firefight commenced as the two ships cleared the moon and headed toward their large blue destination. Despite Sideswipe's skill, the never-ending Decepticon volleys soon overwhelmed the Ark. Prime, knowing that they could neither out-run nor out-fight the Decepticon ship stood and prepared his Autobots as best he could. "Autobots, prepared for close range combat. The Decepticons are going to be boarding momentarily."
With that an enormous metal tube burst into the Autobot vessel. Prime took one last look at the view screen before charging against the Decepticon onslaught that would be coming through that tube any second now. The view screen showed him that they were entering the planet's atmosphere at an alarming rate.
The tube door opened, unleashing a torrent of Decepticons. Thundercracker and Mixmaster charged in, batting aside Bluestreak and Prowl. They looked up to see who was next, and unfortunately for them saw Sideswipe and Sunstreaker charging at them. The two Decepticons found themselves face down and getting pummeled almost instantly.
The other Decepticons were having and easier go of it. Starscream blasted away at Jazz, Hound and Brawn as they took cover behind the navigation consol. Soundwave was confronted by Trailbreaker, Hoist, Cliffjumper and Mirage, but a mental command later and Rumble, Frenzy, Lazerbeak and Buzzsaw were attacking the Autobots. Ravage ejected as well, but charged the front and leapt onto Ironhide.
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker tossed aside the limp frames of Thundercracker and Mixmaster and turned back to the control room to see whom to attack next. Unfortunately for them, a hulking chrome frame walked up behind them, grabbed them, and proceeded to smash them together until they were unconscious. Megatron had joined the fray.
Prime charged through the chaos, throwing aside a couple of Constructicons to get to the Decepticon leader. Megatron caught sight of his opposite number and hurled Sideswipe's inert form at him. Prime dodged the red projectile and continued his charge.
Sideswipe's body slammed hard into the navigation panel, causing the Ark to lurch upward and alter its vertical descent to the planet to a nearly horizontal trajectory. The tube connecting the two ships was unable to withstand the strain and the Decepticon warship tore free and careened off into the distance.
The combatants onboard the Ark were all thrown off balance momentarily as the Ark's computer, Teletran 1, attempted to make the necessary adjustments to the ship's interior gravity to account for the sudden change in direction. Megatron and Prime, both having been thrown to the ground, rose to their feet and prepared to tear each other to pieces. The moment didn't arrive, as the Ark slammed head first into the side of a mountain.
* * *
The new planet has circled the star that it is bound to four million times, and though the world around them has changed significantly, for the occupants of the Ark time has stopped. Until now. The mountain rumbled. Then louder.
Suddenly the peak exploded, sending rock, ash and other debris in every direction for miles. The violent shaking caused a rockslide, revealing the aft portion of the immense spacecraft.
Inside the Ark, bodies, debris and equipment were thrown about the control room. The infirmary was in a similar state, but only two bodies bounced against the medical equipment. Those of Ratchet and Skywarp, who four million years ago had found themselves in this room after the latter had teleported into the infirmary to attack the Autobots from another direction, and to his sadistic delight found the Autobot physician.
The tremors subsided, allowing the formerly dynamic bodies to settle into place. In Skywarp’s case he settled in a repair chamber. The control panel for the chamber buzzed to life. Screens popped on displaying Skywarp’s inner physiology, and assessing how best to repair it. Though not self aware, Teletran 1 did comprehend the alien environment and amount of time that had passed and came to the conclusion that the patient would more than likely require an alternate form that was better suited for the current situation.
A probe was dispatched to discover an appropriate alternative mode for the injured Cybertronian. Within a few minutes the probe came upon and scanned a F-22 Raptor flying overhead. The data was instantly transmitted back to Teletran 1 and the repairs to Skywarp commenced.
Within a few minutes Skywarp was repaired, altered, and conscious. Disoriented, he stumbled out of the repair chamber, threw Ratchet's inert body aside and slowly made his way to the control room. Even under ideal conditions Skywarp was not very bright. So in his confused stupor he completely failed to realize that he had tossed Ratchet's body in such a way that the Autobot Medic's legs and waist were laying in the repair chamber. As Skywarp left the room metal probes emerged from the repair chamber and hoisted the rest of Ratchet's frame into it.
* * *
Skywarp needed to sit down a couple of times before finally reaching the control room of the Ark. There he found Megatron, and proceeded to drag his unconscious leader back to the infirmary. Skywarp watched as the repair chamber reconfigured the mighty Megatron into a robotic form that would be compatible with his new Terran form, an M1 Abrams Tank. Though still retaining his primarily chrome coloration, Megatron now had darkly colored camouflage markings over much of his body. His fusion cannon, which was formerly forearm-mounted, now rested on his shoulder. Though different, he was still Megatron.
It took nearly two hours for all of the Decepticons to be rebuilt and revived. Megatron addressed them in the Ark's control room. "Fate has decided to bring us back from death's clutches, while allowing our hated enemies to continue rusting into oblivion. If there were any doubts of our destiny to rule the universe, they are gone now."
The Decepticons let out a cheer.
Megatron smiled and nodded. "While many of you were being repaired I took the opportunity to study up on this planet. All of the life is carbon based," snickers could be heard. "Yes, that means nothing but squishy flesh-bags. There is only one life form that has any level of intelligence. In the language most common in this region of the planet they are called human beings, or humans for short. These humans inhabit virtually every section of this planet, having divided it into different regional sections called countries. The most powerful and influential of these countries is the one that we reside in currently, The United States of America. Though considered the planets one great super-power, it's military might would fall within a matter of weeks to a significant Decepticon onslaught." Megatron paused and smiled again. "In short, this world is ours for the taking."
The other Decepticons cheered again. Megatron raised his hand to silence them. "I almost forgot the most important part. These humans are not completely without value. When we first followed the Autobots to this planet, before these humans even existed, we expected there to be vast amounts of unrefined fossil fuels, where there was and still is. But these humans have come and refined much of this raw fuel for their own needs. It's not to the level of energon, but they've saved us a few steps. One of these 'refineries' is only a few miles away." Megatron's smile took and evil curl. "Now lets refuel ourselves, return and grind the Autobots to powder, and then renew our conquest of the universe." More cheers were elicited from the Decepticons as Megatron led them out of the wrecked spacecraft.
Once they had left a boxy white form quietly made it's way into the control room. "This isn't good." Ratchet took Prime by the wrists and dragged him toward the infirmary.
* * *
Spike Witwicky jogged along side the stretcher that was carrying his father. "You're gonna be O.K., Pop. Just stay strong." Having finished school for the summer just a few weeks before, Spike was now finding himself more and more bored with each passing day. So much so that this morning he had decided to accompany his father to work at the oil refinery and try to help out. Today had been anything but boring.
Sparkplug Witwicky had had enough of his son’s dramatics. "I know Spike. Leave me alone and see to some of the others. I've just got some broken ribs is all." Though not life threatening, the injuries were very painful. "Now get outta here!"
Many of the other rig workers hadn't fared nearly as well. Sparkplug had heard a comment from one of the Paramedics that the Morticians would be putting a heck of a lot more overtime in than the Doctors. Though a thoughtless statement, it was accurate. The attack was savage, and dozens of men were killed in the first few seconds alone.
Initially it seemed like a terrorist attack, then a military assault from a foreign invader. Then Sparkplug saw the impossible. A fighter jet speeding toward them, decelerating to an impossibly slow speed, changing shape to a nearly thirty-foot robot, and then landing gracefully on the platform. The other vehicles transformed to giant robots as well, including a silver tank that introduced itself as the new leader of Earth. That was when the floor under Sparkplugs feet shook enough to send him flying and slamming into a ladder, breaking some ribs and knocking him out. Fortunately his son Spike had managed to get out of the fray with only bumps and bruises.
Spike watched, as his father was loaded into the ambulance. He had seen the day's events unfold, but he still had no idea of what had happened.
* * *
The new form was growing on Megatron. The design was archaic, but that mattered little in term of his overall power and performance. And it was a breath of fresh air, as he had been in his previous form since his inception eons ago.
He led his freshly charged Decepticons up the mountainside to the Ark, where they would eliminate Optimus Prime and his lackeys once and for all. Starscream and the other Seekers streaked overhead, rounded the still-smoking mountain, transformed and landed a few feet ahead. One of the many benefits to Prime's upcoming demise would be that Megatron would no longer have any use for Starscream. A treacherous back stabber, the only thing that had kept him alive thus far was his effectiveness in battle. But without the great Autobot leader to stand in the Decepticon's way, Starscream was no longer essential.
Megatron transformed as he reached the Seekers, and all other Decepticons followed suit with the exception of Long Haul, who was carrying a heaping load of energon cubes in his bed. Starscream strutted over to Megatron. "I suppose you're going to call dibs on killing Prime."
"I think I've earned the right, Starscream." Megatron replied tersely. He was already imagining the incineration of Prime's head with his first shot, and then turning on Starscream and incinerating his conniving head with the second shot.
"Of course you have Megatron. I only wish to watch you as you do it."
A voice boomed from above them. "Sorry to disappoint you Starscream, but that's one show that you're going to miss." The Decepticons turned to see Prime and the Autobots exiting the Ark.
Megatron snarled, but slowly the snarl worked its way into a wicked grin. "I see you've managed to pull yourself out of the slumber, eh Prime? Well no matter. You and your troops are pitifully low on energon, while my Decepticons are fully charged and loaded to bear."
Prime nodded. "Perhaps, Megatron. But I'm pretty sure I have enough power for one shot." With that Prime leveled his rifle at Megatron, then shifted his aim to Long Haul. The shot burst forth and buried itself in the large pile of energon cubes, creating a massive explosion a moment later.
Long Haul was reduced to an unrecognizable pile of metal, barely clinging to life. The other Decepticons had also been caught in the blast, a half dozen of which appeared to be injured to the point of incapacitation. Megatron growled. "Well played Prime, but it won't be enough to save you!" With that he began marching toward the Autobots with his remaining Decepticons following closely behind.
Prime, still holding his rifle, simply crossed his arms. "I guess not, but THIS might be enough to stop you." With that the Ark's aft cannons lowered into view and began spitting forth a deadly barrage of laser fire. All of the Decepticons except Megatron scattered to avoid the blasts. Fearlessly, Megatron continued marching toward his ancient enemy, but was sent flying backward as a laser caught him in the chest.
Only slightly damaged, but realizing the futility of his advance, Megatron growled again and dusted himself off. "This is far from over Prime! I will be back to finish this!" Megatron turned and barked at his troops. "Decepticons, retreat!" The remaining Constructicons scraped up what was left of Long Haul and various healthy Decepticons aided the other injured in the retreat.
Prime watched them as they left. "Well Prahme, that worked out about as well as we coulda hoped." Prime looked at the old warrior Ironhide.
"Yes, but they'll be back. And unless we can find a fuel source I doubt that we'll be able to repel them again."
Jazz walked out and joined them. "Well, there was a fossil fuel refinery not far from here, but the Decepticons raided it and now the local populace is swarming around it with emergency and military vehicles." Jazz scratched his head. "Prime, just so you know, I was sure that there were no intelligent species on this planet. The probe must have malfunctioned."
Prime shook his head. "No Jazz, organic life often undergoes a process of evolution. It involves genetic mutation and natural selection. The four million of this planet's years was more than enough time to give rise to this species." He turned to Jazz. "The probe didn't malfunction, we just slept through some major changes."
* * *
General Allen Peterson looked over the destroyed oil refinery. The eyewitness reports seemed so absurd, but the degree and type of damage would corroborate them were they not impossible. Vehicles turning into robots were briefly considered in the eighties for space and deep-sea exploration purposes. The technology was way too far off for even minor consideration for practical military applications. And if the U.S. Armed Forces couldn't effectively create such mechanisms, there was no way some other piss-ant nation could do it.
Lieutenant James Ambrose came trotting over to the General. "Sir, there's a report coming in that you may be interested in."
"What is it Lieutenant?"
"Sir, some geologists monitoring the Mt. Saint Hillary eruption reported..."
"What! You pull me away from investigating a probable invasion do discuss some hippies studying an extremely minor eruption!?!"
"No, sir. They've reported seeing military and construction vehicles advancing on the mountain, and then shifting shape to what appeared to them to be humanoid robots, sir. There was also a series of explosions according to their reports, sir." The Lieutenant hesitated. "Oh, and sir, they also claim to have seen what appeared to them to be a large craft embedded in the mountain."
General Peterson was stunned. He hadn't even considered the extraterrestrial possibility. "I want surveillance photos now! And get everything we have ready to attack that mountain!"
|05-27-2003, 09:34 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 2: Diplomatic Warfare
Cybertronians had been a space-faring race for many centuries prior to the launch of the Ark, but they had never bothered to put together a formal set of procedures for making first contact with an alien species. Not that it mattered now, thought Optimus Prime, now that Megatron had savagely committed an act of war against the inhabitants of what those in this region called Earth. "Prowl, in your opinion, what method should I use to contact the President of the United States?"
Prowl looked up at Prime. "It's doubtful that we would get through to him with a telephone call. And simply arriving at his place of residence might be construed as an attack, especially after what the Decepticons did to that 'oil' refinery. Might I suggest appearing before the United Nations? There would be less chance of it being construed as an attack as it's strategically insignificant and the delegates do not hold as much importance as a President or Prime Minister would."
"Yes, I plan to address the United Nations as soon as I can, but we are on American land, and therefore I feel we need to resolve matters with the American's first."
Suddenly the entire ship shuddered. Alarms went off. "Attack. Attack. Attack."
"Silence that thing!" Prime yelled to Prowl as he grabbed his rifle and ran to the entrance. He hadn't thought it possible for the Decepticons to recover so quickly. He charged outside ready for battle, Sunstreaker and Hound following quickly behind him.
General Peterson grabbed the twelve-year-old Witwicky boy by the back of his collar and dragged him out from behind the rearmost tank. "Are those them, son?" Peterson had found the nest, but he needed to know how many of the aliens might be on the loose.
Spike looked at the three giant robots that had exited the ship. The red one was about thirty feet tall and immensely built, as large as the tank-guy that led the group that had attacked the refinery. The sleek yellow guy and bulky green guy were each about twenty-three feet tall.
As confusing as the day had been, he knew that he had not seen these three robots in the refinery attack. "I don't recognize them specifically sir, but they're the same type of things that attacked us."
"Well, maybe the ones you saw are inside kid."
Prime instantly realized what was going on and slowly lowered to one knee and placed his rifle on the ground. Sunstreaker hissed behind him. "Really bad idea Prime."
Without taking his optics off of the humans Prime slowly raised his hands in the air and responded to Sunstreaker. "Slowly walk back in the Ark Sunstreaker. That's an order."
"Prime, you need me out here."
"Hound, escort Sunstreaker back to his quarters."
"If this peacenik so much as touches me I'll shove his green carcass under fifty feet of rock."
"I GAVE YOU AN ORDER SUNSTREAKER! Now get inside!" Sunstreaker reluctantly walked back up the entrance ramp into the Ark. Prime relaxed immensely. This was a very delicate situation, and someone with Sunstreaker's temperament could only make it worse. He approached the humans very slowly; his arms still raised in the manner that they considered submissive on Earth. "Hound, under no circumstances are we to retaliate. Understood?"
"Hold it right there!" The amplified human voice called out.
Prime stopped. Teletran 1 had programmed each Cybertronian that it had repaired with knowledge of all of the languages that were floating around via radio waves. English was easily the most common one that the probe had encountered, and the Transformers now had a nearly complete vocabulary for this language. Though, even without this programming Prime would have had no problem knowing was the soldier meant with this simple phrase. But he did silently thank Teletran 1 for the ability to respond. "I mean you no harm. I am not a member of the group that attacked your oil refinery earlier today. I wish only for an opportunity to reveal the truth to you and clear up any confusion."
General Peterson glared at the red giant. It's torso made it obvious that this thing turned into a cab-over-engine semi truck. The green one that remained by the entrance was obviously a jeep. The yellow one that went back into the ship looked to be a sports car of some type. Maybe one of the other soldiers might have been able to identify exactly which type, but the General had not interest in such frivolous toys. "That sounds lovely. Of course, a great way to commence an attack is with promises of friendship."
Prime nodded. "What can I do to put you at ease?"
Peterson smiled. "You can die." He lifted the walky-talky to his mouth. "FIRE AT WILL!"
Three shells impacted Prime simultaneously on his chest, lifting him off the ground just as they detonated. Prime's back slammed the ground hard. His armor sustained some minor denting and scratching, but it held. These humans had teeth, but they wouldn't be able to fight off a full Decepticon invasion. Bullets were bouncing off his entire frame, and more explosives began erupting all over his body. Prime braced himself against the onslaught as he got to his feet. "Cease your attack. I mean you no harm."
General Peterson paid no heed to Prime's words and continued the barrage. He was amazed at how little effect his ordinance was having on the robot. The military was trying to contact and evacuate the geologists and other tourists in the vicinity, but only a tiny portion would get out before the carpet-bombing began on this mountain. It was a small price to pay to be rid of this threat. Each piece of ineffective ordinance was confirmation of this.
It was the General’s job to keep the robots pinned in here. As it was, he and his men were much too close and would have to back away at least another half-mile before the bombs were dropped. As the assault seemed to be having little to no effect on this monster, Peterson decided to withdraw from the area. "Fall back! Fall back to the safe zone!"
Prime noted the command and watched as the soldiers fell back while maintaining their attack on him. Though their weapons had little effect on him, he did have to admire their efficiency. Even with their numbers and archaic vehicles, they managed to withdraw very quickly without ever taking their attention off of him. Prime considered following them and continue his attempt at communicating with them, but realized that this group was not going to listen to anything that he had to say. He also started running through the possible reasons for why they were leaving the area. "Prowl, do what ever you can to reinforce the hull of the Ark."
"Huh, why are you speaking English?"
"I believe that we should make a practice of speaking the native tongue of the region that we find ourselves in. It might help improve our relationship with the humans."
"But there are many dozens of languages used on this planet."
"I was unaware of any memory limitations in our neural nets."
"Alright, I see your point. Anyway, it's funny you should mention reinforcing our hull. I was just about to notify you that one large and twelve smaller aircraft are headed our way. They should be here in roughly five minutes. Teletran 1 identifies the smaller ones as F-15 Eagles and the large one as a B-52 bomber. The F-15's are fighter jets probably there to protect the bomber. I've analyzed the ordinance frequently dropped from B-52's, and while they will undoubted cause a great deal of damage, the Ark should hold together and protect us."
Prime relaxed. If there was a real threat of his troops being destroyed, Prime would of had to do something to protect them; something that would undoubtedly be considered an act of aggression to the humans. This way he could sit tight and try diplomatic contact afterward. "That's good to hear. Alert everyone to brace themselves, but to take no retaliatory action. We must make the humans aware of the difference between the Decepticons and us. I'll be back on board within a couple of minutes." Prime looked over the landscape. Although there was already a great deal of devastation caused by the eruption, it still seemed such a waste that bombs would be destroying anything that had remained standing.
He turned and started to head back to the Ark, but as he turned something caught his eye, a slight movement from behind a rock. Prime started moving toward the movement. If it was an animal then perhaps Prime could scare it into fleeing far enough from the area to avoid the impending destruction. Prime did indeed frighten the creature that was hiding, but was shocked to see what it was.
Spike Witwicky was one of the few people at the refinery to avoid death or injury, and of those, one of the only ones that had remained calm enough to be seen as being a useful witness by General Peterson. When asked to be of assistance to his country in combating these things that had injured his father and killed many of he and his father's friends, Spike eagerly accepted. The only person that could have stopped him, his father, had already been whisked away to the hospital.
But when the guns started firing and the bombs started exploding, Spike lost his bravado and hid behind a large rock. He clenched his eyes tight and waited for the battle to end. The sounds of rockets and gunfire trailed off in the distance and finally ended a few minutes ago, signaling to Spike that it may finally be safe to look around. As his eyelids peeled open he realized that he was in more trouble than he had previously been in. The Army was gone, and the footsteps that he heard from behind the rock were from something that weighed many, many tons. Spike lifted himself to see if it was safe to make a run for it. The red giant turned his head quickly and saw him. Spike quickly sent a silent prayer off to God.
"Prowl, find the radio frequency that the humans were using and forward my following words through it!"
"Alright Prime. Done."
"Human military that is departing Mt. Saint Hillary, this is Optimus Prime, the alien robot that you just engaged. There is a human adolescent standing a few feet from me. Call off your bombing run, at least until the child is removed from the area!"
General Peterson heard Prime's message loud and clear, and silently cursed himself for leaving the Witwicky boy behind. He prided himself on his attention to detail, but the battle with the seemingly invincible robot caused him to forget the child.
Lieutenant Ambrose looked at the General. "Sir, should be call off the bomber?"
"No Lieutenant, there is too much at stake here. The child will be regarded as a hero and we'll send his family a medal in his honor. Ignore the message."
Ninety seconds and six unanswered messages later the planes were still en-route to the mountain. Prime concluded that either his message had not made it through or that the child was being sacrificed. Prime prayed it was the former. Either way, the boy needed to be brought into the Ark for his own safety. Prime knelt to one knee and addressed the boy. "Hello child, my name is Optimus Prime. I realize that this may be difficult to accept, but you need to come with me into my craft. Bombs will be dropping here soon, and your only chance of survival will be aboard my ship. I promise you that you will be unharmed and free to leave once the danger has passed." Prime transformed into a Freightliner Argosy and opened the passenger side door. "Please get in."
Spike didn't move. He realized that the robot was probably telling the truth about the bombing, why else would the Army take off? But how could he trust him? His kind had killed so many people that he had known his entire life, and had nearly killed his father. But he hadn't seen this one, or the other two that were with him, at the attack. And this thing could have wiped out the Army guys with ease, but didn't do anything to them.
Prowl's voice came over Prime's radio. "Prime, you need to get in here now! You've got less than a minute! I appreciate your concern for this human's life, but you will die out there! And if you're not around to lead us against Megatron, thousands of other human's will be killed! Not to mention every Autobot on both Earth and Cybertron! Now get your frame in here immediately!"
Something the voice said caught Spike's attention. "You...you fight Megatron?"
Prime was a little surprised by the child's question. "Yes."
"Megatron is the tank-guy. The leader. You fight him?" Spike was getting hopeful.
"Yes, Megatron leads the Decepticons. They are dedicated to the conquest of others, and we fight to stop them. And yes, it appears that he has taken the form of an Earth tank. Now please get in."
Spike re-evaluated his situation. He could stay, and almost certainly be killed by falling bombs. Or he could go with the truck-guy, and probably be killed by him. Neither option was good, but there was a slim chance that this Optimus Prime was telling him the truth.
Hesitantly, he climbed up through the open door and sat down. The door immediately slammed shut and the entire truck shot forward toward the spaceship. The seat belt magically looped around Spike's torso and clicked into the buckle. The jet engines could be heard as Prime rolled up the entrance ramp and into the ship. The ramp quickly sealed shut behind him just as the blasts began and the world started shaking violently.
Prime, still in truck mode, was thrown against the wall, then against the opposite wall, and back to the original wall. All the while Spike was held snuggly to the seat, unharmed.
The explosions lasted only a few seconds, but they had managed to clear away so much of the mountain that nearly two-thirds of the giant ship was now exposed. Prime address Prowl over the radio… "Has it stopped?"
"For now, but they'll probably send a second wave once they see we're still here."
"I'm on my way to the control room." With that, the seatbelt securing Spike disengaged and slid back to the side of the seat. Prime's door opened, allowing the youth to exit.
Spike slowly crawled out of the large, red truck and watched in awe as it reconfigured itself into the giant robot. This Optimus Prime looked to be about thirty feet at the head, with another five feet added on due to the 'hood' created by the flipped back sleeper section. Spike took a couple of steps back from the alien. "What do I do now?" He stared up at the blue eyes of his captor/savior.
"As I told you earlier, you are free to leave whenever you wish. But I feel it would be best for you to remain here until we can arrange a cease-fire with your people to ensure your safe return to them. The decision is yours."
"You guys aren't going to any weird experiments on me, or probe me or anything if I stay, will you?"
Prime looked at the human quizzically. "No. We have no interest in performing any experiments, and I don't see any benefit to be gained from probing you, uh…"
"Oh, Spike, my name is Spike Witwicky. And I guess it'd be O.K. for me to stick around for a while.” Spike glanced around the hallway and marveled at his surroundings. “So, what exactly are you guys? Remote controlled soldiers, battle suits, what?"
Prime was amused by this amazingly common misconception. Cybertronians had encountered only a few alien races in their time, but all of them were organic life forms, and all of them had difficulty comprehending the idea of living mechanisms. "No Spike, we are living creatures very much like yourself. Our bodies may be built and our basic personalities and values may be programmed into us, but we experience emotions and have the capacity to learn and to grow intellectually and emotionally."
Spike was skeptical. "Rrriiiiiggghhhhttttt. So, uh, what are you guys doing on Earth?"
"Come with me to the control room and I'll answer your questions along the way."
* * *
Megatron didn't like thinning out his already small raiding party, but the Nemesis had to be found, and even with all three of the Seekers dedicated to the search it would probably be a long while before it turned up. Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Rumble and Frenzy were on an energon run to replace the load that Prime had so thoughtlessly destroyed.
Which left Megatron, Soundwave, Reflector and the Constructicons at this commandeered construction site to repair the devastated Long Haul. The other injuries could wait until the Nemesis was found. Hook had just started on Long Haul, and was currently repairing his neural net and nervous system, which was true to form. The sadistic Hook just wasn't happy unless his patient was feeling every second of the reconstructive surgery. Megatron chuckled at the thought of what would undoubtedly be going through the minds of the nearby humans once Long Haul's screaming commenced.
Mixmaster was doing his best to use Earth metals to create an adequate alloy for his fallen teammate’s new skeleton and armor. His last few batches yielded some promising results, and Megatron was sure that Mixmaster would soon produce an alloy from this Terran garbage that would be comparable in durability to Cybertronium. With the exception of Scrapper, Megatron wasn't fond of these Constructicons. But there was little doubt as to their usefulness.
Megatron's wrist communicator crackled to life. "Lord Megatron, come in."
"What is it Skywarp?"
"I have found the Nemesis. It is at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, about two hundred miles off the coast of San Diego, California."
Megatron smiled. "Well done Skywarp. I'm glad it was you that found the ship. Teleport down to it and prepare it for our arrival."
"But sir, I've wasted most of my energon flying over hundreds of miles of this vile liquid they call water, and the teleport might drain me to a dangerously low level."
"Do you know what's more dangerous than being low on energon Skywarp?"
"THE WRATH OF MEGATRON!!! NOW GET DOWN THERE AND PREPARE THE SHIP FOR OUR ARRIVAL, YOU OILSLICK!!!" Megatron switched off the communicator. Were he not so low on troops he would have made a black and purple scrap heap out of the idiotic twit.
"ATTENTION ROBOTS, THROW YOUR WEAPONS TO THE GROUND AND SUBMIT! ANY RESISTANCE WILL RESULT IN YOUR DESTRUCTION!"
Megatron sighed. The human military had arrived, and had the area surrounded with tanks and personnel. Chopper blades cut through the air, and Megatron counted twenty-eight assault helicopters. As much as he and his troops were looking for a fight, battling the humans just seemed like a waste of energon. But after his discussion with Skywarp, Megatron had a fair amount of frustration to work off. The humans were going to get the fight that they were asking for.
* * *
"Prime, the Decepticons have engaged the human Military about two hundred miles east of here."
Prime, who had been having an unexpectedly pleasant conversation with Spike, responded to Jazz. "Any word as to how many or whom?"
"I've heard the phrases 'tank guy', 'green construction robots', ‘camera-looking guy', and 'big blue guy'. No reports of any fliers or animals, so your guess is as good as mine as to who's at the party."
Megatron, Soundwave, Reflector and at least some of the Constructicons were definitely present, with maybe others. Prime needed to stop them, but he also needed an adequate force left behind to protect and maintain the Ark. The second wave of bombers was only a few minutes away and any repairs that would need to be made after it would have to be done quickly or the Ark might not survive the third wave. "The following Autobots are to follow me - Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Hound, Inferno, Brawn, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, Bluestreak and Mirage. The rest of you stay here and keep the Ark in as good a condition as you can. And continue trying to talk with the humans." Prime looked down at Spike. "You should come with us. We'll drop you off in the first town that we get to."
"Maybe you should let me stay. Perhaps if I try and communicate to the Army they'll listen."
Prowl turned to Prime. "It's not a bad idea Prime. It's not like we're making any progress getting our case across."
Prime was hesitant. "I do not like the idea of keeping the boy away from his people.” He looked down and addressed Spike. “Just make it abundantly clear that you are free to leave whenever you want. And if you do get someone to respond, and they tell you to leave, do so. I will not allow even the remotest appearance of a hostage situation to exist. Is that understood Spike." Spike nodded. "Alright then. Autobots, let's roll out!"
* * *
Lieutenant Ambrose ran up the hill to General Peterson, who was watching the construction site battle with dismay through binoculars. "Sir, the transmissions from the alien craft calling for talks are now from someone claiming to be the Witwicky boy!" The General turned to him but winced from the thunderous sound of Bonecrusher slamming one Apache Helicopter into another. Peterson looked over his shoulder in the direction of the battle and cursed lightly. He turned his attention back to Ambrose. "So now they're claiming to be the boy, huh?"
"Well sir, I've got to say that if it's an impersonation, they've done an excellent job. It sounds just like the little twerp. Plus you would have to wonder how they would have even gotten the kid's name."
"It may very well be the Witwicky boy. I'm sure aliens are just as good at manipulating hostages as human terrorists are." Peterson pointed at the carnage down below. "They're slaughtering our boys down there, and you're telling me we should negotiate with them because they coerced some punk into taking their case!?! Heck, maybe it wasn't even coercion, maybe it's a genuine case of Stockholm Syndrome! In which case the little maggot is a faster sell-out than Patty Hearst and they can keep him!"
Ambrose understood the frustration of his superior officer, but certain things just didn't add up. "Sir, the boy claims that there are two different factions of these robots on the planet. The one's we’re fighting now and the one's back at Mt. Saint Hillary."
"And you believe that tripe!?!"
Ambrose gulped. The last thing he wanted to do was to debate with General Peterson, but the General was overlooking certain things. "Sir, look down at that battle. Any one of these robots could destroy one of our tank battalions with ease. In fact they are. Yet the one back at Mt. Saint Hillary refrained from fighting us, even though we both know he could have mopped the countryside with us. Then there are the reports from the geologist of them actually fighting each other."
"Sir, we need to consider the possibility that they are telling the truth, because quite frankly, we're going to need them as allies."
"Now you listen to me you little...." Peterson looked past Ambrose's head and into the west. "...What the hell is that?" Several objects of various bright colors headed toward the city at such a velocity that they were impossible to make out. As they got to within a few miles of the town they slowed to about one hundred miles an hour, and Peterson could make out that they were sports cars, a couple of VW beetles, and a tractor-trailer. Behind them, just coming into view was a fire engine and a small sports utility vehicle.
In seconds the first wave of vehicles had gotten to the outer rung of tanks. A red and a yellow Lamborghini jumped the tanks and personnel and transformed mid-air, Peterson recognized the yellow one as one of the robots that was outside the spacecraft. They each landed on a green construction vehicle robot and proceeded to pound away on the larger robots. Though smaller, they quickly proved to be the superior combatants.
Sideswipe quickly landed five blows to Bonecrusher's head before leaping off the Constructicon, barely evading his grasp. Upon landing he swept the legs of the strongest Constructicon, sending the green powerhouse to the ground. He looked over at Sunstreaker, who had worked his way around to the back of Scavenger and was using his backhoe to lift the Constructicon and use him as a weapon against Soundwave. "Leave it to the conceited grandstander to one up me." Sideswipe's pride in his brother was obvious to anyone within earshot.
The other Autobots stopped just short of the battlefield and used their weapons to engage the Decepticons. Prime admired the fearlessness of the brothers, but wished that they exercised better judgment. Though young, or young prior to their four million year nap, they were two of Prime's most valuable troops. Their impetuousness might very well wind up getting them killed, but their savage and unexpected assaults could be an incredible asset on the battlefield.
Megatron watched the first few volleys from the Autobots rifles, and his spirit soared at what he saw. "Prime, you've sealed your doom. You still have yet to recharge, yet you come to face us nonetheless? Without your spacecraft to fall back to, how are you to survive my wrath?" With that Megatron's fusion cannon spit forth a glowing orb of death.
Prime dove to the left, narrowly avoiding the blast. He squeezed off two rounds at Megatron, who didn't even try to dodge them. The impact to Megatron caused him to merely take a couple of steps back and laugh. "Pathetic Prime. Utterly pathetic."
Peterson grabbed Ambrose by the lapels. "Get that kid on the horn!"
Ambrose quickly raised the phone that he was carrying. "All you need to do is talk."
Peterson stared at Ambrose for a couple of seconds before snatching the phone out of his hand and raising it to his own ear. "Spike, is that you son?"
"Yes General. You have to stop bombing the Autobots, sir. Please call off your planes."
Peterson turned his attention back to Ambrose. "Call off the second wave!"
Spike chimed in. "Sir, the second wave has already hit us."
Peterson barked at Ambrose again. "Then call off the third wave!" Ambrose nodded and ran to get another phone. "Spike, these Autobots that showed up here, they're definitely helping, but they seem to be less powerful than the other ones."
"Sir, they're low on fuel. They told me that if you bring gasoline to the battle station that was formed from the semi's trailer, it can convert it to energy that they can use."
Peterson looked to find the battle station. He found it immediately, but was annoyed to see it less than a block from a gas station. "The darn thing is already next to a gas station! Why doesn't it just take the stupid gas?!?"
"Sir, this is going to sound a little hokey, but they say that they need your permission."
"WHAT?!? They have my darn permission! Now tell them to gas up and maul these rustbuckets!"
* * *
Bumblebee got the word from Prowl to proceed with the fueling plan. He ran a suction tube from the gas station to Prime's battle platform. The platform did the rest. Within seconds energon cubes began to form. The platform, being the Autobots main source of firepower in this battle, retained much of the energon for itself. The blasts emanating from it were instantly more lethal, as reflector found out when his shoulder exploded to shrapnel.
Bumblebee couldn't remember the last time that he had been fully energized, and stared greedily at the growing pile of energon cubes. But he knew that he would have to wait, as the others, the ones more valuable in this battle, should be charged first. His optics immediately sought out Prime, who was desperately dodging blasts from Megatron's fusion cannon.
Bumblebee was too far away to assist Prime at that moment, but he saw that Sideswipe and Brawn were grappling with Soundwave only forty feet beyond Megatron. Bumblebee lifted his radio speaker to his mouth. "Sideswipe, Brawn, you need to occupy Megatron so that I can get Prime back to refuel. Over."
The two Autobots didn't bother to respond verbally to Bumblebee, but they clearly got the message as Sideswipe leapt away from Soundwave and emptied the last of his rifle's firepower into the Decepticon's chest, disabling the Communications Officer but leaving Sideswipe unarmed. But it was a predicament that Sideswipe had found himself in several times before.
Brawn released Soundwave, allowing him to slump to the ground, and charged straight for Megatron. The Minibot leapt, throwing his shoulder into the small of Megatron's back. The assault didn't budge the Decepticon leader, but it did get his attention. Megatron turned around with a smirk and addressed his undersized attacker. "Not bad for someone your size, but was that really meant to hurt me?"
Sideswipe's voice cut through the air. "No..." His flying sidekick caught Megatron squarely on the jaw. "Just get you to turn around."
Megatron stumbled back a couple of steps, not really hurt but surprised and infuriated. "YOU! I will enjoy killing you. And know that your cursed twin will be following quickly behind you and this runt!" With that Megatron took a quick step forward and kicked Brawn, sending the Minibot sailing through the air and into the sixth floor of a building across the street. He then turned to squarely face Sideswipe, who was crouching, ready for the fight of his life.
Bumblebee ran to Prime and helped him to his feet. "Prime, we got through to the humans. They're letting us use they're fossil fuels. We already have a small pile of energon back at your battle platform, so hurry and fuel up. I don't know how long Sideswipe will last."
Prime looked at the little yellow Autobot. He turned to look at Megatron hovering over Sideswipe and was tempted to rush in, but realized that until he had adequate power, Megatron would be able to make short work with both of them. "Lead the way Bumblebee."
* * *
Megatron had personally killed thousands of Autobots in his life, and through his troops had caused the deaths of a few million more. But this kill would please him more than most. Sideswipe, like his twin, was a rare anomaly as an Autobot who could not only fight very well, but had a killer's instinct. Both of the brothers had caught Megatron's attention a few battles back, and Megatron had given them the generous offer to join his Decepticons. Autobots were inherently inferior creatures, and for Megatron to look past that and still offer an invitation to join his glorious army was an incredible honor. The sibling Autobots had the gall and audacity to not only reject, but to laugh at his offer. Megatron vowed to make them die a painful death.
He was finally getting the chance to honor half of the vow. He lunged at the smaller red Autobot, but barely missed as Sideswipe leapt to the side and threw a left cross as he retreated. The punch bounced off the side of Megatron's head, causing little impact. Megatron instinctively swung his right arm out at Sideswipe as the Autobot leapt back, catching him across the torso.
Sideswipe flew forty feet through the air and landed heavily on the pavement. He quickly scrambled to his feet, noting the large dent across his chest. He would consider it a badge of honor; at least until that killjoy Ratchet repaired it. That was, of course, if he survived this battle. Right now survival required him to evade the charge that Megatron was leveling at him. Sideswipe dove to the side, but despite his bulk, Megatron's reflexes were extremely fast, and he managed to catch the power-drained Autobot by the leg with his left hand.
Sideswipe twisted and sent a kick with his free leg to Megatron's head. It connected hard, but only resulted in increasing Megatron's rage. Megatron punched ferociously at the offending leg, sending his right fist straight through Sideswipe's large lower leg. Megatron freed his hand by tearing it out the side of the leg, sending circuitry, shards of metal, small amounts of liquid energon, and a tire flying in different directions.
The pain was excruciating, but Sideswipe was not going to give Megatron the pleasure of hearing him scream. Plus, any cries of pain on his part might result in Sunstreaker charging to his rescue, and as tough as Sunstreaker was, Megatron would wind up killing him as well. Plus, Sideswipe wasn't done yet. He swung himself toward Megatron and landed a punch against Megatron's side, but he had extremely limited leverage, and the punch was barely noticed.
"Still have fight in you, eh? Well, I'll take care of that." Megatron flung his left arm, still clutching Sideswipe, high into the air and savagely slammed the Autobot back to the ground, sending chunks of asphalt flying.
Sideswipe's right shoulder had absorbed the brunt of the impact, and was now crushed and useless. He looked up at Megatron with hatred in his eyes. Two limbs destroyed and one being controlled by his enemy left only Sideswipe's left arm to strike at Megatron with. But from his current position there was nothing he could do except to throw chunks of concrete at the Decepticon, which only caused Megatron to laugh.
Megatron decided it was time to end this. His left hand applied an unstoppable amount of pressure, and Sideswipe's remaining leg was crushed like an aluminum can. Megatron stared intently at the Autobot's face, seeking out any sign of pain. Sideswipe refused to show anything other than a hate-filled glare. "You would have made a fine Decepticon." Megatron released the useless leg and raised his own foot high over Sideswipe's head. "Now you will make a fine ditch."
Just as the foot began making it's descent a red truck slammed into Megatron's back, sending both Prime and Megatron a dozen yards from Sideswipe. Megatron skidded forward, and whirled around enraged. "PRIME! FINE! SO BE IT! I WOULD MUCH RATHER KILL YOU ANYWAY!" Megatron charged at the shape-shifting truck. Prime completed his transformation just as Megatron slammed into him. Prime hit the ground hard, Megatron on top of him struggling to get his hands wrapped around Prime's throat.
Prime's strength was slowly increasing, but he was still not at full strength. He had hastily absorbed four energon cubes before rushing back into battle with Megatron, hopefully in time to save Sideswipe. Prime felt Megatron's fingers wrapping around his neck in an attempt to cut energon flow to his neural circuitry and thereby causing an eventual loss of consciousness. Megatron's grip was too strong to overcome, but Prime struggled against the overwhelming force nonetheless.
Then Megatron's grip seemed to slowly seem less invincible. His hands were not accomplishing their task as easily as they had just moments before. Prime knew that the truth was that Megatron was as strong as he ever was, but the energon was finally powering up Prime's famished systems, finally leveling the playing field.
Megatron's face vividly displayed the shock that he was in as the formerly weakened Prime was now peeling Megatron's hands off of his neck. Prime quickly shifted his body, forcing Megatron off of him and on to the ground next to Prime. They both quickly got to their feet and prepared to lock up once again.
As they circled each other, looking for an opening to exploit, Megatron noticed that some of the other Autobots were fighting with renewed vigor. His Decepticons were holding their own, but the Autobots were definitely more aggressive. This might be a good fight after all.
Just as Megatron turned all of his attention back to Prime and was readying himself to lunge at his ancient enemy, a tank shell burst against his chest. The unexpected blow knocked him back and left him startled. It also left him open to two of Prime's punches, each of which was a lot more devastating than the tank's blast.
Momentarily dazed, Megatron found himself on the ground with Prime hovering over him. To either side he saw his Decepticons being pelted by human ordinance, which by itself was only doing minimal damage, but combined with the strikes that the Autobots were now able to land on his confused troops, his Decepticons were taking a beating and now on the defensive.
Megatron had rarely retreated in his life, and never while engaged in one-on-one combat with a worthy enemy, much less a Prime, but he found himself in the unique position where his sense was overpowering his rage. His forces were sustaining heavy damage, victory was looking doubtful, a complete withdrawal with every Decepticon accounted for - he himself could grab Long Haul - could be achieved, and this position was by no means worth defending. He snarled at his hated enemy one last time. "This isn't over Prime!" Engaging the thrusters in his feet Megatron skidded across the ground for a few feet before finally lifting into the air and reaching down to grab what was left of Long Haul. "Decepticons, retreat!"
The battle weary Decepticons eagerly followed their leader into the sky. The Autobots and humans cheered. Prime stared at the Decepticons as they flew away, noting that they were headed southwest. A jeep pulled up next to Prime's left leg. "Are you the one called Optimus Prime?"
Prime looked down at the human addressing him. "Yes, I am."
"My name is General Peterson, and there're some things we need to talk about."
Prime nodded. "That's quite an understatement."
|05-27-2003, 09:38 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 3: Distant Glimmers of Hope
Shockwave had made this trip down the empty hallway to the Darkmount command center at the beginning of each day for nearly fifty thousand vorns without any changes to the routine. Always dark, always looking over the light-less city of Polyhex, always soundless until the sounds of his footsteps bounced off the walls. That was until today, when smaller, frantic footsteps could be heard overlapping Shockwave's slow and steady march.
A small Decepticon raced around the corner and continued running toward Shockwave. "Lord Shockwave, we've received a transmission that requires your attention!" Shockwave recognized the Decepticon as Shell Casing, a former warrior with a high-speed ground cruiser alternative mode, which had been stripped down to barely more than a four-wheeled shell to conserve on energon. He had undergone the alterations and been assigned to communications shortly after the final defeat of the Autobot army, forty-six thousand vorns ago. There were still small bands of guerrilla fighters loyal to the Autobot cause, but for all intents and purposes the Autobots had been crushed. Their leader, Ultra Magnus, had not been seen in over twenty vorns and was presumed dead. Shell Casing, along with thousands of other Decepticon warriors, was not needed to keep the remaining Autobots under control.
"Is this a time sensitive issue?" Shockwave's emotionless voice echoed through the hallway.
"Uh, I guess not sir, but it is very important." Shell Casing was worried. He had the most amazing news in fifty thousand vorns, but Shockwave was so analytical that he might not forgive Shell Casing's excitement, no matter what the news might be.
"This information can be found in the communications room, correct?"
"And I can simply walk there at a reasonable pace to retrieve it, or it could have been transmitted to me, correct?"
Shell Casing was filling with dread as he started to see where Shockwave was going with this. "Well, I suppose so sir, but I felt that I should make sure you knew as soon as possible."
Shockwave held his right, and only, hand in the air to silence his subordinate. "We are in the midst of a planet-wide famine, yet you have needlessly wasted energon by running recklessly through the hallway. Your services are no longer required, Shell Casing." Shockwave's gun-barrel at the end of his left arm thrust forward with incredible force and embedded itself into Shell Casing's chest. A barely audible groan escaped the lips of the small communications technician. Shockwave reached forward and grasped the back of Shell Casing's head, and with a sudden, horrible movement, tore the head right off of the small Decepticon's neck.
Using his gun-barrel as a siphon, he absorbed the remaining energon from the dead robot's body. Nothing was to go to waste. The drained body and lifeless head dropped to the ground and Shockwave proceeded to the communications room, trying to determine which Decepticon should be taken out of long-term stasis to assume Shell Casing's duties as he walked the rest of the way down the quiet hallway.
His anger was raised another notch upon entering the communications room. The three remaining communications technicians were jabbering away like a bunch of organics. "Why have you chosen to waste vital energon on socializing? Even if I decide to let you live, you will have a reduction in rations. Is such nonsense worth the price?" Over eighty-five percent of the Decepticon forces had been put into long-term stasis lock to conserve the dwindling energon reserves for as long as possible. But even with a skeleton crew running the planet, the energon had to be used as sparingly as possible. Fortunately, Shockwave had two strike teams that did not require energon to handle most of the overly exerting tasks that came about. One of these teams being the most fearsome and efficient close-range combat team he had ever seen.
Echo, the team leader, lowered his head in shame and terror. "No, of course not sir. But we have received a transmission from a planet on the outer rim of the galaxy."
Shockwave considered the possibilities. Over the past tens of thousands of vorns he had dispatched several Decepticon warlords to raid energy resources from other planets and return them to Cybertron. Perhaps one of them had finally found something. Most likely Dreadwing, Overlord or Jhiaxus, the most competent and powerful of the warlords that were sent out. "Who sent the transmission, and why have I not heard it yet?"
"Oh, sorry sir." Echo hit the play button, deciding to let the transmission itself answer the question of who sent it.
Static and squealing broke through the speakers, and then finally a familiar voice emanated throughout the room. "Attention Darkmount. This is Megatron, leader of the Decepticons. I realize that much time has passed and that there have undoubtedly been many changes since my departure fifty-thousand vorns ago, but I am confident that Shockwave is still in command of Polyhex, and has conquered the rest of Cybertron by now. I want a response immediately after this is received. I must say, it's a little disconcerting that no one is on duty to answer this now."
Shockwave was startled. This possibility was so unlikely that he had not even considered it. A 0.0001% possibility. Yet the voice was definitely that of Megatron. Shockwave did not like this turn of events. Megatron was the greatest warrior Shockwave had ever known, and a good commander. Just not as good as Shockwave was. But Megatron had always garnered the devotion of the troops, who saw him almost as a god. And now contacting Cybertron, most likely with the precious energon that could end the eternal famine, he would be regarded more highly than ever. Shockwave would step down from power to be remembered only as detail-oriented administrator that allowed a famine to bring Cybertron to the lowest reaches of depravity and nearly bring an end to all life on the metal world. But there was no way to stop these events from unfolding, at least not yet. “Contact Megatron.”
Echo nodded and punched in the coordinates. Several seconds passed before the audio link was established. “Yeah, who’s there.”
Shockwave recognized Rumble’s insubordinate voice. “Rumble, alert Megatron that Shockwave is returning his message!”
“Uhhhh, O.K.” Some bumps and knocks could be heard as Rumble scrambled to retrieve his commander.
Three minutes passed before another voice came through. “This is Megatron.”
The voice was just as imposing as the commander’s physical frame. “Lord Megatron, hearing your voice again pleases me.” That was as emotional as Shockwave could get. He wanted to let Megatron think that he was joyful at the commander still being alive, but even Megatron knew that Shockwave was virtually devoid of emotion.
“Skip the small talk Shockwave, and just give me a status report!”
“Yes Megatron. Since last you were here the Autobots have been defeated and Iacon is ours. There are still small groups that launch the occasional insurrection, but those are easily squashed. I have sent out two dozen warlords to expand the Decepticon Empire throughout the galaxy, but I have yet to hear from any of them. This is no doubt due to the distances involved, but I am certain that in time these expeditions will prove to be most fruitful.”
Shockwave was virtually without fear, having considered any sense of it beyond basic caution to be counterproductive and therefore to be ignored at all times. This trait was most beneficial now that it was now time to give Megatron the bad news, a task that would have reduced a lesser robot to panic. “Unfortunately, our energon reserves have been reduced to mere scraps. With the exception of the expeditions that I have just mentioned, no missions of discovery and exploration have been undertaken. Scientific advancement has taken only the smallest of steps forward, and nearly all progress that we have made consists solely of theory as we lack the energon to conduct actual experimentation. More than eighty-five percent of all Decepticons on Cybertron are now in stasis lock to conserve fuel, and, with few exceptions, those that are in operational condition have been stripped down to their most basic systems. Only enough to survive and perform their assigned tasks.”
Megatron was silent for a few seconds before finally responding angrily. “So you’re telling me that in fifty-thousand vorns you’ve accomplished next to nothing! Please tell me why I chose you to run the Empire in my absence?”
Shockwave ignored the insult and attempted to determine their situation and how best to make the most of it. “Lord Megatron, do you have access to energon?”
“Yes.” Megatron hissed back.
“And do you have access to the Autobot craft with the worm-hole generator?”
“Unfortunate, but one of the things that I have been theorizing about is a smaller scale worm-hole generator. I’ve taken to referring to it as a space-bridge. With a specific location and a guarantee of energon at the destination I can finally justify consuming the required energon to create this bridge. I will need you to build one at your location for it to work. Will you be able to do this if I transmit the data for this project?”
Megatron’s anger had settled into annoyance. “Yes. I still have the Constructicons with me, so the construction of such a device will be no problem.”
“Excellent. I will begin transmitting the designs within the hour. I ask that once the space-bridge is complete that you send through as much energon as you can spare.”
Megatron snarled. “I will send what you need, but I’d better have my army back to fighting form. Otherwise I may need to find a new second in command.”
“I understand. Allow me to compile the data for the space-bridge for you, as well as a few other ideas that I have worked on over the eons. It has been a pleasure speaking with you again, Lord Megatron, and I am looking forward to your triumphant return to Cybertron.”
“Just send the data.” The audio link was severed.
* * *
Miles beneath the surface of Cybertron an eavesdropper to the conversation turned off his radio, a radio that had an undetectable tap to the Darkmount communications center. The seated robot stood, a difficult task for one in such disrepair. But the rickety figure had other things on his mind than his discomfort or bodily state. The message from Megatron brought feelings of both dread and hope. If Megatron had survived, then perhaps another had as well, or if not, at least a treasured instrument of hope still might exist.
Memorizing Megatron’s coordinates, the tall, slender robot walked over to a cylindrically shaped craft. The craft itself was only about three times the size of the robot himself, barely large enough for him to squeeze into. He quickly punched Megatron’s coordinates into a navigation computer, and a holographic image of a nine-planet solar system popped into view. The scene quickly zoomed in on the third planet. The scene then began to zoom into the eastern portion of the planet’s largest body of blue-tinted liquid, but the pilot deactivated the hologram before it pinpointed Megatron’s location. He had the information that he needed at that time.
Using the last of a hidden storage of energon, the pilot charged the engine and a worm-hole generator, one smaller but more advanced then the one Perceptor had invented millions of years prior. The small craft lifted off the ground, and using hover jets, proceeded to work its way through the catacombs to the planet’s surface. Finally freeing itself into the open air, the craft slowly began to lift high into the atmosphere. The pilot looked out over his left shoulder and saw the bio-pod, a micro-verse that Shockwave had created for the sole purpose of giving his non-energon-dependant secret police sustenance. From within the pod he could see a pair of mechanical optics embedded in organic hair and flesh. Shockwave would know of the launch soon, but hopefully it would be too late for him to stop it.
* * *
Shockwave had returned to the communications center and was sending the data to the Earth-based Decepticons. A message came through another radio and broke the silence. “This is Razorclaw. I have a time-sensitive message for Shockwave. I need to speak with him urgently.”
“I am here Razorclaw, speak.”
“Good. Rampage has witnessed a small craft exiting the planet’s surface. It is currently entering the atmosphere. It may already be too late to intercept, but it is something that you should definitely look into.”
Shockwave punched a few keys on the board in front of him, causing the view screen in front of him to reconfigure into a radar screen. Sure enough, a small blip was lifting higher above the planet, and would soon be entering the stratosphere. Shockwave dispatched three Seekers to intercept it and considered the ramifications of this development.
If it was an Autobot attack, then it seemed to be pointless. If it were a diversion, then again, it would be pointless. If it were a vessel containing a weapon of mass destruction, then why was it headed nowhere near a significant Decepticon compound? It could have been unleashed on the bio-pod, endangering a small, but extremely valuable, number of Shockwave’s troops. But it had lifted beyond the bio-pod as if not interested in it.
And the timing, could it have anything to do with the message from Megatron? All concerns that Shockwave would put to rest once he had an opportunity to interrogate the pilot of that ship.
* * *
“Shockwave, this is Thrust. Dirge, Ramjet and I will be intercepting the craft in three minutes.”
“Good. Record the events.”
“Yes sir.” Thrust sped toward the object at his top speed, Dirge and Ramjet following closely behind him. Two minutes later they got a visual of the craft.
The pilot noted the advancing Decepticons and calmly positioned his ship toward them. This was a dangerous course of action, but due to the fuel requirements of the trip he could not hit the primary thrusters until Cybertron’s atmosphere was cleared. And without the primary thrusters he was not going to out-run the Seekers.
Since ‘flight’ was not an option, only ‘fight’ was left. The odds were against the pilot for this option as well. A piloted craft never reacted as quickly as a living Transformer, and even if there were a way to compensate for this fact, this particular Cybertronian had reflexes that were far below average. These facts, combined with the numerical disadvantage, made it virtually impossible for the escaping pilot to defeat or evade the advancing Decepticons. At least it would have been impossible if not for the defensive systems being brought on-line.
Thrust saw the small craft and giggled with glee. Only with the odds this far in his favor could he charge into combat with confidence. Despite his boasting and bravado, he was easily backed down in most confrontations. A coward at heart, only an elimination of risk could get him to take charge in an actually fight. Increasing his speed toward the oncoming ship he prepared to blast away the wings. Shockwave would undoubtedly want the pilot brought to him alive, and would sadistically punish the Seeker that brought the pilot to him in any other condition.
Energy blasts spit from Thrust’s cannons, followed immediately by blasts from the cannons of Ramjet and Dirge. The shots were on target, but disappeared a split second prior to hitting the ship’s wings. Panic-stricken, Thrust broke off his collision course. Dirge slowed, but continued his attack. Ramjet actually increased velocity, and was pleased to do so. This was the type of combat that Ramjet enjoyed, no strategy, no weapons, no fancy moves, just a head-on collision, a true test of courage and power.
The cylindrical ship continued it’s heading, not intimidated by the reckless Seeker bearing down on it. Dirge slowed down further, not wanting to be anywhere near the explosion that would undoubtedly occur. Moments before impact a voice burst through the radio. “Ramjet you imbecile, I want him alive!” As crazy as Ramjet was, he was not foolhardy enough to purposefully incur Shockwave’s wrath. Pulling up a split second before the collision, Ramjet shot just above his intended target, missing it by inches.
Suddenly Ramjet’s internal systems started going haywire. “Energon levels depleted, energon levels depleted. Initiating emergency stasis lock.” The automated voice only gave the warning once before the process of shutting down Ramjets systems took place.
“What’s going on hee….” Ramjet was unable to finish his question as his consciousness dwindled away. The sleek, triangular fighter started drifting back to Cybertron, increasing velocity as he fell.
Unable to explain what had happened to Ramjet, and terrified by that, Thrust barked an order to Dirge. “Apprehend this fugitive, I’m going to rescue Ramjet!” With that Thrust hurriedly darted away from the unidentified craft and after Ramjet.
Dirge fired repeatedly on the craft, this time not caring whether the shots disabled or destroyed. Once again, the shots disappeared an instant before connecting with the target. The frustrated Dirge could not conceive of any new course of action, so he continued firing.
The pilot checked his energon levels, and noted that the energy-absorption field that had been generated around his ship had sucked away enough energon from Ramjet and the incoming volleys to ensure he would make it to his destination. There was also a little extra, enough to force this determined Seeker to reconsider his attack. Small cannons on either side of the craft’s nose came to life, hurtling forth a set of energy balls at the Decepticon.
Having not been fired on so far, Dirge was caught off guard by the sudden attack. The shots impacted on the left portion of his dorsal side. The blasts weren’t enough to cause major damage, but the slight damage that they did cause combined with his inability to harm the unidentified craft made Dirge decide to put an end to his attack. He veered off and headed after his two comrades.
The unknown pilot smiled at the Decepticon’s retreat and changed his heading away from Cybertron. Once clear of Cybertron’s atmosphere the primary thrusters exploded to life, sending the craft deeper into space. With the touch of a few buttons the pilot tore a small hole in space, and vanished.
Thrust, in robot mode and slowly lowering to Cybertron with Ramjet in his arms, noted Dirge’s failure to apprehend the craft and fearfully sent a message to Shockwave. “Shockwave, our weaponry had no effect on the craft and it has escaped us. I’m sorry sir.”
Shockwave considered disciplining the three unsuccessful Seekers, but decided that they had really not been that negligent. Even he had underestimated the defensive capabilities of the craft. No, there would be no punishment, at least no punishment beyond the physical labor of building the space-bridge. “Thrust, drop Ramjet off in the infirmary and proceed with Dirge to coordinates PX0482 immediately. The two of you are to clear away a one mile by one-half mile area. Once that is completed, you are to wait there for further instruction.”
* * *
Powerglide watched as the two Seekers were joined by a half dozen stripped down Decepticons and Shockwave himself. “What the heck could be so important to bring Shockwave out of Darkmount?” He whispered to himself.
Shockwave addressed the Decepticons in a voice that was both controlled, yet booming. “I have called you here to assist in the building of a space-bridge. There are Decepticons on a far off world that is rich in energy resources. Our brethren have converted much of this energy into energon, and will be ready to ship it to us once this bridge is complete. The sooner that this is completed, the sooner we will have the energon.” That was all the motivation that was required. The Decepticons set about their task with exceptional vigor and enthusiasm.
“This isn’t good.” Powerglide knew that the only thing that had kept the Decepticon war machine in check these past tens of thousands of vorns was the energon famine. With a fresh supply of energon the Decepticons could renew their efforts of eliminating the Autobots, and then spread their tyranny throughout the galaxy. “I’d better let Magnus know about this.” Powerglide slunk back into the shadows and disappeared into the catacombs beneath the surface.
In areas large enough to fly, he flew. In areas only large enough to run, he ran. In areas only large enough to crawl, he crawled. Through a maze of ancient metal he made his way, before finally popping into a large room. Guns that had been trained on him were lowered as the Autobots that surrounded him recognized their comrade.
“I was a hair away from greasing you.” Blades holstered his pistol and powered down his leg cannons.
“Good to see you again too, Blades.” Powerglide would have had a few more words for one of the only other flying Autobots left in their ranks, but he had to deliver his news to Magnus. “Where’s Ultra Magnus?”
“In the war-room with Hotspot. Rumor is that there’s going to be a civilian uprising in Melacon, and they’re trying to figure out if there’s a way to use it to our advantage.”
“Thanks.” Powerglide made his way to the war-room.
As Blades had mentioned, Hotspot and Magnus were hunched over a table discussing how best to capitalize on an impending uprising. Hotspot put his finger on a point on the map lying across the table. “According to Groove, there is a small cache of energon kept at the ‘Con compound on the outskirts of Melacon. I believe that the troops stationed at that compound will be called upon to quell the uprising, leaving the base under-manned and ripe for attack.”
Magnus considered this for a moment. “Perhaps, but I can’t help but think that Shockwave may leave those troops there and just squash the uprising with the Pre…. Can we help you Powerglide?”
“Yes sir. I was checking out the outskirts of Polyhex, and, well, Shockwave is instructing some Seekers and other ‘Cons to build something he calls a ‘space-bridge’. He said that other ‘Cons on another planet had energon and could send it to Cybertron through this bridge. I figured you’d want to know about it.”
Magnus thought about it for a few moments. “This is very bad. As it is now we can barely put a scratch in Shockwave’s empire, but once they’re powered up there will be nothing keeping them from hunting us down and wiping us out.”
Hotspot nodded. “You’re right. Our only course of action is to take out that ‘space-bridge’.”
Magnus gritted his metal teeth. “We’re in no condition to attack Polyhex, but we’ve got no other choice.” Magnus nodded to Hotspot. “Prepare what troops we have for the assault. It’s going to take everything we have, and I’m afraid it probably won’t be enough. But it’s what Prime would do, I hope.” Magnus had been second guessing himself for millions of years, and today was no different.
* * *
The pilot gasped in awe at the bluish orb in front of him. Not even Cybertron in its Golden Age was such a sight. The craft soon entered the atmosphere, and the pilot noted that like Cybertron, this planet had an atmosphere made primarily up of Nitrogen and Oxygen. He also noted that that his ship had located Autobot technology in the western part of the second largest landmass in the northern hemisphere. He locked in on the position and headed toward what was undoubtedly the Ark. He also noted that another large piece of Cybertronian technology was located several hundred miles to the southwest of the Ark’s position. An item to remember, but locating the Matrix took precedence.
* * *
Prime was slowly getting more accustomed to measuring his gate to allow humans to keep up, but it was still something that he needed to concentrate on. Fortunately, General Peterson walked more quickly than most humans. “General, I want you to know how much my troops and I appreciate your assistance. And I also wish to apologize for bringing this war to your planet.”
The General laughed. “Heck, I’m grateful for the opportunity to finally test my metal against a worthy foe. I got my promotion to General just as the Soviet Empire went down the drain, leaving me with nothing worthwhile to kick the tar out of.” He looked up at his new ally. “I just hope the combined efforts of your tech-boys and our tech-boys can eliminate some of the Decepticon’s air superiority.”
“Wheeljack seemed genuinely impressed with some of the designs your engineers brought us. It’s amazing what the bringing together of different perspectives can accomplish.” Suddenly an alarm went off. Prime instantly brought his wrist radio to his face. “What is it?”
Jazz replied. “Prime, we have an incoming craft. I can’t pinpoint the design, but it seems very Cybertronian.”
Prime mentally shifted his radio so that his voice would be heard throughout the ship. “Autobots, to battle stations!”
Autobots charged down the entrance ramp as the aft cannons lowered from the Ark. Human soldiers also made their way and positioned themselves to most effectively engage whatever threat was coming their way. Prime made his way out and walked to the front of the other Autobots, rifle in hand. “We have yet to make an identification of the incoming craft, so take no action until I say to.”
The Autobots agreed in unison. Off in the distant horizon a small dot came into view. The object gradually grew larger, until it’s wings and cylindrical shape could be made out. All weapons were trained on it as it came to a mid-air stop thirty yards from the Autobot and American soldiers. Slowly it lowered to the ground, eventually resting on the dirt and ceasing all movement and sounds.
For several tense moments there was no movement from either the apprehensive humans and Autobots or the ship. Then a quiet hissing noise became audible as the bubble-shaped dorsal section of the craft opened. Trigger-fingers tensed, as mechanical hands gripped either side of the cockpit, and then an odd looking robot lifted itself into view.
“STAND DOWN!” Prime’s command caught everyone but the newcomer off guard. Very little of Prime’s face was visible, but the portion that was registered a look of confused recognition. “You.”
“Hello Optimus Prime.”
|05-27-2003, 09:39 AM||#4|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 4: Best Laid Plans
The space bridge had been completed for over an hour. According to Soundwave's last report, the one on Earth should be completed in a matter of minutes. Shockwave felt a wave of pride pass over him at having completed his bridge sooner than Megatron. He realized that he had an advantage in that the bridge was his invention and he knew exactly how to assemble it, but that advantage was offset by the fact that Shockwave was forced to use malnourished soldiers to undertake this process. Megatron and the Decepticons stranded on Earth were fully charged with ample reserves, a condition that no Transformer on Cybertron had experienced for over fifty thousand vorns. "Where are they?"
A thickly muscled quadruped walked up to Shockwave and stood by his side. "Who are you looking for?" The words eloquently slipped through the jagged, fang-lined maw that had caused death for hundreds of Autobots and neutral Cybertronians. The mode had been re-created from traces of genetic material found on the dried out husk of a dead planet that one of Shockwave’s probes had discovered four hundred vorns ago. This planet had also provided the genetic material for four other mammalian-type, and three insect-type bio-mechanical Decepticons. This particular beast was quadripedal, heavily muscled in the shoulders, hind-quarters and neck, had an epidermis that was so thick that it appeared to be armor, and had long, saber-like teeth sprouting from both the top and bottom of the jaw. But the deadly creature was a mere shadow of the warrior that it disguised. Razorclaw was one of Cyberton’s mightiest combatants, and was so much more savage and dangerous than any organic beast.
Shockwave answered the beast without taking his eyes away from the direction of the bio-pod. "Your flawed predecessors, Shrapnel, Bombshell and Kickback. They are to be the test subjects for whether or not the space bridge safely works."
The fearsome predator held his gaze on his creator. “And if the space bridge fails, you can accept their loss?”
“I am fully aware of their failings and eccentricities, and that they are nowhere near as effective as my team, but they are formidable warriors that do not consume energon.”
"Wrong. They do not REQUIRE energon, but they do consume it. Despite my orders against it, I have found strong evidence that all three of my bio-mechanical prototypes have been absorbing the energon of their victims and even some from official Decepticon stockpiles. The sole purpose for their creation was to provide me with warriors that would not consume precious energon. I went to great pains to create the bio-pod and fill it with a virtual rain-forest just to give them ample food to convert to energon.”
Shockwave paused. “I gave them the gift of not being energon dependant, an extremely valuable gift on this depleted world, and they repay me with this treachery. This insubordination combined with their unstable personality traits was forcing me to contemplate feeding them to the you and your Predacons, but Megatron's resurgence and this device's need for a living test subject gave me a better alternative."
Razorclaw transformed, standing as tall and nearly as broad as Shockwave. “I see them now.”
Three forms appeared out of the sky, not capable of Seeker-caliber speeds, but covering a great amount of distance in a short time nonetheless. They would be arriving at the space bridge momentarily. Shockwave raised his wrist radio to his mouth-less head and gave an order. “Echo, find out how much longer Megatron will be on his end.”
“If Shockwave’s calculations are even remotely accurate, then this multi-spark consolidation technology will be unimaginably valuable against the Autobots.” Megatron’s excitement was not shared by either of his Lieutenants. Soundwave feared the spark consolidation theory because Megatron might see he and his team as prime candidates for it. It would be a painful process that created much dread in Soundwave.
Starscream was of the opinion that the constant use of brute force on the battlefield was archaic and without grace, a philosophy that fit Megatron perfectly. Starscream was more interested in Shockwave’s bio-mechanical technology. In organic mode, these Decepticons were seen on scanners as just that, organic. And as the Autobot headquarters was surrounded by forest, these Decepticons could walk right up the entrance ramp without indicating any sign of danger to the Autobot sensors. The sabotage potential was nearly infinite, but Megatron couldn’t care less. The brutish clod knew only of full-frontal assaults and relentless barrages. Starscream decided that should he suggest focusing their attention on the Insecticons, Megatron would certainly reject the idea. And when, after Megatron’s primary plan failed, as it undoubtedly would, and they decided to utilize the Insecticons to victory, all of the Decepticons would remember how Starscream’s early wisdom had been thrown aside by the simple-minded Megatron. “Lord Megatron, perhaps more emphasis should be put on the utilization of these ‘Insecticons’ that Shockwave is sending us. They could…”
“Nonsense Starscream! The bio-mechanical technology of Shockwave’s is utterly useless.”
“They would only show up as organics when scanned in their alternate modes.”
“The Autobots could find them easily by including organics in their scanning parameters.”
“That’s not a viable option for a group living in a forest, Lord Megatron.”
“Starscream, this discussion is over. I do not have the time or interest to collect this deoxyribonucleic acid that Shockwave says is a requirement for these bio-mechanisms, and the spark consolidation technology has a vastly greater up-side to it, so that is where we will be concentrating our resources. Is that understood?”
“Yes.” Starscream’s voice was almost poisonous. He stomped off away from Megatron and Soundwave and farther into the desert that they had decided to build the space bridge.
Megatron ignored Starscream and continued with his praise of the spark consolidation hypothesis. “For this to be most effective, we would need a team that works well together and that is usually in the vicinity of one another.” Megatron looked at the departing Starscream. Even before their isolation on Earth, Starscream had gone on most of his missions with Thundercracker and Skywarp accompanying him. But the larger the team, then theoretically the more powerful the end creation, and three was just a bit lower than what Megatron was looking for. Besides, Thundercracker and Skywarp hated Starscream, and according to Shockwave’s theories, this could cause for some negative side effects.
Megatron looked at Soundwave, who even without his limited telepathic abilities would have know very well what was going through Megatron’s mind. Ravage, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Rumble and Frenzy were all extremely loyal to Soundwave, and a team consisting of six was excellent for this undertaking. But the physical capabilities of the team members contributed greatly to the end result, and though Soundwave himself was very powerful, the others, while valuable in their own individual ways, were much too small and weak for this undertaking.
Megatron mentally cursed, causing Soundwave immense relief. Megatron’s mind scrambled to come up with an adequate assembling of Decepticons, and as he mentally rifled through his roster his eyes rested upon Bonecrusher and the newly rebuilt Long Haul lifting the main section of the space bridge into place. The piece was dozens of times heavier than the combined weight of the two Constructicons, yet they carried and positioned it with ease. “Perfect.” Except for one thing. If the Constructicons were the candidates, who would be qualified to do the actual modifications? Who other than Hook was capable of setting up the necessary neural modifications?
Whether through inspiration or from an outside source, the realization that Soundwave had built Ravage, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Rumble and Frenzy suddenly popped into Megatron’s head. He had built all five of them, neural nets, pathways, and the highly cephalized brains of each, although much question has been raised as to how cephalized the brains of Rumble and Frenzy actually were.
Megatron eyed the other Constructicons ambitiously as he became more and more hopeful. He then turned to his most trusted advisor. Was Soundwave truly capable of taking on such a task?
“Yes, but I would need Shockwave’s assistance.” Soundwave’s answer came before Megatron could vocalize the question. Megatron’s face contorted to an angry expression as he realized that his private thoughts had been violated. Just as he was ready to scold Soundwave, and likely assault him as well, Soundwave held his hand to the side of his helmet, an indication that a message was coming in. “Lord Megatron, Shockwave would like to know how much longer before this space bridge is complete.”
Megatron turned to Scrapper, who was supervising Hook in the final assembly of the large device. “Well Scrapper?”
Hook slid one last piece into place, turned to Scrapper and nodded. Scrapper smiled at his teammate and turned his head back to Megatron. “Done.”
Groove was dangerously low on energon, and he still had a battle to fight. He had driven silently around the outskirts of Polyhex at his top speed and been fortunate enough not to have run into any Decepticons. With his fuel tank nearing empty he finally made it back to Ultra Magnus’s position. He slowed down and finally stopped a few feet from the Autobot commander as he hid behind the remains of a destroyed wall. “Sir,” Groove was whispering, but the look from Magnus let him know that he wasn’t quiet enough. He lowered his voice to the point that it was barely audible even to himself. “Sir, Blaster and his team are in position and awaiting your lead.”
Magnus nodded and looked back over the strip of wall that was his cover. A mile and a half away was Shockwave, Razorclaw, Headstrong, twelve Seekers, and the newly arrived Insecticons. For once the Autobots had numbers on their side, but given the proximity to Darkmount this would change in minutes. Plus, these were some of the most deadly Decepticons. Shockwave himself had defeated entire Autobot platoons on his own. And though Magnus had never faced the Predacons himself, he had heard enough about them to know that Razorclaw and Headstrong were capable of overcoming virtually any obstacle or enemy in the most savage way imaginable.
But despite the odds, this battle had to be waged. That space bridge had to be destroyed. There was no other way. He looked in both directions, making eye contact with each of his troops. Despite their weariness and doubt, they were all ready to fight valiantly. Magnus was proud of each of them, and only wished that he could have been the leader that they deserved.
In one fluid movement Magnus was over the wall and transforming into his freight transporter mode. He hit the ground as a vehicle and sped toward the space bridge, cannons blazing. Blades and Powerglide blasted right by him, their own cannons strafing the robotic Seekers. Three took hits and fell to the ground, but the other nine leapt to the air and transformed into their sleek, aerial modes. They all did whatever maneuvering was necessary so that they wound up flying directly at the two flying Autobots.
Two of them experienced damage to their rear thrusters, damage caused by Cosmos and Launchpad. The other flying Autobots were stationed in Blaster’s brigade, and had taken off from the opposite side of the space bridge. The hit Seekers fell chaotically to the ground, taking only minor damage from the crash. Despite the early strikes, the flying Autobots were still outnumbered nearly two to one against warriors with more advantageous designs.
Shockwave watched the oncoming Autobots with little more than annoyance. But he did realize the vulnerability of the space bridge and decided to send through the test subjects immediately. “Shrapnel, Bombshell and Kickback, through the bridge now!” Either unaware of the potential danger, or uncaring even if they were aware of it, the three walked through without a second thought. Shockwave stared at the bridge for a few moments, not sure of what he should be expecting.
A few seconds later, Echo’s voice burst through his wrist communicator. “Sir, Soundwave reports that the three test subjects arrived safely and that all testing indicates no adverse effects.” Good, thought Shockwave. This one device would give him energon from a distant world and rid him of his annoying prototype bio-mechs. What a blessed machine. “Tell Soundwave to send through the energon.”
Magnus bore down on the space bridge, dead set to destroy the threat it posed. To his amazement and dread, a green land vehicle of alien design drove through the space bridge moments after the Insecticons had disappeared into it. Magnus simply fired more furiously at the bridge, determined that no more off-world Decepticons would make it through to Cybertron.
Headstrong transformed into a gargantuan quadriped with armor plating over nearly all of it’s body and a growth of bone shaped like an axe blade protruding from between his eyes. He leapt into the line of Magnus's fire, and charged at the Autobot, his armor taking the majority of Magnus’s firepower with minimal damage.
Shockwave visually confirmed that the siphoning of the energon in Mixmaster had begun before contacting his communications room. “Echo, inform Megatron that we are under attack. We can quell it with ease, but the space bridge might be damaged.”
“Message sent sir.” The reply had barely come through Shockwave’s wrist communicator before Echo’s voice was back. “Sir, Lord Megatron wants to be patched through directly to you.”
“Then do it.” Shockwave had not the patience for this.
“Shockwave, has the space bridge been damaged!?!”
“Not yet Lord Megatron.”
“Send Mixmaster back NOW!”
“But Megatron, the siphoning has only just begun.”
Shockwave knew when not to argue. “He’s coming through now. Shockwave out.” With six giant strides Shockwave covered the distance to Mixmaster. “You are to return to Earth immediately.”
“What, I’ve just started pumping. Don’t you guys want this stuff?”
“Immediately!” Shockwave tore the siphoning tubes away from Mixmaster and shoved the cement mixer toward the space bridge.
“Jeez, I’m going.” Initially thrown off balance and onto two wheels by Shockwave’s shove, Mixmaster recovered, fell back onto all four wheels, and passed back through the space bridge to Earth.
Shockwave was curious as to why Megatron would need Mixmaster back so quickly. True, the Constructicon could create adequate alloys from inferior Earthen metals, but certainly the Earth-bound Decepticons could go without this trait for at least two weeks, the maximum amount of time to repair any damage the Autobots could do to the space bridge. And as a warrior Mixmaster had never been all that formidable, especially compared to the three Decepticons that Shockwave had just sent to Earth. So what was with the urgency in Megatron’s voice?
Shockwave was broken away from his thoughts as he saw the grappling contest between Ultra Magnus and Headstrong interrupted by the Autobot Hotspot, who speared Headstrong, tearing him away from Magnus. Magnus started to charge the space bridge by foot, but his charge was cut short as Razorclaw landed in front of him, saber drawn.
Magnus fired on the Predacon with his right shoulder rocket, but Razorclaw ducked forward and to the right of Magnus, coming back up a split second after the rocket had passed and embedded his sword into Magnus’s shoulder, destroying the rocket launcher. Magnus grunted in pain, and tried to backhand Razorclaw with his now-tender right arm. Razorclaw had ducked back down again and was on the other side of Magnus by the time the arm would have connected.
Razorclaw landed a hard, right uppercut into Magnus’s side followed immediately by a left roundhouse to the jaw. Though staggered, Magnus was no pushover, and his arms shot out and got a hold of Razorclaw’s arms. Razorclaw sent a knee to Magnus’s side as the large Autobot pulled him in, but the blow went ignored as Magnus’s forehead slammed against the bridge of Razorclaw’s nose. Magnus leaned his head back for a second head-butt, but Razorclaw managed to work his hands against Magnus’s thumbs to free them. A right jab followed immediately by a left cross sent Magnus stumbling back, and Razorclaw’s leaping snap-kick put the Autobot leader on his back.
Magnus scrambled to get back to his feet as fast as he could, Razorclaw’s still-embedded sword causing further pain every time Magnus moved his shoulder. Just as Magnus got his feet under him, Hotspot’s bulky frame came crashing into him, sending Magnus back to the ground. Hotspot had struggled valiantly against Headstrong, but while his strength was on par with that of the Predacon’s, his reflexes and fighting skills were greatly outclassed. That combined with his low-energon levels made for a short, one-sided fight.
Razorclaw wrenched his blade out from Magnus’s shoulder, causing Magnus to wince. Resting on his left elbow, he looked up at Razorclaw, now being joined by Headstrong. Approaching from behind the Predacons was Shockwave, who even without facial features managed to look smug.
But something else caught Magnus’s eye. Something beyond Shockwave, something that was no longer obstructed. Magnus’s left shoulder rocket had a clear shot at the space bridge. His auditory senses were being inundated with the cries of dying Autobots, and Magnus knew that there had to be something to show for it. Sending the majority of his remaining energon to his shoulder rocket, he checked his aim one last time and fired.
The rocket lanced right past Razorclaw’s right leg and then past Shockwave’s left leg. Shockwave’s head twirled to follow it, turning just in time to see it slam into the bridge and explode, sending sparks and shards of metal everywhere. “NOOO!!!” Shockwave turned back and charged at Magnus. Razorclaw was already sending a barrage of kicks into Magnus’s body and head. “Razorclaw, cease! He is mine!” Razorclaw backed away as Shockwave arrived and reached for Magnus with his one hand, seemingly calmer than just a second ago. “Well Magnus, this is the bargain that you have made; the slaughter of many of your remaining troops, the capture of a few more, and the apprehension of the Autobot’s last leader on Cybertron. And for what, to injure a few of my Decepticons and damage a space bridge that will take us a few days to repair?” Shockwave laughed as Magnus glared angrily at him, wondering why the phrasing of ‘Autobot’s last leader on Cybertron’ seemed odd to him. “I have to wonder about your logic circuitry Magnus. It seems an awfully high price to pay for such insignificant gains.”
“Don’t listen to him Magnus, that thing needed to be destroyed. Mission accomplished.” Hotspot was hoisting himself to his feet, only to be violently beaten to the ground by the two Predacons.
Shockwave was amused by the beating, but focused his attention back on Magnus. “Any last words?”
Magnus looked up at his hated enemy. “Just do it.”
Shockwave’s powered up cannon raised to Magnus’s head. But as Shockwave was about to fire, something occurred to him. Symbolism had never meant much to him, but it held a great deal of value with other Decepticons. He powered down his cannon and lowered his left arm. “No. I have a better idea. Why not bring back an age-old tradition to Cybertron.” Shockwave released Magnus and held his arms to the air, allowing the Autobot to fall to the ground. “Public executions.” Shockwave laughed as he exclamed. “And who better to extinguish the one keeping the Autobot cause alive than the greatest and most powerful of Decepticon leaders, Megatron!?!”
Magnus couldn’t believe his auditory sensors, the disbelief causing him to simply stare frozenly as Shockwave’s giant foot came crashing down to his head, removing him from consciousness.
“Hook.” Megatron had been initially upset by the news of the Cybertronian space bridge’s destruction, but realized that there was plenty for him to do while it was being repaired.
The surgical engineer came running at Megatron’s beckoning. “Yes Lord Megatron.”
Megatron put a hand on the Constructicon’s shoulder, glancing at Soundwave as if hiding something from the Chief Communications Officer. “Shockwave has sent some theories regarding the consolidation of multiple bodies and sparks.” He handed Hook a datapad with the information that Shockwave had sent previously. “I was interested in using Soundwave and his five underlings as test subjects. Could you formalize a set of blueprints and procedures for the undertaking of such a process?”
Hook glanced over the datapad and nodded. “Yeah, it’ll take a lot of precise computations, but I can do it.”
“Good, good. Now, I want the plans to be as detailed as possible, but make them general enough so that the same procedure can be done to other groups. Shockwave has many Decepticons that will be sent through the space bridge and that will be perfect for this procedure.”
Hook smiled at his leader. “Sure, no problem. More victims.”
“No fatalities Hook, these are still valuable Decepticons.”
Hook let out a little laugh. “No sir, no fatalities. But the procedure will get extremely unpleasant at times.” Hooks laughter took a sinister note.
Megatron smiled at sadistic Constructicon and contemplated the human notion of Karma.
|05-27-2003, 09:41 AM||#5|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 5: Infestation
Please note: The Insecticons, as well as the Predacons, transform into organic insects and animals (like in the first season of Beast Wars).
“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
Prime turned away from the screen in front of him and looked quizzically at the adolescent human. “Excuse me?”
“Well, most of the Autobots have never even heard of this guy, and the two that have, Ironhide and Ratchet, said he’s just a legend. But you’ve given him free reign of the ship and even suggested that he oversee and make changes to the design of the jet you were making. So what gives?” Spike had noticed that the Autobots had tremendous respect for their leader, and that questioning his orders was not something they did often, if ever. But Spike wasn’t an Autobot, so Prime really couldn’t Court Martial him or anything.
Prime tried to change the subject. “How did you get on this consul?”
“I climbed up the side. So who is this Alpha Trion and how do you know him?” Spike was not about to let the subject drop. He had promised Bumblebee that he would get the scoop on their new guest.
Prime chuckled. Even when being browbeaten, he still had a soft spot for this kid. “Actually, I’ve never really MET him prior to his landing on Earth, and I don’t really know much about him.”
“What do you mean by ‘never really MET him’?”
Prime thought back. “A long time ago, just moments before I was given the mantle of leadership, I saw him talking with the Council of Elders in their private chambers.”
“A group of very old, very wise Cybertronians. They commune with the Matrix and determine who the Autobot leader should be. They are highly regarded, considered enlightened and even mystical by nearly all Cybertronians. They are rarely seen, and when they do choose to reveal themselves they are nearly worshipped. And none save the current or soon to be Prime, are permitted in their private chambers. But when I saw them with Alpha Trion, not only was he in their chambers, it was the Elders that seemed to be the ones in awe.”
“Maybe he was bragging about how he won some shuffleboard tournament.”
Prime was confused for a moment, before realizing that the child was making a joke referencing the advanced age of the robots and a game popular with elderly humans. Interstellar politics aside, it just wasn’t worth laughing at. “He was talking to them about me.”
Spike smiled, it was time for the good stuff. “What was he saying about you?”
Humility forced Prime to summarize. He shuffled in his chair as he came up with a response modest enough. “That he approved of their choice.”
Spike was used to adults hiding things from him, and had no problem reading Prime’s hesitation as just that. Some prodding was in order. “Care to be more specific, Optimus?”
“It was a long time ago. You can’t expect me to remember something from back then in vivid detail, can you?”
Spike deepened his voice and gave a fairly good impression of Optimus Prime. "I was unaware of any memory limitations in our neural nets."
Prime shook his head. He had forgotten that Spike was close enough to overhear everything that he and Prowl had said moments before he had first met the boy. He let out a small laugh. “If I told your father that you had climbed up onto the consul, how long do you think he would ‘ground’ you for?”
Spike laughed at Prime’s attempt at humorous coercion. “Threats won’t keep me silent. Now spill.”
Prime nodded and looked the boy in the eye. “I overheard him say that the Matrix had chosen very wisely, and that I was the only one that could lead Cybertron out of the darkness.” Prime sat silently for a moment. “He then looked to me, smiled, and told me that I would have to endure trials and hardships that no being should have to endure, but through these trials I would ensure that freedom would be the right of all sentient beings.” Prime looked up, reflectively. “Only after bringing our war to your planet did I understand what he meant by that.”
Spike watched the silently thinking Autobot for nearly a minute before finally losing patience. “So what happened then?”
Prime looked back at Spike. “He left. I asked the Elders who he was, they told me and that was the first and last time I had ever seen Alpha Trion until a couple of weeks ago.”
Spike nodded. “So you trust him because he was buds with the Elders and he buttered you up a little, huh?”
“That, plus what you humans call a ‘gut feeling’.” Prime slowly lowered his head so that it was within a couple of feet of Spike. “I have a favor to ask, Spike.”
Spike stared wide-eyed at the metallic face of Prime. “Uhh, sure. What is it Optimus?”
“Please do not pass on what Alpha Trion said to any of the Autobots. It is…not necessary that they know this.”
Spike bit his lip in disappointment, and reluctantly agreed. “Alright. I guess that I’ll just tell Bumblebee that this Trion guy is just an old dude that’s pals with the Council of Elders. Is that O.K.?”
Prime nodded and leaned back in his chair. He noticed Spike look past his head, toward the back of the control room. Prime had already sensed the visitor, and felt it was time for a long overdue discussion. “Spike, please excuse us.”
Spike, still staring at the newcomer, started making his way to the edge of the consul. “Sh…sure thing Prime.” He finally turned around and concentrated on making his descent. He quickly climbed down, resumed his stare at the visitor, and walked across the room to the exit.
Without turning, Prime addressed the newcomer. “You’ve been here for weeks, but we’ve yet to really talk.”
Alpha Trion made his way to the front of the room and sat down in the chair next to Prime. He glanced at the screen in front of the Autobot leader. “Some last minute checks on the design schematics prior to the test flight?”
“I’m truly impressed with the changes you’ve made to this. Prior to your arrival, the combined effort of human and Autobot was getting close to coming up with a design to rival that of a Seeker, but this, this thing will blow even Starscream out of the sky. That is if we can get it back to Vector Sigma somehow.”
Alpha Trion looked at Prime with a confused expression. “You really have no idea of what you’ve got in your chest, do you?”
Startled, Prime turned and looked directly at the ancient Cybertronian. “What do you mean? I fail to see what the Matrix of Leadership has to do with our prototype jet.”
Alpha Trion smiled. “The Matrix houses the greatest heroes of Cybertron. The heroes die, their sparks fade, and the intangible essences of those sparks make their way to the Matrix, becoming one with their fallen comrades. Removed from their memories and knowledge, these essences still retain the wisdom gained from a lifetime of leadership and service.”
“Yes, I have felt their presence and wisdom since becoming Prime. But I still don’t understand.”
“These essences can be called upon to return to our plane of existence.”
Prime stood up. “WHAT!?! You’re telling me that the Matrix of Leadership, the Matrix that I’ve had in my frame for millions of years, has the capacity to bestow life?”
Alpha Trion nodded. “Yes. But be aware of what you are doing before using it to that end. Those within its confines are in a harmonious state, and though willing to return to this flawed existence if called upon, they should not be brought back unless it is necessary. Also, the power of the Matrix comes from their combined wisdom, courage and strength. The more essences that you release, the less potent the Matrix becomes."
Prime nodded. “Are you aware of roughly how many ‘essences’ are contained within the Matrix?”
Alpha Trion smiled. “More than enough to give life to an air warrior.”
Prime sat back down. This was excellent news, as he had been having much difficulty formulating a plan to get back to Cybertron and then gain access to Vector Sigma, which Alpha Trion had informed him had been sealed off by Shockwave eons ago so as not to worsen the energon crisis. “Why was I not made aware of this before?”
Alpha Trion shrugged. “The Council of Elders are notorious for leaving new Primes unaware of the Matrix’s potential. And the Matrix itself never let you know most likely because the need never came up.”
“The need never came up!?! We were getting massacred on Cybertron since before I became Prime. We definitely could have used more troops.”
“The number of soldiers that you would have needed to overpower the Decepticons was more than the Matrix could have supplied life to. And the resources at your disposal were such that the frames for these soldiers would have been severely lacking and easily defeated.”
Prime nodded. “You’re right. And I guess there’s no point in second guessing the past.” He reached forward and switched off the screen detailing the schematics for the jet they were working on. “Well, how about we see what this jet can really do?” As he got up he noticed one of the scanners depicting three forms, each roughly the size of a deer, approaching the other side of the mountain. He started to get worried, but then noticed that they were listed as biological organisms. A common occurrence in that forested region, and one that he quickly ignored. Prime proceeded with Alpha Trion to the cargo bay where work was being completed on their prototype flyer.
Ultra Magnus strained to lift his head up. His arms were above him, chained to the wall by links made of Cybertronium. In a fully charged and repaired state he might have been able to break free, but with his right shoulder severely damaged, the rest of his body not much better, and his energon levels near empty, there was nothing he could do to change his situation.
As his line of vision encompassed the Autobot chained to the wall across from him, he tried to speak. “Trrraacks. Tracks, are you on-line?”
The blue Autobot lifted his head to meet Magnus’s gaze. Four clean slices cut across his face, one of which ran through his left optic, rendering it useless; a gift from Rampage. “Yeah.”
“What is the status of your group?”
Tracks had been stationed under Blaster, and had attacked the space bridge from the side opposite Magnus’s team. “I personally saw Launchpad, Inbound, Wideload, Oilwell, Airbag, Stalwart, and Aegis die. There’s probably more. And as you can see…” Tracks turned to his right. “Cosmos, Skids, Warpath and Kup were captured and are gracing us with their presence.”
Magnus looked over the four unconscious Autobots to the left of Tracks. He then continued turning his head to the left and saw Blades, Groove and Powerglide unconscious and chained to his wall like the rest of them. He sighed and allowed his head to drop. “Do you know if Blaster made it out?”
Exhausted and devoid of hope, Tracks’ empty voice replied. “I have no idea.”
Suddenly, there was a jarring noise to Magnus’s right. He twisted his head in time to see the giant metal door swing open, revealing the entrance of Headstrong and Rampage, walking side by side and each with a blue foot in their hand. Being dragged behind and between them was the inert frame of Hotspot. As they walked between Magnus and Tracks, a balled fist shot from Rampage’s left arm and slammed against Magnus’s cheek. Magnus’s entire body lurched to his left from the blow, increasing his already significant dizziness.
“WHY DON’T YOU TRY THAT ON ME!?!” Tracks bellowed at the Predacon.
Rampage laughed. “I think I’ve already done enough to you, one-eye.” Headstrong joined in the laughter after that comment. They marched past Powerglide to an open set of chains on the wall and hoisted Hotspot’s body up to the wall, clamping the wrist and ankle restraints on him.
Headstrong walked over to Magnus and stood before him, positioning his face inches from the Autobot commander. “Your turn Sweety. Shockwave has some questions for you.” With that he attached a set of handcuffs to Magnus’s wrists before disengaging the wall restraints. “Please feel free to attempt an escape. I could use some exercise.”
Magnus fell to the ground, only to be forcibly brought back to his feet by the brawny Predacon. Rampage walked to the door laughing. “Maybe I hit him too hard.”
Headstrong laughed as he dragged the slumping Autobot. “That’s alright. Shockwave will wake him up.”
Shockwave watched the red, cone-headed Seeker leave the room. Thrust reported that it would be another three days before the repairs to the space bridge were complete. Three long days before Megatron could send the precious energon to his depleted home world. The faint sounds of metal dragging on metal could be heard approaching from down the hall. Even as the dragging sounds got near, Shockwave was still unable to hear footsteps. Another stellar trait of the Predacons was that of silent movements. Even their largest and least graceful member, Headstrong, was light on his feet compared no nearly all other Cybertronians. The two Predacon guards dragged their prisoner into Shockwave’s command center and strapped him to a table set up before Shockwave’s throne.
The one-eyed Decepticon sub-commander rose to his feet and walked down to the table, his cannon barrel emanating an evil glow. “Hello Ultra Magnus. I had thought you dead. I never realized that being wrong would be such a pleasant experience.”
Magnus rolled his head and looked at his opposite number. “You’ll forgive me, but I really don’t feel like bantering with you, Shockwave.”
“Oh, but you do not have a choice Ultra Magnus. You see, I really must insist that we have a conversation. I have some questions that need answering, and your robust blue friend provided precious little information. I’ll be asking him some more questions after he’s had a chance to rest up, but until then I thought you and I could talk. Maybe if you answer some of my questions I might not have to ask them of Hotspot or your other friends.”
Magnus hated himself for putting his troops in a position to be tortured. He knew most of the captured Autobots would refuse to give any information to Shockwave, no matter how bad the torture got, making it all the worse for them. “They know nothing except the location to our bases, and those have been abandoned by now. The only one with any information is me, and I’m not giving you anything.”
Shockwave nodded. “Yes, that’s what I thought. But you and your troops can still provide me with invaluable torture practice for the next three days. Please feel free to give me feedback.” Shockwave raised his left arm, readying the glowing barrel for the infliction of pain on his prisoner.
Undaunted, Magnus ignored the glowing instrument of torture and death and asked the question that Shockwave had baited him to ask. “What happens in three days? Is that when Megatron is due to return?” In the few conscious hours that he had had since the battle at the space bridge, Magnus had tried to convince himself that Shockwave had lied about Megatron’s return. But as he thought further on the subject, he realized that the green vehicle that had come through the space bridge looked uncannily similar to one of the Constructicons, who had vanished at the same time as the Ark. Through the interrogation of many captured Decepticons in the vorns that followed, it was revealed to Magnus that Megatron and some of his Decepticons had followed the Ark, and were missing just like Prime and his team. Some of the reports put the Constructicons with Megatron. So despite Magnus’s best attempts to convince himself otherwise, it was growing more and more likely that Shockwave was telling the truth.
Shockwave smiled. “Yes. Megatron will walk triumphantly though the space bridge, bringing a bounty of energon back to his loyal Decepticons, and, as the planet watches via view screens in every city-state, he will personally destroy the commander of the Autobots. Thereby ending the already hopeless cause of the Autobots. Who would take up arms against us after such a display?” Shockwave laughed. Megatron had been thrilled by this suggestion, as Shockwave knew that he would. The opportunity to play the returning hero, the savior of his soldiers, and the vanquisher of his most persistent enemies pleased him beyond measure. He would be a god. And Shockwave, the one who had made all of it possible, would be trusted above all other Decepticons, and would manipulate that trust to his own ends when the time was right. But now, second in command was his role.
Magnus had run out of all hope. Even if Blaster was alive, and even if he could unite the dispersed groups of Autobots, there would be no way for him to survive more than a single vorn with the Decepticons so reinvigorated in both energon and morale. The long, hard struggle was over, and despite the best efforts of many, many brave and noble warriors, the Autobots had lost. But would Prime give up? Of course not. And though he was not Prime, Magnus still had to uphold the values and show the courage of Optimus Prime. “There will always be someone to take up arms against you.”
Shockwave’s desire for talk subsided, and was quickly filled for his desire to inflict pain. Light and screams filled the room as various forms of energy invaded Ultra Magnus’s body.
Though Megatron would never acknowledge it, Starscream had been right. The Insecticons would prove to be most useful after all. Though unable to decrease their size to that of an actual Earth insect, they could at least shrink down to the size of many mammals. Megatron hoped that the Autobots would not scrutinize their sensor readings to the point where they would notice the inconsistencies.
Megatron looked over his troops, all of who were eagerly waiting for his order to assault the Autobot base. They were positioned twelve miles to the south of Mt. Saint Hillary, just outside the range of the Ark’s proximity sensors, and all of them had been itching for a fight for weeks. It had put a strain on the discipline of every one of them to obey Megatron’s order to stand down and not charge through the space bridge when Mixmaster had returned with news of an Autobot attack on the Cybertron-based bridge. But today they would finally get their chance to engage, and destroy the Autobots. All save Hook and Scrapper, who were busy putting the final touches on the spark integration design back at the Nemesis.
Megatron awaited Kickback’s signal.
Kickback leapt from tree to tree around the side of the mountain, turning occasionally to see that Bombshell and Shrapnel were scurrying behind him. Megatron had ordered that they not fly, at least until the cannons on the Autobot ship were destroyed and the other Decepticons had commenced their attack. And under no circumstances could they transform to robot mode until that time as well. This meant that only Kickback could travel with any degree of efficiency. As hard as the other two pumped their many legs, they just could not keep up with Kickback’s powerful leaps, especially now that they had passed the side of the mountain that had been cleared of forest by the eruption and had trees to travel through. Of course, thought Kickback, perhaps it was best that he was forced to slow down. An organic creature traveling around a mountain at a hundred miles per hour might arouse Autobot suspicion.
The Ark came into view, and the three Insecticons stopped on a ledge overlooking the top of the ancient craft. Shrapnel leaned over, ready for action. “Now we devour the cannons, cannons?”
Kickback looked over the scene. The only Autobot outside the Ark was a green, blocky one that seemed to be simply gazing into the forest in front of him, lost in his thoughts. They should be able to accomplish their objective without alerting him. And even if the solitary Autobot did discover him, Kickback would make sure that he would be in no condition to alert the other Autobots. “Yes, but be silent.”
The three quickly made their way onto the top of the Ark and then crawled under it to the hanging aft cannons. There were a total of four of the powerful cannons, and Shrapnel and Bombshell set upon the first two immediately. They tore into the metal, lustfully lapping at any energon that spilled free. Kickback sat back and watched both his teammates, and the lone Autobot.
The rending of metal from behind him finally broke the Autobot away from his admiring of the landscape, and he turned his head. Kickback sprung into action, his enormously powerful hind legs propelling his body with tremendous velocity at the still seated and unaware Autobot.
Before Hound could see what had made the noise behind him, he was torn from off his perch and slammed to the ground. Once on the ground, Hound rolled over and saw what appeared to be a huge grasshopper hovering above him. Amazingly, the grasshopper increased in size until it was as large as him, and then set upon Hound with all of its powerful limbs.
The two struggled on the ground for a few moments before Bombshell and Shrapnel, having finished destroying the last of the cannons, joined them. The two beetles began ravaging Hound, allowing Kickback to make his call to Megatron. “Megatron, Kickback here. The aft cannons have been destroyed. Come and help yourselves to our leftovers.”
“Prime.” Wheeljack jogged over to the Autobot commander and Alpha Trion as they entered the cargo bay that housed a large, experimental fighter jet and Alpha Trion’s ship. “Ratchet says the neuro-circuitry on the jet is completed, and the basic programming has been input. We need only to program in the more specialized personality details and then we’re done.”
“Excellent news, Wheeljack.”
“Which leads me to a problem.” Wheeljacks former enthusiasm vanished. “I’ve thoroughly examined Alpha Trion’s ship, and while I can add a storage compartment without effecting its performance or the performance of it’s worm-hole generator, I can’t make one large enough to hold the jet.” Wheeljack shrugged his shoulders. “I guess we’re going to have to find another way to get it to Vector Sigma.”
A warm feeling filled Prime. “Don’t worry about that, Wheeljack. I think there’s another way to bring this thing to life.”
Wheeljack’s eyes brightened, and the fins to the sides of his head started to glow as the words that would make up his question started to come out of his vocal processor. “Wha….”
The question was cut short by a message coming through Prime’s wrist communicator. “Prime, we’re detecting a radio transmission originating from just outside the ship. It’s a short-range frequency that’s been used by the Decepticons in the past, but the sensors are only showing Hound out there.”
Prime abruptly turned and started toward the door of the cargo bay. “Assemble a security detachment and have them meet me at the ramp immediately.” He pulled his rifle from his back holster and held it to his chest.
Prime quickly made his way to the closed entrance/exit ramp where Trailbreaker, Windcharger, Bluestreak, Brawn, Hoist, Mirage and Ironhide met him. Ironhide activated the ramp as Prime approached, and without slowing down Prime marched outside, followed by the rest of the assembled Autobots. He caught sight of Hound sprawled out on the ground and quickly, but cautiously made his way to the unmoving form. His optics darted in every direction as he knelt beside his fallen comrade, but he saw nothing.
“Pppp…Prime.” Hound coughed out the word. “They’re giant insects. Uhhhgggnnn… And they sent a message to Megatron.”
“Prahme,…” Ironhide called out to his commander as he noticed the aft cannons. “We’ve got a problem here. Somethin’s done torn apart the cannons.”
Prime brought his wrist communicator to his face. “Jazz, scan for anything, mechanical or organic, larger than a human.” A ball of energy blasted into Prime’s chest just as he finished his order to Jazz. The large Autobot was thrown back and hit the ground hard. The sniper, Bombshell, tossed the rifle that he had stolen from Hound away with his insect legs and transformed to robot mode, his own gun in hand.
Trailbreaker, who had walked next to Ironhide to examine the cannons, turned and pointed his weapon at the assailant. Just as both he and Ironhide were about to fire, a large grasshopper landed in front of them, facing the other way. Before they could even start to react, a foot connected to a powerful leg had impacted into each of their chests, sending them hurtling against the hull of the Ark. They both slid to the ground, conscious, but dazed.
A pair of horns slammed into both Bluestreak and Windcharger, forcing them to the ground and sliding several feet down the hill. Shrapnel transformed, aimed his gun and blasted Mirage in the chest, causing an incapacitating injury to the fleet Autobot. Brawn and Hoist, unsure of which of the various attacks to address first, both decided to fire at Shrapnel due to his close proximity to them. Shrapnel leapt high into the air, drawing the aim of the two Autobots. As Brawn and Hoist got a bead on the now flying assailant they were struck down by shots from both Kickback and Bombshell.
Despite the neutralization of these two Autobots, Shrapnel was still blasted out of the sky. Kickback and Bombshell turned to see a laser-scorched Prime firing on them. Kickback was too late to avoid the shot intended for him, and fell to the ground not far from Ironhide and Trailbreaker as Prime’s shot tore through both flesh and armor.
Bombshell was able to narrowly dodge Prime’s shot, taking cover behind a large boulder. Prime’s second shot in his direction turned the boulder to rubble, leaving the last standing Insecticon exposed. Being reasonably close, Bombshell lunged at Optimus Prime.
Prime’s left elbow connected squarely with the Decepticon’s jaw, snapping his head back. With lightning quick finger manipulations, Prime had flipped and inverted the rifle in his right hand so that it ran along the underside of his forearm and the butt end was facing forward. He then slammed the butt of the rifle into the face of the stunned Decepticon with such force that pieces of metal and sparks of energy were shot from the rear and sides of Bombshell’s head. The Insecticon slumped to the ground, his face having taken a concave shape to it.
Prime instantly flipped his rifle back to the correct position and examined the area, ready to eliminate the next threat that may pop out. Jazz’s voice came through his communicator. “Prime, three jets en route at extreme velocities! They’ll be here in seconds!”
“Ready the other Autobots for battle, NOW!” Prime looked to the Autobots already outside the Ark and made his assessments. “Ironhide and Trailbreaker, get Hound, Brawn, Mirage and Hoist to the infirmary now! Get back here as soon as you’re done.”
Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Prowl, Wheeljack, Smokescreen, Bumblebee and Jazz stormed out of the Ark, weapons drawn and ready to fight. Prime addressed his Autobots. “Here’s the situation, the aft cannons are down, Seekers en route, and the other Decetpticons are probably on their way.”
Jazz piped up. “No probably about it Prime, I got them on the sensors just before I stormed out here.”
“It looked like all but two.”
Prime cursed silently. “Alright, Defense Pattern Mu. Take cover and take the fight to them!”
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker transformed and sped in opposite directions and drove around the Ark, higher on the mountain. Jazz, Wheeljack and Prowl ran to join Prime in the forefront, and Bumblebee, Windcharger, and Bluestreak held back, taking their positions closer to the ship. The rear group was reinforced a few moments later as Ironhide and Trailbreaker came running back outside.
Just as the last two Autobots took their positions Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp came careening out of the clouds, sending missiles into the Autobot positions. Missiles and laser fire shot up to meet the oncoming jets, but they were easily evaded by the sleek Decepticon flyers. All save a small volley of missiles coming from a position a half-mile farther up the mountain than the Ark. One of Sunstreaker’s missiles caught Thundercracker’s left wing, sending the blue air warrior spiraling to the ground.
Thundercracker transformed and stabilized his descent, landing on his feet a quarter mile from the Ark. Starscream and Skywarp shot over the Autobots and circled around for another run. Their onslaught renewed, the next batch of missiles from the two Seekers caused large fractures in the hull of the Ark and the explosions expelled Trailbreaker and Bumblebee from their makeshift foxholes.
Their position now known to the Decepticons, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker made their way back down the mountain to rejoin their friends. They were determined to make it to the front line with Optimus eventually, but for right now they had to dive for cover as the Seekers strafed their positions with laser fire.
Over the sounds of jet engines and explosions, a distant rumbling could be heard. While maintaining his firing on Thundercracker, Prime glanced to where the sound was coming from. In the distance, through the dust and dirt that was being kicked up, Prime could make out the vehicular forms of Megatron and four Constructicons, with Reflector, Soundwave and his minions riding them. Prime realized that Defense Pattern Mu just wasn’t going to cut it.
|05-27-2003, 09:43 AM||#6|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 6: Air Supremacy
“Decepticon ground forces have entered the fray.” Cliffjumper’s panicked voice shot through the intercom, making the few Autobots left on board the Ark aware of their external comrade’s predicament. Alpha Trion watched Inferno and Huffer sprinting past the cargo bay door to join the battle, but he knew that the best way for him to help the other Autobots was to remain in the cargo bay and finish working on the lifeless frame laid out on the ground below him. The prototype was very close to completion, but he still had to rush. The Decepticons would probably be at the door of the Ark in mere minutes. Of course, he thought, what was the point of finishing the programming if the only thing that could give this creature life was in the midst of the battle and beyond his ability to use?
Inferno charged down the ramp, rifle blasting, only to be thrown back by a charge from Megatron’s fusion cannon impacting on his chest. His thick armor offered enough protection to keep him alive, but just barely, and nowhere near enough to keep him in fighting condition. His unconscious body landed at the top of the ramp, and rolled down to the ground. Huffer stopped and grabbed him, dragging his limp frame down and around the ramp, using the ramp as a shield to protect his hotheaded friend.
Prime fired on the advancing ground Decepticons, hitting the space between Scavenger and Bonecrusher and sending the two construction vehicles to their sides. The two overturned Constructicons transformed to robot mode, and were met by a hail of laser fire, illustrating why Megatron had ordered them to remain in vehicle mode for as long as possible. They made for very large targets when standing in robot mode.
Of course, vehicle mode was more advantageous for Megatron than for the Constructicons, as all of his weaponry was still available to him. He had already decimated the cover of many of the Autobots, and had even scored a direct hit, albeit by luck, on a big red one charging out of the Ark. Lucky or not, it was another instance of striking inspiration into the hearts of your underlings, and terror into the hearts of your enemies. The already vigorous Decepticon advance became much more so.
Prime dove for cover as Starscream sent a stream of deadly null-rays in his direction. The Autobot leader tucked and rolled upon hitting the ground and quickly popped up, rifle in position to fire at the airborne attacker. Unfortunately, Starscream had already flown past and around to the other side of the mountain.
Prime was forced to search for cover once more as the downed Thundercracker sent some more laser fire his way. Finding temporary sanctuary behind a large boulder, Prime desperately tried to come up with an effective counter to the oncoming Decepticons. All around him he witnessed his soldiers struggling to engage the Decepticon ground forces, but whenever they emerged from cover to fire, the Seekers strafed their positions. The air superiority of the Decepticons was really causing devastation to the Autobots.
Suddenly, Prime’s wrist communicator sounded out. “Optimus Prime, this is Alpha Trion, come in.”
“I’ve got my hands full here Alpha Trion, can’t it wait?” Prime gave his response as he leaned over the top of the boulder and squeezed off two rounds. He ducked back down just in time to avoid being pelted by four separate laser rounds.
“No, it can not. I need you in the cargo bay now. The one where we’ve been working on the prototype.”
Prime twisted around the side of his cover and fired three more shots before the counter fire forced him to pull his body fully behind the boulder. “Is the prototype completed?”
“Well, uh, well for all practical purposes, yes.”
Prime realized that he didn’t have time to listen to Alpha Trion’s explanation of what he meant by practical purposes. He also realized that without him to lead them on the battlefield, the Autobots would fall very quickly. He looked up at the ramp, and saw Bumblebee cautiously peering from behind it, attempting to squeeze off a shot. “Bumblebee! Come here.” Prime yelled over the fighting. He then spoke back to his wrist communicator. “Alpha Trion, I’m sending the Matrix your way. You probably have a better idea of how to use it than I do.”
“No Optimus Prime, I might be able to make it work, but you are…” Prime turned off his communicator. He couldn’t leave the battle, and any argument from Alpha Trion would only take away from his concentration.
Bumblebee jumped out from behind the ramp and transformed before hitting the ground. The yellow Volkswagen sped to Prime’s position, barely avoiding laser fire from three Constructicons before finally making it to Prime and transforming back to robot mode. “Yes Prime.”
“I need you to deliver something to Alpha Trion.” Prime’s chest cracked open, a pale blue light emanating from inside. The halves spread further apart, revealing the source of the light, the Matrix of Leadership. Prime reached in and gently removed the Matrix from his chest cavity.
Bumblebee looked on in horror. “No Prime! You’ll get out of this alive! You don’t need to do this!”
Startled, Prime simply looked at the small yellow Autobot. “What are you talking about Bumblebee?”
Bumblebee was nearly frantic. “Kup told me that Sentinel Prime gave the Matrix to a subordinate and ordered him to return to Iacon moments before Megatron killed him.”
Prime nodded in understanding. “It’s alright Bumblebee. I have no intention of losing this battle, or of dying. Alpha Trion has a task before him that requires the use of the Matrix. I’m certain that it will be returned to me shortly.”
Bumblebee skeptically nodded and took the Matrix from his leader. He gave one last look to Optimus before peering around the boulder and making a run for the entrance ramp of the Ark. Optimus’s chest slowly closed as he watched Bumblebee dive up the ramp and into the ship, once again narrowly missing being hit by Constructicon lasers. Prime picked up his rifle and whipped around the side of the boulder, spraying fire at Mixmaster, Long Haul and Scavenger, the three that had nearly taken out Bumblebee on two occasions.
Having obtained some cover of their own a couple of minutes ago, Megatron and the rest of his Decepticons had transformed and really started unloading on the Autobots. They had effectively pinned the Autobots into a small area just in front of the ship, and were forcefully advancing. He failed to notice some of his Decepticons getting a bit careless, and was enraged when Mixmaster and Scavenger were sent sprawling to the ground after receiving shots from Prime. Long Haul had received a round as well, but it was a glancing shot and he was still able to fight on with only a brief moment of inactivity.
Megatron suddenly noticed something stirring from the Autobot’s position. Kickback was getting to his feet. Megatron immediately contacted him via communicator. “Kickback, do not join the battle. Enter the Ark and wreck havoc from within!”
“Understood. Shrapnel is recovering as well, should he join me?”
“Yes. I’ll be sending some Decepticons to accompany the two of you.” Megatron barked out to Soundwave’s animal-shaped spies. “Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, make your way through the battle and join Kickback and Shrapnel inside the Autobot vessel!”
All three nodded and made their way toward the Ark. The birds soared overhead and wove their way through the laser fire littering the air. Ravage sprinted, cut and leapt his way past the Autobot positions, joining the two Insecticons and his flying comrades on the ramp of the Ark and rushing inside.
Few Autobots had noticed the fleet Decepticons, and those that had could do little more than try and make their comrades aware of the situation by yelling over the sounds of battle.
“Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!” The alarms were extremely distracting, and Alpha Trion contemplated turning off his audio receivers.
He chose not to, which was good as Bumblebee came running into the cargo bay shouting for him. “Alpha Trion, Alpha Trion, Prime told me to give this to you.” Bumblebee thrust the Matrix into the frail hands of the elderly Autobot.
“Thank you Bumblebee.” Alpha Trion looked closely at the Matrix, carefully inspecting the object that he had feared destroyed for four million years. He looked back at Bumblebee. “So what is this about intruders?”
Bumblebee simply shrugged. “Not sure. When I came in the ‘Cons were still a ways away. They couldn’t have covered that much distance in a few seconds.” Just as the words came out several blurry forms zipped past the door of the cargo bay.
Alpha Trion grabbed Bumblebee by one of his shoulders. “Protect those in the infirmary. Bring them here if you must, but don’t let the Decepticons get at them. They’re all but helpless.”
Bumblebee nodded and ran to the other side of the cargo bay to a door, which led to another hallway. He couldn’t fight through the Decepticons to get to the infirmary, but he could take a back way and get there first.
Alpha Trion watched the small Autobot leave, and then turned to the sleek metallic structure on the floor. All was complete, all but some of the key identity programming. That could take hours, even days to finish, and Alpha Trion only had minutes, if not seconds. He could only hope that the identity that the new spark would put together for itself would that of an Autobot, or, if not, at least something other than a Decepticon.
Bumblebee made it to the infirmary before the Decepticons, and ran over to Ratchet, who was currently working on Hoist’s perforated armor. “Ratchet, we’ve got ‘Cons on the Ark.”
Ratchet responded without looking away from his patient. “Oh, so that’s what the incessant ‘Intruder Alert’ alarms are signifying. I’m well aware that we’re under attack and that we all may be dead soon, but that’s no reason for me to leave my patients.” The Autobot healer twisted his head toward the floor and addressed the boy standing a few feet away. “Spike, I told you to get into the crawl space! If I don’t call you out in a half hour, make your way through the passage until you get to the first rupture in the hull. Find a way out of the cave and take off when it’s clear. This place is no longer safe for you.”
The human adolescent started to protest, but one look from Ratchet told him that it would be a waste of breath. Spike struggled to slide open a ten-foot by ten-foot panel in the wall, walked through, and then slid it shut.
Bumblebee watched Spike disappear, and then looked at the other Autobots in the room. Brawn and Trailbreaker were injured, but alert. Mirage had taken a shot at very close range, and was in pretty rough shape, as was Hound. “Brawn, Trailbreaker, can you guys fight?”
Trailbreaker nodded, and Brawn hopped off the slab he was sitting on. “You bet. Were are the ‘Cons?”
“Get your tailpipe back on that slab! That’s an order.” Ratchet was not about to discharge either of the patients.
Brawn walked to the door. “Court-martial me.” Trailbreaker followed.
Bumblebee stuck his head out into the hallway, and had it nearly shot off as Ravage got a glimpse of him. The mechanical feline sprinted down the hall toward the infirmary, but came to a sudden halt and dove into the closest doorway as Brawn jumped out blasting. “Eat this, kitty!”
The two Insecticons appeared farther down the hallway and started returning fire. Soon, Kickback, Shrapnel, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw and Ravage were bouncing from doorway to doorway, making their way down the hall and toward the infirmary.
After nearly a minute the three Autobots defending the infirmary door acknowledged that they were not keeping the Decepticons away as well as they needed to. Brawn turned to Ratchet. “We’re not going to be able to keep the infirmary secure for much longer.”
Bumblebee piped up. “Alpha Trion said to bring you guys to the cargo bay if it gets too hot here.”
Trailbreaker interjected between shots at the Decepticon raiders. “We won’t be able to defend the cargo bay any better than we can defend the infirmary.”
“Look, I’m just repeating what he told me. But it sounded like he may have something up his sleeve, so I’m betting that the cargo bay is the better option.”
All eyes went to Ratchet. He looked at his patients. Hoist’s injuries weren’t too severe, but he was unconscious and partially dismantled for repair and was therefore extremely vulnerable. Mirage was conscious and able to move, but he was in no shape for much excitement. Hound was still unconscious, but in one piece. Moving them would be tricky, but staying would probably wind up killing all of them. “Bumblebee, help Mirage. I’m going to stack Hound on top of Hoist and wheel their gurney. Brawn, Trailbreaker, cover us.”
Bumblebee slipped his arm around Mirage’s waist and helped him to his feet. Ratchet wheeled Hound and Hoist’s gurney to the door and prepared to dash. Once they were all ready, Brawn and Trailbreaker leapt into the hallway, guns blasting. Bumblebee and Ratchet whisked their patients behind the two Autobots laying cover for them and made their way down the hall toward the cargo bay.
Brawn and Trailbreaker fired for a few seconds before the Decepticons started to return fire. They backed up in the direction that the other Autobots had taken. Trailbreaker caught a shot to the shoulder, but stayed upright and continued firing. Bumblebee and Ratchet had reached the end of the hall and turned the corner, allowing Brawn and Trailbreaker to look after their own best interests. The two Autobots turned, transformed and sped down the hall, turning the corner just as a volley of laser fire tore through the ground that was underneath them only a split-second before.
They sped toward the other end of the hall, which led to the cargo bay that Ratchet, Bumblebee and their wounded comrades had just entered. A few yards short of the entrance they started taking fire from their pursuing Decepticons. Trailbreaker and Brawn transformed and returned fire, slowly backing their way to the cargo bay entrance, still unsure of how they were going to be any more successful at keeping that location secure than they were with the infirmary. One of Ravage’s side-mounted cannon’s spit forth a shot that tore through Trailbreaker’s right thigh, causing the large Autobot to lose his footing. Fortunately Brawn was there to catch him, and despite his small stature had no problem holding up his larger comrade and dragging him through the entrance to the cargo bay.
“Bumblebee, grab Trailbreaker’s gun and help me out here. Ol’ Breaker is less than a hundred percent right now.” Brawn called out to his fellow Minibot in between shots.
“Drop your weapons!”
Stunned, Brawn whirled around at the unknown voice, his weapon blasted out of his hand as he did so.
Sunstreaker finally made it down the mountain and to the top of the Ark. Movement down the mountain had been extremely slow, what with the Seekers making repeated runs, strafing both the main battlefield and the positions of he and his brother. But he had finally gotten to the point where he could engage the ground Decepticons. Dodging one last barrage from Skywarp, he transformed and sped toward the roof of the Ark, rocketing across it and jumping off the other end. The momentum carried him over the last of the Autobot positions, and into those of the Decepticons, just where he wanted to be. He transformed a moment before hitting the ground, tucked into a roll upon making contact with the dirt, springing to his feet a dozen yards in front of Reflector with his wrist-mounted missile launcher ready to fire.
Reflector saw the chrome of the missile tip pointed at his head glimmer and knew that he was dead. But the yellow image just beyond the missile was torn away an instant before the missile could launch. The smallest fraction of a second later Reflector felt the wave of the explosion that had caused this, as well as the wisp of air caused by Sunstreaker’s missile whipping by his head a few inches wide. Still unable to piece the events together, Reflector saw Sunstreaker hit the ground, his ornate chest armor now blackened, dented and slightly torn.
Starscream shot by overhead, his maniacal laughter only briefly interrupted by words. “You owe me, Shutterbug, you owe me big-time, ha ha ha ha.” The light gray flier sent another deadly mixture of missiles and null rays at the other Autobots, leaving Sunstreaker to be finished off by Reflector.
The Decepticon finally made sense of what had just happened, and cursed himself for getting into a position where he would need Starscream to save him. Though mad at himself, it would be the yellow Autobot that would feel the brunt of his anger. Reflector walked over to the fallen Autobot and aimed his rifle at Sunstreaker’s head. “Thought you had the drop on me, didn’t you?”
Sunstreaker’s head weakly lifted off of the ground, his dimly lit optics focusing on Reflector. “Ffff…fffff…fffinnnnish iii…” Sunstreaker’s voice could barely be heard.
Reflector laughed and leaned closer to better hear the helpless Autobot. “What was that, bedpan?”
Sunstreaker’s optics suddenly flared, and his right foot slammed forcefully into Reflector’s wrist, knocking free the rifle. “Frag off, you gullible twit!” Despite its exquisite appearance, Sunstreaker’s frame was actually heavily armored, allowing him to not only survive the damage inflicted by Starscream’s attack, but to fight through it. His left leg swung hard and swept Reflector’s legs out from under him. The Decepticon landed hard on his back, and Sunstreaker painfully lurched to grab his rifle.
Reflector scrambled to get to the weapon as well, but despite his injuries, Sunstreaker’s right hand reached it first and he twisted to fire on his opponent. Seeing his rifle in the Autobot’s hand, Reflector jumped to his feet and started to run for cover, but was unable to avoid a few rounds tearing into his back and shoulders. He managed to dive behind some boulders alive and in one piece, but slightly damaged and unarmed.
Rumble and Frenzy jumped atop the outcrop of boulders that was lending Reflector cover from Sunstreaker’s shots and fired on the still-downed Autobot. Several rounds cut into Sunstreaker’s chest, but he ignored the pain and returned fire on the two small Decepticons. He struggled to get to his feet, but just as he became upright one of Rumble’s shot’s tore into his knee, sending Sunstreaker back to the ground. Frenzy’s next shot blasted Sunstreaker’s right hand apart, sending Reflector’s rifle, pieces of yellow metal, and circuitry scattering in various directions.
The two Decepticon spies jumped back on the rock and aimed down at the injured and unarmed Autobot. Suddenly the rock Rumble and Frenzy were perched upon exploded, sending the two would-be executioners flying and eliminating some of Reflector’s cover. Sunstreaker leaned back and looked to where the shots had originated. It was the cannon from Prime’s battle platform, and speeding through the battlefield was Roller, the platform’s scout. It bounded over the rugged terrain, circled around Sunstreaker, and headed back toward the Ark. Sunstreaker grabbed Roller with his left hand and let it drag him back to one of the relatively safer Autobot positions.
Prime watched with relief as Sunstreaker was dragged back to the underside of the Arks ramp. If they survived this he would have to remember to severely reprimand Sunstreaker for his act of brazen stupidity. Now Prime was short one of his most effective combatants, and the Decepticons were gaining ground. He quickly ducked as Starscream and Skywarp made another bombing run. Prime squeezed a few rounds their way, but the Seekers were well out of range by that point. Prime turned back to the ground forces advancing on him, and saw Megatron storming straight through the field of battle, cannon blazing and murder in his eyes. Most of the Decepticons were following behind him, inspired by their leader’s fearless charge. Prime slipped a clip of explosive rounds into his rifle and charged out to meet the onslaught.
“Look, whoever you are, there are going to be five Decepticons charging in here any second now blasting away. Now, I really don’t mean to get on your bad side, but I need to have a weapon to try and prevent this from happening, O.K.?” Brawn tried to reason as quickly and effectively as he could, but despite the Autobrand on the unknown robot, Brawn was definitely not getting through to him.
“Assist your friend away from the door. If anyone comes in attacking, you may take cover behind those crates.” The tall figure pointed at some metal storage crates in the corner, where Ratchet, Bumblebee and Alpha Trion were positioning the wounded. Alpha Trion seemed to be having some difficulty with maneuvering Hound as he seemed to be unwilling to put down an item that he was clutching. It looked to be a blue orb in an oval-shaped metal casing. Brawn thought it was the Matrix for a moment, but realized only Prime would be handling that heirloom.
Trailbreaker limped a step or two toward the predominantly white robot. Trailbreaker had spent some time in this cargo bay over the past few weeks socializing with Wheeljack, and he recognized many of the features of this thirty-five foot robot to be one in the same with the prototype jet that was being built. He knew that they were close to being done, but he was utterly shocked to see this thing animated, and as far as he could tell, alive. “Look, friend, we appreciate the offer to take cover, but those crates won’t last more than a few seconds.”
The tall robot’s single, long red optic appeared to be looking at Trailbreaker, but the large rifle it was holding was still directed at Brawn. “It’s that or nothing. I am not allowing any of you access to a weapon.” He shook his rifle from the two Autobots at the door to the crates. “If your enemies are going to be charging through that door then I suggest you move away from it now.”
Seeing no other option, Brawn slipped his arm around Trailbreaker’s waist and helped his friend walk toward the other Autobots. They had barely gone six steps when Laserbeak and Buzzsaw soared into the room. Their attack was stopped as they saw the newcomer, and not sure what to make of him, perched in the metal rafters and waited for the other Decepticons to arrive. The unknown white, red and black robot watched the bird-shaped Decepticons, but kept his rifle pointed at the door.
Suddenly, a mechanical jaguar, a giant grasshopper and a giant beetle came bounding into the cargo bay. As with Buzzsaw and Laserbeak, Ravage and the two Insecticons didn’t know quite how to judge the large robot.
The newborn robot visibly tensed and leveled his weapon at Kickback. “Don’t move! I will have no problem eliminating anyone that poses any degree of threat. Is that understood!?!”
Bumblebee called out. “They’re Decepticons! You’re an Autobot! You should be blasting them!”
The new robot scoffed. “Why, because I have this?” A long white finger pointed to the Autobrand on his lower torso. “I am well aware of what you want me to be, but you made the mistake of giving me a mind of my own, so I’ll decide what I’m going to be.”
Kickback seeing the opening, exploited it. “Look, it is plain to us all that despite being made by the Autobots, you are definitely not one of them. A warrior such as yourself would fit much better within the ranks of the Decepticons.”
The unknown warrior turned his attention back to the Insecticon. “I’m not about to take the history that was programmed into my memory banks as unbiased fact, but if even a portion of what is recorded regarding the Decepticons is true, then I most definitely would not fit within your ranks.” His red optic narrowed slightly. “I’ll figure out for myself just where I belong.”
Still minding his wounded charges, Ratchet was growing impatient with the standoff. “Excuse me. Would it be possible for me to return to the infirmary with these three while you work out your identity crisis?” Ratchet nodded toward Hound, Hoist and Mirage. “As you can see, I’m unarmed, and they are in no condition to pose a threat to you.”
The tall stranger stared at the Autobot medic for a few moments before finally responding. “What do you mean ‘return’ to the infirmary?”
Ratchet cocked his head slightly, somewhat confused. “I mean ‘return’. As in go back to where we were just at prior to fleeing from these Decepticons.”
The red visor fixed once more on the Decepticons. “You attacked an infirmary?”
Ravage saw the direction this discussion was going, and hoped silently that Kickback wasn’t dumb enough to answer the question. At least not dumb enough to answer truthfully. “Yeah, so?” Ravage cringed as he heard the thoughtless words escape the Insecticon’s mouth.
The Autobot’s front line had been over-run. Jazz and Wheeljack were being savagely beaten by Bonecrusher and Long Haul, while Prowl was barely holding his own against Thundercracker. Prime was trading blows with Megatron, and was currently ducking another one of the Decepticon commander’s thunderous roundhouses. Megatron’s right fist whizzed right past Prime’s helmeted cranium, but did connect with the Autobot’s large right shoulder. The force of the blow only increased Prime’s momentum, as he was already twisting left to deliver a left-handed roundhouse of his own. Prime’s punch connected squarely on Megatron’s jaw, sending the hulking Decepticon staggering back a few steps.
The blow intensified Megatron’s fury, and he dove at his opposite number, wrapping his arms around Prime’s waist and driving the Autobot to the ground hard. Prime laced his fingers together and sent a two-handed hammer strike to Megatron’s back. Ignoring the pain, Megatron planted his knees into the ground and hoisted Prime over his head and into the air.
Prime flipped through the air and hit the ground hard a few feet behind Megatron. Prime raced to get to his feet and turn to face his foe, but Megatron was already spinning on his left knee and delivered a powerful right sidekick to the prostrate Prime. The Autobot was sent flying two-dozen feet and wound up sprawled across the ground.
Megatron leapt at Prime, and thrust his right foot at the Autobot’s chest. Prime twisted left and avoided the strike by a fraction of a second, then twisted back to the right and sent a left snap-kick across Megatron’s back, sending the Decepticon stumbling forward. He took full advantage of the second of time that the kick had bought him, leaping to his feet and spinning to face his foe.
Like a bull, Megatron started to charge his enemy, only to be stopped by two lightning-quick left jabs and a jarring right cross. Stunned, Megatron made the mistake of thinking Prime’s combination was complete, and was met by a left roundhouse across his cheek and a right uppercut to the solar plexus. Without realizing that he had fallen, Megatron found himself sitting on the ground. He caught sight of Prime’s snap-kick just in time to block it with his left forearm, but despite avoiding the kick he knew that he was not in a good position.
He glared up at his hated foe and watched with glee as a volley of laser-fire exploded across Prime’s already scorched chest. The Autobot leader fell to the ground, Rumble and Frenzy running to him continuing their barrage the entire time. Megatron looked at his two spies and barked. “Continue attacking the Ark! Prime’s mine!” Rumble and Frenzy both laughed as they squeezed off a few more shots on the Autobot leader before running past him.
Prime moaned as Megatron stood over him, grabbed him by the shoulders and lifted him up, only to deliver a head-butt that sent the Autobot leader crashing to the ground again. Megatron raised his head and laughed, allowing himself a moment of absolute joy as he witnessed his forces overrunning the Autobot positions. The few Autobots that charged out to meet his advancing troops had their courage rewarded by a hail of laser fire rained down by Starscream and Skywarp. It had been Decepticon air superiority that had allowed Megatron to dominate the Autobots throughout the course of the war, and now it was Decepticon air superiority that would ensure the Autobot’s final destruction.
But something beyond his soldiers caught Megatron’s attention. Buzzsaw swooped erratically out from inside the Ark, smoke trailing his battered frame. He turned and started making his way haphazardly toward Megatron, but had his wings and much of his body shredded by laser fire emanating from within the Ark. Like a stone, the mechanical raptor fell to the ground.
A white, winged form suddenly burst forth from the ark, one so large that even with it’s wings slung back they still scraped against the legs of the entrance ramp, causing sparks to fly. The sleek jet extended it’s wings to aid in it’s turn toward the no longer laughing Decepticon, and covered the distance to Megatron in half a blink of a human eye. Transforming mid-air and slamming two black feet hard against the Decepticon commander’s chest, the speeding assailant sent Megatron flying back and into a boulder. Megatron looked up to see a tall, powerfully built white robot hovering thirty feet off the ground with a large rifle leveled at him. Before Megatron could react, his entire torso was being peppered by deadly laser-fire.
The unknown warrior transformed and took to the skies before any of the other Decepticons could do anything to help their leader. Starscream and Skywarp stopped their latest attack on Autobot positions and careened upward to intercept the newcomer. “After millions of years, the Autobots finally give me something fun to play with.” Starscream arrogantly remarked over a communications frequency common to both Autobots and Decepticons. “Time to show this upstart why Starscream is regarded by all as master of the skies!”
“Just blast it to the ground, Starscream!” Megatron’s haggard voice responded through the same frequency.
“Aye-aye.” Starscream shot out ahead of Skywarp. Despite the nearly identical designs, not all Seekers were created equal. Starscream was the fastest, most skilled air warrior in Cybertronian history, and he had every intention of using that speed and skill to garner the glory of killing this Autobot flier for himself. Let Skywarp trail behind and enjoy the show.
Like a typical Autobot, this flier was fleeing from the Decepticon air commander. He was just coming into visual range for Starscream, and the tiny image of the Autobot grew as Starscream continued to cut the distance between them. Despite being inferior to his own, Starscream was still impressed with the newcomer’s speed. It was traveling as fast as most Seekers. The Autobots had come a long way in the field of modifiable avionics.
But despite his admiration of the Autobot technological achievement, Starscream was still intent on eradicating this latest, insignificant threat to his aerial domination. “Allow me to introduce myself, Autobot. My name is Starscream, and I will be the one to send your burning corpse back to Earth.” He increased his speed further, coming to well within firing range. He had been hoping for a dogfight, a true test of maneuverability and combat skill, but the Autobot had yet to veer off course, and was making itself an all too easy target. Starscream launched a missile from each wing, and watched in glee as they darted toward the doomed white form.
But to Starscream’s mildly amused surprise, the jet banked left just as the missiles were to impact with its thrusters. The missiles shot forward, no longer a threat to the flying Autobot. The jet then increased speed, increasing Starscream’s surprise as it did so. It pulled away from the Decepticon, but Starscream had no difficulty matching the newcomer’s increased velocity. Starscream’s surprise turned to mild annoyance as the Autobot further increased its speed, once again pulling away from the Decepticon. No longer amused, Starscream increased to maximum velocity, coming within a few hundred yards of the flying Autobot, and letting loose a barrage of null-rays.
Through a series of banks, barrel rolls and dips, the new jet managed to get through the barrage without a scratch. Starscream, having not bothered to switch communications frequencies, let out a scream of frustration that could be heard by both Autobot and Decepticon.
In between blows with Prime, Megatron managed to yell at his subordinate through the com-link. “Starscream, destroy the Autobot and get back here now!”
Starscream silently cursed Megatron, but set out to obey his order. The Autobot had excellent maneuverability, but Starscream was still faster, and had dozens of tricks in his repertoire. Starscream set out to get a missile lock on the Autobot, but was further enraged when the jet rolled right, and impossibly increased velocity once again. To Starscream’s utter disbelief, the Autobot was flying as fast as he was. Starscream strained his thrusters, but he had achieved his maximum speed.
The newcomer, however, had not, and demonstrated this by pulling away from his pursuer. The yards that separated them turned into a mile, and then to ten, and then to fifty, and Starscream could do little other than watch in awe as the visual image of the speeding Autobot quickly shrunk to a dot, and then disappeared entirely from view. Starscream tracked it on his sensor, still not entirely believing what was being displayed to him.
“Hey Screamer, please tell me my sensor screen’s malfunctioning.” Skywarp didn’t bother to hide the worry in his voice as he addressed Starscream over a secured Decepticon frequency.
Starscream ignored Skywarp’s comment and concentrated on tracking the blip moving away from him on his own sensor screen. It was impossible, no living creature could travel that fast. But there it was, despite Starscream’s disbelief, there it was.
The object slowed, and then turned around and started toward the pursuing Decepticons. Starscream eagerly welcomed the second opportunity to engage and destroy this new threat to his mastery of the skies.
Suddenly, over the common frequency that Starscream had used before, a voice unknown to any of the combatants outside the Ark was heard. “Starscream, your introduction was unnecessary. The Autobots downloaded all the information they had on Decepticon personnel files into my memory banks, and the file on you is quite extensive. The only real intelligence on you that the file seemed to lack was your top flying speed. I acquired that last, unimpressive piece of information just now.”
Starscream snarled a reply. “I like to know the names of my victims. So please share that with me before I kill you.”
The two jets sped ever closer to each other, just moments away from engagement. “The name is Jetfire. Now get your tail out of my sky!” Lasers and missiles shot forth from both jets as they came to within visual range of each other, and then shot past one another, each effectively dodging the other’s attack. Starscream started turning to re-engage the Autobot, but Jetfire continued on his course, away from Starscream.
“Come back here, coward!” The Decepticon bellowed.
“Soon enough Starscream. I’m just feeling guilty about neglecting Skywarp for this long.” Jetfire sped toward the black and purple Seeker.
Skywarp continued on his collision course toward the Autobot, ready to succeed where Starscream had failed. He armed his cannons and prepared his missile banks. A dot in the distant clouds soon appeared, and quickly grew in size. Skywarp vanished.
Jetfire reacted the instant the dark object disappeared from both visual and sensor screen, spreading his wings and looping higher into the air, taking his now-inverted form several hundred yards past his previous position, and finishing the loop just as Skywarp appeared two hundred yards ahead of him. Two missiles and a barrage of laser fire were en route to Skywarp’s aft section before he even realized Jetfire was not in front of him. He didn’t pinpoint Jetfire on sensors until a moment after his tail section was utterly destroyed. He wouldn’t figure out what had happened until long after he plummeted to the ground. Jetfire careened around to take the fight back to Starscream. “Time to join your friend, Starscream.”
“Lose the confidence Jetfire, Skywarp wasn’t fit to carry my landing gear. I guarantee you that our dogfight will turn out much differently.” The Decepticon shot toward the Autobot, null-rays blazing. Jetfire banked left, and then right as Starscream sent a second volley toward him. Jetfire returned fire, scoring a glancing shot off of Starscream’s left wing. “Agghhh. You’ll die for that, Autobot!”
The two jets blew past one another and circled around for another pass. Starscream shot forth another barrage, which Jetfire danced through with exceptional grace. “Your time has passed, Seeker.” Two missiles darted from under Jetfire and impacted on the tips of each of Starscream’s wings. Starscream let out a pained shriek as he rushed past Jetfire, wings ablaze.
Quickly losing altitude, Starscream had to transform and use his leg thrusters to avoid crashing as Skywarp had. He settled to the ground nearly two hundred miles from the Ark, unable to fly in jet mode, and therefore unable to rejoin the battle against the Autobots. He glared at the winged form speeding away from him through the clouds. “I’ll kill you yet, Jetfire!” He swore under his breath.
Prime struggled against Megatron’s ironclad grasp. The Decepticon leader had managed to administer a hip-toss to Prime and now had him pinned to the ground, a right elbow pushing against Prime’s chest and a left hand trying to crush his head. Prime sent his knee hard to Megatron’s groin, a strike much less painful to non-genitalia bearing Cybertronians than to human males, but it had enough force to dislodge the Decepticon and free Prime.
The exhausted commanders once again got to their feet and started hammering away at each other. They locked up, but Megatron pushed Prime away, as if not interested in another grappling session with his old adversary. Prime scanned Megatron, trying to determine his foe’s strategy, when a fist slammed against the back of his head. He lurched forward, only to be sent reeling back by one of Megatron’s uppercuts.
Prime felt two pairs of arms wrapping around him and pinning his behind him, arms that belonged to Bonecrusher and Long Haul. It seemed they had finally gotten the better of Sideswipe, who had charged in to keep them from killing the unconscious Jazz and Wheeljack.
Megatron stepped forward and delivered a right and left cross in quick succession. Prime’s optics faded for a moment, but lit back up an instant later as he forced himself to remain conscious. He struggled against the grip of the Constructicons, only to have his struggles rewarded by an elbow to the side of the head.
Megatron smiled at Prime, his battered face made all the more sinister looking by the crooked grin. “Make peace with Primus, the Old Gods, or whomever you worship Prime. Your existence comes to an end now.” Megatron positioned the mouth of his shoulder-mounted fusion cannon inches from Prime’s head. The two Constructicons leaned as far away from it as they could without loosening their grip on Prime.
Prime silently thanked Primus that he had sent the Matrix away earlier, and prayed that Alpha Trion could escape with it and find a worthy leader, one that could finally defeat the Decepticons and achieve peace. His prayer sent, Prime awaited oblivion.
Prime realized that he would have to keep waiting for it as he saw Megatron sent stumbling back by a shower of laser fire. After backing up a dozen steps, Megatron finally righted himself and looked skyward at his attacker, just in time to see two missiles bearing down on him.
The blast embedded Megatron in the in the ground, and sent Prime and the Constructicons sprawling. Soundwave flung Huffer away and turned to see what was causing the commotion behind him. But before he could see anything, a relentless stream of laser fire sent him to the ground.
Prime took advantage of the opportunity by battering away on Bonecrusher. By the time Long Haul had gotten his bearings and realized his teammate needed assistance, Prime had already finished separating Bonecrusher from consciousness. Long Haul started charging Prime, but halted as the Autobot commander turned on him. The Constructicon was sent flying by a left cross before he could even begin contemplating his next move.
The tide of the battle shifted abruptly in the Autobot’s favor as Jetfire’s air support battered the Decepticon soldiers. Even before he had finished peeling himself out of the ground, Megatron realized that the battle was lost. He cursed Starscream, placing the blame for the defeat squarely on the Decepticon air commander. He looked at his scattered troops, and for the second time since coming to this insignificant planet, he chose to retreat. “Decepticons, fall back!”
The demoralized Decepticons that heard Megatron were all too happy to follow this order, and began moving away from the Ark as quickly as they could. The first few that took to the sky were blasted back to Earth by Jetfire, so they all wound up running, driving or being carried away as expeditiously as possible. All save Bombshell and Buzzsaw, who were still unconscious and were not grabbed by their retreating comrades.
Prime watched as the battered silver tank led the other Decepticons away from the battlefield. Jetfire slowly descended, transformed, and landed next to him. Prime looked up at the newcomer, who was a good five feet taller than the Autobot commander. “Thanks for the assistance, Jetfire. You saved us all.”
Jetfire, still watching the departing Decepticons, nodded. “I simply did what needed to be done.” Jetfire turned and saw Ratchet, Alpha Trion and Bumblebee exiting the ark. “Ratchet is going to have his hands full. I have a full understanding of Cybertronian medical science, as well as all of the design schematics of the Ark’s crew downloaded into my memory banks, perhaps I can be of assistance to him?”
Prime nodded. “Thank you. I’ll be joining with the repairs once it’s verified that the Decepticons are through for the day.” Jetfire nodded and left to assist the wounded. Prime looked at Alpha Trion, Matrix in hand and smiling at it’s rightful host, and noticed that the smiling elder was walking past the still inert Bombshell. “You may want to be careful. It appears that we have a couple of prisoners to secure.”
Alpha Trion laughed. “Add them to the collection. There are four more inside that Brawn is dragging to the brig. Jetfire went through them like they were nothing.”
Prime nodded. “You should have seen him out here. You did an excellent job with him, but I was under the impression that completion was still some time off.”
Handing the Matrix to Prime, Alpha Trion cocked his head. “Well, the final personality programming wasn’t completed, but as it was the Matrix that would be lighting this spark, I was confident that our boy would turn out alright.” The ancient robot started to turn back toward the Ark. “Now if you’ll excuse me, Ratchet requested that I locate the human child, who I have been told is currently wandering through the walls of the ship.”
Prime’s optics lit with amusement, and as he looked up into the sky he appreciated it’s beauty more than he ever had before.
|05-27-2003, 09:45 AM||#7|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 7: The Darkness Before the Dawn
“Optimus Prime, please report to the infirmary immediately.” Prime continued to stare at the complete disarray of the large cargo bay that had been the birthplace of his latest soldier, Jetfire. It was also the scene of Jetfire’s first encounter with Decepticons, and therefore the scene of his first battle. The skirmish had left virtually everything in the large room destroyed, including the computer that had been storing all of the technical designs, specifications and data concerning Jetfire’s construction. Wheeljack was still irate with himself for not backing up this information onto Teletran One, but Alpha Trion, the real genius behind Jetfire’s design, merely laughed and used the human expression about going back to the drawing board.
This was the first time in a couple of days that Prime had been able to concentrate on anything other than the injuries of his soldiers or the repairing of the Ark’s defensive capabilities. It was almost pleasant to have to deal with straightening up the ship after the battle. Minimal pressure, and very little was at stake when it came to tidying up. But his summons to the infirmary meant that his few minutes of relaxation were over, and it was time to get back to dealing with life and death situations. Prime lifted his wrist communicator to his faceplate and responded to his military strategist. “On my way Prowl.”
Prime made his way through the hallway, examining all of the battle damage on the walls and floor. Despite the mess, injuries, and hours of repair required over the past three days, the Autobots had significantly benefited from the Decepticon attack on their base, having acquired a comrade of exceptional value and six Decepticon prisoners. The morale of his crew was higher than he had ever seen it.
Prime entered the infirmary and nodded to Ratchet, who was currently reattaching Ravage’s right, hind leg. The deactivated Ravage would soon awaken in the brig where he had last been conscious, but now in a full state of repair. Ratchet wasn’t anticipating receiving any semblance of thanks from the Decepticon, but as a physician he was compelled to aid the injured. He had marveled at the similarities between his own sense of ethics and guidelines covered by the human Hippocratic oath.
Prime walked past his chief medical officer and over to Prowl, whom had all sorts of wiring hooked up to the torn and battered form of Buzzsaw. Ratchet followed Prime with his optics and addressed the leader as he came upon Prowl and the Decepticon bird. “Buzzsaw needs significant medical attention Prime, but Prowl would only allow me to verify that he would survive, nothing more. I think our friend has developed a sadistic streak.”
Staring at a view-screen that was attached to some of the wires hooked to Buzzsaw, Prowl defended himself. “It’s not sadism, it’s a hunch that’s paid off.” Prowl looked away from the screen and up at Prime. “Sir, many of the newer Decepticons, one’s built within the last sixty-five thousand vorns, have the ability to isolate data and information of a militarily sensitive nature in their memory banks, and if captured, delete it. That’s why we’ve gotten virtually nothing from Laserbeak, Ravage or these Insecticons. Even the one whose face you crushed revived long enough to accomplish this.” A big grin broke out over Prowl’s face. “But Buzzsaw’s injuries were so extensive, that to survive his body went into emergency stasis lock the moment after Jetfire shot him to pieces. He never had time to dump this information.”
Prime instantly walked behind the seated Prowl and looked into the view-screen. “Well done, Prowl. Have you found anything of value yet?”
A wire slowly made it’s way from Prowl’s wrist and jacked itself into the small computer connected to the view-screen. “It’s taken me a while to work my way through much of this stuff, but I was able to find something with today’s date in it. I’m downloading it now, and it should be displayed momentarily.”
Prime’s optics narrowed as something flashed across the screen. “I think this is it.” Prime scanned the information, stopped suddenly, and scanned it again. “Oh sweet Primus, NO!”
Megatron looked across the barren wasteland that was Death Valley, California. It irritated him to no end that they had to select this isolated location to build the space bridge, but he didn’t have enough Decepticons here on Earth to station guards there on a permanent basis. And if left unprotected, and either the Autobots or humans learned of it’s location, the bridge would undoubtedly be destroyed, sabotaged, or utilized to their benefit somehow. So a deserted, isolated locale was required for the vulnerable space bridge.
He was in a foul mood. One in which he had been in since the devastating defeat at the hands of the Autobots three days earlier. He had barely managed to get his army back to their base, an army that was now short six soldiers. Those that had made it back all required differing degrees of medical attention. Medical attention that Hook was very upset to have to provide, as it would pull he and Scrapper away from their own project which they had nearly completed. But they postponed the finishing touches and began working on their injured comrades. Even days later, they were still working on Skywarp, who needed to have his entire lower body replaced.
But today’s events promised to lighten Megatron’s mood, provided Shockwave could get his own space bridge up and running on schedule. But Megatron had little worry in that regard, Shockwave had always proven to be his most reliable underling. He couldn’t imagine anything going wrong today, this most glorious of days. Megatron had suffered much indignity since reawakening on this miserable mud ball, but that would soon be coming to an end.
Megatron looked over to Frenzy, who was standing in front of a transformed, but full-sized Soundwave. “Frenzy, get an update from Shockwave!”
Frenzy nodded, and pressed down on one of Soundwave’s buttons. “Cybertron, come in.”
A voice muffled by static replied. “This is Echo, who is contacting Cybertron?”
Annoyed, Frenzy barely kept his civility. “This is Frenzy requesting a status update on behalf of Megatron. Let’s not keep the big guy waiting, shall we.”
A few moments passed before Echo’s response came through. “Lord Shockwave reports that the space bridge will be completed within the hour. Is there anything else?”
“Naw, just hurry up.”
“Echo out.” The curt reply was followed by a wave of static, indicating that Echo had severed the com-link. Frenzy had never met Echo before, but he made a mental note to look this desk-jockey up some time to discuss giving warriors their due respect.
On the outskirts of Polyhex, Echo rose from his station and walked over to Shockwave, who was busily verifying that everything was in order for the days events. His limited forces were stretched thin, bringing immense view-screens online in virtually every city around the planet, and ensuring that as many of the Cybertronians that were hiding from them as possible would be viewing the event scheduled for today. Even after declaring a cease fire, many Cybertronians still refused to come out of their hiding places. Even all five of his Predacons needed to be sent to the ruins of Iacon to dig out the large numbers of Autobots and neutrals hiding in the strewn about ruble. Whatever it took, as long as the majority of Cybertron viewed the return of Megatron and the execution of Ultra Magnus.
The only warriors Shockwave had left at Polyhex were the nine Seekers lined up in front of the space bridge and the two dozen ground assault troops lined up behind them. And most of these soldiers would be returning with Megatron to reinforce his troops on Earth. To their left was a line of ten metal posts, each with an Autobot prisoner lashed to it with chains. The post closest to the space bridge held Ultra Magnus.
Shockwave looked down at the approaching Echo. “What is it?”
“Sir, the Decepticons on Earth are getting impatient. If you have the opportunity to finish ahead of schedule, I would suggest that you do so.”
Shockwave turned back to the space bridge, where the other members of Echo’s communications team were busy putting the finishing touches on it. “Those who lie peacefully dormant for fifty-thousand vorns and awaken on an energy-rich world grow impatient with those who have suffered that entire time through a famine?” Shockwave shook his head slowly, and turned back to Echo. “If Frenzy contacts you again with calls to expedite the repairs, tell him that they will have their reinforcements soon enough and to not contact us again.”
Echo nodded. “Yes sir.” The small Decepticon scampered back to his station.
Shockwave once again considered his chances of someday seizing power from Megatron, adding patience to his list of assets that he had and Megatron seemed to lack.
“Jetfire, how many Autobots can you fly with?” The urgency in Prime’s voice was very clear.
“I’m not sure. How far and how fast would I be flying?” The narrowing of Jetfire’s red optic was the only indication of confusion on his nearly featureless face.
“At least mach two for several hundred miles. Prowl has a rough approximation of our targets location, and should have the exact coordinates soon.”
Jetfire cocked his head to the left as he considered his capabilities. “To ensure stability at that speed, I’d say an Autobot of your size could hang from my ventral section, two mid-sized Autobots could cling on my dorsal section to either side of my nose, and maybe a couple of mini-bots riding my tail section clutching my fins. Beyond that there’s very little chance of me maintaining much control.”
Prime nodded. “I understand.” He needed to select a four Autobot strike force, one that could hit hard and fast. “Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Brawn and Huffer, front and center immediately!”
The four Autobots quickly assembled before their leader and replied to him in unison. “Yes sir.”
“You four will be accompanying Jetfire and myself in an attack on the Decepticon space bridge. The odds will be significantly against us, so if you want to back out, do so now.” Brawn and Huffer stood stock still, chests out in an indication that they were more than willing to follow Prime into a smelting pool. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker simply looked at each other and snickered, the idea of them backing out of a any fight being so ridiculous that they were unable to take Prime’s statement seriously. Prime noted the lack of seriousness of the twins. “We’ll discuss the arrogance of the two of you if and when we return. For now load up as much extra weaponry as you can carry and report back here immediately!”
With that all four Autobots sprinted to the armory. Prime looked over the remaining Autobots in the command center. “Ironhide, I want you to lead the remaining Autobots to the space bridge behind us, leaving only Prowl, Wheeljack, Ratchet and Bumblebee here to mind the Ark. Send the faster Autobots out ahead of you under Jazz’s command. We’ll need reinforcement as quickly as possible.”
“Yes sir, Prahme.”
“Autobots, let’s roll out!”
“What’s taking him so long!?!” Megatron’s patience was growing thin.
“To be fair mighty Megatron, Shockwave said that he would be completed within the hour, and it has only been fifty-two minutes.”
Starscream’s observation, and the condescension used to enhance it, edged him ever closer to incurring Megatron’s wrath. Thoughts of violence did flow through the Decepticon leader’s mind, but ultimately he decided not to lash out physically, not yet anyway. “Just shut up, Starscream!”
Frenzy watched the two high-ranking warriors shoot icy glares at one another, hoping against hope that Megatron would lose his temper and violently dismember the air commander. He was forced away from his observation of the potential hostilities as he heard a message from Cybertron coming through his uplink to Soundwave. He listened, nodded and replied. “Understood.” Frenzy disconnected his link to Cybertron and addressed the Decepticon commander. “Lord Megatron, Shockwave has completed the repairs to the space bridge and asks for a few minutes to address Cybertron. He will send a signal to Soundwave when he’s ready.”
A smile came over the face of Megatron. “Good. Soon I will incinerate Ultra Magnus as all of Cybertron watches, as will Optimus Prime after I send a recording of the event to him.” His cruel laugh flowed over the desert, and was soon joined by the laughter of the rest of the Decepticons.
Manning the mobile radar station, Rumble suddenly snapped out of his laughter as something caught his attention. “Megatron, the sensors just picked something up breaching the fifty mile perimeter to the north of here!”
Angered that something dared to interfere with his moment of glory, Megatron snapped back at the small Decepticon. “What is it!?!”
Rumble’s optics grew wide as he stared at the screen. “I don’t know, but it’s just come within thirty miles!”
Megatron’s fears were confirmed by the object’s exceptional speed, and he looked to his Seekers to ward off the impending attack. “Starscream! Take Thundercracker and eradicate this menace!”
Rumble’s voice called out to all. “Ten miles!”
Starscream grinned at Megatron. “Of course Lord Megatron, whatever you command.” The Decepticon air commander turned and looked to the sky, his optics enlarging as something came into view.
Kickback peered out through the small window in his cell door at the little yellow Autobot guarding he and his comrades. “Autobot, I believe that my friend in the cell next to mine is in need of medical attention. Please check on him.”
Bumblebee looked suspiciously at the biomechanical Decepticon. “You’re much more polite than any Decepticon that I’ve ever dealt with. What’s your angle?”
“My angle is that Bombshell suffered some serious injuries at the hands of your leader, and I think that he may need a little more repair work. My being polite is simply a case of me acknowledging my situation, and knowing that an insolent attitude will not get my friend the aid that he needs.”
The little Autobot didn’t believe the Insecticon for a second, but he didn’t see any harm in looking in the cell of the one called Bombshell. And there was the outside chance that Kickback was telling the truth. After all, Prime had nearly turned Bombshell’s face inside out. Bumblebee walked over to the cell and looked in. “Owww!” Bumblebee yanked his head away from the window and backed up. The small, sharp pain in his forehead was quickly replaced by the feeling of something burrowing through his metallic skin. “Need to get to Ratch…” Bumblebee collapsed.
“Denizens of Cybertron, I Shockwave am pleased beyond measure to provide you with the opportunity to witness the greatest event in the history of our great world.” Shockwave was never much for showmanship, but he understood the power of putting on a charismatic and emotionally charged presentation. “Lost to us for fifty-thousand vorns, the greatest leader in Cybertronian history will be returning through this space bridge in mere moments…” Around the planet tens of thousands of Cybertronians watched the space bridge come into view behind Shockwave as the camera zoomed out to include it. “…And he will be bringing much needed energon with him.” Shockwave started walking to his right, over to the Autobot prisoners hanging from their posts. “On top of that, Lord Megatron will execute the last of the Autobot leaders, thereby bringing an end to the Autobot scourge that had afflicted our great world for far too long.” Grabbing Ultra Magnus by the chin, Shockwave forced the prisoner’s head up to face the camera. “That’s correct Cybertron, on this day, our lord and master Megatron will eliminate Ultra Magnus and these other Autobot criminals once and for all.” Shockwave released his grip on the dejected Autobot’s head, allowing it to drop to its previous hanging position.
Ultra Magnus had run out of hope. There was no longer any doubt in his mind that Megatron would be arriving through that space bridge in mere moments, and that once that happened all would be lost. He cared little about losing his own life, but knowing that the nine Autobots lined up to the right of him, some of whom he had recruited into this hopeless cause, would be sharing the same fate tore him to shreds. They were brave, they were loyal, and they were doomed, all because Ultra Magnus could never measure up. He had tried his best, but fallen short nonetheless, and his friends would be paying the price for his shortcomings.
And Magnus realized that these nine were only the beginning. The cause of the Autobots had now become hopeless, and it would not be long before the remaining Autobot forces were decimated. The Autobots had barely survived against Shockwave’s energon-depleted and scaled-down forces, but they would have no chance against a rejuvenated Decepticon army under Megatron’s command. The Autobots would be extinct within a tenth of a vorn.
Shockwave made his way back to the space bridge, walking to the side opposite the prisoners. “Yes Cybertron, this will truly be a day of monumental and glorious events.” Shockwave nodded to Echo, the indication to send Earth the signal to send Megatron through the space bridge. “So without further ado, I present Cybertron’s greatest hero…” Shockwave held his hand out to the space bridge, ready to announce Megatron as he came through. Moments passed, and Shockwave grew uneasy. He had expended vast effort and resources to arrange this, to set everything up so that Megatron’s return would be perfect, to make it as simple and effortless for the Decepticon leader as possible, and yet despite all this, Megatron was finding a way to screw it up. Shockwave’s resolve to replace him became ever more firm.
Finally, an energy build-up from within the space bridge came into being, indicating that something was coming through. A large foot came into view, followed by a leg, and then the entire body came into view, sending a ripple of shock through the Decepticon sub-commander. Just audible enough for the viewing audience to hear, one word weakly came from Shockwave. “Prime.”
Bumblebee walked into the command room and headed straight for Prowl, who was seated at the communications array. Prowl heard the approaching footsteps and turned. “Bumblebee, you’re supposed to be guarding the prisoners. There’s still a great deal about these Insecticons that we’re not aware of. We don’t need them conspiring to escape. Now get back to your station!”
Prowl suddenly noticed a small gun in Bumblebee’s hand, and watched his minute friend raise the weapon and point it at his head. Prowl looked into Bumblebee’s optics and noticed a glazed, absent look. Bumblebee straightened his arm to fire, but had the weapon blasted out of his hand.
Wheeljack stood in the other entranceway to the command room, his recently fired rifle in hand. “What the heck is the matter with you Bumblebee!?!”
Prowl grabbed the minibot by the shoulders and closely examined his friends face. “He’s not himself Wheeljack. Something’s come over him.” Bumblebee suddenly shrugged off Prowl’s hands and punched him in the jaw. “Ow!” The Minibot lunged and tried to tear out Prowl’s optics. Prowl pushed Bumblebee off of him and floored him with a right cross. Bumblebee went down hard. “Why in Chaos did you make me do that, Bumblebee!?!”
Suddenly Ratchet’s panicked voice cut through the intercom. “Prowl, the Decepticon prisoners are in the infirmary! Get in he…”
Prowl and Wheeljack sent a quick glance to each other before sprinting to the aid of their medic. They saw Ravage, Shrapnel and Bombshell in the hallway outside the door of the infirmary and started firing on the Decepticons. Though outnumbering the Autobots, the Decepticons were unarmed, and therefore had little chance of taking the Ark. Shrapnel yelled into the infirmary. “Just grab the bird, bird, bird, and let’s go, go, go!”
Laserbeak swooped out of the infirmary with Buzzsaw’s battered frame in his talons, and soared down the end of the hallway opposite the Autobots. Ravage and the Insecticons followed quickly behind him.
Wheeljack and Prowl looked into the infirmary and saw a beaten Ratchet lifting himself off of the floor. “How did they get out?”
“Not sure. Are you alright?” Prowl wanted to chase the prisoners, but he needed to verify that Ratchet was not injured too badly.
“I’m fine. Go get them!”
The gentle whirr of the Ark’s entrance ramp lowering could be heard by the three Autobots, and Wheeljack dejectedly reported what they all already knew. “They’re gone.”
Shockwave’s startled announcement went unheard by his prisoners, so when Ultra Magnus weakly turned his head to looked up at his executioner, he was completely unprepared for what he saw. So overwhelmed by feelings of despair, and so convinced of defeat and doom, Magnus could barely register what he saw. A frame of unimaginable strength, an embodiment of unconditional courage and resolve, slightly altered, but undeniably Prime. The blue optics of the lost commander met Magnus’s, and the hopeless Autobot cause came back to life with a vengeance.
“KILL HIM!!!” Shockwave’s voice broke the silent moment of Autobot glory.
Prime was armed with his rifle in his right hand and a large, double-bladed battle-axe in his left. His right arm shot forward and leveled the rifle at the line of Seeker’s directly in front of him, spraying forth a deadly barrage of armor-piercing, exploding rounds. The first Seeker targeted was severed at the navel, falling to the ground in two pieces. The second remained in one piece, but his life faded away as he looked down to see that his chest was now little more that a large, gaping hole. The other seven Seekers made it to the air and transformed, setting out away from Prime to come back in organized attack runs.
Shockwave quickly assessed the situation. Tempest and Stratoblade were dead, the ground forces were confusedly charging Prime and the remaining Seekers would be returning to strafe the area in less than nine seconds. “No damage is to befall the space bridge! Anyone who even scratches it will be tortured to death!” Shockwave himself then charged at Prime, determined to rectify this humiliating turn of events as best he could by destroying the enduring symbol of Autobot strength in front of all of Cybertron.
Prime fired on the oncoming Decepticons, sending four of them permanently off-line and giving three other’s battle-ending injuries. Despite the incredible rate at which he was eliminating the Decepticons, he knew that there were too many of them for him to fight himself, especially when one of them was Shockwave. He had come through the space bridge with one objective, and he realized that he’d better accomplish that objective while he had the chance. Prime dove to his right, tucked and rolled as he hit the ground. He came up running, and now that he was clear of the space bridge the Decepticons began firing on him without the hesitation that they had displayed just a moment before.
Magnus watched as his leader began blasting away at the chains that were holding he and the other Autobots prisoner. In less than four seconds all ten Autobot prisoners had fallen to the ground, free of their shackles. “GIRD UP BOYS…That’s Prime!” For the first time in ages, Magnus hadn’t the slightest twinge of hesitation when ordering Autobots into battle. The cause was no longer lost, their efforts no longer futile, their defeat no longer inevitable.
The other Autobots stared in disbelief for a second or two before springing to their feet and running to find anything that could be used as a weapon. A pair of Seekers strafed the area that had been holding the Autobot prisoners, barely missing them. The first pair soared by overhead and was immediately replaced by the next two Seekers, which concentrated fire on Optimus Prime. The red Autobot took several shots to his broad chest, but the energy-low shots had little impact on the Autobot commander. His return fire however, sent one of the Seekers crashing to Cybertron.
Another energy build-up washed over the space bridge entrance, and a red Lamborghini burst forth with Brawn standing on top of it firing a chain gun twice his size. The chain gun cut through two unsuspecting dual-turreted tanks and a bladed barricade decimator. The speeding Autobot and his mini-bot rider weaved through the slower-moving Decepticon ground troops, spraying energized metal in every direction. Brawn leaped off of his comrade and onto the back of a mobile missile launcher, directing his fire directly through the armored roof of the vehicular Decepticon. With a groan, Brawn’s victim rolled to a stop and died seconds later.
Sideswipe transformed and began charging three larger Decepticons, his own small rifle blazing away. The Decepticons returned fire, but Sideswipes reflexes enabled him to dodge the oncoming rounds. The Decepticons were too heavily armored for Sideswipe’s rifle to cause much damage to them, but that was all right as he preferred his battles up close and personal. But Sideswipe’s party was broken up as laser fire from oncoming Seekers tore into his back, sending him to the ground.
Prime too was plagued by the repeated waves of Seekers bearing down on him. He squeezed a few rounds skyward before bringing his communicator to his mouth. He prayed that the transmission made it through the space bridge clearly enough to be heard. “We could use some air support on this end.”
“And come through shooting!” Brawn was scrapping with several Decepticons, each of them two and a half times his size, in front of the space bridge entrance and was barely able to get out his suggestion before being sent to the ground by a hammer-strike.
Still unsure whether his message was heard or not, Prime prepared for the impact of several oncoming Decepticon ground troops. Swinging his axe in a wide, overhead arc, Prime sliced the closest enemy from the Decepticon’s right shoulder through the left side of its waist. The pieces of the Decepticon frame hit the ground as two of the deceased’s colleagues leapt on top of Prime.
Magnus and his fellow prisoners, all unarmed, injured and dangerously low on energon, charged to Prime’s aid. Only Magnus, Kup, Tracks and Hotspot had met Optimus Prime, to most of the other’s he was little more than a glorified myth. Yet all of them charged in to aid their leader without any degree of hesitation. Magnus and Hotspot intercepted two more Decepticons before they could join in on their friend’s attack on Prime.
Kup led the other Autobot prisoners at Prime, but it quickly became evident that he was in no need of assistance. A downward thrust-kick to one of the Decepticon’s thighs tore it from the rest of his torso, and the now one-legged warrior fell to the ground. His companion, who was currently attempting to climb over Prime’s back and reaching to gouge out Prime’s optics, felt the sharp tip of one of the axe blades imbed itself into his left thigh. A moment later he was being dragged around to the front of Prime by his ensnared leg, and barely caught sight of the giant red elbow flying at his head. A searing pain flowed through the lower portion of his face as his jaw was torn away and sent bouncing across the ground.
The jawless Decepticon looked at Prime with disbelief, ready for the legendary Autobot to administer the killing blow. But the killing blow came from his allies, as two Seekers sent a storm of laser fire down on the Autobot leader and anyone in his proximity. Prime weathered the attack without flinching, returning fire that killed one Seeker in the air and destroyed the wing of the other, forcing it to crash land a couple of miles away.
Despite his continued effectiveness, Prime was taking some fairly heavy damage. The four remaining Seekers and the Decepticon ground troops were handing Sideswipe and Brawn a devastating beating, and the other Autobots there were in no shape to offer much help. Their initial momentum halted, the Autobots were now fighting what appeared to be a losing battle.
In the flash of an optic, the battle’s momentum swung back to the Autobot’s favor. A white blur erupted from out of the space bridge, and in its wake four Decepticon ground troops found their armor perforated. Before the four wounded or dying Decepticons could hit the ground, Jetfire swung by for another pass, leaving another three Decepticons in varying states of mutilation.
Suddenly free from the group beating that was being administered on him, Sideswipe leapt up off the ground, transformed to car mode, and sped toward the space bridge. He had sustained major damage, but his movements gave no indication of this. “Prime, I’m heading back to Earth. Sunstreaker and Huffer are going to be needing back up.”
Prime nodded and responded back into his com-link. “Yes, do that. And tell Huffer to bring a pallet of energon cubes through the bridge.”
“Yes sir.” Sideswipe got his reply out just before vanishing through the space bridge.
Prime began firing on Shockwave and the three operational ground troops as Jetfire engaged the Seekers overhead. Shockwave transformed and blasted away at the Autobot commander, sending Prime and the freed prisoners diving for cover. Prime evaded the ensuing blasts, and worked his way in to combat Shockwave at closer range. As formidable as Prime was, he didn’t have the firepower to match Shockwave’s.
Prime quickly got within a few feet of Shockwave, who transformed to better deal with the unavoidable close quarter combat. The two warriors locked up, Prime forced to drop the rifle from his left hand but managing to hang on to the axe in his right. The two grappled ferociously, testing each other’s strength and struggling to attain some degree of leverage against their enemy. For the initial couple of seconds the two looked evenly matched, but soon it became evident that Prime had the greater strength.
Being pushed back, Shockwave pulled his right hand free and threw a punch at Prime’s face. Prime caught the oncoming fist in his left hand, twisted at the waist, and used that grip to throw Shockwave to the ground behind him. Shockwave leapt quickly to one knee and spun around, his left wrist cannon ready to fire on Prime. Anticipating Shockwave’s move, Prime spun around as well, swinging his axe. Shockwave sent the mental command for his cannon to fire, but it, and much of his forearm, had already been sliced away.
“Lord Shockwave, there are twelve more Seekers in-bound from battle station Tryptic. ETA in roughly three minutes.” Echo was still manning his post at the communications array. The news was good, but three minutes seemed to be a long way off.
For Echo, three minutes would be too long, as Brawn set upon him. Using a rifle taken off of a dead Decepticon, the severely wounded Autobot blasted the Decepticon communications officer to pieces. Brawn turned to Echo’s colleagues, but determined them to be far less of a threat than the three ground warriors that were currently firing on Magnus and the other former prisoners. As Brawn started to charge back into the battle, another form emerged from the space bridge. Huffer rolled onto his home world, towing a wheeled pallet of energon cubes behind him. “Any idea of where I’m supposed to put these Brawn?”
Brawn looked to Prime who had just beaten Shockwave to the point of retreat. The large, purple Decepticon started flying back to Darkmount, abandoning his remaining troops and communications technicians to the Autobots. “You’d better ask Prime.”
Prime watched as Shockwave escaped into the distance. His optics quickly darted to another portion of the sky, where Jetfire was trading lasers and missiles with the two Seekers he had not yet polished off. Magnus walked up next to Prime. “What the heck is that?”
“New recruit.” Prime then turned to his old friend and the two clasped each other’s right wrist. “It’s good to see you Magnus.”
“It’s amazing to see you Prime. You’re timing is, well…” A hurt, perplexed, and slightly angry look fell over Magnus’s face. “Where in Chaos have you been, Prime!?! We’ve been getting massacred for ages.”
Prime nodded. “I’m sorry, old friend. I’ll give you all the details when we have more time, but just know that if I never would have abandoned you if there was any way for me to prevent it.”
Magnus nodded. “Of course.” An enormous smile came over Magnus. “You’re back. I can’t believe you’re back! This changes everything!”
Prime put his hand on the shoulder of his old friend. He looked over to the remaining ground battle, and saw that the other Autobots had finished off the last of the Decepticon soldiers. A fresh, blazing pile of metal just beyond them and the sound of an explosion overhead told him that Jetfire had finished his fight as well. “Calm down Magnus. The war is far from over, and I’m going to have to return to Earth.” Prime saw Huffer rolling up to them. Prime interrupted Magnus before he could ask Prime what Earth was and why Prime needed to return to it. “I’ll explain everything to you later, but now I need you to transform, and let me load this energon into your cargo section.”
Magnus turned and looked at the pallet being pulled by the minibot. He had never seen so much energon. “That will keep my soldiers fully energized for a centi-vorn. Where did you get all that?” Magnus asked as he transformed.
“I’ll explain everything later. But for now we’ve got to get you out of here.” Prime, and the just transformed Huffer, began loading the energon cubes into Magnus’s rear cargo area. “Magnus, what coordinates should I set for our communications?”
Magnus thought for a few seconds. “Do you remember where we planned our strategy for the battle of Telanicron?”
Prime remembered the location well. They had spent countless hours in a small abandoned medical clinic on the outskirts of Iacon determining how best to assault the Decepticon outpost that had been used as the staging point for dozens of raids on the Autobot capital. “Of course.”
Magnus revved his engines and began pulling away. “Good, I’ll be three hundred feet below the surface of that place for the three hours of mid-day everyday starting in two days until I get your signal.”
Prime nodded. “Very good.”
“Oh, and Prime, take Hotspot, Tracks, Blades, Powerglide and Warpath with you. They’re pretty beaten up and may not be able to make a clean getaway with me. Plus, you’re probably in a better position to give them medical attention than I am.”
“Consider it done, though I’m not familiar with some of them.” Prime turned to the other Autobots. “Hotspot, you are returning to Earth with me, as is Tracks, Blades, Powerglide and Warpath. Kup, you take the rest back with Ultra Magnus. Oh, and Kup, it’s good to see you made it back alive.”
Kup was confused for a moment, but soon remembered the last mission he had gone on for Prime and how he had been presumed dead until many days after Prime had launched. The blue warrior smiled at his old leader. “It takes a lot more than a few ‘Cons to kill this old warhorse.”
Prime nodded, and led Jetfire, Huffer, Brawn and his new recruits back through the space bridge, glancing one last time at Magnus, who was leading his troops away and into the catacombs. As the Autobots made their way to the space bridge, the surviving Decepticon communications operatives could be heard sending a message to the leader that had abandoned them. “Lord Shockwave, reports of uprisings are coming in from around Cybertron! There seem to be insurrections in virtually every city-state. What are your orders?” The last of the Autobots laughed at the panicked Decepticons as they passed through the space bridge.
Megatron was seething. That incompetent fool Starscream had been blasted out of fighting condition before he could even take to the sky, and Prime’s battle axe whipped through the air and sliced through the top part of Megatron’s fusion cannon, disabling it, before he could put it to use against the Autobot raiders. That had occurred in the first second of the Autobot attack on the space bridge. It only got worse from there. Megatron had charged at Prime, intent on killing the fool with his bare hands, but some high-powered magnet at the end of a line attached to Jetfire had latched onto the Decepticon commander and yanked him into the sky.
For nearly a minute the Autobot jet dragged him through the air before deactivating the magnet and letting Megatron free fall. Megatron activated his foot thrusters, only to have them blown apart by Jetfire’s missiles. Once again Megatron was falling to Earth, and looking up one last time he saw Thundercracker coming to his aid, too late to do anything except get blasted out of the sky by Jetfire as well.
Megatron had sped through the desert toward his previous location, dead set on making both Prime and Jetfire pay for their actions. He prayed that the Autobots were still there. One quick message to Cybertron and a battalion of Shockwave’s warriors would come charging through the space bridge to obliterate the them. Megatron finally did arrive at the space bridge, just in time to see the Autobots retreating. His Decepticons were scattered about, all in various states of disrepair. Only Bonecrusher and Long Haul seemed to be capable of fighting, and even they were in rough shape.
Long Haul turned to his approaching leader. “Megatron, we managed to keep the Autobots from destroying the space bridge.” The Constructicon neglected to mention that the Autobots had departed without any interest in further conflict, or in destroying any more Decepticon property.
Megatron looked angrily at the two Constructicons and fought the urge to strike them. He decided instead to make them useful. “This location has obviously been compromised. You two are to relocate this space bridge to a safer location. Do this and report back to the Nemesis immediately after you’ve completed this task.”
“Yes sir.” The two replied in unison.
It took nearly an hour before the Decepticons were all accounted for and in adequate condition to return to their aquatic base of operations. It was a long trek home, but they finally arrived to the correct coordinates and entered the entrance tube as it broke the surface of the water and opened to allow them in.
Megatron walked through the corridor of his submerged base, followed closely by his beaten Decepticons. Despite the savagery of the Autobot attack, most of the injuries were minor. But Prime had inflicted incredible damage to the Decepticon forces today. Shockwave had reported what had transpired on Cybertron, and that revolts were taking place all over the planet in the wake of Prime's intervention.
Enraged, Megatron smashed his fist against the wall without missing a step. The Decepticons behind him were startled, but continued to follow their leader to the Constructicon's workshop at the end of the corridor, slowing only to gaze at the hole in the wall created by Megatron's fury.
Ahead of them, Hook peered out from the workshop and excitedly ran to greet them. "Lord Megatron, we have finished it! We have finished the designs for the spark integration technology! We are ready to proceed!"
Megatron smiled malevolently. "And the plans are programmed into the computer in your workshop?" Hook nodded triumphantly. "Then proceed we will." Megatron looked to Soundwave, who nodded at Megatron's glance and sent a pre-arranged radio signal to all of the Decepticons excluding the Constructicons. Upon the completion of the transmission, he and the wounded Starscream grabbed Scavenger, Reflector and Thundercracker grabbed Mixmaster, and Megatron set upon Hook. "Yes, proceed we will!"
Hook squirmed and pleaded. "Megatron, no! I thought, no, it was supposed to be, I don't...” Hook noted that Megatron did not seem confused, and finally understood what Megatron had planned. From out of the workshop sounds of a struggle could be heard as the newly repaired Skywarp jumped on Scrapper. Hook panicked as the realization of what was about to happen to him became clear. "NO!"
Megatron laughed as he tore Hook’s frame from the floor and carried it into the workshop, with Rumble, Frenzy and Ravage running ahead to assist Skywarp. "Start with these four, Soundwave, and we'll bring you Bonecrusher and Long Haul when they return."
Soundwave replied, though was barely heard over the protests of the struggling Constructicons. "Yes Lord Megatron."
|05-27-2003, 09:46 AM||#8|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 8: Devastation
The hallway to the infirmary no longer showed signs of the previous week’s battle. Prime walked briskly though it, proudly admiring the work of his crew. The Ark may never fly again, but it would look as good as a scuttled vessel could look. Prime turned into the infirmary just as Ratchet was conducting his final inspections of Hotspot’s new Earth mode. Prime chuckled. “I realize that you’re new here, but light blue is a very uncommon shade for a fire engine, Hotspot.”
The fire engine transformed, startling Ratchet. Hotspot inspected his robotic arms, similar to how they looked on Cybertron, but with a few subtle differences. “Perhaps I’ll consider a paintjob, but there’s no changing my choice in vehicle. It’s a symbol of strength and protection. A representation of the rare combination of power and justice, and nothing else could suit me better.”
Ratchet managed not to laugh at the speech. “Well Hotspot, this symbol of strength and protection seems to fit you both physically as well as ideologically, so you’re free to go.” The large blue Autobot thanked Ratchet and nodded to Prime before walking out of the infirmary. Ratchet watched Hotspot walk out the door. “It’s hard to imagine someone who’s seen and experienced so much hardship having such a sense of idealism.”
Prime nodded. “It is very inspiring. In yesterday’s communiqué, Magnus told me that Hotspot was a natural leader.” Prime walked over to a chair beside one of the empty slabs lined across the wall. Besides Prime and Ratchet, the room was empty. “I’m sorry that I could not arrive earlier, but General Peterson was insistent that I run through various defensive scenarios for potential Decepticon attacks.”
Ratchet walked to the entrance and pressed a button on the wall next to it, causing the door to hiss to a shut. He then walked over to Prime and sat down in a chair near the Autobot commander. “No need to apologize, I understand how busy you are.” Ratchet’s optics darted nervously around the room before finally resting on Prime. “The reason I asked you here is that this morning I conducted an examination of Jetfire, and…” the medic squirmed uneasily in his chair. “…And I found something, unusual.”
Prime’s optics narrowed. “Unusual how?”
“I typically don’t discuss a patient’s information with others, but as his commander this may be beneficial for you to know, and I’m certain that he wouldn’t mind.”
“I understand. So what did you find?”
Ratchet looked down into his lap, deciding on how best to proceed. “Well, as you know, I’ve been around a long time, and seen virtually every possible method for creating, maintaining or repairing Cybertronian physiology. But when I examined Jetfire’s nervous system, neuro-circuitry, and brain, I was blown away. His synaptic responses, his reflexes, his neural pathways, everything, all of it was unbelievably advanced and efficient. The process of encountering stimuli, recognizing stimuli, evaluating stimuli, determining a course of action, and the execution of that action is all virtually instantaneous.” Ratchet shook his head gently. “The workmanship would be well beyond what I would have considered possible.” Ratchet lifted his head and looked into Prime’s optics. “That is, if I hadn’t of seen it before.”
Prime cocked his head. “You’re saying that there is another one like Jetfire out there?”
Ratchet displayed a crooked smile, giving the impression that he found Prime’s question to be somewhat humorous. “A very different design and frame from Jetfire’s, but what I just described held true for this Cybertronian as well.”
Prime was growing impatient with Ratchet’s reticence. “Whom did you find these traits on?”
Ratchet lost the smile and looked at Prime with nothing but seriousness. “A young Autobot that had been chosen for a task. Ultra Magnus had me conduct a thorough examination to verify that this Autobot was indeed worthy of the task before him.”
Exasperated by Ratchet’s seeming evasiveness, Prime finally just shrugged and decided to play along. “Alright, what was the task before this Autobot?”
Ratchet deepened his look into the commander’s optics. “He was chosen to bear the Matrix of Leadership, to be the successor of the recently slain Sentinel Prime, and to lead the Autobots into battle against the Decepticons.” Ratchet watched as Prime’s optics grew wide, the Autobot leader realizing the ramifications of what he had just heard.
“Where’s Alpha Trion?”
“Probably in the command room, interfacing with Teletran One and pouring over ever piece of information about the Earth that he can come across.”
Prime stood up and walked to the infirmary door. Sensing his approach, the door automatically slid open to allow Optimus Prime through. As Prime exited through the doorway he stopped and turned his head back to Ratchet. “Thanks.” Ratchet smiled and nodded in reply.
Alpha Trion recognized the approaching footsteps as Prime’s. Without taking his eyes off of the screen in front of him, he called out to the Autobot commander. “Optimus Prime, you will be happy to know that Wheeljack has installed the extra storage compartment on my ship and that the compartment is already loaded with energon. We need only your authorization and selection of a pilot to transport this supply of energon to the Autobots on Cybertron.” Prime continued his approach toward the ancient Autobot, and stopped when he was finally standing next to the seated Alpha Trion. Alpha Trion looked up at Prime’s plated face, and realized that the Autobot leader had something other than shipments to Cybertron on his mind. “Or, you can give your authorization at a later date.” Alpha Trion smiled at the serious looking Autobot standing beside him. “What is it?”
“We need to talk.”
Alpha Trion nodded his head, aware of what Prime wanted to discuss. “Yes, that we do. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if we had this discussion in your chambers?”
“Yes, that would be better.” Prime waited as Alpha Trion rose from his chair, and the two started walking out of the command room.
“Prime, I’ve got something here!” Both Prime and Alpha Trion stopped and turned at Jazz’s call. “It looks like the ‘Cons are headed inland. It appears to be all of them, and they really aren’t making any effort to hide themselves from our scanners, either. I’m tracking their speed and course, and I believe that they are en-route to, what appears to be, Wyoming?” Jazz looked confusedly at Prime. Washington D.C., New York, maybe even London or Moscow would be appropriate targets for Megatron, but why a sparsely populated mountainous state?
Alpha Trion grabbed Prime by the arm. “Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming! It has over one hundred fifty nuclear missiles housed there!”
The implications terrified Prime. Adjusting the communicator on his wrist, Prime sent a message through the Ark’s intercom. “All Autobots are to assemble in the command room immediately!” Seconds later the last of the Autobots were sprinting into the command room. Prime addressed his troops. “The Decepticons are flying deep into the United States, and we believe that their destination is an Air Force base in Cheyenne, Wyoming that is housing around one hundred fifty nuclear weapons. Needless to say, the situation is critical, so I’m going to need all of you at your best.” Prime let the situation sink in for his troops. Nuclear weapons had been experimented with ages ago on Cybertron, but the famine had made the thought of such a waste of energy unpopular. And in-bound weapons of such size and destructive capabilities would have to be launched a great distance away, and could be detected in time for most of the targets to evacuate. These, as well as other factors, ended the use of nuclear weapons on Cybertron.
But on Earth, where the Autobots had only one stronghold, and human cities would take hours, if not days to evacuate, a nuclear arsenal in the hands of Megatron would be catastrophic. Prime knew that now more than ever, Megatron had to be stopped. “Ratchet, Wheeljack and Alpha Trion are to remain behind and guard the base. You three need to stay alert. The Decepticons wanted us to see them, so there may be something up their sleeve.” Prime transformed and turned toward the exit. “The rest of you are to come with me. Autobots, let’s roll out!”
Most human weapons were insignificant. But you get enough of them together, and even their small arms could get annoying. Rumble swatted at the hundreds of bullets bouncing off of him. They really weren’t a threat to his armor, but the air in front of him was so thick with lead pellets that he periodically had difficulty seeing. The rhythmic sound of the automatic weapons, as well as the bullets ricocheting off of his frame made hearing even more difficult. But he was able to make out a whistling sound from high above. Rumble looked up just as a mortar shell plummeted down and impacted the ground inches in front of him. The blast knocked him to the ground and scorched the front of his body. He leapt back to his feet and started blasting away at the humans, his annoyance having been replaced by rage.
Megatron watched as his diminutive soldier finally cut loose on the Americans. Human bodies, both living and dead, were hurled into the air as Decepticon fire obliterated their positions. Bonecrusher bowled his way through six tanks as if they were made of tin foil. The sky was streaked with fire as his Seekers sent American fighter planes plummeting to their doom. Buzzsaw cut through the battlefield, spraying bolts of destruction down on vehicles, ordinance and personnel. All around Megatron, those that opposed his Decepticons were being decimated. It was just an appetizer of what was to come.
“Megatron, scanners show a jet coming toward us. It’s moving way too fast to have been made by humans.” Megatron smiled at Thundercracker’s news. The Autobots had finally arrived.
“Good. I want you and the other Seekers to lower your altitude so that my ground forces can fire on Jetfire should he choose to engage you.” Megatron watched the airborne forms of Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp became larger as they lowered their altitude. From behind the Decepticon commander three other forms approached. Like the Decepticons flying overhead, they were Seekers, but cones adorned their heads. Megatron turned to the three, grounded Seekers. “Thrust, Ramjet and Dirge, allow Jetfire to engage Starscream and the others, and only when the battle has begun in earnest are you to join them in the air. Is that understood?” The three nodded.
“Lord Megatron, the Autobots are approaching from the west.” Soundwave’s melodic voice sounded out the confirmation that Megatron had been awaiting for hours.
“Playtime’s over! Annihilate these annoying flesh-sacks once and for all!” Megatron unleashed the power of his fusion cannon, laying waste to the last of the human positions and vehicles. Megatron looked toward the oncoming Autobots, wondering if any one of the approaching vehicles knew that this would be the last day of their lives.
Megatron looked back to the sky knowing that Jetfire would be attacking any second. Megatron’s guess proved correct as a white streak burst through a cloud and began firing on the flying Seekers. They quickly took evasive actions, and then turned to engage the Autobot jet. The dogfight commenced, and Megatron calmly nodded to the cone-headed newcomers. Thrust, Dirge and Ramjet leapt to the sky, transformed, and tore off after the other jets. “Decepticon air superiority is regained, now we only need to prove our ground might.” Megatron turned back to the oncoming Autobots, and noticed two forms taking to the skies to join the aerial battle. One was a small red jet, the other a red and white helicopter. Neither a match for his Seekers, so Megatron dismissed them and concentrated solely on the Autobot ground forces.
He looked to his own troops to verify that they were in position. Most were finding cover and taking aim at the Autobots, while his Constructicons remained in vehicle mode as commanded. Everything was going to plan, soon Prime and his Autobots would be nothing but metal shards being ground under Decepticon feet.
Prime continued to cautiously speed toward the Decepticons, a little worried that they had not yet begun firing on he and his troops. Once he was within one hundred yards of Megatron he came to a stop, as did the other Autobots. Still confused as to why the Decepticons were not firing on them, Prime transformed and addressed Megatron. “You’re not getting the warheads, Megatron!”
Megatron laughed. “Actually Prime, I could have taken the warheads some time ago, but I decided to grant you an opportunity to stop me. What can I say, I’m feeling generous today.”
“What’s your game, Megatron!?!” Prime gripped his rifle tightly and prepared to charge, blasting away, at Megatron.
Megatron’s smile took a sinister twist. “I simply want to introduce you to a new friend of mine. Someone who will really enjoy playing with you.” He turned to the six green construction vehicles to his left. “CONSTRUCTICONS, MERGE TO FORM DEVASTATOR!”
Startled, Prime raised his rifle, but despite the forceful command from Megatron, the Decepticons still were not attacking. Scrapper and Mixmaster, though, were driving forward. Mixmaster’s rear tires screeched to a halt, while his cab section pulled forward several yards more before halting. The rear portion with the cement mixer hoisted up, over the cab and rested there. Scrapper’s shovel rose into the air, and the lower side’s of the vehicle sprung forward, propelling Scrapper into the air and then landing, balanced on the shovel and the two sides.
Long Haul sped toward them from behind and took to the air, his front and rear section folding toward one another until they ran perpendicular to each other. From the rear part of his undercarriage, purple metal constructs folded out, and from the front section of his undercarriage a green plate flipped forward. The purple constructs linked with Mixmaster and Scrapper, enabling Long Haul to sit balanced on his comrades.
As this was happening, the three remaining Constructicons were taking to the air behind Long Haul. Hook’s form elongated and folded around itself, pieces of purple metal extended from out of Hook and connected to form a giant purple crest that connected the front and rear of the vehicle.
Bonecrusher and Scavenger flew to either side of Hook, their own bodies contorting very little, but large purple forms folded out from between their treads. Prime instantly recognized the purple forms as forearms and hands, and watched as Hook perched upon Long Haul, and Bonecrusher and Scavenger linked to Hook. Once connected, a black head with a silver face arose from the section that was once Hook, and glared down at the stunned Autobots.
“What the heck just happened?” Ironhide queried as he looked up at the eighty-foot tall robot.
Sunstreaker armed a missile and took aim at the giant. “Whoopty-slaggin-do! Megatron trained these guys to make a pyramid. Maybe they’ll be asked to do the half time show for one of this year’s Bowl Games.” Sunstreaker shot forth his missile, sending it straight into the chest of the green monster. The missile impacted and exploded, but when the smoke cleared it was evident that this ‘Devastator’ was unaffected. There wasn’t even a scratch.
The only sound was Megatron’s laughter. “As you can see Autobots, Devastator is impervious to virtually anything that you can throw at him. But there’s more to him than just durability, he can dish it out even better than he can take it.” With that Devastator’s two giant arms raised skyward, his hands clasped, and his fists sped toward the Autobots with unimaginable force.
Prime and his troops dove out of the way just in time to avoid the tremor-inducing blow. Dirt and rock sprayed like a geyser, and Prime looked back to see Devastator pulling his hands out of a crater large enough to hold a herd of elephants. “Autobots, take evasive action and fire at will! Hit this thing with everything you’ve got!” The Autobots proceeded to do just that, with little effect. Rockets and lasers did little more than tickle the giant, and to add to the Autobot’s problems, the other Decepticons joined the fight.
Jetfire was used to being outnumbered. But in his previous engagements it was either two on one odds and/or he had the element of surprise working in his favor. Now he was outnumbered six to one, three of which he had not been expecting, and all of who had lying in wait for him. Powerglide and Blades were there to back him up, but Powerglide lacked the significant armor and firepower, and they both lacked the speed and maneuverability, of the Seekers. Jetfire realized that the odds were stacked heavily against him, but happily accepted his first, real challenge.
As the battle commenced Jetfire noticed that the red newcomer appeared to have vertical take off and landing capabilities, and could most likely come to a stop and hover should the need arise. The white one with the red wings seemed to be trying to collide with he, Powerglide and Blades instead of shooting at them. The blue one with the yellow wings was emitting a noise that seemed to be having a disconcerting effect on the other flyers, both Autobot and Decepticon. Jetfire recognized this as simply a psychological weapon, and was able to ignore it.
Despite the numbers against him, Jetfire was still the fastest thing in the sky, and used that speed to shoot out away from the other dogfighters. He didn’t want to get too far as the Decepticons would then concentrate on Powerglide and Blades, who wouldn’t last more than a few seconds against the six of them. Jetfire banked and turned back to the Decepticons. He watched as Blade’s cannons shot forth a volley of fire underneath Skywarp. Jetfire fired a barrage toward Skywarp’s dorsal section, forcing the black Seeker to turn downward to avoid it, and sending him into Blade’s shots. Skywarp’s smoky frame streaked downward. Jetfire was pleasantly amazed that this strategy had been successful, he knew Skywarp to be an idiot, but he didn’t expect him to fall for something so ridiculously simple. He looked down, expecting to see his Earth-bound comrades in a better position than he was in. He was stunned to see what was going on below.
Bluestreak leapt out of the way of Devastator’s monstrous punch, barely avoiding the fate of the rock face behind him, which was brutally turned into a cave by the unstoppable, purple fist. Prime was happy to see Bluestreak make his escape, but winced in pain as Megatron blasted away a small portion of his shoulder. Diving for cover, Prime brought his com-link to his face. “Jazz, come in!”
“I need you to get away from the battle and find a place to safely observe.”
Jazz’s shocked voice replied. “You want me to run away!?!”
“I need you to record the battle, and transmit the images of this monster back to the Ark. Our only hope is for Alpha Trion, Wheeljack and Ratchet to pinpoint a weakness on this Devastator.” Prime ducked, narrowly avoiding a shot from Ravage.
“Alright Optimus, you’re the Prime.” Prime watched as the white Porsche sped away. He prayed that the others could find something to stop this green menace.
“Yes Jazz, we’re receiving the transmission. Oh Primus, what is that thing?” Wheeljack stared in dismay at the images being transmitted by Jazz. Devastator swung a backhand at Bumblebee, Mirage and Ironhide. Bumblebee and Mirage managed to avoid the swing completely, but the tip of Devastator’s middle finger clipped Ironhide. The glancing blow sent the red Autobot skipping across the ground like a flat stone over water. Devastator’s backhand continued, tearing through a dozen trees as if they were nothing but chopsticks. Dirt, stones and splinters of wood flew through the air, creating the wake of Devastator’s powerful swing.
Jazz’s voice screamed over the sounds of battle and destruction. “That thing used to be the Constructicons. Megatron told them to merge, and, well, they did. They call this thing Devastator, which is very appropriate.”
Wheeljack turned to an intercom switch that was next to the screen displaying the battle. “Alpha Trion, could you get in here? We’ve got something that you should take a look at.”
Ratchet leaned forward and squinted at the screen. “How are you guys going to stop that thing?”
“Prime was hoping that maybe you three genius’s would figure that out.” Jazz’s tense voice bounced back.
Alpha Trion walked into the command center as quickly as his ancient legs could accommodate. “What is it, Wheeljack?”
“Take a look at this thing.” Wheeljack leaned to his left so that Alpha Trion could peer over his right shoulder. Devastator marched on Prime’s battle platform, showing only mild discomfort at the barrage being hurled upon him by it. He reached down and gripped it with his left hand, crushing part of its floor in his palm, and lifting the entire platform into the air as if it weighed nothing. Twisting violently, he hurled it back behind him, sending the platform soaring through the air and into a mountain. The platform tore into the side of the mountain, dislodging thousands of tons of rock and causing an avalanche. Devastator roared in triumph, gleefully amazed by his own prodigious strength.
Alpha Trion’s terrified optics were glued to the screen, as were Ratchet’s and Wheeljack’s. Ratchet studied the giant, trying desperately to find a weak point. Finding none, he could only vocalize his awe. “In all my life, I’ve never seen anything that powerful.”
Wheeljack nodded his silent agreement, but Alpha Trion broke his fixed gaze from the screen and turned his head. His face slowly blanked as he fell deeply into his thoughts. Absently, his voice barely audible, he responded to Ratchet. “I have.”
Jetfire unloaded a deadly mix of lasers and missiles on Devastator, knowing before they were even deployed that they would have little to no effect on the lumbering giant. The sleek jet swooped low and zipped past the front of the Constructicon giant a nanosecond after his ordinance impacted on its target. Devastator roared in anger and swung at Jetfire, who had gotten safely past Devastator’s reach by that point. The two Seeker’s pursuing Jetfire, Dirge and Thundercracker, were not, and both jets had to bank sharply to avoid the gestalt’s deadly swat.
Prime saw Jetfire lead the Seekers into Devastator’s retaliatory blow, and recognized that either they would be hit by the giant or would have to turn away from him. Prime fired into the region that he knew that one of the Seekers would be forced to turn into to evade Devastator’s strike, and wound up sending Dirge crashing to the rocky terrain below. Prime didn’t have the opportunity to relish his accomplishment, and he was sent to the ground by a blast from Soundwave.
Jetfire soared back to the higher altitudes, followed closely by Thundercracker. He rushed back to re-enter the savage dogfight, but was too late to save Powerglide. Jetfire watched as one of Starscream’s missiles incinerated the red Autobot’s left wing.
The other flying Autobot, Blades, seemed to be holding his own. Though significantly slower than the jets, Blades was able to evade the Decepticon attacks a little easier than his downed comrade, and his thicker armor allowed him to absorb more punishment than Powerglide as well. But just as Jetfire came to help him out, a stream of lasers tore through his rotor blades, sending Blades falling to Earth as well. Jetfire was once again, on his own.
“What do you need with a boring laser and a drill!?!”
“Wheeljack, I do not have time to explain. Please just retrieve them and attach them to my space craft, and do so hastily if you please.” Alpha Trion marched over to the small vessel that had brought him to Earth several weeks before, now somewhat larger with the addition of the cargo hold that Wheeljack had installed to it a few days earlier. Wheeljack, who had just finished rolling the craft outside the Ark, shook his head in confusion, but did what the ancient Cybertronian had asked of him.
Ratchet followed Alpha Trion to his ship. “Look, we could really use your help right now. Please don’t go.”
Alpha Trion gave his ship a quick looking over before climbing into the craft. The process took him nearly a minute, but once seated he responded to Ratchet’s request. “The only way that I can think of to stop that monstrosity requires me to leave immediately.”
His resistance to Alpha Trion’s departure not assuaged, Ratchet tried one last time to convince the elder to stay. “A cannon, an explosive device, some chemical, a sonic disrupter, there’s got to be something we can create that will stop that thing!” Ratchet leaned closer to Alpha Trion and spoke in a tone that could not be heard by Wheeljack, who had just returned and was installing a boring laser and a drill to the nose of Alpha Trion’s ship. “I know what you’re capable of making. You’ve created our greatest assets, and I know you can help us once again. I’m begging you to stay.”
Alpha Trion smiled at the medic. “It is good to see that my work is appreciated, but I can not ‘whip’ something together in time to stop this Devastator. Prime and the others will be dead, and the Decepticons will be beating down our door before I would be a quarter of the way completed with the design specifications. And that would be if I had a creation already in mind, which I do not. No, there is only one chance to defeat the Decepticons, and that requires me to return to Cybertron.” Reluctantly, Ratchet nodded and backed away from the ship, as did Wheeljack, who had just finished his installation. Alpha Trion started his engines, and the craft slowly lifted into the air. He turned one last time to Ratchet and Wheeljack before lowering the canopy over the cockpit. “Tell Prime to hold back and stall for as much time as he can. There is no telling how long this task will take me, or if I will be able to complete it at all.” Alpha Trion directed the craft so that it pointed into the sky. “And tell Prime that I apologize for not having our conversation. He’ll know what I mean. Tell him that I when we meet again, I will reveal everything to him.” The two Autobots nodded as the canopy closed over Alpha Trion and the ship darted skyward.
|05-27-2003, 09:47 AM||#9|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 9: The Slumbering Giant
Prime noted that it was now midnight. They had been battling the Decepticons, aided by their new monster Devastator, for over twelve and a half hours, and in that time had done little more than take casualties and lose ground. They had been reduced to finding cover and firing on the Decepticons until that green, titanic menace Devastator came and destroyed their cover, forcing them to flee. The other Decepticons would then take that opportunity to pick off the fleeing Autobots.
Though he believed that they had managed to avoid any fatalities thus far, Prime knew that some of his troops were severely injured and would most likely not last the night without significant medical attention. As it stood, he had only had a half dozen troops still in fighting condition, and two of them, Hotspot and Hoist, were rarely on the battlefield, having been assigned to transport as many of the injured as they could find to a safe location far from here.
A roar in the pitch-black night made everyone aware of Devastator’s location, and the ensuing explosion let everyone know that he had chosen and obliterated another target. Light cut through the darkness as Reflector illuminated the newest crater created by the Constructicon giant. Mirage and Smokescreen sped away first from the light, and then from the barrage of Decepticon fire that shot out to destroy them. Both took some hits, but managed to get away without sustaining too much damage.
The sounds of the air battle raged overhead as well, Jetfire now assisted by various American fighter jets. The assistance was welcome, but the humans, their machinery and their weapons, were no match for the Decepticon Seekers. Prime winced as another human jet exploded in the air. It was a lost battle, but due to the deadly contents housed within the Air Force base, retreating and surrendering the location to Megatron was not an option.
Though the most advanced aerial fighting machine yet built, Jetfire could not overcome the odds against him. The four remaining Seekers were utilizing their numbers to their maximum benefit, seemingly unaffected by the intervention of the humans. But all five of the flying Cybertronians were low on energon, and would have to refuel within the next few hours or risk falling out of the sky. Teamwork had allowed the Decepticons to conserve their fuel to a certain degree, but Jetfire was getting dangerously low, and would soon be at the mercy of his enemies.
The darkness enveloping the pit was without breach, the entire chamber was devoid of illumination of any kind. The lights on Alpha Trion’s ship were still functional, but he had decided to turn them off to conserve energon once they were no longer needed. Everything had been exactly as he had remembered it, and so far everything was going exactly as he had planned it, but there was still no guarantee that this would work. After all, he was dealing with machinery that had been in stasis lock for over eight million Earth years.
His journey from Earth had been short and uneventful, and his re-entry has been almost undetected. Almost. As his craft entered the Cybertronian atmosphere over the long-deserted Medriac sector and lowered to the surface of this remote region, he noticed that a small, sleek orange vehicle was close enough to observe his descent. Fortunately though, the observer did not appear to be a Decepticon, and Alpha Trion reached the surface many miles from where the observer was located. He had felt it was safe to proceed.
The boring laser cut into the surface, creating a hole large enough for Alpha Trion’s ship to travel through. For six hours Alpha Trion excavated mile after mile of tunnel deep into Cybertron, until he had finally reached his destination: The Grand Battle Pit of Tarn. An affront to the dignity of sentient beings, the Battle Pits were tools used by evil overlords to keep the robotic slave race that they professed to have created subdued. The function of the Battle Pits ran nearly parallel to that of the Roman Coliseum on Earth, to assuage the masses and get them to ignore their suffering by giving them violent displays of Cybertronian killing Cybertronian. Nearly every city-state had one, but this one had been the largest and most celebrated. It was a dark page in Cybertron’s history that had thankfully been forgotten by all, save Alpha Trion.
Alpha Trion had no interest in the Battle Pit itself, only in an object that rested inside. It was another tool of the overlords, an awesome weapon, an impenetrable sentinel, a fearsome symbol of invincibility, and a friend of Alpha Trion’s. Inside, Alpha Trion immediately found what he was looking for, and began making the necessary repairs and alterations. Another six hours passed before his work was completed, and all that was left was to fill this machine with the essential energon that he had carried with him from Earth.
Another hour passed, but now Alpha Trion finally noticed a pair of giant optics dimly lighting the enormous chamber. The optics slowly got brighter, and little by little, systems that had been dormant for one hundred thousand vorns came back on line. Alpha Trion, who had allowed his own systems to go into energon conservation mode, came fully back on line and rose to his feet. A booming voice cut through the silent chamber. “CEASE MOVEMENT AND IDENTIFY!” Lights shot forth from the top of a colossal seated torso, temporarily blinding Alpha Trion.
As his vision slowly returned, Alpha Trion saw a gigantic arm, the left one that he had been working on a few hours before, lifting off of the ground and pointing at him. The arm ended not with a hand, but with an immense cannon. Alpha Trion stepped closer and smiled. “Relax old friend, you know who I am.”
Ratchet and Wheeljack had been taking turns trying to find a weakness in Devastator for hours. One would watch the live footage that was still being transmitted by Jazz, while the other would evaluate the previous footage and look for anything that they could use to their advantage. They switched roles every two hours, but so far they had found nothing. Currently, Ratchet was looking over the older footage while Wheeljack monitored the live feed and conversed with Jazz. “I can barely see a thing. Can’t you put a light on the action?”
“And give away my position? No way, Jose! Besides, you’ve already got hours of footage to look over, how much more do you need?”
“Well we haven’t found anything useful yet. All we can tell you is that it does seem to be taking slight damage from your attacks on it, but the other Decepticons intervene before you can cause anything more than scratches. But, you already knew that, didn’t you?”
Exasperated, Jazz let out a weak sigh as he responded. “Yeah, we figured that out early on. We’re completely out of ideas, and nearly out of Autobots. So unless you guys give us something to work with, we’re dead.”
Wheeljack felt for his friend, and wished that he could be there to offer support. “Just hang in there, pal. Alpha Trion is working on something, and hopefully he’ll be coming to the rescue soon.”
The giant form rose to it’s feet, and stood a staggering one hundred and twenty feet tall at the head. A deadly looking claw at the end of the right arm clinched a couple of times, as if learning to work again. Slight movements were made all over the massive body in a seeming attempt to work out the stiffness brought on by eight million years of inactivity. During all of this movement, the optics, which rested behind a thick layer of clear armor, never left Alpha Trion. The ominous stare slowly shifted to confusion, and then to slight recognition. “A-Three?”
A wave of relief washed over Alpha Trion, and the ancient robot smiled at this construct that stood ninety-three feet taller than him. “Yes my friend, it is I, though I have long since taken the name Alpha Trion.”
“You look different as well.” The confused giant lowered his cannon.
Alpha Trion nodded. “Much has changed since we last spoke, my friend. And much time has passed. There is a great deal that you need to be made aware of, Omega Supreme.”
“How much time has passed?”
Sadness was displayed over Alpha Trion’s metallic, yet pliable face. “Roughly one hundred thousand vorns.”
Omega Supreme shuddered, as if the statement had been a physical blow. “One hundred thousand vorns? Such time is so vast, I have difficulty comprehending it.” Omega Supreme shook his head, and with a hurt look, gazed at the unfamiliar form that his old friend had taken while he had been in stasis lock. “Why are you only now reviving me?”
Alpha Trion nodded. He had known that this would be one of the first questions to come out of the ancient Guardian’s mouth should he be successfully revived, but any rehearsed speech slipped his mind. In a way, this relieved Alpha Trion. Courage and innate loyalty were traits common to all Guardian robots, but the ability to discern right from wrong; to understand justice, and then to use that knowledge to overpower pre-programmed directives was a trait unique to this Omega-class Guardian. Such a noble, loyal and valiant friend as Omega Supreme deserved nothing but the honest, unaltered truth. “As you remember, we were revolting against our masters. You were the only one of your kind to see them for what they were.”
“No, there were others that knew of their cruelty. But…”
“But only you were able to override the programming that kept the Guardians devoutly obedient to them. Only you were able to fight for justice, and aid us in our struggle.”
“I remember that I fought other Guardians.” The sadness in Omega Supreme’s voice was nearly tangible.
Alpha Trion was well aware of the bond between the Guardian robots. He had seen this devotion to each other in the very first Alpha Guardians, in the Beta Guardians that replaced them, in the Gammas that replaced them, and so on through the ages, to the pinnacle of all the Guardian classes, the Omegas. They led a lonely, thankless existence, unappreciated and mistreated by those that they protected and served, and viewed as traitors and monsters by their own species. The only ones that could understand the life of a Guardian robot were the other Guardian robots.
By helping Omega Supreme to see that he was wrong in defending the evil slave masters of all Cybertronians, Alpha Trion was forcing him to fight, and to kill, those that he had shared this bond with for eons. The frail Autobot could only nod and let Omega Supreme relive these painful memories.
“I fought them, and I killed them… and I loved them. They were my friends, my comrades… but they were wrong. And they would not let us bring freedom to Cybertron, they opposed our struggle, so I had to fight them. And Guardians do not stop fighting until, until…” Omega Supreme’s voice trailed off.
“I know. Though they opposed us, I will always honor and respect their courage and resolve. But we did what needed to be done, there was no other way.”
“And my best friend, the one I called brother, Omega Titanus. I had to destroy him as well.” The tortured words seemed to have both a traumatizing and therapeutic effect on the Guardian.
Alpha Trion once again could only nod sadly. The last two, and the most powerful, Guardian robots had confronted each other outside of Iacon in the final days of the revolution against those that claimed mastery over Cybertron and it’s inhabitants. The desire to avoid what was destined to happen was clearly evident in the faces of both of the Guardian robots, but their unwavering loyalty to their conflicting causes fated them to this battle, a battle that they both knew would only end in the death of one, or both of them.
With the help of Omega Supreme, the rest of the planet had been freed, and now only Omega Titanus stood in their way of attaining the ultimate freedom of Cybertron. The battle between the two giants lasted for three days, and wound up leveling over eighty percent of Iacon before it was over. In the end, Omega Titanus lay dead, and Omega Supreme lay dying.
Miraculously, Alpha Trion had stabilized the last of the Guardian robots, and stasis lock took hold to slowly repair and preserve the Guardian. But the battle had left the energon level of Omega Supreme extremely low, too low for him to come out of stasis lock without a large intake of energon.
But despite his valiant assistance to the freedom fighters, assistance that very clearly made the difference between victory and defeat, he was still a Guardian. Those that he had fought and sacrificed for still saw him as a merciless henchman for cruel overlords. Even those that knew him, and trusted him, realized that the newly freed populace would always live in fear of him, and ordered his destruction.
Only the pleas of the one that had started and led the revolution, A-Three, spared Omega Supreme from the smelting pit. But he, as well as many other representations of the eons of Cybertronian enslavement, was to be disposed of: never to be seen or heard from again. Omega Supreme’s dormant body was placed in the great Battle Pit of Tarn, and this Battle Pit, as with many others, was brought to the barren and desolate Medriac sector and buried under billions of tons of metal. The hope was that this dark age of Cybertron would be forgotten. And, for the most part, it was. Those that had enslaved the Cybertronians were remembered only as the old gods, and though the idea of others seeing these vile creatures as deities sickened Alpha Trion, he was just happy that the truth of what had been was no longer known.
Omega Supreme looked down at his old friend. “What happened after my battle with Omega Titanus?”
Alpha Trion sighed. He knew that Optimus Prime was running out of time, but he could not let himself send Omega Supreme into another battle until he made the giant aware of how other Cybertronians had rewarded him for his assistance, and how they might once again reward him if he should choose to aid them in the future. Alpha Trion began his recounting of the details of what had happened after the rebel conquest of Iacon.
“Here’s the situation, Prime. My energon levels are such that I can transform and fight effectively in robot mode for a few more hours, or I can remain in jet mode and wind up crashing within the hour. I’m thinking that I would be more valuable to you if I were to choose the first option.”
“Agreed, Jetfire. Come to me, and I’ll try and pick off any Seekers that give you pursuit.” Prime suggested to the flying Autobot. Jetfire swooped down, followed closely by Thrust and Starscream. Prime’s fire tore through Thrust, sending the red Decepticon to the ground, but Starscream was too fast and banked a split second before Prime’s shots could connect.
Jetfire transformed and landed next to Prime, turned and began firing on the retreating Starscream, knowing that the Decepticon aerial commander was well out of range. “This is not good Prime. In both the air and on land, we’re getting our bumpers handed to us.”
Prime nodded, and was about to respond verbally, when the colossal Devastator turned toward their direction and started lumbering toward them. “Time to make a break for it Jetfire. Watch for Decepticon fire, they’ve got nothing better to do than to take pot shots at us while we’re running from Devastator.”
“Then we’d better run fast.”
"So, by the time the fear of the Guardian robots, and most of those that were alive to fear them, were gone, Cybertron was unavoidably heading into a famine. So while it may have been safe to reactivate you, it would have been cruel to both you and to the other Cybertronians." Alpha Trion finished his account of why Omega Supreme had been left dormant for so long. "The decision to leave you in stasis at that point was mine, and I alone should be held accountable to you for that. And I will submit to any form of retribution that you feel is appropriate." The optics of the old, frail Cybertronian dimmed, and he bowed his head in apology.
The giant Guardian stood silently and turned his head to the darkness on the far side of the arena, reflecting on what he had just heard. Slowly, his armored head twisted back to gaze upon his old friend. “Retribution? It is I who am in your debt, A-Three. I would have been destroyed had you not been my advocate. You chose not to reawaken me into a famine, thereby not putting me in a position to starve or to make the starvation of others worse than it would have been. You have proven to be the most loyal of friends, and I pledge myself to your service." Omega Supreme's colossal right leg stepped forward and bent as his left knee lowered to the ground.
Alpha Trion was stunned to see the Guardian he felt that he had wronged humbled before him and swearing his servitude. "Rise my friend, because of you no Cybertronian need ever be a servant again." Omega Supreme smiled at his old comrade and once again stood. "But while you were in stasis I learned that freedom is a very fragile thing. The golden age of Cybertron was not only ended by a shortage of energon, but by aggressions within our own species. The Decepticons..."
"The product line designed to fill military contracts." Omega Supreme, as with all Guardians, had been considered a little slow in the thought processes by the other Cybertronians, so he looked to demonstrate the knowledge that he did have whenever the opportunity presented itself, as with this interruption to show that he was fully aware of his former master's different product lines.
Alpha Trion smiled. "Yes, the military line. Though always more aggressive than other factions, they never gave any indication of their thirst for power. That is until a young, immensely powerful warlord by the name of Megatron organized them and started a civil war that quickly engulfed the entire planet. They ignored requests for peace, they slaughtered those that attempted negotiations, and eradicated those that opposed them in any way, and most of those that didn't."
"But despite their ruthless aggression, only the Autobots stood against them. The other factions saw armed conflict as wrong, immoral, and unnecessary. They accused the Autobots of being warmongers, of refusing to explore peaceful alternatives for dealing with the Decepticons. The other factions refused to join the cause of the Autobots and chose to deal with Megatron in their own ways." Alpha Trion's optics filled with sorrow. "With the exception of a few Minibots that joined the Autobots, these factions no longer exist."
Omega Supreme's optics widened in horror upon hearing of what had transpired while he had lain dormant. There had been over a dozen different product lines…factions…races when he had last been on-line. The Autobots and Decepticons had been the their creator’s most profitable and widely manufactured brands, but there were many others that contributed to the varied tapestry of Cybertron. Now they were gone, savagely wiped away by a genocidal warlord. The Guardian's horror transformed to rage. His clawed right arm rose into the air and came tearing down into the ground beneath him. The floor of the Battle Pit had been built to withstand an incredible amount of punishment, but it shredded upon the impact of the Omega-class Guardian's blow, revealing a small anti-chamber underneath, a discovery that went unnoticed by the two robots. Omega Supreme was too preoccupied by the enormity of what he had just heard, and Alpha Trion was too preoccupied by the awesome show of force that was displayed before him. Only the news of such evil could cause the normally calm and peaceful giant to lash out like that. "Where is Megatron!?!"
Alpha Trion was terrified by the Guardian robot's reaction, despite the fact that it would make the acceptance of his request for Omega Supreme to assist Optimus Prime all but assured. Hesitantly, he answered his newly awakened friend's inquiry. "The war has taken him to a planet called Earth, which resides in the outskirts of the galaxy. Opposing he and his Decepticons on this planet are a small contingent of Autobots, led by the greatest leader I have ever known, Optimus Prime. These Autobots are currently engaged in a losing battle against Megatron, and will soon be dead, if they are not already. The Decepticons have built a warrior of enormous power, and are using it to wipe out the noble Autobots. This is the reason that I have re-activated you. Only you have the power to counter this warrior. Only you can save the Autobots and stop Megatron's quest for universal domination."
The rage flared brightly in the optics of Omega Supreme. Upon his creation his destiny had been to defend and support those who would enslave. Through enormous strength of will he had transformed that destiny into one of eternal opposition to those who would enslave. He unwaveringly embraced this new destiny, and would live out the rest of his days to uphold it. "How do I get to Earth?"
Alpha Trion smiled. Thus far, this level of success was beyond what he could have hoped for. His only concern now was whether or not they were not too late to save Prime. "I removed a device called a 'worm-hole generator' from my ship and installed it into your left arm, the top of your rocket. The coordinates of the Earth are programmed into it, as are the precise coordinates of the battle, so that when you arrive in Earth's orbit you will know exactly where to go."
Omega Supreme accessed the memory banks of the freshly installed machinery in his left arm and verified what Alpha Trion had said. "I must leave quickly, correct?"
"Yes, it may already be too late."
Omega Supreme looked at the hole that Alpha Trion had dug to gain entrance to the Battle Pit. It was much too small for Omega Supreme to travel through, making it necessary for him to dig a hole of his own. "Please take your craft and exit this place, A-Three. Once I start digging my way out, this cavern will likely collapse."
Alpha Trion nodded and made his way back to his ship, which was still operable, but no longer able to traverse great distances in a second's span of time. "Give me three minutes to make my way out of here." The ancient robot climbed into his ship, and turned one last time to the Guardian. "And Omega Supreme, despite your past experiences, there are those that you can trust. They may be few in number, but they do exist. Optimus Prime is one of these individuals. Any faith that you have in me can be placed in him as well. This I promise."
Omega Supreme nodded. "I understand, and thank you old friend." Alpha Trion was then covered by the canopy of his ship and was lifting off of the ground. As the ship entered the tunnel that it had entered through, Omega Supreme started counting down from three minutes.
"I've got it!" Wheeljack grabbed Ratchet by the shoulder and shook his friend excitedly. "That mind control device that the Insecticon used on Bumblebee! Why don't you just make one of those and we can use it on Devastator!?!"
Ratchet shared in his friend’s excitement as he listened to the suggestion, but fell back into his sullen slump after giving it a moment’s thought. "No, that won't work. First of all, it would have to penetrate Devastator's armor to get into his neural net, and even Prime's armor-piercing rounds aren't doing that. Secondly, that thing degraded down to little more than metal chips and organic goop the moment it was removed from Bumblebee's head." Ratchet shook his head in disappointment. "It was a good thought, Wheeljack, but it's just not an option."
Wheeljack slammed his fist against the consul in frustration. "We just can't catch a break!" He grabbed the microphone on the consul. “Jazz, what’s your status?”
The Decepticon push was unstoppable; there was no conceivable way to defeat them. And retreat was not an option either. Even if stopping the Decepticons from obtaining what they were after weren't so critical, the Autobots would have no chance of escaping. They were too battered, too far from a safe haven, and even in optimal condition, only Jetfire could out-run the Seekers. There was only one option left for Optimus Prime, and extremely unpleasant option, but one that would offer at least some silver lining to this situation. "Jetfire, come here."
The tall warrior ran over to his commander. “Yes, what is it Prime?”
A hiss cut through the air as Prime’s chest compartment opened, the blue light of the Matrix aided the rising sun in cutting through the fading darkness. “Jetfire, you are to carry the Matrix. If I am slain, you are to command the Autobots until you are able to contact Ultra Magnus. Give him the Matrix, he will know what to do with it.”
“What do you think you’re doing, Prime!?!”
“I’m going to make one final charge.”
“They’ll cut you to shreds!”
“Probably, but I’m hoping not before I’m able to unload an entire clip into Megatron’s cranium.”
“Don’t do this!”
Prime pulled the Matrix out from his chest and handed it to Jetfire. “There’s no other way. We can’t stop Devastator, we’re on the verge of annihilation, the only chance we have is to render the Decepticons leaderless.”
“I’m sure that Megatron has selected a second in command!”
Prime looked into Jetfire’s long red optic, slightly amused. “You’ve got a good deal to learn about the way Decepticons rise through the ranks. Succession is rarely, if ever, so cut and dried.” The broad, red Autobot put his hand on Jetfire’s shoulder. “Lead well Jetfire. Though you have been online for an extremely short time, I know that you are most fit to command the Autobots here on Earth. I have nothing but the utmost confidence in your abilities, and I know that somehow, we will emerge victorious.”
With that, Optimus charged out toward the Decepticons, fully accepting that this would be his final act. He only hoped that he succeeded in this awful endeavor. It had always been his fervent hope to peacefully negotiate an end to the war with Megatron, but realized early on in his role as Autobot leader that this would be impossible. His next hope was to defeat the Decepticons to the point that they would be forced to accept a truce. This also proved impossible as the Decepticons had superior firepower and, by the time Optimus Prime took charge, superior numbers, resources and strategic bases of operations. Awakening on Earth provided a new, unforeseen potential of winning the war. But with the creation of this Devastator and the nuclear arsenal that was now all but in Megatron’s hands, victory seemed extremely unlikely now as well. Optimus was left with one last, desperate option. Kill Megatron.
Whether he was successful or not, Optimus knew that he would most definitely be destroyed in the process. Sacrificing his own life was a very acceptable price to pay to be rid of Megatron, but would his Autobots be able to regroup and rise to victory against the overwhelming power of the Decepticons?
This thought had been preoccupying Optimus’s mind since he had first contemplated sacrificing himself to eliminate Megatron, and he had come to the opinion that the Autobots would have a legitimate chance at victory. The possibility of an internal power struggle within the Decepticon ranks was strong to say the least. Starscream did little to hide his desire for leadership, and though few could see it, Optimus had come to the conclusion that Shockwave coveted the mantle of Decepticon leadership as well. The struggle between these two alone could conceivably create a civil war that would shake the Decepticon Empire to the ground. And that scenario didn't even take into consideration the countless other ambitious Decepticons vying for power.
The Autobots on the other hand would loyally follow Ultra Magnus. The craving of power was a trait that rarely appeared in Autobots. The only move that may raise some questions was the appointing of Jetfire as the ranking Autobot on Earth, as he was by far the least experienced. But no one could argue against his brilliance, valor and ability to inspire the others. It probably wouldn’t be all together surprising should he be selected by the Matrix to be the next Prime. Optimus was optimistic for his Autobots as he made his way toward Megatron, and his undoubted doom.
The Decepticons had been anticipating a last ditch attack from the Autobots for hours, but despite this they were unprepared for the speed and ferocity of Optimus's one-bot assault. Kickback lunged at Prime in grasshopper mode, only to be swatted away as if he truly were an insignificant insect. Unable to get a missile lock on the sprinting Autobot commander, Soundwave and Reflector peppered Optimus with laser fire. The laser fire did little other than chip Optimus’s red paint, and the two Decepticons were rewarded by having their own armor punctured by Prime’s armor piercing rounds.
Laserbeak and Buzzsaw swooped in to intercept the charging Autobot as well, but with reflexes and agility that defied his awesome bulk, Optimus evaded their weapons fire and continued to make his way to Megatron, who was waiting for him smiling. Megatron’s smile twisted to a snarl and the energy building from within his fusion cannon began to shine through the fading darkness. The devastating discharge shot forth, but Optimus twisted to the side, allowing the shot to zip by two inches in front of his chest, and continued his deadly assault. His momentum wasn’t the least bit impeded by his own return fire, return fire that sent Megatron to the ground with smoke coming out of the front of his frame.
Megatron lunged forward to get back to his feet, but was immediately slammed back to the ground by Optimus’s left fist across his jaw. The Decepticon leader’s head jerked back at the impact, but Megatron immediately brought it forward again to lock optics upon his hated enemy. The image of Optimus bringing his rifle into position to fire point-blank at Megatron’s head was what these optics sent their bearer, and for the first time in his existence, Megatron understood his own mortality.
Megatron could only watch as the Autobot leader guided his weapon into place over Megatron’s cranium. The Decepticon leader’s gaze wandered up to Optimus’s optics, and saw a look of determination that told Megatron that there would be no mercy for the Decepticon today. Just as the opening of the rifle barrel centered over Megatron’s forehead, an enormous green shovel tore into the Autobot’s side, wrenching him from his perch on the Decepticon leader. One round did clear the chamber of Optimus’s rifle, but the force of Devastator’s kick set Optimus into motion and made the shot go just wide, tearing through Megatron’s cheek, but missing anything vital.
Optimus was sent sailing through the air, over an outcropping of rock, and into the thick cluster of trees on the other side. The powerful trees snapped under the pressure of the huge red robot being propelled by the power of Devastator’s monstrous right leg. Crashing through the trees, Optimus finally hit the ground hard, bounced back into the air, traveled a few dozen more yards, and crashed to the ground once again. His optics faded out, but lit back up as he forced himself to remain conscious. The pain was excruciating, but he kept his pain receptors online to better assess the damage that he had sustained.
He looked down to where Devastator’s foot had connected. His entire left, upper torso was shredded, his arm clinging to his shoulder by only a few wires. His left hip had been torn up as well, and he had a great deal of difficulty moving his left leg because of it. His right side, which had received the brunt of the impact with the trees and ground, was in good shape comparatively, but still damaged enough so that his performance would be inadequate to successfully charge through the Decepticons once again. And he certainly couldn’t overpower Megatron in this condition. But he was alive, and as such he had to continue fighting.
Optimus struggled to his feet, hearing the ponderous footfalls of Devastator advancing through the trees as he did so. Optimus looked up and saw Devastator’s head clearing the trees. The Decepticon giant had not caught sight of his quarry yet, but even the obviously dim-witted giant could follow the trail of destruction through the trees. It would only be a matter of seconds before Optimus was sighted, and he doubted that he would be able to outrun even Devastator. And even if Optimus could transform, the forest was too thick to allow for a truck to drive through. Optimus frantically evaluated potential courses of action as something suddenly appeared in his optics, high above Devastator’s head.
“What the heck is that?” The question was directed to anybody, but as Wheeljack was the only other soul in the command center, it was up to him to answer Ratchet’s inquiry. Unfortunately, Wheeljack was just as in the dark about what had just appeared in the view-screen as Ratchet was. The only answer he could give was to silently shrug his shoulders.
The conical rocket made it’s way through the clouds and was quickly approaching the battlefield. Thundercracker and Thrust darted at it, firing lasers and missiles as they heedlessly sped their way in a straight line at it. They must of thought that it was a human construct, because they certainly didn’t regard it with any degree of caution. Their lack of prudence cost them dearly as their ordinance bounced harmlessly off of the craft’s hull and it’s return fire sent them to the ground in flames. The other Decepticons began firing on the unknown rocket, but their weapons were just as ineffective as those of their downed comrades.
Ratchet leaned forward, suddenly very impressed. “Something the Americans have been saving for a rainy day?”
Wheeljack shook his head. “No, they’ve got some pretty impressive stuff, but nothing the humans have could remotely come close to enduring that kind of punishment.”
The rocket stopped directly over the battlefield, and then began lowering to the ground aft section first. Suddenly a strange wave passed over the ground below the lowering craft, and then from nothing appeared a huge docking tower surrounded by a half-mile loop of track. A massive tank traveled along the track, keeping its turret directed at the confused Decepticons.
Ratchet stared even more intently at the screen and muttered to Wheeljack. “You’re right, it’s definitely not of human design. It’s got a sub-space pocket.”
“Pocket!?! More like a sub-space wardrobe! You’d be hard pressed to fit all that stuff in the Ark!” Wheeljack’s head-crests lit up excitedly. “What the heck is that?”
“And here Alpha Trion only gave me enough sub-space to fit my rifle. I knew I was ripped off.” Jetfire’s comment was meant to be humorous, but it had little effect on the Autobots in his company who had no idea of what to make of this turn of events. They were thankful that this thing was lashing out against the Decepticons, but that still did not make it Autobot-friendly. Jetfire harbored these uncertainties as well, and decided it would be good to address them with the other Autobots. “Listen, let’s just lay low and let this thing and the ‘Cons wear each other down before we make our presence known.” Every Autobot silently nodded as the rocket finally touched down.
The tank traveling around the track suddenly turned off of the track and headed toward the docking tower and the rocket. The tank leapt into the air, and the docking tower began changing shape. The rocket also bounced into the air, and split horizontally into halves. The turret of the tank slid back to one end of the tank while the other end came to a rest on the two pieces formed by the docking tower. Two yellow limbs folded out to either side of what was once the tank, and each connected with a half of what was once the rocket. The track surrounding this entire spectacle began condensing and then splitting into two halves as well. Once these halves were each arcs measuring eighty feet, they too bounced into the air and connected to the back of this now humanoid shape. The turret swiveled around so that the rear of it now faced the same direction as what appeared to be the front of the body. The semi-transparent armor now seemed to de-fog and was soon completely transparent, revealing a face underneath.
The Decepticons stood in awe of the largest Transformer that they had ever seen, one that was fifty percent larger than even the enormous Devastator. The newcomer glared down at the Decepticons lined up in front of him, all of whom had their weapons trained on him but completely unsure of how to proceed. Omega Supreme smirked as he remembered how he had always held disdain for the warrior line, but the mild annoyance of the gnats before him was quickly replaced by hatred as he remembered why he had come to this planet. “Which of you is designated Megatron?” The booming voice carried over the mountains for miles.
Starscream, who had been flying cautiously overhead, swooped down, transformed, and landed a good three hundred feet from Megatron. “Why, that’s Megatron, over there.” Starscream’s blue finger singled out the broad chrome frame of his leader. Megatron’s scarred face glowered at his subordinate, but quickly turned his attention back to the giant newcomer.
Megatron recognized the appearance of this robot from myths and legends. The giant guardians of the old gods, or something like that. Megatron cursed himself for not having paid more attention to Cybertronian history and folklore. He noted that this ‘Guardian’ now had him dead in his sights, and realized that it was much too late to avoid detection. “Yes, I am Megatron, leader of the Decepticons! And how are you designated, stranger?” Megatron figured that he might as well meet the challenge head on and put on a brave appearance to his troops. That, and do what ever it took to keep this behemoth distracted and unaware of what was approaching from behind him.
“My designation is Omega Supreme, and I am here to terminate your existence!” Omega Supreme raised his left arm, the one that held the front of the rocket, and aimed it at Megatron. Megatron was significantly quicker than the Guardian, and shot forth three fusion rounds. They thudded heavily against Omega Supreme’s chest, and though the Guardian definitely felt them, they had no significant impact on him whatsoever. Omega Supreme then fired a shot from his own cannon, the tip of the rocket ship, one that was almost as powerful as Megatron’s. The Decepticon leader leapt out of the way just in time to avoid the blast that left a fourteen-foot crater in its wake.
All of the Decepticons opened fire on Omega Supreme, but only Megatron’s fusion cannon had any sort of effect on him. Omega Supreme returned fire at leisure, feeling no degree of rush as the Decepticon ordinance harmlessly bounced off of him. He did however feel the ground gently shaking in a recurring pattern, a pattern that did not fit with the movements of anything he saw in front of him. It suddenly occurred to him that what ever was causing the tremors was doing so from behind him.
Omega Supreme turned around in time to see the purple fist strike his head. The force of the punch combined with the element of surprise sent him crashing to the ground. His back slammed hard against the rocky terrain, causing a shock wave that knocked several of the smaller Transformers off balance. It took a couple of seconds for the Guardian robot to process what had happened and realize that he needed to get back to his feet. By that time Devastator had already gripped his ankles and lifted the giant newcomer into the air, spinning him around rapidly. Devastator’s swing slammed Omega Supreme into a nearby rock face with such force that the Guardian was embedded in it, pinned beneath millions of tons of rock.
“YES!!!” Megatron was ecstatic. He had no idea of how this fairy tale monster had appeared, but it didn’t matter as his Devastator proved to be it’s superior. “Well done Devastator! You are truly without peer!”
Devastator displayed a lopsided grin, hoping that Megatron would give him another target to destroy. Though not provided by Megatron, a challenge was revealing itself. Against everything that was considered possible, the endless tons of rock that was covering Omega Supreme began shifting more than it should have been. Suddenly, the section of the mountain that was covering the Guardian crumbled away as Omega Supreme used his nearly immeasurable strength to dislodge himself.
His right shoulder lunged upward, the last movement required to free him, sending his body twisting to the left. His frame slid down the mountainside, finally coming to a stop with him resting on his left knee, his right leg bent in front of him. Out of the corner of his optic he caught Devastator charging at him. Still prostrate, Omega Supreme twisted back to the right, sending his left arm forward to strike the purple chest of the attacking Constructicon.
A green and purple blur swept across the landscape, eventually scraping across the ground and coming to a stop over a half mile from Omega Supreme. The ancient Guardian rose to his feet, and watched as the Decepticon combiner attempted to do the same. Devastator did manage to get to his feet, but his wobbly stance indicated that it would be some time before he covered the distance that Omega Supreme's punch had put between them.
"WOOOAAAHHHH! I've got to see that again!" Wheeljack excitedly cried out at the sight that the view screen had just displayed. "Teletran One, display Jazz's transmission on view screen two, but begin playing from twenty seconds ago."
Ratchet was pleased to see Devastator laid out, but this course of events brought about worries that had not existed a few moments before. Worries of a threat that could make the one posed by the Decepticons pale in comparison.
Wheeljack noticed his friend's lack of enthusiasm. "What's your ailment, Ratchet? Didn’t you see what just happened?"
Ratchet nodded. "Yes, I saw. The humans have a saying, Wheeljack. 'Out of the frying pan and into the fire'."
Wheeljack stared at the Autobot medic in confusion. "What the heck does that mean?"
Ratchet continued to look at the events unfolding on the original view screen. "Hopefully nothing."
Devastator's distance from the battlefield gave Omega Supreme another brief opportunity to eradicate Megatron. The head of the giant spun toward the bulk of the Decepticon forces, and upon seeing their leader, Omega Supreme began marching toward him. The Decepticons once again opened fire on the Guardian, and once again it failed to even slow him down.
Megatron, however, was packing a little more firepower than his subordinates. His fusion cannon charged to maximum, a bolt powerful enough to incinerate several city blocks spit forth and impacted against Omega Supreme's facial armor. Shards of transparent metal rained from the sky, and the lumbering Guardian stumbled backwards, his claw rising to cover his face. "Nothing is impervious to me!" The powerful Decepticon marched toward the injured newcomer, his cannon quickly recharging for another shot.
Omega Supreme regained his composure, and his revealed and slightly scarred facial features contorted into a scowl. "Your destruction is still inevitable." The Guardian began advancing on Megatron again, but this advance was cut short just as the last one had been, now by the charging Devastator planting his shoulder into Omega Supreme's side.
Devastator's rush carried the two giants into the remains of the rock face that had only moments ago been imprisoning Omega Supreme. The Guardian slammed heavily into the stone formation, but he seemed to regard the assault as more of an annoyance than an actual threat. But the impact of Megatron's second blast into Omega Supreme's head could not be regarded as anything other than the threat that it was.
The fusion cannon had punctured the armor covering the side of the Guardian’s head, and though Omega Supreme didn't seem to be slowing down, the shots were making him more and more exposed, and taking his attention away from Devastator.
Megatron took a few more steps toward the colossal combatants, and then aimed his recharging fusion cannon for another shot at Omega Supreme's head. He watched as the Guardian robot tossed Devastator off of him and to the ground, and then stepped forward unsure of whether to continue his scrap with the giant Constructicon or to once again seek out Megatron. He caught sight of the Decepticon commander, who had his fusion cannon aimed directly between the Guardian's optics. Though not fully recharged, the cannon could do some significant damage with a shot like that.
Fortunately for Omega Supreme, an armor-piercing round tore into the fusion cannon and exploded once inside Megatron's shoulder-mounted weapon. "Whaaaa...WHO DARES!?!" Megatron peered into the direction that the shot had originated, and spied the heavily damaged Autobot leader standing in the middle of a cluster of trees, holding his smoking rifle. "PRIME! WHY WON'T YOU DIE!?!"
Optimus ignored Megatron's hate-filled inquiry and turned to the Guardian robot. "I'm hoping that you were sent by Alpha Trion."
Omega Supreme nodded. "You are the one called Optimus Prime?" The red leader nodded as well. The heads of both Optimus and Omega Supreme turned to the now standing Devastator. Omega Supreme turned one last time to the Autobot leader. "We will converse once the battle is won." Optimus nodded and took another shot at Megatron.
Devastator charged at Omega Supreme once again, but this time the Guardian robot was ready for the attack, and threw a straight right cross directly into Devastator's tucked head. The impact made a thunderous, sickening thud, stopping Devastator in his tracks and causing him to dazedly stumble back. The Constructicon giant fell to a seated position, his optics flickering as his consciousness wavered in and out.
Omega Supreme stepped toward his seated enemy, determined to end this fight once and for all. His orange claws clamped securely to the purple crest across Devastator's chest, and with amazing ease, the Guardian robot lifted the prototype gestalt high into the air, well above his own head. Devastator's optics flickered back to full awareness, just in time to witness the ground advancing on him with inconceivable velocity.
The tremor was felt for miles. Every other transformer in the area was knocked to the ground, and those close to the impact point wound up being covered in dirt and rock. In addition to the natural debris sent into the air were four green and purple limbs, which shifted into construction vehicles just before hitting the ground.
Omega Supreme lifted his claw out from the eighty foot deep crater he had created using Devastator's body. As he separated his pincers two more hunks of green and purple slipped from his grasp, nearly too mangled to recognize. Megatron watched as the two forms, and his plans to wipe out the Autobots, plummeted. “Decepticons, round up the injured and…” Megatron nearly choked on the word. “…Retreat.”
Laserbeak and Buzzsaw swooped in and snatched the inert forms of Hook and Long Haul right from under the hovering frame of the newly awakened giant. The other Decepticons rounded up the remaining few warriors that couldn’t fly themselves to safety and made off in the direction of their submerged base of operations. Megatron glared from Optimus to Omega Supreme, promising himself that he would kill them both someday soon. “Til next time Prime!” Megatron engaged his foot thrusters and took to the air after his soldiers.
Optimus was soon met by Jetfire, who immediately relinquished the Matrix to him. “I was hoping that I’d get a chance to give this back to you.” Prime nodded to his air warrior and thankfully accepted the symbol of Autobot leadership.
Loud footsteps carried over the ground as Prime reinserted the Matrix into his chest cavity. Prime quickly sealed his chest and looked up to the Guardian now standing before him. “Thank you, Omega Supreme. We would have been killed if you had not intervened.”
“We share a common goal, and you are held in high regard by one that I revere. Aiding you was my only true course of action.” The emotionless delivery of the statement put several of the cautiously approaching Autobots off.
Prime noted the uneasiness of his troops. “You are a Guardian, are you not?”
Omega Supreme nodded. “Yes.”
“Our legends depict those like you as beings to be feared. But if Alpha Trion sent you, you have my trust. You are welcome to join us.”
Omega Supreme smiled at the red commander. Though he had heard a statement like this before, he knew that this time it was sincere. There was no duplicity in Prime’s voice or demeanor, only the genuine honestly of a true leader. “I will follow you as I once followed A-Three.”
Prime was a little confused by the Guardian’s statement, but decided to delve into his meaning another time. “That’s good to hear. I have a request to ask of you Omega Supreme. Several of my soldiers have sustained severe injuries. Could you transport them back to our base so that they may receive medical attention?”
Omega Supreme once again smiled at Prime. “I am at your disposal.”
The orange vehicle sped to the gaping chasm created nearly an hour before. The Minibot had not seen the creation of the enormous hole, but he did catch a glimpse of the giant that had created it, and watched as it transformed into a rocket and took to the sky. He had also seen the smaller ship speed away toward the north, the same ship that had first caught his attention many hours before.
The vehicle transformed into an eleven-foot robot, tiny by Cybertronian standards. The inquisitive Minibot approached the hole and peered into the darkness. A high-pitched giggle escaped the metal lips of the robot as he started climbing down into the abyss. “What a wonderful day, I’ve a new place to play.”
|05-27-2003, 09:48 AM||#10|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Episode 10: The Thrill of the Hunt
“Look Prime, this is the tenth time I have conducted a thorough examination of your memory and neurological circuitry since our revival on Earth. And this examination, like the previous nine, has yielded no indication of any abnormalities, degradation, or signs of external manipulation. So please, either explain why you feel these repeated bouts of futility are necessary, or stop coming to me with this matter.” Ratchet rethought his statement. “Not that I don’t encourage regular check-ups, but this is bordering on hypochondria.”
Prime nodded. He had wished to keep the issue that had been bewildering him since awakening on this planet to himself until he had a better understanding of it, but Prime now realized that Ratchet would need a full explanation to come to any sort of a diagnosis. Prime glanced at the door to verify that it was sealed. “The reason that I’ve requested so many checks on my cerebral circuitry of late is that I have inexplicable images in my memory, images acquired while I was supposedly off-line.”
Ratchet chuckled. “Look Prime, we have dreams while we’re in our dormant state. And like with the humans, some strange stuff can appear in these dreams. I would have figured you would have known this.” Ratchet smiled smugly, not noticing that Prime was shaking his head. “Anyways, I’ll help out in any way I can, but I have to be honest, Psychiatry isn’t my strong suit. Heck, there are humans out there that could probably better serve you in that department.”
“No, you don’t understand.” Prime made sure that Ratchet was paying attention before continuing. “In our dormant states we do have dreams, but in stasis lock we have minimal, if any, brain activity.”
Ratchet just stared confusedly at his Commander. “You’re telling me that these images occurred while in stasis lock?”
Prime nodded. “Yes, according to the internal chronometer in my memory banks, the images were introduced just a few thousand Earth years after the Ark crashed.”
Ratchet was stupefied. “Amazing. Could you describe these images?”
Prime hesitated, but eventually proceeded to describe the memories and images that had been haunting him for the past several weeks. “It begins with a feeling of doom, the interruption of the delicate stability of stasis lock by a new, insurmountable injury. I am not brought on-line, but my subconscious is made aware of my failing condition and imminent death. My internal repair mechanisms seem to be augmented by what I can only assume to be outside assistance, but I am aware that it will be too little, too late.”
Ratchet sat riveted as Prime paused, as if determining how best to phrase what happened next. Prime hesitantly continued, unsure of the wording that he was choosing. “At this point I experienced what the humans refer to as an ‘out of body experience’.” Ratchet nodded, being slightly familiar with the term. “I felt power and health seeping back into my…essence. It was as though I had found a safe haven, a sanctuary for which to rest while my body was healed.”
Prime rubbed his cranial shell in an attempt to better recall the details. “But this sanctuary was already claimed. With only the most basic communication, the essence of the current occupant made me aware that though I was welcome, only one of us could reside there. This occupant, for which I immediately felt a sort of kinship to, expressed a willingness to sacrifice itself so that I may continue to survive.” Prime shook his head. “I remember expressing the opinion that this was not an option. Somehow, perhaps due to our ‘kinship’, or the way this vessel was configured, or perhaps through the assistance of the Matrix, we were able to alter the sanctuary so that it was powerful enough to accommodate the both of us. The process was painful for, yet welcomed by, the host.”
Prime paused; giving no indication that there was anything else to say. Ratchet uneasily watched Prime, his eagerness to hear more forcing him to prod Prime into continuing. “AND…”
Prime snapped back to the moment at hand. “Oh, sorry. For several minutes following the change I existed in a sort of comfortable unawareness. I knew not of what was going on around me, only that the host would protect me, even if it meant losing his own life.” Prime’s head lifted, his eyes blanked out as he thought deeply of the events that he was trying to describe. “Later my essence found itself at home…” Prime waved a hand over his own body. “…here.”
Prime shrugged before continuing. “I had the feeling that my body had not fully recovered from whatever had happened to it, but I was at least stable, and my internal repair systems would have no problem completing the repairs if given enough time.” Prime’s optics now lit up. “And here’s where it gets really strange.”
Ratchet peered at his leader with confusion clearly etched on his face. “It gets stranger?”
Prime nodded. “Just before falling back into stasis lock I awoke for a moment, only a moment though. And as I looked up I saw what I’m sure was my former host, or rather the new vessel created to support myself and my unknown advocate.”
“And what did it look like?”
Prime cocked his head in an unsure manner. “Kind of like me. A helmet similar to mine, and the facial features like mine as well, only there was a break in the faceplate to reveal a mouth. And bright green eyes, and the colors were predominantly orange and blue.” Prime shook his head. “But though it sounds crazy, I was somehow aware of what was going on. Of course, that awareness has long since left me.” Prime set his eyes on Ratchet, and jokingly asked his opinion. “So, should I be committed?”
“Prime, Omega Supreme and the new recruits have entered the Earth’s atmosphere and are en-route to us. They will be touching down in about two minutes.” Spike’s exuberant voice sprang from Prime’s wrist communicator. Prime shook his head, slightly annoyed that the young human had obviously managed to talk Bumblebee into letting him play with the Ark’s communications system. Prime had no problem with the boy’s father, Sparkplug Witwicky, using Autobot equipment. After all, Sparkplug had been appointed by the United States government to act as Fuel Usage Overseer and unofficial liaison to the Autobots. But Spike had no such position, nor the Electrical Engineering degree, decades of related experience, military background, or the maturity of his father. He had no qualifications or reason to be involved with the Autobot’s mission on Earth.
But, as other Autobot’s were quick to point out, having the boy around was a boost to morale, as well as a reminder of what they were fighting for. And though Sparkplug was worried about his son getting caught in the midst of another Decepticon attack, as he had a couple of times before, he knew that any Autobot would fight to his death to defend the boy. That, plus the fact that working with an extraterrestrial species aboard their spacecraft would be not only a phenomenal growth experience for his son, but also an undeniable gem on Spike’s future resume, made Sparkplug push for the boy’s indefinite admittance aboard the Ark.
Not that it was really that hard of a sell. Prime harbored a great deal of affection for the boy and really enjoyed having him around. “On my way Spike. Oh and Spike, tell Bumblebee to get back to his post.”
Spike’s light laughter could be heard through the communicator. “Yes sir.”
Prime looked back at a smiling Ratchet, who easily saw through his commander’s attempts to hide the warm emotions felt for the human. “You’re really going to miss having him around once school starts.”
Prime nodded. “Yeah, but he’ll still swing by on weekends. Anyway, we’ll have to continue discussing my memory discrepancies later.”
Ratchet nodded. “Yes, I really would like to delve into this. Maybe even conduct a memory-scan if that’s alright with you.”
Prime’s optics narrowed as he got to his feet and walked to the door. “We’ll see.”
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker stopped wrestling as Prime strode down the Ark’s ramp and made his way over the rocks toward the location where Omega Supreme would eventually touch down. Ironhide, who had been watching the brother’s slightly too competitive training exercise, made his way to the Autobot leader. “Hey Prahme!” Ironhide called out as he trotted to catch up. “You gotta minute?”
“That’s about all I have Ironhide, Omega Supreme will be landing with the reinforcements momentarily.”
“Yeah, actually it’s Omega Supreme that I want to talk about with you.” Ironhide obviously was hoping that Prime would stop walking and devote all of his attention to the grisly veteran. Unfortunately, Optimus Prime was dead-set on being present as the reinforcements exited the Guardian’s rocket. Ironhide accepted that this would have to be a ‘walk-and-talk’ meeting and continued. “Well you see Prahme, before the war with the Decepticons I had a buddy that worked for the Iaconian Archaeological Council, and well, he showed me holographs of some metal wall carvings deep in the catacombs beneath Iacon.”
Ironhide caught himself as the uneven terrain nearly caused him to lose his balance. “Yeah, and well, lets just say that the images displayed creatures that bore an uncanny resemblance to Omega Supreme blasting away and crushing other Cybertronians, and it looked like they were protecting or taking orders from some tentacled eggs.”
Prime nodded, but still looked forward as he walked. “The old gods.”
“Yeah, the old gods.”
“I’m well aware of the myths and legends, Ironhide.”
“Yeah, but Prahme, that’s just it. This wasn’t just an old legend from bots that make me look lahke a young-un. This was actual, physical evidence. The results of the dating came back putting the carvings at, what is now, over one hundred thousand vorns ago.” Ironhide grabbed Prime by the arm and forced him to stop. “Prahme, if there’s even the slightest truth in those images, we may be dealing with a bigger problem than Megatron.”
Prime faced his old friend. “I’m well aware of your concerns Ironhide, and believe me, I’m looking into the matter. Ultra Magnus has already relayed every piece of history and myth regarding the old gods and the Guardian robots, and I’ll be examining them in depth in the coming days. But for now we’ve got no other option than to trust Omega Supreme. I for one feel comfortable with anyone sent to us by Alpha Trion.”
“Alright Prahme, if you vouch for him I guess he’s gotta be O.K. But do check him out as much as you can, huh.”
A gray rocket came into view and started making its descent. Prime looked from the arriving spacecraft to Ironhide. “I will old friend.” With that he approached the suddenly appearing track and docking tower. It had only been a few days since Omega Supreme had first appeared to save the beleaguered Autobots from the Decepticons at an Air Force base in Montana. Nearly all of the Autobots unquestionably welcomed the newcomer after he had made short work of the Decepticon giant Devastator, and had delivered several critically wounded Autobots to the Ark in time for Ratchet to save them. But some of the older Autobots, Ironhide and Ratchet on Earth and Kup, Sawbones and Pothole on Cybertron, expressed a great deal of concern about the resurfacing of the Guardian. They remembered stories told when they were younger, stories told as factual history instead of the watered-down myths that the younger generations were familiar with. The efforts of The Temple of Primus to convince the populace of Cybertron that any stories involving the old gods in any way was nothing but blasphemous lies also hindered the older Autobot’s attempts to make the others take the stories seriously.
Optimus Prime watched as undeniable evidence of this ‘blasphemous lie’ set down on the rocky ground and shut off its thrusters completely. A port slid open and a gangplank extended to the ground. Almost hesitantly, a hulking blue and orange Autobot peered outside and made his way down to the ground. Following behind him were seven other Autobots who lined up beside him in front of Optimus Prime. “Sir, Curbjob and squad four-thirty seven of the Autobot Army reporting for duty!” The bulky leader of the group called out in English as he saluted Optimus Prime.
Prime nodded. “At ease Curbjob, and kudos on your initiative with learning the regional language. Now please introduce the rest of your squad.”
“Autobots, identify yourselves to the Prime!”
The figure next to Curbjob was a sleek black Autobot. “Sir, I am designated Wraith.”
Prime raised his hand to stop any further introductions. “You are the one who was a Decepticon assassin for hire?”
Without any sign of embarrassment or shame, Wraith responded. “Yes sir. My partner and I killed for the highest bidder, that is until Shockwave decided that it would be more logical to eliminate us than to pay us for services rendered. He incinerated my partner, but I got away, and went on to provide my services free of charge to the Autobots.”
Prime glanced back to Curbjob, silently asking a question. Curbjob knew exactly what was on Prime’s mind. “Sir I assure you, Wraith has proven his loyalty a dozen times over. Ultra Magnus would not have sent him to such an important battlefield if there were any question as to his trustworthiness.”
Prime nodded. “Agreed.” His optics turned back to Wraith. “Welcome to Earth, Wraith.”
The slender, white Autobot standing next to Wraith spoke. “Sir, I am designated…”
Prime turned to see who had called out the newcomer’s name. Making his way toward them was Hotspot. Prime turned back to Streetwise. “I take it you know Hotspot.”
“Yes Prime, I served in Hotspot’s squad until he was promoted and Ultra Magnus transferred me to this squad.” Streetwise smiled at his old friend after answering Prime’s question.
Hotspot jubilantly put in a good word for his former subordinate. “Prime, Streetwise’s attention to detail rivals even Prowl’s. He’s a true asset, we’re lucky to have him.”
Prime nodded. “Thank you for your input, but that’s enough Hotspot.” Prime then nodded to the next robot, a medium-sized Autobot covered in a myriad of different colors.
“The name’s Patchwork.”
Prime’s optics narrowed. “You’re the one that welds a piece of the Decepticons that you kill to your own frame.”
Patchwork smiled as he replied. “Yes sir, Prime. You may not approve, but even you have to admit that there’s a lot to be said for psyching out the enemy.”
“We’ll discuss the details of your psychological warfare later. For now, welcome to Earth.” Prime then nodded to the next newcomer.
A short, stocky, gunmetal gray frame with a tiny head and a single, slender optic embedded into it stepped forward. “Sir, the name is Gunnery.”
“Good, an Autobot with firepower, a very rare combination. Welcome to Earth.”
The next Autobot, a broad, brown form on slender green legs spoke up. “Sir, I am designated Bog-Down. I am in charge of the squad’s supplies and fuel.”
Prime nodded. “I look forward to working with you Bog-Down.” Prime then looked to the next Autobot, one that appeared to have an alternative mode built for traversing over liquids.
The cocky Autobot smiled at Prime and introduced himself. “Hey Prime, they call me Undertow. And let me tell you how excited I am to be stationed on a planet whose surface is more that three-quarters covered in liquid.”
The last new recruit stood at the end. He had four arms and was predominantly blue in color. “Hello Prime. My name is Wringer, and I’m looking forward to sending some Decepticons to the inferno.”
Prime slowly nodded. “Welcome to Earth.” Prime looked over the entire squad. Ultra Magnus had mentioned that they were one of the more ruthless and unorthodox units under him, but they followed orders and were very effective. Prime figured that as rough as they may be, they couldn’t be any worse than Sunstreaker. “You have been sent here because you are very good at what you do. I may not agree with some of your methods or techniques, but I respect your accomplishments and look forward to going into battle with you.” Prime looked them over one more time. “Though this is not our home-world, it is a critical battlefield. It is a world rich in energy, and the energy of this world will more than likely be the determining factor in achieving victory. But we are not here to ‘win’ this planet from the Decepticons. We are here to protect it from them. Above everything else, the occupants of this planet must be kept safe. Is this understood?”
Streetwise immediately shouted out. “Yes sir!” His affirmation was quickly followed by those of his seven teammates.
Prime looked them over one last time. “Good. Now report to the infirmary so that Ratchet can fit you with an indigenous alternative mode.”
With that the eight newcomers jogged up towards the Ark. Hotspot jogged next to Streetwise to catch up with his old friend. Curbjob joined them and started chatting. “Hey Hotspot, word is that you guys have a Guardian robot in your ranks. I don’t think I could handle having that thing anywhere near me. Where’s he hiding?” Prime could hear Hotspot laughing all the way up the mountain, barely managing to make out his response between guffaws, and watched as both Curbjob and Streetwise turned and stared in awe at the rocket that had brought them there.
Several yards away Wraith walked up next to Ironhide as he made his way back up the mountain. “I’m going to need someone to spar with on a regular basis to maintain my skills. Who are your best hand to hand combatants?”
Ironhide chuckled at the former Decepticon’s apparent haughtiness. “Aside from Prime, your best bets are Sunstreaker, Sideswipe and Blades. They’d be our resident Pit Lords.”
Ironhide just shook his head. “Look kid, you’re an Autobot now. You’d best start learnin’ our legends.”
Prime started up after them, but caught sight of Prowl speeding past the newcomers in Police car mode. He transformed as he got to the commander. “Prime, we’ve just gotten word that the Decepticons were seen heading toward Manhattan!”
Prime’s optics grew wide. “No. The President of the United States and the Prime Minister of China are meeting there today!”
“So Megatron, should we start hunting down the human leaders?” Skywarp was eager to cause some mayhem.
Megatron led his flying forces over the water and into the largest city in the United States. “I bear no interest in these flesh-bag chieftains. I simply see them as added incentive for the Autobots to get here quickly.” But as long as it didn’t counter his own agenda, Megatron did like to throw his subordinates the occasional bone. “But feel free to incinerate any limousines adorned with flags that you may come across.”
Scrapper, as with the other Constructicons, struggled to stay aloft. The vast majority of ground based Transformers had difficulty controlling their foot thrusters, Megatron being one of the few exceptions to this rule due to his nearly unrivaled level of athleticism. Scrapper finally steadied himself to address Megatron. “Sir, the Autobots will undoubtedly come, and they will most likely bring Omega Supreme with them. Not that I am hesitant to have Devastator face him again, but there’s a fair chance of the Guardian getting the better of our combined alter ego.”
In contrast to the usual reaction to someone questioning his course of action, Megatron smiled. “Look down Scrapper, and tell me what you see.”
“Uh, a terran city. One of their larger ones.”
“Yes, and look at the distance between the buildings.”
Scrapper looked, and finally understood where Megatron was going with this. “Of course. That’s brilliant Megatron.”
Bonecrusher, not being as bright as his teammate, didn’t see what Megatron and Scrapper saw. “I don’t get it.”
Still jovial, Megatron described what was eluding Bonecrusher. “You see, my mentally-limited subordinate, the distance between the buildings is enough for us to comfortably walk through. Even Devastator might be able to walk in a straight line down the street without damaging the buildings if he so tried. But Omega Supreme is too large. There is no way that he would be able to move in the city without destroying much of it and killing many of the humans that reside here.” Megatron let out a laugh. “So our dear Guardian will have to wait outside the downtown area, while we destroy his teammates from within it.”
The other Decepticons laughed as well. Thundercracker chimed in. “Shouldn’t we have invited the others?”
Megatron, still smiling, looked over to the dark blue jet. “No, I have a different task for them.”
Twelve. That was the number of mid-sized to large Autobots that could be squeezed into Omega Supreme’s rocket section. Prime craned his neck and looked back at the other Autobots that had managed to fit into the craft with him. Prowl, Sunstreaker, Inferno, Hotspot, Groove, Hoist, Tracks, Trailbreaker, Wheeljack, Ironhide and Hound all stood scrunched together, girding up for battle. The whir of Blades’ rotors could be faintly heard outside, as he carried Brawn from his landing bars. Jetfire and Powerglide had shot ahead, Jetfire carrying Sideswipe, Jazz, Windcharger, Mirage and Huffer, while Powerglide flew without a passenger. The two planes would provide reconnaissance as well as drop off Jetfire’s passengers to keep the Decepticons occupied until the rest of the Autobot forces arrived.
Jetfire’s voice came in through Prime’s wrist communicator. “Well Prime, you were right. There’s no way Omega Supreme is going to fit in the city without knocking quite a few buildings to the ground. And a showdown between Omega Supreme and Devastator in New York City would undoubtedly put the human death toll in the high hundreds, if not thousands.”
Prime nodded. “I figured as much. We’ll just have to take on the Decepticons without him.” Prime realized that there was one more question that he had for Jetfire. “Can you tell if the Constructicons have formed Devastator yet?”
Jetfire responded. “Not yet Prime. I’m getting several small to large size blips on my sensor, nothing colossal like Devastator. But I’m sure the lummox will make his appearance at some point.”
Prime turned to the other Autobots in the rocket with him, but kept the wrist communicator to his face. “Autobots, Megatron is undoubtedly going to use Devastator in this environment now that Omega Supreme will be unable to join us in battle. Jetfire, quickly drop off the team of Autobots you’re carrying, and those Autobots are to advance on the Decepticon position from the ground using utmost stealth. Jetfire and Powerglide, make sure the Decepticons see you and devote their concentration on you. Blades and Omega Supreme need to try and take some of the Decepticon’s concentration as well, but slow down and do so on the Decepticon scanners so that Megatron feels he has plenty of time and has no reason to create Devastator until later.”
Prime realized that this was a long shot, but it just might work. “Jazz, you Sideswipe, Windcharger, Mirage and Huffer are to sneak up on the Decepticons and do whatever you can to keep the Constructicons away from each other. Is that understood?”
Jazz’s excited voice came through loud and clear. “Yes sir Prime!”
“Alright Autobots, let’s do it!”
Megatron had originally planned on landing on Wall Street, but then decided to land in a section of residential apartments. After all, he thought to himself, the cries of human misery are so much sweeter when the voices of children are added to the mix. He wasn’t the most sadistic Decepticon in the empire, but he certainly reveled in the pain he inflicted. But it was time to put thoughts of pleasure aside and concentrate on the mission at hand. “Reflector, where are the Autobots!?!”
“Sir, I’ve got two pairs of aircraft coming toward us. The advance party has just arrived over the island…wait…the larger of the two planes, I can only assume that it’s Jetfire, seemed to dive low as if to fly between the buildings and sneak up on us,… wait, it appears that he changed his mind because he’s back up in the air en-route to us.”
Megatron nodded. “And the others.”
“An immense rocket and a helicopter are still a few minutes out. They’ve got to be the Guardian and the one designated Blades. The Guardian is certain to be transporting other Autobots.”
“Of course.” Megatron looked over to his air commander. “Starscream, do you think you can finally kill Jetfire?”
A crooked smile came over Starscream’s face. “I will not disappoint you this time.”
“You’d better not.” Megatron watched as the six Seekers took to the air and transformed into their jet modes. In moments the Decepticons were chasing the Autobot jets high above the spires of Manhatten.
Curbjob strolled down the side of the mountain, taking in the alien landscape. He had been informed by Ratchet that many of the other Autobots had really come to like these surroundings, especially Hound. But this dirt, rock and vegetation were not to his liking. Perhaps in time it would grow on him, he thought to himself.
Curbjob continued thinking to himself all the way back to the Ark, unaware of the cyber-organic eyes on him. Halfway to the Autobot ship he was met by the newly rebuilt Patchwork and Wraith. “So, what are you guys supposed to be?”
Patchwork smiled broadly. “I am what is referred to as a garbage truck. Ratchet said that it suited both my frame and my coloration.”
“It suits you alright.” Wraith snickered at his multi-colored friend. “I’m a motorcycle. The younger human called me a crotch-rocket, whatever that is.”
Curbjob had no explanation for the term either, and simply shook his head. “I guess I should head in there to take my medicine at some point.” He looked up to see Undertow and Wringer exiting the Ark, also having just been reconfigured.
Undertow examined his arms and torso. “What the heck does ‘pontoon’ mean?”
Wraith looked him over. “It’s a type of boat. A big, slow, boring boat.”
Undertow’s optics lightened, as if finally understanding something. “So that’s why Spike seemed unimpressed when I told him what I become.”
Curbjob tapped him on the shoulder as he made his way past him toward the Ark. “Since when do you care about impressing fleshlings?” He then looked Wringer over. “And what are you supposed to be?”
Wringer shrugged. “It’s called a street sweeper. The child actually said that he felt sorry for me.”
Curbjob laughed as he continued toward the infirmary.
The cyber-organic eyes that had been watching them from behind some nearby foliage blinked, and then with a flash of black fur, the silent observer was gone.
The streets were getting harder and harder to get through the closer to the Decepticons that they got, but Jazz and the others were still advancing on their enemies with exceptional speed. Even Huffer wasn’t doing that badly of a job at keeping up. They were less than a mile from the Decepticons, and so far there seemed to be no indication that the ‘Cons were aware of their presence.
Sideswipe darted out ahead, which was a foolhardy move, but one typical of Sideswipe. He accelerated to the point where he was little more than a red blur. The five automobiles effortlessly dodged the fleeing New Yorkers, until finally they were upon the surprised Decepticons. The red Lamborghini sprang into the air, transformed, and Sideswipe slammed into Long Haul, planting his broad right shoulder into the unsuspecting Constructicon’s back. Before Long Haul could react Sideswipe had slammed his elbow into the back of Long Haul’s head and was dragging him through the street.
“KILL THEM!” Megatron’s howl could be heard for blocks, and a barrage of weapon’s fire shot out to meet the other four Autobots. But the Decepticons were suddenly taking fire as well, as Jetfire darted out of the dogfight that was going on above and swooped down to strafe the Decepticon positions. Soundwave and Rumble were completely unprepared for the barrage from above, and wound up sustaining significant injuries to their arms and torsos. Jetfire zipped back above the skyline before any of the Decepticons could fire upon him, and rejoined Powerglide in his battle with the Seekers.
Sideswipe tossed the dazed Long Haul into the entrance to a subway tunnel. The Constructicon got stuck, but a powerful kick from Sideswipe forced him through. Bonecrusher and Scavenger started running to rescue their teammate, but were deterred by shots from Jazz and Mirage.
Megatron, furious about being caught unawares, grabbed Reflector. “How come you didn’t see them coming!?!”
“They blended in with the other cars. I was tricked. I’m sorry Megatron.” Reflector stammered.
Megatron angrily clubbed him in the head and turned his attention back to the Autobots. He fired a few times before realizing that the bulk of the Autobot forces would be upon them in seconds. “Constructicons, form Devastator!”
Megatron impatiently turned to the speaker. “What are you waiting for Hook!?!”
Hook’s fear was palpable. “Sir, Long Haul has been taken.”
Squad four thirty-seven of the Autobot Army was doing its first examination of an alien environment together as a team. Though Curbjob wasn’t fond of the terran environment, he still felt that it was extremely important for his squad to get a feel for this planet as quickly as possible. A little tour of the mountainside should at least get the learning process started.
With the exception of Undertow, the entire team consisted of ground vehicles. Undertow was able to hover over solid ground, and despite his sea-faring form, had less difficulty with the rugged terrain than most of his teammates.
Wraith shot out ahead of the group, eager to explore this new world, followed closely by a white police car, the form that Streetwise had chosen for himself. They raced down the side of the mountain, bouncing over the rocks and marveling at the clouds of dirt that their tires could make. Curbjob inwardly smiled at how the deadly assassin and the no-nonsense interceptor seemed to be having fun, a feeling that any of them rarely experience. He had no idea that now, like before, he was being watched, this time from a different set of cyber-organic eyes. Ones ringed with feathers.
Long Haul couldn’t understand the stupidity of this Autobot. Sideswipe had proven to be a most effective hand-to-hand combatant on more than one occasion, having bested some extremely formidable Decepticons. He had done so, not so much because of his speed and strength, but because of his skills and ingenuity. Traits that he was most certainly not using now in deciding to bring a battle with a physically larger and stronger opponent into such a confined area. They couldn’t even stand completely upright; much less have room to maneuver quickly in a fight.
But Long Haul wasn’t concerned about the reasoning behind Sideswipe’s lapse in judgement. He was too busy taking advantage of it. His punch knocked the Autobot across the subway platform and through a pillar. Sideswipe quickly got to his feet, but his legs wobbled the moment he did so. Long Haul, having to crouch in the confined space, charged him, applying pressure to a weakening opponent. A shoulder slam sent the red robot onto the tracks, and this time it took a few seconds for Sideswipe to even start to get up. More than enough time for Long Haul to leap down on top of him.
Long Haul threw a straight right at Sideswipe’s jaw, but the Autobot quickly jerked his head to the left and narrowly avoided the blow. He then gripped Long Haul’s right wrist with his right hand and twisted it outward, thrusting his right knee into Long Haul’s mid-section at the same time, sending the Constructicon flipping over Sideswipe’s head.
Sideswipe sprang to his feet, still clutching Long Haul’s twisted arm, and delivered a series of snap-kicks to his opponent’s head. Long Haul managed to yank his arm free and scrambled to his feet, but the moment he got upright, a sidekick sent him stumbling backward into the subway tunnel.
Enraged, Long Haul lunged at the red Autobot, only to narrowly miss him as he leapt to the side and then behind him. Long Haul furiously followed Sideswipe down the long, dark tunnel, away from the battle outside.
Aboveground, Megatron was hurling as many insults at his own troops as he was hurling fusion bolts at Autobots. The four advance Autobots had been joined by Prime and Sunstreaker, while the other ground Autobots fired on the Decepticons from a distance.
Prime mowed through Reflector, Frenzy and Bonecrusher as Sunstreaker in Lamborghini mode leapt over several Earth cars and knocked Buzzsaw out of the air. Tires squealed as the yellow sports car returned to the ground and turned sharply.
Jazz, in Porsche mode, wove through the flaming wrecks and other pieces of debris in the battlefield, hopped off the ground and transformed at top speed. Flying through the air, he raised his rifle and peppered Scrapper and Hook with laser fire, a missile from his shoulder launcher blasted away the empty cars that were providing cover for Mixmaster and Kickback.
Mirage sped toward the now exposed Decepticons and applied the breaks to his front tires, sending his tail spinning around and smacking Kickback through the brick wall of a nearby building. Mixmaster fired at the Indy car, but Mirage was already speeding away. He then transformed and sent return fire at the Constructicon, sending four direct hits to his chest. Mixmaster dropped his pistol and went down.
Windcharger and Huffer went after Megatron himself. The quick red Minibot leapt at the unsuspecting Decepticon leader and swiped his head, knocking Megatron slightly off balance. Huffer took full advantage of the momentary situation and slammed hard into Megatron’s chest, knocking him further off balance, but not enough to send the Decepticon to the ground. The shot from Optimus Prime’s rifle, however, had more than enough power to knock Megatron off of his feet.
Megatron snarled at the retreating Minibots, and looked to the skies in hopes of seeing his Seekers darting down to offer support. Instead he watched as an indestructible gray rocket sent his air warriors scrambling in various directions, then to be pursued by the other three flying Autobots. As he climbed back to his feet, Megatron called out to the Constructicons one more time. “I WANT DEVASTATOR, NOW!!!” But instead of the giant green warrior, all he saw were advancing Autobots.
“Finally, some liquid.” Undertow was ecstatic to see the river. The other Autobots transformed and watched as the pontoon boat hovered over the remainder of the ground, reached the water, and settled on its surface. “Ahh, this is the stuff.”
Curbjob looked downstream to his left and admired the view. “Yeah, this place is definitely growing on me.” He noticed an Earth animal drinking from the stream a few hundred yards away. It was extremely large by Earth standards, and seemed very powerful. “That’s an interesting animal.”
Streetwise pulled out his pistol and his eyes began darting around. “Autobots on alert. Something’s not right here.”
Curbjob looked at the newest member of his team in confusion. “It’s just an animal, Streetwise.”
“Sir, that’s an African White Rhinoceros, an animal whose natural habitat is on the other side of this planet.”
“Streetwise, the humans have made it a practice of relocating many species of plant and animal to better suit their needs and interests.”
“I know that sir, and I’m currently monitoring all local human transmissions. But there don’t seem to have been any reports of missing animals from zoos or traveling circuses. I’m not saying to blow it away, but definitely remain alert.”
Curbjob nodded. “He’s right Autobots. Stay sharp and look for anything out of the ordinary.”
From behind the group a low, guttural growling slowly started to become audible. The Autobots turned to see two felines, one an African Lion with a deep golden brown coat and a black mane, and the other a Black Panther. The lion spoke, sending waves of shock through the Autobots. “Don’t mind us, we’re just a couple of ordinary cats. Meow.”
Undertow transformed and climbed onto dry land. “Streetwise, humans are the only species on this planet capable of talking, right?”
Wraith aimed his rifle at the lion. “I know that voice.” For the first time since they had known him, his teammates were noticing fear in Wraith. “That’s Razorclaw.”
“Predacons!” Curbjob and Wraith started firing upon the felines, both of who sprang away, easily avoiding the shots.
Undertow turned toward the rhino, but the area where it had been drinking was now empty. Out of the corner of his right optic he caught a flash of something coming toward him. Undertow turned toward the object, and saw a furry, horned quadri-ped charging down toward the opposite shore of the river. With incredible agility, the beast leapt across and planted its two horns into Undertow's abdomen. "Arrrggghhh!" Undertow pounded down on the furry back of the horned beast, but he was unable to free himself.
His pain got worse as the circumference of each horn began to increase, making the damage to his internal circuitry much worse. He looked down as the beast increased in size, the growth not ceasing until the animal was larger than any of the Autobots present.
Streetwise fired upon the size-enhanced version of what his database was referring to as a Toro Bravo, or bull. His shots tore through the hair and flesh of the beast, but the hide of Cybertronium beneath prevented Streetwise's attack from causing any real harm to the Predacon.
With a jerk of its monstrous neck, the bull sent Undertow flying through the air and landing painfully on the other side of the river. Gunnery began firing upon the bull as well, knocking the brown furry animal into the water. Gunnery ran to the edge of the flowing current to continue his attack, but was blind-sided by the now-charging rhino that they had seen just a few moments earlier.
Curbjob, Wringer and Wraith ran to Gunnery's assistance, while Streetwise, Patchwork and Bog-Down ran to the river with the intention of crossing it and tending to Undertow. Neither group made it to the comrade they were en-route to assist.
Curbjob was slammed hard to the ground as the lion that they had seen a moment ago, now enlarged to full Predacon size, landed on his back. Razorclaw leapt off before any of the Autobots could react, and transformed mid-air, landing gracefully on his robotic feet a few yards behind Gunnery, who was just getting back to his feet after being knocked to the ground by the rhino. In Razorclaw’s right hand he gripped a large, golden-hued sword, and before anyone could fathom what was happening, the sword had sliced through Gunnery's thick neck.
As this was happening a giant falcon swooped down and snatched Streetwise in it's talons, lifting the slender white Autobot into the air and violently tossing him several miles behind his comrades. Patchwork and Bog-Down turned to fire on the bird, but a now transformed Tantrum burst from out of the water and grabbed Bog-Down, pulling him beneath the surface. Not knowing which comrade to help, Patchwork was further distracted and disarmed by a black blur darting from some bushes and slashing the gun from his hand. The blur had leapt to the other side of the river by the time Patchwork had realized he had been attacked.
Patchwork watched as the lithe, muscular form of the panther stood upon Undertow's back. The panther increased in size and transformed simultaneously, and then forcefully jerked Undertow's frame around and wrenched his head up so that Undertow was now facing Patchwork. Rampage put his right knee into Undertow's back, held his own golden sword to Undertow's face, and addressed Patchwork. "You adorn yourself with your enemy's hides? How interesting. I wonder if that would be something that I would enjoy doing?"
"NOOO!!!" Patchwork helplessly watched as the Predacon slit into the side of Undertow's head and began peeling the metal face off with his sword. Liquid energon and various mech fluids spurted out as Undertow screamed and struggled in agony, but Rampage was just too strong for the Autobot to knock off.
In a moment Undertow's entire face had been sliced off, and Rampage stood up and walked off of his victim. Patchwork watched in horror as Undertow gripped his oozing, featureless face. The tortured Autobot slowly attempted to rise from the ground, but was instantly pinned back down as Rampage's blade sliced through his back and into the ground beneath him. Rampage then applied the sliced face to his furry shoulder, the mech fluid making the fur underneath all slick and matted down. "Interesting, but not really my style." Despite his seeming lack of interest in the adornment, Rampage refrained from removing the face from his shoulder.
"You sadistic glob of pipe-lube! I'll tack your organic hide to my hind quarters!" Enraged, Patchwork began wading through the current, his lust to kill stronger than it had ever been. Rampage chuckled and leapt through the air, landing gracefully on the ground Patchwork had only just been standing on a second before. Patchwork whirled around to see Rampage arrogantly beckoning him to fight.
Though faceless, Untertow's optics still functioned, a bit blurry through the various fluids pouring over them, but still clear enough to witness Patchwork's valiant final stand. Undertow’s head painfully turned, only to see Wringer's agonized optics fading from life, his final vision being that of his legs and lower torso laying a couple dozen yards from him. This scene was interrupted as Undertow witnessed the headless and limbless frame of Bog-Down burst through the surface of the water, fly through the air, and land on the ground. Tantrum, clutching his own sword, emerged from the water and joined his comrades on shore.
Undertow's own optics began fading as he glanced up to see Headstrong dismembering Curbjob, not with a blade though, but with his hands. The only functioning Autobot that Undertow could see before he finally expired was Wraith, who was currently fighting a losing battle with Divebomb. Undertow's spark dissipated before learning the final fate of his teammate.
"I always wondered what happened to you, traitor." Divebomb slashed away at the former Decepticon.
"If Shockwave couldn't kill me, what makes you think that you can?" Wraith shot out a quick sidekick, but Divebomb proved quicker as he easily parried it and landed a counter punch against Wraith's chest. The Autobot hit the ground, looked up at the approaching Predacon, and transformed.
Divebomb smiled as he watched the motorcycle speed away. "Ah, the game if afoot."
Wraith darted over the dirt road, heading back to the Ark at top speed.
Up ahead he saw a cloud of dust being kicked up, and hopes of reinforcements filled his head. As he got closer he saw that it wasn't a battalion of Autobots, but a lone Streetwise returning to aid his comrades. "TURN AROUND!"
The police car kept coming. "What about the others?"
"They're all dead. Trust me, we'll be joining them if we don't get back to the Ark, NOW!" With that the police car turned and the two vehicles followed the tracks that they had made several minutes before around the mountain back toward their base.
Their hopes rose as the Ark came into view, but those hopes were dashed as a black form from the cliff above shot toward them and landed on Wraith. "KEEP GOING!"
Streetwise refused to listen to his comrade's order and transformed to assist him. He ran toward the giant panther, but caught sight of a giant falcon carrying a three-ton rhino in its talons. The falcon released the rhino, which hit the ground running and charged at Streetwise.
Streetwise fired on the beast, but his laser fire had no impact. The rhino increased in size and bore down on the Autobot. Streetwise continued his fire up until he was gored by Headstrong's horn. The rhino continued running, and slammed into the rocky wall a few yards away from the Ark's entrance ramp. Streetwise beat down on the animal's head, but his punches were having less impact than his laser fire had. He looked up to see a lion and bull walking past the panther, which had already torn Wraith's frame to shreds.
Suddenly he heard a mechanical whirring to his left. The Ark's defense systems had snapped to life, and the cannons were aiming at Headstrong. Streetwise looked down and grinned at the dark gray monster pinning him to the mountain, and noted the stream of liquid energon and mech fluid pouring over the Predacon's head, a stream that had originated from within his own abdomen. He'd probably be dead soon, but hopefully he'd see the cannons blast Headstrong to atoms before that happened.
Streetwise looked back toward the cannons, and in horror watched as the falcon flew in behind them, transformed and began slicing at the cannons with his sword. The cannons were very durable, but the flying Predacon's power, speed and skill with the sword enabled him to have all of the aft cannons detached from the ship and cut to pieces within seconds.
All hope for survival quickly vanished from Streetwise, but he continued his futile struggle against Headstrong nonetheless. He'd be going down soon, but at least he'd be swinging when that happened. The other Predacons started to make their way toward the Ark's entrance ramp. The skeleton crew currently inside wouldn't stand a chance.
Suddenly Streetwise felt himself being thrown away from the rock wall that he had been pinned to, and his audio receptors were practically overloaded by the sound of an enormous blast. Finally coming to a stop after skidding across the ground, he looked back to see a downed rhino, his hindquarters smoking and severely damaged. Several feet from the animal was its right, hind leg, it's sparking circuitry covered in flesh and blood.
Razorclaw transformed and looked to the sky while his subordinates awaited his orders. Four aircraft came into view; the large rocket seemed to be where the shot that had injured Headstrong had originated. The Predacon leader watched as the two jets darted out ahead of the other returning Autobots in an attempt to intercept the Decepticons before they compromised the Ark. Razorclaw cursed quietly as he realized that, as good as the Predacons were, they would be overwhelmed by the returning Autobots and fail to capture the Ark. "Divebomb, grab Headstrong. Predacons, retreat." In the blip of an optic, the Predacons were gone.
Streetwise struggled to wave at the approaching Autobots, doing anything he could to let them know that he was still alive and in need of help. From out of the Ark came Ratchet, who was instantly at his side, inspecting his wounds. "Primus Streetwise, what did they do to you?" Streetwise simply gazed at the sky, drifting into stasis lock as Ratchet started working on him.
The tiny sliver of light bounced around the floor, the first time light had entered the chamber in one hundred twenty-five thousand vorns. It seemed almost insignificant in its attempt to illuminate the large chamber; it certainly wasn't enough to keep its bearer from falling through the hole in the ceiling. The small, metallic frame came tumbling down into the anti-chamber, but bounced to its feet almost instantly. As the form stood upright, lights from the undamaged portion of the ceiling came to life. The motion detectors had been dulled by the ages of inactivity and had not been activated by the light shining in, but the physical frame clanging around was enough to awaken them. "Ouch that fall hurt my rear, wow it sure got bright in here!"
The lights revealed a large room furnished with many computer terminals, screens and various other pieces of technology unfamiliar to the intruder. The small, orange robot slowly got its bearings and began inspecting the place. He had been playing in the giant arena above for many days before finally discovering the hole in the floor that lead to this chamber. He looked over the terminals, the blinking lights, and finally caught sight of five large tubes in the center of the room. Each tube was forty feet tall, twenty-six feet in diameter, and had a small consul in front of it.
The robot walked over to the tube on the far right and looked it over. It, like the other four, was filled with a smoky gas, making it impossible for the intruder to clearly see what else was contained within. After several minutes of examining the tube, the robot finally got bored with it and decided to play with the consul in front of it.
"All these buttons on the display, surely games for which to play." The small robot started pushing the buttons and twisting the knobs, having no idea of what they were used for. Suddenly there was a hissing sound as the seal of the tube in front of him cracked open, the gases pouring out. The tiny robot curiously walked over to the open tube that he had been looking over just moments before and strained his optics to peer through the gas.
He leaned in close, his head just inches from the opening. Something was in there. Then, faster than he could imagine, his throat was being gripped by a large, gray hand. The powerful fingers squeezed tight, and the little robot wondered if his playing days were over.
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