Autobot Academy: Flames of Future Past

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Dropkick, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Dropkick

    Dropkick Doktor

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    Chapter 10: Betrayal

    Lio Convoy frowned up at his security screens when the signal for his quarter’s door beeped. He was working in his private lab, his work screen glowing with gentle green hues below the harsher white of the security feed above.

    Ramjet was standing outside his door, glancing down the halls, and even rubbing one arm anxiously.
    Wary of traps, Lio Convoy did use the comm, touching a control at his left hand. “Just out of paranoia, Ramjet, what’s the code for today?”

    He saw the little smile on Ramjet’s face. “Glad you’re being cautious, Lio. ‘For freedom and life’.”

    The door clicked with a soft beep on Ramjet’s end. The conehead stepped inside, making sure the door sealed in his wake, and he made his way through Lio Convoy's room, until he eventually reached the lab.
    Indeed, the doors to Lio Convoy’s lab opened, and the mech turned in his chair to greet Ramjet. Lio Conboy seemed a bit confused, but he was cordial. “An unexpected surprise, Ramjet. How are you?”

    “Well enough, Lio Convoy. I wanted to talk, if that’s alright?”

    The Convoy frowned in thought, and glanced down to another chair. He gestured, inviting the mech over.

    Ramjet accepted the indicated chair, and sat down, rubbing his hands together in slow anxiety. “You handled yourself well in the battle.”

    Lio Convoy smirked a bit. “I'm a Convoy, we're not just one trick ponies you know.”

    Ramjet chuckled. “I imagine... I did want to ask something, though.”

    “Go ahead.”

    “…Were you so set on that plan because of what me and Devcon chose before?” Ramjet asked directly, looking up with a grave set in his eyes.

    Lio Convoy exhaled, leaning back a bit. “…Yes.”

    “Why?”

    “Despite my feelings, you made the right choice, Ramjet. I’m not sure anyone else could have accomplished what you and Devcon have without a much greater loss of life. It made me realize that if you were going to risk your life for this battle, I needed to be willing to do the same. Our relationship may be strained given my previous position, Ramjet, but I think we will remain strong comrades.”

    Ramjet nodded softly, looking down. “I would hope so, at least.”

    The two eyed each other in an oddly tense moment. Lio Convoy’s face softened into concern. “You okay, Ramjet?”

    Ramjet forced a smile, and tipped his head. “Fine, Lio... I trust we’re alright?”

    Lio smiled, and stood up, offering his hand. They shook hands, and Ramjet simply bowed a bit, and walked out.

    ---

    Lightbright leaned back from her desk, rubbing her neck as the servos ticked. "Why are there so many useless combat reports in these files...” she muttered as she flexed her neck to properly spread out the lubricants and hydraulics that had gotten too stuck with her leaning over her console for hours.

    “Here.”

    She blinked, and looked at the energon capsule being held down for her by another mech. With an embarrassed laugh, she took the capsule, and smiled up at her companion. “Thanks, Gridlock. I see you’re used to this long haul shift.”

    Gridlock shrugged, light dancing over his blue and gray frame. “More that I know how focused you get. You forget to charge way too often Lightbright,” he stated.
    He then turned back, and sighed.

    "I know that you're worried... Guzzle's doing something stupid again, and I know you're worried about Beta Maxx's mission... what, with our entire operation hinging on that."

    Lightbright sighed, and then tossed the energon capsule into her mouth, letting her power conversion systems absorb it as she turned back to her console. “I’m just anxious, I guess. It’s been too quiet. Beta hasn't changed anything lately, and... especially with the patrols we’ve sent out to Kuwanger’s bases, I’d expect some kind of skirmish by now... even with Guzzle there."

    Gridlock moved over to a further console, and sat down as he replied, “Agreed. Everyone is a little wary at the moment. Do you know who’s on security detail tonight?”

    Lightbright punched up a screen on her console. “Looks like… Drift and his unit. Sheesh, does that guy ever charge either?”

    “He does seem to be everywhere, I’ll give ya that,” Gridlock answered as he started looking over his security feeds again.

    They both laughed a bit, and continued their work. After a good chunk of the evening, Gridlock’s brow creased at his console, and he hit a few controls. “…Soundwave, could you check the sensors on perimeter section 14-D for me?”

    Soundwave instantly snapped his controls into that view, and his face turned grim. “That’s not right. We just checked those sensors this morning.”

    “Alert?” Soundwave asked first.

    “I have to make sure we didn’t just break something when we checked them. Signal Drift on normal comms, and let him know what’s happening. Hold down the fort here, I’ll go check those sensors,” Lightbright explained, already hopping up and rushing for the door.

    “Alone?”

    “If I’m making a mistake, I want to be the only one paying for it this time,” she answered cryptically, and the door shut in her wake.

    Gridlock watched the door anxiously for a moment, and then opened his comm. “Drift, do you copy?”

    “Yes, report?”

    ---

    Lightbright hurried out of the fortress structure on the ground level, looking up at the wall already. Nothing seemed amiss in the night air, but she frowned, and sped up. A maintenance ladder there was all she needed, and she climbed with practiced ease.
    Along the top of the wall were sensor fields with power-lights glowing to confirm their activity. Except for one.

    Lightbright reached the top of the ladder, and did an adroit little twist and flip onto the wall itself, crouching at the offline sensor. Her eyes sharpened at the severed circuitry, and she touched her audio sensor at her head. “Alert, Gridlock, Drift. We have confirmed sabotage.”

    The air in front of her face shimmered, and Lightbright almost yelped, her left hand snapping a blaster pistol out from her storage pack on her back.

    Chameleao became visible, smiling right in her face as both of his oblong optics focused on her. “How right you are!”

    The alarms were just starting up throughout headquarters as Chameleao snapped at her neck with his right claw, and Lightbright threw herself backward.

    "What the hell Chameleao?! What are you doing?! You're on our side!"

    Chameleao laughed.
    "Oh how wrong you are about that! I've been working for Great Convoy this entire time, and nobody was none the wiser! You were foolish to trust me 'Commander'!"

    Lightbright growled and fired off a shot at the Chameleon with a Solar Blast.

    Chameleao’s lithe body snapped and twisted out of the path of the shot, and he was already climb-racing toward her with his hind legs.

    "You're all delusional! Great Convoy will bring us peace! I accepted that notion, and acted on it! Great Convoy's been having me spy on your operation since I joined! I've revealed all of your plans to him, and I'll never betray that! I will help him bring peace!"

    Lightbright’s back hit another power-light, and she gave a shout before ducking her head sharply. Chameleao’s tail decapitated the light instead of her, and she kicked his legs out from under him.

    The mech simply backflipped with the loss of his feet, and clamped onto the wall itself, smiling up at her as his body started to shimmer out of view.

    Lightbright’s face turned dark, and her hand shot out, grabbing his snout as her wings aimed at his forehead, before releasing a bright flash. “You’re not going anywhere!”

    Chameleao seemed startled at first, but then his smile returned. One optic looked behind himself, at the base, the other remaining on her. “Your plan is faulty, my dear.”

    Chameleao yanked himself down by his claws in the wall. Another of her shots flew out and pinged off the fortress wall as her grip on his snout pulled her forward.

    Chameleao’s left foot snapped up as his body folded, and his tail clamped around her neck. He ripped off her wing, and dropped it down as Lightbright cried in pain, before holding Lightbright's body over the sheer drop down into the streets below.
    "I wonder how well you fly with only half a wing..."

    Lightbright’s eyes got a horrible view of the sheer drop over Chameleao’s body, but she reacted quickly, both kicking down at his head, and grabbing hold of his tail with both hands.
    Chameleao growled, and whipped his body down.

    Lightbright was slammed into the wall by his tail, cracking parts of the metal and cement. She shouted in pain, but held on, and growled right back at the now revealed traitor.

    With a jerk and wrench, Lightbright hefted her legs all the way up, and coiled them around his waist as she kept yanking on his tail with her hands. “We’re falling together if we fall, you slimy bastard!”

    “Does it occur to you that I’m designed for that kind of impact shock?” Chameleao rather blithely replied down over his shoulder, one optics aimed at her.

    She frowned up at him, the two comically lashed together, her upside-down, glaring at each other over their shoulders. “I was too, so I’ll call that bluff, goggles.”

    “Oh, mocking my eyes. I’ve never had an enemy do THAT before,” Chameleao’s visible optic rolled completely around. “I’ll answer your call!”

    And he actually did let go of the wall.

    As they started to fall, Lightbright determined not to fail, tried to twist and pitch her body so he would take the brunt of the landing. It was starting to work, but the end of Chameleao’s tail twisted back, aiming straight at her eyes.

    Her gaze widened as she saw the razor-spines flick out, ready to fire off into her face point-blank. “Scrap!” she cursed, and twisted herself just as they fired.

    Her head was out of the way just fast enough, the spines digging into the defense wall, but it also twisted the falling pair so Lightbright was aimed at the ground first, Chameleao cackling.

    Then something hit them both like a battering ram.

    Lightbright yelled as they spun like a whirling dervish, only aware of blurring colors around her.

    “Lightbright, let go!” Drift’s voice shouted across the grounds.

    Hearing a fellow Resistance Member’s voice, Lightbright allowed herself to listen, and she let go, whirling off of Chameleao.

    She groaned from a sickening impact as something slammed into her toward the wall, and cement and metal cracked and dented from something behind her. Lightbright blinked, and looked up to see Drift holding her by the waist with one arm, his other limb holding onto a sword that was buried into the wall. His optics were locked on Chameleao, still falling down.

    A squad of Soldiers was out on the ground, already firing at the falling Neo-Maximal.

    “Nice save,” Lightbright coughed out with her recovering respirator.

    Drift gave her a smirk. They started to free fall, and Lightbright looked down with alarm, before Drift used his sword to skid slowly down and safely reach the ground.

    Chameleao suddenly twist-flipped, and landed flawlessly on all fours amid a hail of plasma fire. The Resistance Soldiers were aiming well, but Chameleao was like a mad dancer, his body contorting and snapping into maddening positions that always kept him just out of harms way.
    With a twist and cackle, Chameleao whipped his tail toward the fortress. The spines shot out, and two soldiers dropped, clutching the paralyzing wounds the spines made.

    “Keep him suppressed!” Drift roared, and then dashed to his left, toward the wall, still charging toward Sting as well.

    Lightbright and the other soldiers started to march forward, still firing. Chameleao continued his dance of insanity, laughing as his optics flickered everywhere under the streams of fire.

    Drift, near the wall, suddenly jumped up, throwing his sword up. He then leapt up, and kick-flipped off the wall, his boot round-house-kicking the sword.
    Drift twisted as he came down, and Chameleao growled as the sword had him pinned down, Lightbright and the others paused their fire for a moment.

    Chameleao ripped the sword out with a grunt, before his body warped into his stealth mode just as the others could fire his direction again. They tried to follow the distortion, but they missed several times, and suddenly he was gone.
    Drift slammed his fist into the wall beside him, growling in frustration. “Tricked like a green kid out of the camp,” he muttered fiercely.

    Lightbright came over to him, offering her hand. “We forced him off.”

    Drift got up with her help, but shook his head. “That wasn’t a real fight. Something is wrong.”

    Lightbright’s worry returned. “He was a distraction?”

    Other soldiers were arriving at headquarters because of the alert. Specifically, Devcon and Ramjet were dashing up to the pair that moment.

    “What’s going on?” Devcon demanded, understandably short in his manner.

    Lightbright nodded, and answered, “Chameleao made a play, and we failed to detain him... However, I think he was just a distraction.”

    Ramjet and Devcon were understandably concerned by the answer.
    Ramjet asked, “Why do you say that?”

    Drift looked at Ramjet meaningfully. “It was too easy to pin him as long as we did.”

    Devcon started to rush for the building. “Damn it! We need to secure everything sensitive! Data, equipment, communications!”

    Lightbright touched her audio sensor as she started to run. “All units! This is Commander Lightbright– secure the base. We believe the Neo-Maximals are still in the base! Secure all data, communications, and gear. Get on it!”

    As they ran, Lightbright touched her comm again. “Gridlock, do you read any other holes in the sensors?”

    The silence after her question made Ramjet, Devcon, and herself share a worried look.

    “Gridlock?! Do you read?” she checked, growing fear in her voice.

    “Where?” Devcon and Ramjet asked at the same time.

    “Command Center!”

    They started running at full speed.

    ---

    For Gridlock, Lightbright had only been gone a few moments when he knew something was wrong. The lights flickered in the command center. The lights never flickered. The power-grid was prioritized to keep this room going above all others.

    Gridlock touched his comm. “Lightbright, Drift?” He didn’t bother saying more, he could tell the comm was dead.

    Standing up, he let his left arm convert into a rough blaster, and he looked up and around, starting toward the door. He had to warn them that the command center was compromised.

    Would he have time to warn anyone? This data was vital…
    He diverted from the door, and moved toward the mainframe maintenance panel on the left wall.

    “Not trying to run?”

    Gridlock froze. It was a cold, rasping voice, both deep and almost like a mist in how lightly it trickled past his sensors. He twisted around, aiming his blaster behind himself.

    “How brave.”

    He snapped to his right, his optics wide.

    Still nothing.

    “I smell the fear crystallizing your servos, boy.”

    That was right at his ear! Gridlock whipped around, and fired a shot before he thought. It blew up against the wall.

    “You were kept here because you couldn't be risked to bring failure... you're bad with combat, and you were never cleared for service, were you?”

    “We’ll see who’s bad at what!” Gridlock snapped back, his audio-sensors revving high to try and localize the voice. It’s source was changing too fast to be normal.

    As he turned again, a hand clamped down around his blaster, and Gridlock’s optics widened up to his right, right into a pair of green eyes. Eyes that were cold as ice, and sharp as blades.
    It was like some kind of demon had appeared before him, bladed horns atop a crimson and blue head. The body was tall, but skeletal, barely armored.
    His colors shimmered, as though he were still being cloaked.

    “This better?” the flat faceplate below the eyes asked, powerful and haunting as before, but several times as loud with the source right there.

    Gridlock roared, sending his fist toward that faceplate.

    The beetle pulled his head back, and caught the fist with a blur of motion from his other arm. Without hesitation, he twisted and yanked, pulling Gridlock over and down onto the flooring with a bang.

    Leaning down into Gridlock’s face, upside-down, the Neo-Maximal asked, “Have you suffered for their cause, child?”
    Ventilation tubes, almost like proboscis down the sides of the face, slowly hissed for respiration around Gridlock’s head.

    “No,” Gridlock answered, keeping his manner hard and brave.

    “Ah good, honest... just like your sister... Then I have exquisite news. You’re about to.”

    Gridlock looked on shocked, before he shook his head, and his body started to glow.
    “I’m a bad fighter, I know that, but I figure that I still have a shot at killing you if I overload the inhibitors keeping my Electrical abilities in check… Kuwanger.”

    The green eyes narrowed off-kilter, incredulous. “Only if you still have your servos in place.”

    Gridlock’s eyes widened just before a flicker of motion between them.
    All he could do was scream as sparks and fluids burst out of his frame, energon leaking everywhere.

    ---

    The command center door snapped open, Ramjet, Lightbright, and Devcon charging through. They halted as fast. Even Devcon’s optics widened in controlled horror at the scene before them.

    Lightbright’s mouth fell agape, and then she sank down to one knee, groaning in an ill manner.

    Ramjet steeled himself, swallowing thickly, and stepped further out. In the center of the entry area was a mess of energon and scorch marks. Ramjet knelt at the edge of it, and looked up, where the energon smeared into a path all the way to the far side of the room, and out through a shorn hole in the wall.

    Closing his eyes, Ramjet tilted his head as if to look over his shoulder. “...It was Gridlock, wasn't it?”

    “…Yes,” Lightbright managed through her teeth. Her hair was down over her face this time, a fist pressed to the ground near her knee.

    Devcon took a moment to collect himself, and moved further out into the room. Other soldiers arrived a moment later, but quickly realized what was going on.

    Devcon came near to the hole Kuwanger left, and sharpened his optics at it. “Razor-sharp cuts, not explosives. This kind of precision and speed. I’m thinking it was Kuwanger, Commander,” he said clearly toward the front of the chamber.

    Ramjet moved over, touching Lightbright’s shoulder as the others came in. Drift finally came in, and replied, “Seems right, yes.”

    Ramjet nodded, as they kept scanning the now-compromised Resistance base of Operations.
    "We'll have to evac to Acadeimos now... "

    Lightbright slowly nodded, and stood up. “Alright... well, here's the report. Twenty minutes ago, Gridlock and I noticed the security sensors on the Southeast wall were down. Since we had just examined those this morning, I wanted to confirm they weren’t malfunctioning, while Gridlock notified Drift and his unit.”

    Drift shrugged faintly. “And that left Gridlock helpless here in the Command Center... and now Great Convoy has one of the most powerful weapons known to Cybertronian history approaching his command..."

    All of a sudden there was a shout from Soundwave.

    "Commander! I found a data-spike in this console’s interface. I isolated it from the network first, but now that I have it running, I think it’s a message,” Soundwave explained quickly, gesturing to the screen.

    Ramjet leaned in. “Show us.”

    Soundwave tapped a few controls, and the screen filled with a video feed.

    Kuwanger’s demonic head appeared, his optics smiling faintly.
    “Ah good, you’re watching. You should know your little pet project put up a good show of himself. Willing to blow himself up with an Elemental overload to take me down and protect the Resistance, I might add. Gridlock, I think his name is?

    “Anyway, after I cut off his override controls… literally,” he emphasized quietly while rubbing a hand along his bladed horn. Ramjet’s fists clenched, but he remained quiet as he went on, “I took him captive. Oh yes, he’s quite alive. Don’t let the mess fool you."

    “I’ve taken him to my own headquarters. He'll be sent to Great Convoy in 5 days time... since I know he wants this specimen for himself, oh I do know that... and I know some of you—I won’t name names—consider it a point of honor to keep all of your friends alive and safe. I dare you to live up to that ideal. Come and claim him.”

    The signal cut there, and Ramjet bowed his head.

    Soundwave firmly pulled the data spike out of the console. “I’ll give the system a clean wipe, and scan for any network leaks, Commander,” he muttered.

    Ramjet gave Devcon a look, and Devcon narrowed his eyes, but slowly looked to Lightbright, “Commander?”

    She blinked up at him.

    “Leave the clean up to the other Resistance Members. I want to draw up a plan of infiltration based on what we know of Kuwanger’s tower.”

    Her eyes lit up in confusion. "Ramjet excuse me?"

    “I have to do this Lightbright...”

    Ramjet tipped his head to Devcon, as the two moved off to direct the crews coming in to clean and repair the command center.

    “You want to handle this, I assume?” Devcon asked firmly, looking straight at the white armored mech.

    Ramjet nodded. “I do.”

    “And you do realize how heavily defended that damn tower is, right? Guzzle hasn't advanced an inch there!”

    “Of course.”

    Devcon rubbed the bridge of his nose. “You know our original plan was to just bring the entire thing down, and that’s still the best way to handle that place. We all know that. I’ll give the others time to set up a plan, but we can’t wait on this forever. If you want to hit that place, it has to be fast. Understood?”

    Ramjet nodded gravely. “I know Devcon... But I have to do it.”

    Devcon nodded out the door. “Fine... Go.”

    Ramjet transformed and was out of the door in the blink of an eye.

    ---

    Gridlock’s optics slowly lifted open as he groaned. He knew he was suspended by his wrists, but he was too hazy to confirm if his feet were fettered as well, or just heavy from their own dead weight.

    “Ah, welcome back.”

    Gridlock narrowed his gaze toward the blurry figure down and out from him. “You... took me... Hostage…?” his voice sputtered a bit, trailing off from his systemic damage.

    Kuwanger smiled with his eyes up at the suspended mech. Gridlock’s plating was still open, with deep cuts and scorches throughout his torso. His split-spark showing and pulsing with strained beating, his armor in shambles. He was alive, but looked half-dead.

    “Only if you want to stretch that word a bit. Great Convoy wants to turn you over to Brimstone, and complete the fusion with you and your annoying sister... I won't argue with it. I also imagine your friends’ll try to rescue you. At least the one I’m after, anyway.”

    “…What?” Gridlock stated, straining to keep his eyes open.

    “Great Convoy wants the Resistance dead... and those two hunters, Ramjet and Devcon... they've been a thorn in his side for too long,” Kuwanger muttered, moving around the hanging Gridlock. “Logically speaking, they should just bring the tower down. I have plans for that eventuality, of course, but only the morbidly compassionate would actually want to rescue someone in this situation. It would be so much easier to just bring the tower down, wouldn’t it?”

    Gridlock just kept his mouth shut at this point.

    “Amusing that you clam up now,” Kuwanger sighed, looking off. “I didn’t do what I did to torture you. I simply had to stop you from destroying yourself. Great Convoy confirmed you can't control your Elemental Prowess... and the signs would have been too hard to disguise with the time allotted. Oh, that, and I had orders to bring you in alive."

    Kuwanger chuckled.

    "The point I’m elaboring is this,” he continued, suddenly in front of Gridlock, hanging from the chains above him, eyes hovering just inches from his own, “if I wanted to cause you PAIN, you would still be screaming. Remember that.”

    Gridlock coughed a bit, and lifted his chin to face Kuwanger evenly. “I don’t care. You’re going down sooner or later. All they’ll lose is one soldier, and you missed the better one of us there that night.”

    Kuwanger’s optics sharpened… from a smile. He leaned so close Gridlock tilted his face away, cringing. Lifting his free hand, Kuwanger gripped the sides of Gridlock’s face with a slow, crushing squeeze. It stopped short of damage, but was no less vice-like. Gridlock eyed him sideways.

    “Do you know what the most sophisticated part of a Cybertronian’s body is?”

    “The Spark,” Gridlock whispered back, awkwardly around the crushing grip on his jaw.

    “Body, not mind, boy, pay attention. Body, body, body!” Kuwanger rattled Gridlock for emphasis.

    “…the face.”

    A fiendish smile shrank Kuwanger’s eyes to glowing slits. “Top marks. Bonus question! Why?”

    “To properly… simulate… emotion. To make us… seem more alive… to the rest of the Universe...”

    “Two for two! Excellent student!”

    Kuwanger suddenly released Gridlock’s face, but in two flickers of motion, he just as quickly held his bladed horns toward Gridlock’s cheek as a boomerang in his hand. He had completely detached them from his head.

    “Now… does a Cybertronian need his face to function?”

    Gridlock closed his eyes. “No.”

    Kuwanger leaned in again, and this time the narrowness of his eyes was pure malice. His voice rushed out as a burning whisper, a rush of malevolent pain, “What do I seem to be missing?”

    Gridlock opened his eyes, meeting Kuwanger’s with grim acceptance. “Your face.”

    The malefic voice returned for a simple response.

    “Top marks.”

    And then Kuwanger dug his boomerang into Gridlock's head.
    All Gridlock could do was scream.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
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  2. Dropkick

    Dropkick Doktor

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    Chapter 11: A Lost Cause
    Lio Convoy stood before the small group with sorrow-filled optics.

    "...it pains me to have to do so, but the more you know the better."

    He would grab his hands, and sigh.

    "I shall tell you all that I was able to gather about Kuwanger... and what made him so deadly. What made all of the Mercenaries deadly."

    Lio Convoy faced Devcon and Ramjet with a grim determination.

    "What I am about to tell you does not leave this room. Understand me? This information could prove catastrophic if some of the other members of the Resistance got their hands on the information... I can't be certain, but I am confident in you two, and that you will keep my trust."

    Ramjet and Devcon nodded, before Lio Convoy turned and faced him.

    Devcon was also grim as he faced Ramjet and Lio Convoy.

    "Kuwanger mastered a particular method of using a Hyperspeed that allowed his servos and hydraulics for uniquely fast movements. Most of my reports from other Squadmates back when we worked as Bounty Hunters was that he could appear to blink from one position to another."

    Lio Convoy nodded gravely, before facing the window.

    "Contrary to your belief, we got into contact with most of them about 2 years ago. They came not because they wanted money or fame, but because they were tired of the fighting. And they thought Great Convoy could give them that..."

    Lio Convoy sighed.

    "Great Convoy gave them the means to improve their talents... but, he gave them all a virus. It isn't like a Virus we catch like Red Rust or Madness Plague... it was different. It corrupted their sparks, it destroyed their values... and it turned them into soldiers for him. Made them completely and utterly obedient to him, while keeping their base personalities. I learned too late that he was intending to do this to all of his Generals."

    Devcon frowned.
    "So that was the haze in Penguigo's optics I saw back when I infiltrated his base..."

    Lio Convoy nodded.
    "Most probably. Now, on to Kuwanger..."

    He tapped the desk.
    "His anger is justified... Before he came to us, he had fallen ill under some Autobot Medics... I say Autobots lightly, because they were far from it.
    I'm sure one of them was Pharma... but, whatever the case, they tore Kuwanger apart... too slowly to kill him. He’d been a full-bodied, armored Mech, just like me or any other. They took him apart down to his base systems, and kept testing him. But still, he didn’t turn on them. I bet he probably thought they were helping his systems... or perhaps he didn't want to betray the ideals of the Autobots and kill one of his fellow soldiers."

    The data afterward was psychological analysis continuing on even after Kuwanger became a Neo-Maximal.

    Ramjet opened his eyes slowly.

    Lio Convoy nodded.
    "He was smart. Too smart. Brimstone kept studying him, but he knew what was happening finally. And so, whenever Kuwanger acted out of line, Brimstone would... well, remove a piece of his hardware. Kuwanger was especially conscious about how everyone in our ranks compared him to a Devil... so Brimstone made him just that..."

    One particular feed that now showed was an interview between the psychological analyst and Kuwanger, face to face, across a table. Kuwanger seemed calm, polite, and even gently humorous. He seemed completely stable, even down to earth when he was asked about the torturous experiments.

    But they saw it. Not the infection from Great Convoy, no. They saw the rage boiling away behind those eyes. Controlled by an intellect they realized no one fully comprehended yet. Kuwanger couldn’t be analyzed normally. Not anymore. He knew how analysis worked too well.

    Ramjet sighed.
    "So you think Kuwanger's the only one who went with Great Convoy willingly?"

    Lio Convoy nodded.
    "I don't think so... I'm sure I know so. He's the only one who didn't need to have a Talent Chip installed into his Weapons systems."

    "Talent Chip?"

    Lio Convoy laughed.

    "Oh, right, I forgot, you two don't know about those yet."

    He motioned to their weapons systems.

    "Ramjet, you've been able to use talents you haven't previously had access too? Armadrillo's Drill Buster, Noumander's Fire Sprayer, Penguigo's Ice Blasts, correct?"

    Ramjet nodded.
    Lio Convoy picked up the Talent Chip salvaged from Octopulld. On it was a stylized Homing Torpedo.

    "This is a Talent Chip. Made years before, it was synthesized and improved by Brimstone, and given to the 6 Mercenaries you fought previously. You both have the ones the Convoy Council gave to the Mercenaries. Devcon, I'm sure you were confused when they displayed signs of talents they'd never had previously? This is why."

    He pulled up the original databases.

    "Penguigo originally had no talents. Noumander only had Elaiokinesis, the ability to manipulate oils and fluids. Eagleer had Razor Cutter Wings. Armadrillo had Enhanced Durability, Octopulld with Hydrokinesis. Mandriller with Electrokinesis, So on. But Great Convoy gave them more talents...

    Penguigo got Ice Blasts. Noumander got his Fire Wave ability. Eagleer got Aerokinesis. Armadrillo got the Drill Buster. Octopulld got a Tracking Projectile Ability. Mandriller got his Electrokinesis upgrades... all of this because of the Talent chips. I don't know if Kuwanger and Chameleao have them, but it's likely they do."

    Devcon nodded.
    "So we'll have to be extra careful with these last two then. They're getting desperate."

    Lio Convoy nodded.
    "Exactly. You see how dangerous this is now RJ? You can't just blindly run into Kuwanger's Tower to save a kid..."

    Ramjet's face darkened.
    "I don't care. I failed to save him last time... I won't fail to save him again. He's just a kid, he doesn't deserve any of this."

    ---

    Ramjet flew upwards, as the rest of the squad down below handled the Anti-Aircraft turrets. Currently they were disabled, but that only gave Ramjet a 10 minute window before they came back online and shot him down.

    He kept flying, upwards through the Tower defenses, until finally he crashed through a window and landed fully on the ground.

    He was in a large spiral case upwards, and it reached the ceiling of the tower itself, but there was a large chunk of the structure available yet for a side-mounted room. He knew that had to be Kuwanger’s control center, and where Gridlock was being held.

    Ramjet wasted no time.

    At the last platform of the catwalks, Ramjet leapt clear over the railing from below, Cannons sweeping back for a panning barrage that ruptured weapon systems on three turrets. They blew up in his wake just as Ramjet landed to a crouch, his eyes focused on the door ahead of him.

    Breathing a moment, Ramjet stood up, walked forward, and touched the lock. He wasn’t surprised when it whirred through its process, and simply pulled open before him. He walked through the short hall, reached another sphere-lock door, and watched it open to pitch darkness.

    Ramjet lightly hopped down into the chamber beyond. The door sealed shut, and only the mild glow of LEDs from the consoles lit the room at all. He saw a figure suspended by chains in the center, near the roof, and his jaw clenched at the smell of dried energon.

    “Ramjet... It’s... a trap!” Gridlock managed to shout through the darkness.

    “He knew that before he came, boy,” Kuwanger’s voice rasped through the chamber with unnatural power.

    Ramjet's colors shifted faintly, his cannons articulating, the barrels leading the tip of a missile and cocking into ready-fire. “I found out what happened to you, Kuwanger,” Ramjet called out through the room, his eyes closed.

    “Oh, did you find a tragedy in the old records???"

    “Yes. That’s why I have to ask how you could do this to Gridlock? How can you do to another what was done to you?”

    “You confuse my methods.”

    Ramjet’s eyes flared. That was right behind him!

    A shattering ram sent Ramjet flying forward as some vague lights finally turned on. Ramjet tucked into a roll, and whirled around, aiming on instinct, but only finding empty space.

    He made the mistake of turning to look up at Gridlock in the light. His eyes widened with empathetic horror.

    Gridlock’s torso was torn open, and half of his face was now exposed servos and a disturbing wide, orb of an optic, no lid to disguise it. “Kid…”

    Gridlock shook his head. “I’ll... be fine...”

    Ramjet felt the air change to his left, and twisted while trying to dodge away, but all he could do was watch Kuwanger swipe at his left arm with the blade-boomerang off the top of his head.

    It cut right through Ramjet's armor, and would have taken the limb off if he hadn’t been falling away.

    Ramjet tumbled away, rolling onto his feet, and watched Kuwanger simply flicker out of sight.

    “Gridlock’s structural damage is merely a lesson in practicality. For his sake, not yours,” Kuwanger listed off casually, his voice bouncing off the walls.

    Ramjet gripped his damaged arm. His eyes looked at the wound, but his irises glowed gently, his scanners revving to max. Any sign of Kuwanger’s energy signature would help his missiles find the Neo-Maximal, now matter how fast he was.

    “This is still torture, Kuwanger,” Ramjet called out firmly, letting his cannons reform into a missile launcher from gripping his wound. “After what those scientists did to you, it just doesn’t make sense. Don’t you see the madness in what you’re doing?”

    “Don’t you see the madness in what YOU are doing, Ramjet, dear old soldier?” Kuwanger asked, directly above and behind Ramjet, a hand up ready to chop down, but not with a weapon.

    Ramjet shouted, and dove to his left, just barely rushing out of the path of the downward strike that tore clear into the flooring.

    Kuwanger looked over at him, slowly pulling his hand out of the ground. “Trying to save everyone, when you know you can't? Isn't that the same ideal that caused Star Convoy to die? That same mentality that led to a centuries long war? And do pray tell, how that has come to serve you?”

    Ramjet stayed silent, trying to analyze what was going on... He just needed a target lock...
    A little closer, and he would get it done with.

    “At least you’re trying to think, it seems,” Kuwanger chided, admiring the talons of his left hand. “Now tell me, are you... Ready for—” he suddenly flickered, Ramjet falling backward with crossed arms to defend his front, “—this!?” Kuwanger finished from behind Tamjet, a sharp hand rushing in to stab straight into Ramjet’s left flank.

    Ramjet wasn't a fool, as his wings opened and unloaded a salvo of missiles, aiming straight into Kuwanger’s chest.

    Kuwanger’s optics flared, but not before 4 point-blank missiles blew up between the two of them.

    Ramjet hand-flipped forward, twisting to face the dust cloud as his scanners absorbed the solid signature data.

    Kuwanger stumbled back, his chest plate cracked and leaking light from his spark. Energon dripped from his mandibles. His eyes weren’t furious as they looked. No, they were focused with horrendous precision.
    Ramjet aimed, but snapped his arm out to the right, and fired wild with two missiles, his eyes locked on Kuwanger’s from his bowed head.

    Kuwanger flickered forward, and Ramjet feigned to his right, then boosted left. Kuwanger flickered into view, lunging with his blades in his left hand, following Ramjet’s true path with his eyes. Their gazes met again.

    The two missiles arced around tightly, yanked Gridlock’s hanging form with their thrusters in passing, and came in at Kuwanger.

    Ramjet caught his feet, skidding back, but his eyes widened again as he watched Kuwanger twist on one foot, and throw his boomerang wide.

    It was a flawless gesture, the bladed weapon whirling out with speed and power in a tight, powerful arc. The missiles were cleaved, blowing up harmlessly away from Kuwanger behind and in front of him, the blade landing in his waiting, extended hand on the far side.

    “Just because you’re actually going to be a fight, doesn’t mean you get to count me out,” Kuwanger said in a cold, firm manner.
    Kuwanger’s eyes smirked.

    Ramjet’s brow creased.
    If Ramjet was right, Kuwanger would feign to the left, then try to strike from the back-right, which Ramjet could easily fire toward with his arm-missiles. If Ramjet was wrong…

    Kuwanger flickered, and Ramjet twisted, seeing him appear out to the forward left.
    Ramjet made sure he started to shift, as if to start firing that way. Kuwanger flickered again.

    Ramjet extended his arm to the back-right… and instantly pitched and twisted, pulling his leg and arm all the way around to aim toward what had been at his back, his eyes looking down his body as his free hand touched the ground for stability.

    Kuwanger appeared, blade up in one hand, but his eyes were wide at the barrel already aiming at his face.

    “Well played,” Kuwanger managed, his eyes relaxing as the missiles fired.

    The explosions shook the chamber, Ramjet rolling away, and firing three more times. Kuwanger was too dangerous to risk less than total victory.
    Kuwanger was stumbling back as explosions tore his armored frame open. At his left shoulder, then his right hip, then his chest. Another took his right arm clean off, blade with it, and his eyes looked calmly down at the last one.

    His eyes dulled, and his body faded to grey as he finally fell forwards, crashing in a heap of broken metal and leaking energon.

    Ramjet ran over, pried the blade-cutter out of Boom’s hand, and leapt over to Gridlock, cutting him loose while catching him, and landing with the mech in his arms. Gridlock looked up at him, openly shocked.

    “…You did it…”

    Ramjet smiled wanly for his comrade. “You had the tougher job, Gridlock. I’m going to put you in repair-stasis, okay? I think you need it.”

    Gridlock nodded quietly, and let Ramjet lay him down. With the torso already torn open, it was morbidly easy to turn Gridlock into repair stasis, the injured mech seeming to just fall asleep. The one exposed eye was staring off in a blank, disturbing manner, and Ramjet felt compelled to angle the head away from him and Kuwanger’s body.

    With Gridlock safely unconscious, Ramjet ran back over, and pulled enough of the damaged torso open to find Kuwanger’s core components and dead spark. Grabbing the talent chip embedded into the core frame, Ramjet grabbed it, and stuck it with the rest of his stock, before grabbing the Command Codes and deactivating the tower.
    With that done, the Tower could finally go down without a problem.

    Storing the components in his personal storage space, Ramjet moved back over to Gridlock with a heavy look on his face. “Now to signal base, and get you home to Acadeimos, Soldier.”


    ---


    Kuwanger
    Talent: Hyperspeed
    [​IMG]
    A nihilist that doesn't agree nor disagree with the ideals of Great Convoy. Once, long ago, he was a proud Bounty Hunter who could rival Devcon, but now, he's just a shattered shell, experimented on to death until nothing was left. Now, he only lives to make those who wronged him suffer. He makes his decisions solely based off of logical dictation, and excels in collecting and analyzing combat data with extreme logic, making him one of the deadliest minds in Great Convoy's employ.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
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  3. Zetca

    Zetca Banned

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    So far interesting first three chapters
     
  4. Dropkick

    Dropkick Doktor

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    Chapter 12: Body And Mind

    Ramjet was sitting at a small desk in a private room at headquarters. He seemed a bit awkward, shifting in the chair periodically, but was working away at the computer there.

    When his door chimed, he looked up in mild surprise. “Come in?”

    With a hydraulic hiss, the door revealed Breakage leaning in playfully. “Hi Grandpa RJ!”

    Ramjet chuckled, but scratched the back of his helmet. “Heya kiddo... I don’t see much point to this new room, but it lets me focus on some of the paperwork for a change. Though I just realized calling it ‘paperwork’ is a bit of a misnomer,” he finished distantly, glancing off with a pout on his lips.

    Breakage smiled broadly, and stepped inside, letting the door close. “Lightbright told me that Gridlock's finally ready to walk again!”

    He perked up. “Oh, is he?!”

    Breakage giggled, and lifted her datapad. “Can I just say something personal?”

    Ramjet shrugged.
    "Why not kid?"

    She tugged on Ramjet's helmet laughing.
    "That was so cool! You destroyed the whole tower like KABOOM and KABLAMMO and it was soooo awesome and that was amazing! You were amazing Grandpa!"

    Ramjet chuckled sheepishly, before nodding slowly.

    "...Yeah, I guess I did..."

    More somber, Ramjet nodded. “…Hey, kid, about the other kid…”

    Breakage gave him a calming smile. “Don't worry about it! Gridlock's fine now! For good or ill, he's still fine.”

    “Sorry. I just keep seeing you in him... and how I couldn't really do much else when we first met...”

    She shook her head. “Hey, it at least means we met, right Grandpa?”

    They were both smiling at that idea.
    Breakage only then noticed the little picture frames on Ramjet’s desk. Each featured at least one or more bots on it... She blinked out of her revere.
    Ramjet caught her look, and glanced to it himself.

    "Hey, grandpa, what's that?"

    “This?” Ramjet chose to offer, lifting the picture up toward her.

    Breakage lowered her datapad. “S-sorry, I didn’t mean to stare. I just noticed it all of a sudden…” she trailed off as he lifted it to her free hand, and she took it.
    The picture depicted a younger Ramjet with another bot with brown and blue on their body... they looked happy.

    Ramjet smiled gently. “That’s just a reminder to me. Keeps me on the path, you know?”

    Breakage looked up at him. There was a strange depth to his eyes this time she hadn't seen before. It looked like pain, but also something good, something positive. “…May I ask who he is?”

    “...his name was Dirge. When we first met, he was single, orphaned. No family, no relations to notify. He had just moved to the city, so... we found solace in each other... But he left me when Megatron sweet talked him into joining the Decepticons... and when we met for the last time in the battle of Iacon's Hall Of Records...”

    Ramjet closed his eyes a bit.

    "...he died in my arms... but he died protecting me..."

    Breakage’s eyes widened a bit, and she carefully put the picture down for him. “I’m sorry, Granpa. I didn’t realize…”

    He shook his head as he looked at the other pictures, before handing her another one, this time of Ramjet with a much older bot.

    “You did nothing wrong, kid. This man, Rook,” he picked the image up, holding it with both hands, his eyes looking into the frozen eyes of the picture, “was completely innocent. He was just doing his job, living his life… and he was killed for it. Murdered for no reason at all during the Siege of Acadeimos...”

    Finally was a picture of a bunch of kids and himself wearing outdooring hats and scarves.

    "Those were good days. Longshot, Saber, Circuit, Tailgate, Hosehead, Hot Shot, Sideswipe, and so many more... all lost to the Siege of Acadeimos, and the following wars that spread across the Universe..."

    He pushed his head up with a smile as he reassured his little Protege.

    "That is why I’m fighting. This madness... I know it’s crazy, but I think part of me wants them to be the last martyr this cause has.”

    Breakage eased closer, and reached across the desk, touching his shoulder. It called his eyes up to hers.

    “Do you blame yourself Grandpa?”

    He nodded. “There are so many things I could have done to save them. Little things, simple things. I need to make sure that isn’t the reason someone else dies. If there is anything I can do, I must do it.”

    Breakage gripped his shoulder more securely. “I hear what you’re saying, Grandpa, but you can’t let it be guilt. Fight for their memory, by all means, but don’t see yourself as the cause.”

    Ramjet laughed.
    "You've been spending too much time around Tact..."

    Ramjet then gave her a wan smile. “Breakage, you are very kind. It’s not that I see myself as their killer. I see myself as a protector, who failed.

    “It’s so delicate,” he continued. “This world, life, peace. Just by living day to day, normal citizens are blind to what we've seen... they only have to have faith that someone will rise up to fight injustice. They have to. No one could live in peace if they actually let themselves realize how much danger they were always in. I just want to be worthy of that trust. I want to make that kind of peace possible again. I want the mindless killing to stop.”

    Breakage’s face softened, and she finally eased upright again. “Hehe, you speak funny sometimes Grandpa.”

    Ramjet gave a gentle laugh. “Yes, I guess I do...”

    ---

    A silent red-alarm was filling the halls of Acadeimos' halls an all-too-short time later. Ramjet and Breakage met at the doors to the command center, a bit surprised in each case, but they wasted no time getting inside.

    Devcon and Guzzle were on the far side of the main console, several other squad-leaders gathered around.

    “What’s going on?” Ramjet began, looking down at the holographic display. It clearly showed the forested region Chameleao had occupied, with a blinking light in the midst of the simulated trees.

    Lio Convoy answered, “One of the squads on duty to hold Chameleao’s forces within the containment perimeter was starting their scheduled check-in when the signal went silent. Not dead, completely silent.”

    Soundwave’s attention focused. “You mean the connection was confirmed, but no sound came through?”

    “We could hear the forest’s ambient sounds,” Guzzle answered with a dark set on his jaw.

    Hubcap looked down at the display, his hands gripping the edges of the table. “…That’s basically declaring them captured.”

    “How many mechs were in that group?” Ramjet asked next.

    “Twenty,” Devcon answered.

    Guzzle looked to Ramjet with a grim expression under his green optics, “One of our better teams on the field, too. They’re not the type to underestimate an enemy, either. If they were truly overcome, it was fast and hard. That’s not my only concern, though.”

    Ramjet’s brow creased. “What is?”

    “Great Convoy's mobilizing his forces... they're heading to Polyhex. We don't know why, but Great Convoy's lead his entire team there, leaving only a small force behind in the Capital...”

    “Wait, he willingly left the Capital unguarded?” Ramjet confirmed, his eyes blazing.

    Guzzle spoke again, “We can’t be sure of that much. All we know is that a huge military force is heading for Polyhex with Great Convoy at the helm.”

    Everyone perked up, Guzzle's voice rising to give immediate orders.

    “I want the on-site forces here to secure the perimeter of Convoy's Citadel and lock it down for siege. We’re mobilizing a full assault on the Capital.”

    Lio Convoy couldn’t remain silent. “Shouldn’t we be mounting a recovery mission against Chameleao first and foremost?”

    Guzzle slammed his fist onto the console, freezing the room for a moment. “We’re blasting our way into that damn nest, and we’re finishing this! I want our people back, too, but we’re done taking half-measures.” To the room, he finished, “You heard me, people, MOVE!”

    As the forces started to scatter to their tasks, Guzzle marched around to Lio Convoy as Lightbright watched quietly.

    "You know this is suicide Guzzle. None of the other Resistance cells are going to back you up either if things go south."

    Guzzle nodded slowly.

    "I have to do this Lio... For those we've already lost. I'm not going to lose anyone else to this damned war."

    He shakily lifted his hand, before giving Lightbright and Lio Convoy one last salute.

    "If I don't get out of the Citadel alive, it was an honor serving with you two."

    As Guzzle started on his way, he saw how Ramjet stood his ground, and realized Devcon was holding him back, not leaving yet.

    “RJ, you really need to learn to trust me,” Guzzle began in a quiet rush at Ramjet’s face. “We can’t let a massive opportunity like this go without a full response. However… I want you to deploy to Chameleao's base. Find the people we lost, and if you can, get them out. If you can’t… I think you know.”

    Ramjet’s eyes widened, and then he found himself smiling. “Thanks Guzzle.”

    Guzzle then looked past Ramjet with a wry glare. “Since you’re going to do it anyway, go with him, Devcon."

    The two bots bolted, dashing at full speed through the opening door.

    ---

    Lightbright joined Lio Convoy at last, giving him a frank stare. “You’ve done quite a turnabout. Why are you enabling Guzzle to just take command?”

    Lio sighed, rubbing the ridge of his helmet over his eyes. “Guzzle's been a loose cannon ever since he lost his friends... I mean, I understand it too. we lost Krakenwagen with the Time Ship, Warpath died trying to protect us from the Omega Sentinel Squadrons, and Nobilius died trying to save us from getting captured by Roadmaster's Squad... although he went through far more pain then he should have.”

    Lio turned his head back towards Lightbright.
    “It doesn't really matter what we do, because Guzzle's just going to go ahead and go do what he wants anyways.”

    He rested his hands against his chin as he leaned forwards against the Command table.

    “I’m containing his chaos by giving him an official channel. Let him tire himself out... but, thinking about it, at this point, he has to suffer a catastrophe for us to put the collar on properly.”

    Lightbright gave a sigh of her own, nodding. “True enough. I think I’m already grieving for when that happens.”

    “Let’s hope that’s the only thing we’re grieving,” Lio Convoy muttered, moving back around to start guiding the operation.

    ---

    Already deployed to the forest area, Ramjet communicated with Devcon internally, his mouth not moving or actually generating words as he spoke.

    “Looking over the data for the siege so far, it’s looking strange to me. Chameleao has shown us large numbers of battle bots, but systematically released territory to us as we pushed.”

    Devcon nodded to himself as he kept driving through the forest. “And it has drawn our forces into a very confined area now. I think we were so relieved to be seeing progress, we didn’t stop to think as much as we should have."

    In the hopes of finding signs of the captured team, Ramjet had started near their last known location, and ventured in from there. All the while, not a trace of them.

    Kneeling down, allowing a brief dream of appreciation for the beautiful view, Ramjet privately comm’d Devcon once again.
    “I’m near the dead center of his known territory, and I haven’t found a trail yet. How could he seize the bodies of a team of our best, and leave nothing?”

    “I’ve been thinking about that once you confirmed the lack of evidence. It means, logically, they were either air-lifted out directly… or taken underground.”

    Ramjet’s eyes widened. “Technology expert… Dammit, Devcon we need to warn the invasion force! This base connects straight to Polyhex! That’s why he’s drawing us in!”

    ---

    Guzzle bit off a curse, and opened the general comm. “All members, hold position. Repeat: Hold position. The enemy has a tunnel network throughout the area. Get your geological scanners going, and start finding those tunnels.”

    Ramjet listened intently, as Devcon lept trying to rev his own scanners with a hand to the ground.

    “Can’t find anything, sir,” one voice began.

    “Confirmed, sensors are picking up natural rock for dozens of meters down.”

    ---

    Ramjet looked over to Devcon, who quickly blitzed his hands over his hands, pulling up maps, data entries, and technological read-outs.

    Ramjet frowned. It was the only answer that made any sense.

    “Still using that pathetic encryption suite given by Lio Convoy? I had it cracked in about two hours, you know?”

    Devcon dove forward, rolling and twisting. He snapped upright with his SMG aimed toward the trees, his left boot just against the edge of the cliff.

    Chameleao smiled as his body poured out of the air. He was clinging to the tree that had been over the duo's head, upside-down.

    Ramjet touched his ear. “Guzzle! He’s cracked comms…” he trailed off as he realized he was just getting tons of static.

    Chameleao continued to smile. “That’s right. Jamming initiated. For what it’s worth, you’re both right. Kilometers of tunnels. Armadrillo’s mining technology, constructed with Noumander’s factory, powered by Mandriller’s re-routed generators. Oh… and my new stealth systems to hide the entire facility. By the time everyone realizes you were completely correct, they’ll already be destroyed.”

    Ramjet’s expression remained rigidly focused. “Unless we get your command codes.”

    Chameleao’s face seemed to peel apart as his grin widened, metallic teeth and hydraulics exposed by the extremity of the disturbing expression. His body climbed down and rotated beneath his head without his head really moving. “Now you’re talking my language, old timer. See, I actually get sick of skulking around, but I can’t resist making people JUMP!”

    With his last word, his arms snapped up, and Ramjet sensed a signal go out. He only barely managed to leap into the air in time. The entire cliff-edge blew apart from hidden explosives his sensors had confused for normal rocks.

    Airborne and falling amidst boulders of rubble, Ramjet tried reach out for the solid wall, only to take a two-foot slam from Chameleao. It knocked Ramjet for a spin as it all came crashing down.

    "RAMJET!!!"

    Devcon could only watch on as the two fell downwards into the canyon.

    ---

    Free falling, the soldier and Neo Maximal grabbed and swiped at each other, sting-barbs and pulse-blasts shooting free, only to miss and deflect off falling boulders around them.

    Chameleao laughed as he folded under a fresh plasma bolt, and actually skittered around one of the boulders, vanishing.

    Ramjet grimaced, trying to correct and watch for the rapidly rising ground so eager to meet him. He spotted Chameleao sneering from around another boulder, and fired again. It missed.

    As Chameleao leapt out from a boulder ahead of Ramjet, he swept his arm forward, unleashing three bladed orbs that quickly snapped open into boomerang-cutters from Kuwanger himself.

    Chameleao whirled out of their path, scrambled along the boulder, but Ramjet ducked forward, rolling into a somersault as he prepared to meet the ground. Lashing his tail around, Cameleao was ready to spike the Hero, but he heard the trill in the air behind him, his optics flaring, one aiming backward instantly.

    “Clever!” Chameleao shouted, ripping himself up and out of the return path of the three cutters that had arced all the way around the boulders surrounding the pair.

    One clipped his shoulder, and he hissed from the pain, but leapt away as he melted into the air.

    That instant, Ramjet crashed to a hard roll, boulders cracking the ground around him, and his hands snapped to catch the returning cutters and lock them back into his hands.

    He finished with a backward slide, hand down, looking back toward the tall cliff, grim battle-focus clenching his face.

    Ramjet remained braced, hyper aware for any sound, any disturbance around him. “Chameleao, this doesn’t have to be a fight. You can stand down. I know how to help you. We can stop all this insanity.”

    “Saying that with weapons armed and ready is a bit pointless, Ramjet,” Chameleao’s voice echoed off the rocks all around.

    Ramjet firmed as he gripped the boomerangs tighter. “You’re too dangerous. Come out openly, and I will not fire. We can put our guns down at the same time, and we can talk.”

    “Interesting how sincere you are, boy. Tell me, though. Did you make this offer to all my comrades?”

    Ramjet kept listening, trying to get a bearing on the voice.

    “Do you intend to offer it to Great Convoy?” Sting continued pointedly.

    “...I don't know...” called Ramjet in response.

    “No need to shout.”

    Ramjet felt it behind him. He snapped around, his buster rounding on Sting’s face.

    “I’m right behind you,” Chameleao whispered with a smile.

    They froze that way for a moment. Ramjet didn’t fire, but his eyes were rigid with focus.

    The Neo-Maximal seemed intrigued after a moment. “My tail is down.”

    Ramjet twitched, but slowly lowered the boomerangs he held, his arms reforming from their cannon positions. His instincts screamed at him, but this was vital. He had to show this was a real path, a sincere offer. He couldn’t just blow the mech away. Not unprovoked. Not with a chance of peace.

    “Such a strange mixture of naiveté and practicality, Ramjet. Is this Acadeimo’s legacy? A killing machine with a conscience?”

    Ramjet remained stoic. “The Autobots didn’t make killing machines. They made it so that I could have a choice. So we could have a choice.”

    “And you chose to fight,” said Chameleao, smirking.

    Ramjet shook his head. “No. I chose to protect the innocent from mindless violence.”

    “Tell me,” the Neo-Maximal began again, head bowed, optics glistening, “do I look mindless to you?” That voice had become a rasping threat.

    Ramjet started to fall back and twist in one gesture, Chameleao’s rising talon-stab cooling the air along Ramjet’s chestplate.

    Ramjet grabbed the arm at the elbow with his left hand, and snapped his cannon into firing configuration, aiming it down the limb at Sting’s face. A dark finality was etched into every crease in Ramjet’s face. “Stand down.”

    "No, I don't think I will Jetman."

    "...so be it."

    Ramjet drew the boomerang cutters, and threw them with all his might as he let go of Chameleao.
    Chameleao’s body was thrown back as his left arm and right leg wore cut clean off. Only shock had time to show on his face and optics before one of the massive energy cutters whipped around, and ripped down his front before cleaving off across the terrain in a deep groove.

    The Neo-Maximal crashed on his back nearly ten meters away, his entire torso open and exposed from the one slice, his body twitching faintly before finally fading to grey.

    Ramjet rose up to one foot, as if his body was heavier than usual, and cycled his respirator on one knee, looking up through his helmet at Chameleao’s body. A hard kind of sorrow was written on his face, but he stood at last, and approached the fallen soldier.

    He found the command codes slightly damaged. He sighed with a bit of relief, and stored them securely. Accessing the data, he immediately sent out the command signal to the battle bots throughout the forest to shut down.

    Like a wave of stillness, the battle halted along the line, the bots falling out of the sky or dropping to the ground lifelessly, returning to stand-by modes.

    Ramjet proceeded to look down at Chameleao’s mutilated body. To the body, he privately said, “Not mindless at all…”

    He would then tap comms with Devcon before continuing on his way.
    Things were only going to get messier from here.

    "Alright Devcon, Chameleao's down. Now let's go make sure Guzzle doesn't get himself killed."

    ---

    Chamelao
    Talent: Transparency
    [​IMG]
    A sly, cunning, and sneaky mercenary with an unsavory track-record sent by Great Convoy to infiltrate a number of organizations from the inside. Never one to pass up an opportunity, his sneaky tricks and sly remarks make him very unpopular, and though he will never be chosen for promotion to a squad leader any time soon, he is still quite skilled and very, very deadly.​
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  5. Dropkick

    Dropkick Doktor

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    Chapter 13: Of Shattered Memories...
    As Ramjet and Devcon approached the giant looming spires that were the Convoy Citadel, Ramjet slowly took up his arm cannons and nodded to Devcon.

    "You destroyed the Talent Chips we got from all 8 of Convoy's Mercenaries?"

    Devcon nodded.

    "We can't have those falling into the wrong hands. Lio Convoy was right in that we should've just destroyed them with the bodies of the Mercs."

    As they proceeded forwards Ramjet looked over to Devcon.

    "You ready to fight your past?"

    Devcon sighed slowly.

    "The Silencerz guild is gone now Ramjet. The last living member is myself. No use in dwelling on the past."

    Ramjet laughed softly.

    "Sounds like they would've been an interesting group."

    Devcon nodded slowly.

    "Yeah... Started off as a Bounty Hunting group of Racers on Velocitron, but due to some bot named Tesla, he eventually formed the Silencerz Guild."

    Devcon looked off forlornly into the sky as they kept walking through the streets of Iacon, which were deserted save for a few random straggling civilians.

    "We were a good organization... almost 45 bots at one point. Racers, Bounty Hunters, ranging from all corners of the 4 planets. Best of the best, couldn't get anyone better."

    He laughed a bit.

    "I still remember a lot of them... there was a big ol squad of Autotroopers with CNA mixups in their programming or something, gave us Maverick Hunters a run for our money..."

    Ramjet tilted his head in confusion.

    "Maverick Hunters?"

    Devcon laughed.

    "Oh right, you weren't a Merc, so our lingo doesn't stick with ya..."

    He pointed his fingers into his palms.

    "There were 5 main distinct groups in the Silencerz Merc group that mainly dealt things. The Bad Batch, those aforementioned Autotroopers I mentioned to ya about, The Maverick Hunters, the group I was a part of, The Starseekers, a group of guys that mostly did Spaceborn missions, a subgroup of Microns... I think they called themselves Centurions or whatever... and there was also just one guy, but he ran the board like it was nothing. Only us Maverick Hunters could really compete with her, but then again, we don't really remember her name."

    Ramjet looked on curious as Devcon continued.

    "But, all good things come to an end... the Silencerz guild was corrupt from the beginning, because at the end of it all, they handed jurisdiction over to that idiot Senator Starscream. He sent us on a mission to Pova, and... well, it only ended as well as you'd expect it to happen. Kept the whole Silencerz guild away from Acadeimos..."

    He sighed.

    "And then, the 8 best Maverick Hunters went rogue and killed our whole squadron."

    He flicked through his optics, but continued walking.

    "Magmard Dragoon, Antonion, Whalelord, Gatoroid, all of those good mercenaries, and more were slaughtered when our Elite Squadron went rogue. I barely got away with my life..."

    He then shook his fist.

    "...I was so mad when I got word that I wasn't able to protect my brother... I wasn't able to save those students on Acadeimos..."

    Ramjet nodded.

    "I heard the details from Lightbright and Lio Convoy. You slaughtered the entire TEKU street gang..."

    Devcon softly lifted his head up as they looked at Great Convoy's citadel.

    "...you think it'll have been worth it RJ?"

    Ramjet picked up a discarded poster.
    It was old, almost burnt but on it was a plastered face of Great Convoy. The words "Go Beyond" barely legible on the top.

    "...I don't know Devcon... we just have to have faith that it will have been worth it..."


    ---

    Guzzle looked down at the Kronorium as it's pages slowly unfurled, the book starting to crumble into tiny pieces of dust, before looking at his hand which was starting to turn transparent.

    "... it would appear that I don't have much more time."

    He looked over the squads under his command, before turning with a grim expression.

    "Alright men. We're going in hot here. Many of us might not make it out alive, but... this is the final battle. This is where we make a stand."

    He motioned to all the ships behind them.

    "Behind us, is a fleet of 10 battle cruisers from Eagleer's armada that we were able to successfully salvage. With this fleet, we should be able to fight back against the Convoy's forces...
    And since Great Convoy is off in Tetrahex, that gives us 45 minutes before reinforcements arrive in this fight. We have a small window, and an even smaller fighting force. Most of us might not make it out of this alive... but for the greater good, that is a sacrifice we must be willing to make."

    He turned, before giving a shout.

    "Let's give those Soupcans Hell! Who's with me?!"

    An eruption of cheers lifted as the last remnants of the Resistance Squadrons entered the ships and prepared takeoff procedures.

    Guzzle turned to the Command Carrier, and nodded to the others.

    "Gridlock, all systems online. Start the engines, I wanted this ship airborne yesterday. Radar, keep our Comm systems online, we can't have those going down mid-battle. Hubcap, relay systems and all core components. Router, man the main cannons. Let's move out!"

    ---

    Ramjet and Devcon watched as a fleet of airships soon teleported into Cybertron's atmosphere. Ramjet's helmet lowered his facemask, as Devcon nodded slowly.

    "Let's move."

    "Roger that."

    ---

    The air promptly erupted with explosions and plasma charges being flung all over the place.

    Guzzle cringed as another explosion rocked the hull of the carrier.

    "Radar! Status on the other ships!"

    "Sir, Cruiser 14 and 15 just got shot down, we're down to only a couple airborn fighters, and we're taking heavy losses! If we don't take care of those Anti Air-craft cannons, we're not going to last any longer!"

    "Guzzle! Movement at the front gates!"

    Guzzle lowered his head in anger.

    "Who deployed the ground team?!"

    Gridlock shook his head.

    "No ground teams have been deployed sir. It's two mechs... they're storming the palace on their own."

    ---

    Ramjet busted through the gates with a crash from his helmet, before he turned back to Devcon.

    "Get those Cannons offline Devcon! I'll handle whoever comes out!"

    And Ramjet would later learn to regret those words, as a dark hooded figure overlooked the fight, before a door hissed, and she jumped down.

    With a crack and a crash, Reaper Ice came falling down and landed with a finesse not seen since the days of the Bronze Age of Heroes.
    Her scythe in hand, she saw no reason to hide herself, as she lowered her hood in front of her old mentor.
    They were alone in that courtyard.
    Ramjet looked at her with eyes filled with Melancholy, as Reaper Ice looked at him with nothing but malice.

    Ramjet started forwards.

    "Tailgate, please, just-"

    Ramjet was cut off when ice struck where he was just about to step.
    Reaper Ice took a step back, keeping her distance away from Ramjet, before she laughed in Ramjet's face.

    "Welcome to my Frozen Wonderland Ramjet!"

    She swung her scythe down violently as Ramjet dodged.

    "T-tailgate, please... we can talk about this..."

    Before long, she laughed maniacally.

    "You know what I love about you as a fighter Ramjet?"

    She laughed even more, maniacally approaching with a soft decadence.

    "You're... so... easy... to read," she hummed. She extended the scythe forward so that its blade illuminated Ramjet's body, then let her eyes roam freely over his form.
    "You hide nothing. It's delicious. And... to be honest... seeing so much emotion again, makes me feel so alive."

    She wasn't pursuing him. Ramjet regained his footing even as the damage reports rolled in.
    She could be saved... He believed that.

    She took a few steps toward him, unrushed, and swung in a broad arc. It was clumsy, amateurish, nothing he couldn't dodge… and yet the scythe passed so close to his chest he felt a prickle.
    Much more importantly: she'd tried to hurt him again.

    Ramjet staggered backwards until his back pressed against the entrance door.
    Tailgate followed leisurely, yet her every step increased the pressure on Ramjet, until he felt like he was being squeezed flat.

    She brought the scythe alongside her face. Ramjet saw it in the sharp relief of the scythe's glow. Her eyes were hyper-dilated, like small but bottomless pools... Her smile was crooked, uneven, like her emotional system was sending different signals to different pseudo-muscles.

    "Give me emotions again... won't you? Just like Hosey did for me???" she asked with poisoned sweetness.

    She swung again, and Ramjet had nowhere to run.

    There was a sharp sizzle. Energy clashed. Energy failed to cut energy. Ramjet pulled out his own sword as Tailgate recoiled back from the impact. Only after she regained her balance did Ramjet realize his saber was in his hands.

    Instincts. They wouldn't let him die—at least, they wouldn't let him die to any attack that weak.

    And it was weak. Tailgate's frame just wasn't built for this. Yet in this moment, with threat rolling off of her, that didn't seem to matter.
    His head hurt. His chest hurt. His…

    Swing.

    "Tailgate, stop it!" he protested, defending himself again.

    "You taught me well," she replied without pause, scythe still flashing and lighting up the dark room. "You taught me how to kill soooo many decepticons... I remember thier screaming faces, and the pain on their faces... it was beautiful. The Anguish they all suffered, all for my dear Hosey... What could be more natural than this?"

    "Anything!" Ramjet said, beating her scythe out of the way.
    Her face flickered.
    For a moment she looked… different, familiar, comforting. Then she wasn't. Her scythe sliced through the air.

    "Natural died with Hosey!"

    Ramjet parried his way off of the wall and forced himself past her, back onto open ground, as open as could be between the two tight rows of beds.
    He returned his saber to its socket, but that very instant she lunged for him again. He awkwardly fell away.

    "H-how… did I hurt you? You don't deserve this... How-"

    "How?" she mocked. "You hurt me 4000 years ago! That's if you can even remember you damn drunkard! You killed me when you killed Hosey! Now there is no Tailgate any more. Just Reaper Ice! The one who reaps Sparks!!!"

    He backed away in horror. "Like mine?"

    "Not just 'like yours'," she said with a sickly smile. "You most of all."

    "I didn't want this to happen to you," Ramjet pleaded.

    "But you didn't exactly stop it, either—you made it happen. We're here because of what you did."

    Excuses bubbled up within Ramjet. "I didn't want to kill anyone! I- I couldn't… it was… Dirge didn't mean to…"

    "And look what that made me!" she said hotly, swinging again. Ramjet ducked away, stumbling, his grace lost to him. "Look at me! LOOK WHAT YOUR ACTIONS DID TO ME!!!"

    Even Ramjet knew anger when he heard it. She didn't swing again; instead she stood in the open, her frail form trembling and swaying with exertion. Her scythe was low, casting her face into shadow.
    She'd stopped. An opening!
    Ramjet raised his hands in a gesture of peace...

    And jerked them away as she tried to amputate them. A line of fire burned across his wrist before fading to black char.
    "T-Tailgate!" he grunted as he retreated again.

    When she settled back again, she did so with a laugh that was alien to any he'd heard before. "I don't know about you, but... I feel so alive," she said breathily.

    "So this is revenge then," said Ramjet, hating himself a little more with every word. "I hurt you, and now you're hurting me back. If that's it… I get it. I understand."

    "Of course that's not it!" she laughed at him.

    "Then what?" he asked desperately, awash once more.
    He felt so helpless.

    "I need other people to fill me up, to have any life at all. My whole life, I was mocked for having no emotion... And then it all changed! Hosey made me feel alive the most! Do you know how much it hurt when that emotion was robbed from me?!"
    She squirmed as she looked back to Ramjet.

    "But killing others? Killing Decepticons, oh it makes me feel alive! Like Hosey's a part of me again!" She wrapped her hands around her body, as if he was in her embrace, just like she'd held him a lifetime ago. Before long, she stopped, and turned back to Ramjet seriously. "So fight me Ramjet! Show me your face of anguish! Let me feel my dear Hosey's embrace again"

    She readied her scythe.

    His last hopes died. Tailgate wouldn't stop. She wouldn't stop, she'd attack until one of them was dead, he'd broken her and she was—
    -she was high on his despair. She wanted more.
    She rushed him. Ramjet countered.

    With intense effort Ramjet short-armed his swing, altering his aim-point from her chest to her hand—mutilating her was better than killing her—he couldn't do this—

    His saber went through her hand. Through her scythe.

    An explosion of cryo energy rocked the area, before Ramjet looked back up to see that Tailgate was unconscious. The physical exertion had blown a fuse in her core, and now... she was there, unchanged but safe...

    Levaing Ramjet left there alone, thinking about it all...
    She had been deprived of emotion so long in her life...
    And his inablilty to choose left her broken now...

    Ramjet could only stare at Reaper Ice with a small twinge of melancholy...
    It was all his fault, and there was nothing he could do to fix Tailgate...







    ---






    Sorry that this was a bit shorter... but either way, with this final set of chapters, we near the conclusion of what I had planned for Flames Of Future Past.

    Now, to answer some of your questions (Because in fact, yes, I do keep up with Stone's social medias and stuff, commenting when I need to.) It was always my plan to kill off a good number of the characters I had made in the Roleplay and in my extensive Lore, I just didn't really know how to do such in an official sense until now. Call it a sense of catharsis and melancholy. As time dragged on, things eventually just got too convoluted. I tried to do too much in too little time. I bit off more than I could chew, and the Lore for Autobot Academy became a mess and Stone had to step in a couple times.

    Part of the reasoning I took a break from TFW in the first place was because I just couldn't really think or write properly, let alone give proper storytelling ideas.


    Bloody hell, I absolutely loathe most of the earlier stories I wrote in my early days, mostly just because there wasn't a real tride and true sense of direction in them.

    Actually, you know what, all you Wiki nuts can go ahead and note that in the trivia for Travellers and Corrupted Hope, I absolutely hate those stories, not just because they're grammar ridden messes with no direction and no real purpose, but just because I hate them. I do not like those stories at alllllll.

    I'm too lazy to add it into the Wiki myself, so go ahead and go do that for me. You have my permission to do so.

    Hell, I wouldn't even consider Corrupted Hope canon because it just becomes so convoluted and I didn't know how to properly write. I just felt like making the COD Primis Zombies cast into Transformers, and it just spun out from there.

    Also, I can agree with Stone that Hot Spot was a fucking mistake, and that Hot Spot should have been a teacher, but my dumb dumb Middle School smooth brain thought it would be a good idea to make him a student.

    Stone, if you're reading this, feel free to Retcon Hot Spot into just being a Junior Teacher Assistant or the youngest teacher in Rescue Academy or something so Hot Spot can still be good friends with Hosehead or whatever. That way the beach comic can still happen, but Hot Spot's just a tad bit older. I mean, hell, he's old enough to be a teacher anyways.

    But that's besides the point. I've been writing this last story for the past... what 2 months now? I lost track. (Jesus that feels like forever for me.)

    Obviously, Longshot was always supposed to die in the Siege, and the other characters I made such as Warpath, Krakenwagen, Sentius Noblius died in the midpoint between the Dark Future and the Main Timeline.

    Ahem. Anyways, Guzzle, Hightail, Gridlock, Scorch, and some of the others, you'll just have to see what I do with them. Not going to spoil things for ya after all... You'll see what I have planned for them. Anyways, thanks for sticking with me this long. I know I'm inconsistent, and inbetween work and everything inbetween, I just want to thank you guys for supporting me this far. This is like, one of the longest stories I've spent time writing that wasn't either a rushed mess or a oneshot that I deleted. So thanks for sticking with me all this time, and for reading my garbage, because let's be honest, there are like a million stories better than what I can write.


    Well, that's enough of me ranting. Thanks for listening... or reading... or whatever the hell you do to get my message in this forum.

    -DK

     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
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  6. Dropkick

    Dropkick Doktor

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    Chapter 14: And Of Broken Sparks...

    Skidding to a halt near an access ladder, Ramjet quickly climbed up, popping the hatch above to vanish completely from the hallway.

    His vision regained an overlay of the fortress, but it was based on estimations rather than certainty, and he turned it off when he realized it just wouldn’t help more than manually scouting it out.

    Silently moving, Ramjet went down the smaller hall, and found another hatch, this time to an upper level. It appeared the maintenance tunnels ran between floors.

    Climbing up into the more well-lit chamber, Ramjet was closing the hatch down quietly to hide his path when he heard a thunderous boom above him. Guns up and aiming on instinct, Ramjet’s eyes flared as he saw chunks of metal and supports raining down amidst two mechs locked in combat.

    A new figure’s dark, armored form was clearly visible with a large shoulder-cannon leading his dive. Devcon was in their wake, SMGs out and firing down at the lieutenant.

    “Devcon!” Ramjet called up to notify his comrade.

    Both falling mechs spotted him, and the new figure snapped a cannon-blast toward Ramjet.

    Diving and rolling, Ramjet easily avoided the plasma sphere, which burst apart with a surprisingly tall ring-wave that ended near his left foot.

    “Careful, RJ!” Devcon shouted finally.

    The figure flipped over himself, and crashed to a landing ahead of Ramjet, Devcon dropping to one knee further out to Ramjet’s left. The flooring was dented under both of them.

    Wrist-mounted barrels on the figure’s right arm aimed at Devcon, his shoulder-cannon at Ramjet. Ramjet and Devcon were both aimed with braced arms at the figure. The three-way stand-off became tensely silent. The distant thunder of the outside battle was surprisingly easy to ignore this deep in the facility.

    Grandsnipe’s visor tilted down faintly, glinting. “So the prodigious mechs arrive to stop our grand leader... How cute. I am Grandsnipe, greatest marksman in Great Convoy's employ. And you will fall to ash before his majesty.”

    Devcon smirked. “I think you’re projecting, "Grandsnipe". Not get enough attention after construction? Need a mommy?”

    Ramjet didn’t share the put-on humor. He had no time for it. His eyes were sharp and dark.

    “Better idea!” Grandsnipe began. “I blow you to pieces in front of each other!”

    The cannon aimed down and fired as the wrist-barrels unleashed a volley of small plasma bolts.

    Ramjet had to dive to one side while firing, Devcon dashing forward under the bolts aimed at him.

    Grandsnipe’s arm took the blast from Ramjet, snapping him around with a shout of surprise and pain. Devcon took advantage, dashing right into Grandsnipe’s front, and aiming his buster and foot into their chest, firing his thruster and SMG at the same time.

    With a blast of energy between them, Grandsnipe flew back, slamming into the bulkhead beside an open doorway.

    ---

    Devcon was living on borrowed time...
    He already had taken way too much after fighting off another Swindle clone, and now...
    Now this.

    Ramjet was starting to slow down, no doubt his fuel processors were starting to give out after such a heavy fight.
    And Grandsnipe...
    Wasn't going down.

    Devcon started to weigh the options that he had, before finally, he grabbed his SMG with a burning light in his eyes.

    “GRANDSNIPE! I'M DONE PLAYING GAMES!!!”

    Ramjet and Grandsnipe both snapped their attention back to Devcon, who was rising up through the storming energy with a frighteningly fierce blaze in his eyes. Screaming with fury and pain, Devcon’s dash-thrusters flared to max as he leaned straight into the damaging restrictors toward Grandsnipe.

    “Your power systems are overloading, you can’t possibly—wait what are you doing!?” Grandsnipe roared in shock as Devcon suddenly burst forwards with a huge burst of speed, leaping across the chamber, still shouting himself.

    “Devcon, what the hell are you doing?!” Ramjet shouted.

    "What my talent always allowed me to do RJ!!!"

    Devcon crashed down onto Grandsnipe himself, swinging around onto the back of the mech even as Grandsnipe rapidly twisted and grasped with her body to pull the old Mercenary off. The two stumbled away as they struggled, leaving Ramjet speechless.

    “Ramjet! Get out of range, now!” Devcon shouted urgently.

    Devcon finally got Grandsnipe in a full headlock, clenching hard enough to secure himself from being shaken off. He looked up at Ramjet with a strange sadness in his eyes, however, and finally said, “Sorry, this is my last ride... SPECIAL TECHNIQUE!!! OVERDRIVE!!!”

    Grandsnipe and Ramjet both stared at him as his pupils glowed brightly, energy starting to stream and rush off his form. He was redirecting all of his power into his spark chamber... which mean his spark was going critical.

    Ramjet’s face fell, and he dashed forward. “DEVCON! STOP! THAT'S SUICIDE!”

    Devcon smiled slightly, just before the room vanished in the blinding green light of Devcon’s spark collapsing.

    ---

    The entire facility trembled from the blast. For just a moment, the battle paused. Soldiers across the field and armada paused, sensing something major had happened. Router and Gridlock looked up from their consoles as Guzzle and a few others looked onwards to the Citadel, a grave look on his face., all three just knowing something was wrong.

    Of course, the battle hadn’t ended, so they all quickly focused back on their surroundings, but a pall had fallen over the battle regardless. Something terrible had happened.

    ---

    The blinding flash slowly faded, steam rising off the floor, walls, and flowing across the ceiling. Grandsnipe slowly rose up, pieces of armor crashing apart around her. Her armor was in shreds, but she could still fight. Looking off to her left, he saw Devcon’s remains. Most of the body was vaporized, but the upper torso and head were mostly intact.

    “What a futile gesture. With my improve—urk!”

    A flash freeze crystallized over his entire body, leaving him unable to move. The steam of the room blasted away from something off to his right the next second, and he felt it shoot past him, toward Devcon.

    Ramjet was with Devcon, down on one knee, a hand on the surviving shoulder as Ramjet realized that this was it for the older mech.

    Devcon’s right eye slowly opened, but they both knew he was only still functional due to the remaining stored energon in his systems. It was draining fast. “RJ… you… made it... hehe... seems... Longshot was... right... you got what it takes… to beat... Great Convoy...”

    Ramjet squeezed the shoulder. “Devcon… I’m sorry…”

    Devcon managed a wan smile.

    "Don't be... I was already... a dead man... walking..."

    Devcon's smile faded, as his face-plates relaxed and the last light faded from his systems. His body turned grey, before finally falling limp in Ramjet's arms.

    Ramjet’s face clenched against the pain, his head bowing. There was almost nothing left to save.

    Cracking and sheering sounded across the chamber, and Grandsnipe finally broke free, growling. “You idiotic brat! You’ll pay for that!”

    Ramjet wasn’t moving. Grandsnipe turned to face Ramjet’s back fully.

    “Ignoring me? Fine! Just wait ‘til you get a load of my talents for yourself you—!?”

    “I’ve seen them all before,” Ramjet cut him off. This time, however, Ramjet's voice was a dangerously cold river. Were any of his friends there to hear it, they would have been horrified.

    Grandsnipe only saw Ramjet’s head stay bowed as he continued, “Your armor is a refined version of Rampage’s Adaptive Ability and Tap Out's Kinetic Exaggeration. Your shoulder cannon uses a refined version of Longshot's sniper cannon. Your plasma cannons are modified variants from Scattorblast's own design. I suspect that because of your speed, that also means you have a modified version of Side Burn’s speed system, and all the rest. You're just an amalgam of people I've known.”

    Grandsnipe eased back a step.

    Ramjet’s eyes slowly opened forward, half-lidded and dark, the pupils dilated. Images filled his mind and broiled together...

    Longshot getting his chest blown open.
    Hosehead shot and killed before he could do anything.
    Sideswipe getting crushed by a falling building.
    Star Convoy's death by Megatron's hands.
    Rook getting torn to pieces...
    The dead bodies of Trailbreaker, Hot Rodimus, Blaster, and Rollout.
    Devcon’s rent body just crystallizing them into such perfect clarity.

    “I’m ending this,” Ramjet growled, his arm snapping into a missile launcher configuration.

    Grandsnipe braced and fired with both wrists and his shoulder-cannon.
    Only to find nothing there.

    Something was to his left! Grandsnipe rose up, trying to turn, but something grabbed her shoulder-cannon, and wrenched it up and back painfully. Grandsnipe angled with the pull, and watched Ramjet materialize out of the air, hanging on a grappling hook attached to the ceiling. Up close, she could see the cold rage burning in those half-lidded eyes.

    Grandsnipe actually gasped. A primal fear ripped through her as she looked into those eyes. She’d feared Great Convoy, but these eyes were something worse. A nightmare bleeding into the light. “…W-what are you?”

    Ramjet’s answer was a left-hand punch across Grandsnipe’s head that was so powerful it started to fracture the helmet even as Grandsnipe’s body wrenched away. Immediately after, Grandsnipe doubled over around a kick to the gut delivered with such force that hes flew back, and slammed into the front wall of the massive chamber.

    She grunted on impact, the wall denting around her body, but she focused, and snapped her arms forward.
    Ramjet dashed forward and left, sweeping just around the first wave of plasma, then dashed again, sweeping right, closing faster and faster. Gransnipe fired with her cannon and wrists desperately, spraying volatile energy into Ramjet’s path with all the focus and urgency she could muster.

    Ramjet simply threw down a smokebomb, before disappearing.
    Grandsnipe shouted, stumbling forward, sparks bursting out of her wounds.

    Spinning around, she couldn’t find Ramjet around anywhere. “Where are you!?”

    She fell against something hard and metallic, realizing it had to be the enemy, but not comprehending how he could have moved so fast. She looked back over her shoulder, and found those nightmare eyes looking down at him.

    “Right behind you.”

    Grandsnipe screamed, suddenly rushing away and trying to scramble for the wall off to the right.

    Ramjet just started to walk after him, arms loose down at his side.

    “How-?! Y-you're- You're just an old geezer! A myth from a time long gone!!! How did we lose?!” Grandsnipe shouted at him, turning and stumbling backward.

    The war that ruined so many lives...

    Ramjet's eyes narrowed and he fired from the hip, his arm snapping back, as he blasted Grandsnipe back another few steps.

    The dead bodies in the streets.

    Grandsnipe took another plasma wave to the chest, crashing back yet again.

    Ramjet kept marching forward, eyes dark and focused.
    Grandsnipe’s remaining armorbits were starting to melt off her shoulder and boot.

    Gridlock’s battered body returned to his mind’s eyes. The death of so many innocent mechs... and so many more had their lives ruined by this stupid war.

    Ramjet was in front of Grandsnipe, eyes half-lidded again, head bowed, Grandsnipe just looking up into that horrifying face. Ramjet suddenly wrenched back with his arm, and unleashed a feral scream that contorted his entire face and body,

    Grandsnipe’s optics reflected the rushing fists even as it collided. Ramjet drove her head into the wall, his roar rising with fury and hatred.
    He punched. And punched. And kept punching.
    Energon started to leak from his fists as he kept punching. A cracking sound could be heard, as energon started pooling around Grandsnipe's body.
    An optic lens fell out, and then parts of the core components. Finally, Ramjet let go as his fists fell to his sides.

    Ramjet lingered as the color in Grandsnipe's body faded to grey, steam rising off his arm and the wall. Her body limply slid down, headless, and collapsed to the side. Her head... well, what remained of it anyways, was embedded into the wall... cybermatter and fluids of all sorts splattered all across the wall.

    Breathing for a moment, Ramjet finally collapsed against the wall opposite of Grandsnipe's.
    Ramjet bowed his head, and sank back onto his legs for a moment. He’d completely lost control. He’d gone too far. He’d crossed too many lines.

    Taking a deep breath, he stood up, and headed for the vent that lead to the door... that lead to Great Convoy's throne room.
    The job wasn’t done yet.

    ---

    Grandsnipe:
    Talents: Various
    [​IMG]
    Cloned from the DNA of various Acadeimos students, Grandsnipe was made to be the perfect soldier. And she'll settle for nothing but perfect. Every mission has to be perfect. Each fiber of every detail has to be perfect, or else it won't work. Obviously, this puts her at odds with a lot of Neo-Maximals, but she doesn't care. After all, they aren't perfect, so nothing they say matters.

    And yet, she isn't as perfect as she seems, because there are a few... noticable flaws she has. Her weakness to physical attacks for one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
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  7. Dropkick

    Dropkick Doktor

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    Chapter 15: The Battle Is Won

    The war around the fortress shifted subtly. Metal, parts, and sparks were still flying, but Great Convoy's forces were unquestionably making steady progress at last. And there was a clear reason why:

    “Enemy Reinforcements coming via Airdrop!” Radar reported with understandable concern in his undertoned voice. “W-wait, no- Commander, it's-!”

    Gridlock looked up, still with a hand to one audio-sensor, “Confirmed Visual... Guzzle, we might need to retreat. Great Convoy's sent in the Combiner Squadrons...”

    Guzzle grimaced, nodded to them, but he looked forward grave. His eyes reflected the now-burning spires of Great Convoy’s fortress as he frowned. Something terrible has happened. Ramjet… I wonder if you’ll survive this madness?

    ---

    Ramjet entered the giant throne chamber, before staring in horror.
    There was a Temporal Portal in the Throne Room...
    And not just any Temporal Portal. The one that had supposedly been destroyed in Brimstone's Lab...

    And it was functional.
    Maybe now they could finish this. Ramjet took a step, before he was interrupted.

    Downbeat appeared across the room, and was smirking. “Good. I was hoping you wouldn’t disappoint me, Ramjet.”

    He flared his armor, before he grinned maliciously.

    "Like it? After Devcon destroyed my clones, I had to upgrade myself somehow! Now watch as the last living member of the TEKU ruins your life!"

    Ramjet faced upwards, eyes burning with hatred toward Downbeat. “Why do this? So much slaughter and ruin. For what? Some delusion of peace?!”

    Abruptly, a malicious expression warped Downbeat's face.

    "For revenge! Because of YOU Ramjet!"

    Ramjet’s sincere confusion relaxed his battle-focus for a core-pulse. “…Me?”

    The air sheared around Downbeat’s charge, a beam-blade of green power erupting from the hilt in his hand as he hurtled toward the Autobot.

    Ramjet snapped his cannons up with both arms, firing a fully charged plasma-wave. The back-wash pulsed, the air shook, but Ramjet's optics flared as he watched Downbeat cleave through the energy wave in one mighty swing, surging through over Ramjet’s head with a wicked sneer.

    Forced to dodge, Ramjet twisted and side-stepped out from Downbeat, who dented the flooring with his landing.

    “Yes because of you! You, who instigated all this! Who was the one who failed to protect Longshot during the Siege? Who's the one responsible for creating Dark Saber and Reaper Ice?! Who was the one who caused Devcon to have an outburst of rage against my teammates?! YOU!!! You and your STUPID Vigilante Delusions!!!” Downbeat roared, and burst toward Ramjet again.

    Ramjet back-rolled and braced on his feet, eyes sharp as Downbeat missed his sword strike. Ramjet soon drew his own sword as Downbeat rubbed his large jaw, before his sword converted into a giant blaster.

    Ramjet opens fire with his cannons even as a rapid series of Shots come flying straight at him.

    "You cannot hope to win," Downbeat declares, switching to elemental attacks and unleashing a torrent of lightning blasts as Ramjet leaps out of the way with a panicked curse and hurriedly tries to throw together some sort of strategy.

    "I am the saviour of this world, and cannot be defeated! I will bring vengeance for my brothers! Great Convoy will see this world brought to peace again!"

    "Well, good for me then, cause I always have liked a challenge," Ramjet quips, grimly amused even as he mentally cycles through his catalog of data.

    Downbeat shouts something derisive and angry, clearly displeased with Ramjet's chronic inability to not joke in the face of imminent danger. Ramjet, with the ease of long practice from years of enemies hurling insults at him, ignores the yelling.

    There's not a lot of talking after that, just furious fighting and desperate dodging accompanied by curses and battle cries.

    The most frustrating thing, Ramjet quickly discovers, is Downbeat's ability to shift between different attacks so easily;one second, he's fighting with a sword, then for another moment he'll be unleashing bursts of fire that Ramjet can more or less counter with his beam sword, and the next he'll be firing off lightning blasts again and Ramjet has to scramble to think of a counter-attack that won't result in him accidentally conducting ten thousand volts of electricity through his body. Then the bastard will change it up again and switch to a water-based attack of his own, forcing Ramjet to adapt his strategy again.

    Eventually, though, he manages to land a few lucky shots, leaving charred tears in Downbeat's armor.

    I can't lose focus, Ramjet tells himself firmly. I have to win.

    He thinks of his promise to Lightbright and the other Commanders, to come back home alive after every mission and make things right. He thinks of Breakage, so earnest and eager, waiting for Ramjet to come home so they can go on another escapade together. He thinks of all his friends back at the Resistance base, counting on him to win.

    They're all depending on me, he thinks. I won't let them down.

    He fights with renewed vigor then, moving faster and shooting with greater accuracy.

    Downbeat may be good, but he's arrogant. Overconfident in his own strength in a way that nobody Ramjet had faced before had been. Because of that Ramjet thinks that he has a chance of winning. Because Downbeat doesn't dodge everything Ramjet throws at him, so certain that his superior design will protect him.

    Ramjet sees that, sees the arrogance and the overconfidence and thinks, I can work with that.

    If he times it right, and stacks the odds in his favor as much as possible, all it will take is one shot.

    Just one shot, he thinks. Better make it count.

    He flicks at the energy setting for his Cannons, pushing it to the maximum power level it can handle without automatically overloading. "This has to end," he says, too low to he heard, and lines up the shot right as Downbeat charges towards him once more.

    The blast flies true, striking Downbeat dead center in the chest and sending him flying across the room to crash into the far wall; Ramjet can hear the impact from where's he's standing, crunching metal and sparking electricity.

    For one terrible, hopeful moment he thinks it might be over.

    The the psychotic duplicate gets back up.

    Downbeat lets out a fierce cry, the harsh sound echoing off the walls and reverberating throughout and room as a blinding light emanates from his body.

    Ramjet barely has time to curse before Downbeat's entire appearance shifts, his armor going from blue to white and gold, with wing-like protrusions jutting out from his helmet and shoulders as power crackles around him.

    "Did not see that coming," Ramjet mutters, horrified and irritated in equal measure, and then vaults to the side as the altered Downbeat unleashes another barrage of attacks that sends him scrambling for cover.

    Ramjet ducks out from behind the pillar he's using for shelter the second the attacks pause, and fires off another round of energy shots, the blasts sizzling through the air with abnormal force since he hasn't dialed the pistol's power setting back down yet.

    His cannon grows hot on his arm the longer he shoots, though, and he can't help but worry if it's going to overheat or malfunction in some way.

    He doesn't have much of a choice, though; Downbeat's little transformation light-show had clearly upgraded his armor in some way, and now those high-powered shots are the only thing working.

    Even that's not quite good enough, though; sure, he's putting cracks in Downbeat's brilliant white and gold armor, but he's not actually doing much damage to Downbeat's body underneath the armor. And that's what he needs to be doing; he needs to find some way for a shot to get all the way through the armor, to strike at Downbeat's spark. Morbid as it is, he needs to end it.

    He decides to focus all of his shots on one section of Downbeat's chest armor; with enough repeated strikes, he should be able to create a large enough gap in the armor to get in one final (and hopefully fatal) shot at his enemy's spark.

    So he keeps shooting, shot after shot after shot after shot.

    Right up until his cannon explodes.

    Bits of metal and alloy from the ruined weapon go flying in every direction as Ramjet curses and cradles his arm to his chest, red-hot spikes of pain lancing through his entire right arm as his auto-repair systems whir to life to start cataloging the damage.

    Downbeat, meanwhile, lets out a high, hysterical laugh that grates on Ramjet's nerves. "Do you see now, you puny Autobot?" he asks, sounding viciously amused. "Your fight against me was hopeless from the start."

    Ramjet curses again, then narrows his gaze at his enemy.

    There, he thinks, gaze honing in on the charred crack in Downbeat's armor that his last shot had produced; Downbeat himself doesn't seem to be paying any attention to it but Ramjet can see the faint glow of his enemy's spark through the cracked metal. Right there.

    "Time for you to die," Downbeat snarls, charging forward with a murderous expression.

    I guess this is it, Ramjet thinks, and draws Devcon's SMG.

    He waits until Downbeat is practically on top of him to shoot; after all, his borrowed gun doesn't have the same power and accuracy as his old gun, and he can't afford to miss.

    Out of all the shots he's taken over the course of his life, this one might matter the most.

    It has to be perfect.

    When Downbeat is barely a step away, red eyes glowing with a mad sort of triumphant glee at what he thinks is about to be his own victory, Ramjet fires.

    The shot from the SMG impacts perfectly, sizzling through the air and into the gap in Downbeat's armor before it slams right into the other Cybertronian's Spark.

    There's a brief moment where everything is frozen, like the world has stopped moving for just the space of a single breath.

    Then Downbeat's body seizes up, arcs of electricity crackling out of the gaps in his armor as he thrashes in place.

    "How…How is this possible," he demands, smoke starting to spill out of the cracks in his armor as the smell of charred circuitry starts to fill the air. "I am…I am the perfect Clone! I'm not... a mistake! I cannot…I cannot be defeated!"

    Ramjet levels the Buster at his enemy's head, holding back a flinch when that face turns to glare at him with a hateful expression, red eyes all but glowing with malice. "It's over," Ramjet finalizes.

    "No, it's not," Downbeat hisses. "I'll just get stronger, you'll see. I am the perfect clone, better than my original, better than anyone. And I will not stop until everyone acknowledges it, until the world is at peace and I am hailed as the saviour that I am. Because I am the true hero, not a pathetic outdated scrapheap like you. Never you. I'm-"

    Ramjet fires one final shot, and all is silent. Downbeat's body dissolves, before fading to grey and his body limps softly to the floor.

    "I'm not a hero," Ramjet tells the empty room, vision wavering as he stares down at the lifeless body of his enemy.

    Shaking his head in an attempt to shake off the bizarre feeling of melancholy that's suddenly gripping him, he moves to leave the room, because he's just assassinated one of the greater Generals of the Neo-Maximals, and sticking around to be caught holding the literal smoking gun doesn't seem like a great idea.

    He activates his teleportation beacon, and promptly streaks off in a flash of red light towards Acadeimos.

    ---

    Guzzle shook as he watched the battle start to fall apart. More and more cruisers were going down around him.
    He sighed in defeat.

    "...seems we really are doomed to die hopeless deaths..."

    Guzzle nodded once.

    "All hands, abandon ship! Radar, get everyone to the Teleportation hubs now! Evacuate to Acadeimos!"

    Radar and Router left, as Gridlock lagged a little.

    "What about you sir?"

    Guzzle pointed to the door.

    "Captain goes down with the ship... now get outta here kid!"

    Eventually the bridge was empty as things finally started to settle down.
    Guzzle sighed, accepting his fate, as he looked at the book he had so adamantly held onto.
    The book that had led him to the Blades Of Time...

    And subsequently doomed them all.

    "...Sorry friends. Warpath, Krank, Sentius... I failed..."

    His body started to disappear.
    He looked up with sadness.

    "Change time too much, and you'll never see it again... I'll see you in the Allspark... Sparkblast..."

    In the end, nobody even remembered his name.

    ---

    The city was a mess, but it left nothing to be desired.
    Great Convoy moved onwards, as he observed the smoldering wreckage of his throne room.

    Downbeat's rent body sat on the floor, grey and destroyed.

    "Worthless."

    Great Convoy threw the body aside, before turning to his Generals.

    "Clean up the mess, and report back to me the losses. I want to know exactly how many units we lost. How many of their forces we took out. Give me stats, and give me results. We may have driven them off from the Temporal Portal this time, but they'll be back."

    Armorbreak and Brimstone saluted before running off.

    Finally, Black Convoy arrived.

    Great Convoy nodded.

    "Send Venator's Squadron to the Outer Reaches. I'm detecting a chronal spike somewhere in the sector."

    Black Convoy saluted before taking off.
    Finally, that left Great Convoy alone.

    He smirked.
    They were on their last legs if they attempted and failed an assault like this.

    And now, he only needed a bit more time.
    He could finish this all in one fell swoop. Just one last time-stream jump to get rid of that stupid Time-Jumper Beta Maxx.

    And then, his legacy would be complete.






    EPILOGUE: But At What Cost

    Reconstruction filled the air across the base surrounding the Acadeimos headquarters. They couldn't afford any more waiting.
    They'd already lost so many in the failed assault on the Citadel... Now it was just a matter of regrouping.

    Before long, Lio Convoy had left. On a resource scouting mission to a distant planet. Whirl, Router and Black-cat accompanying him.

    Ramjet was on base sitting duty with the others.
    But he couldn't help that he was approaching his final battle.
    He was getting old.
    And he was getting tired of all the death.

    He looked at a picture of him and Dirge. The pictures of him and various Students from Acadeimos.
    Him and Rook.

    It saddened him that he was the last of a generation.

    But that only strengthened his resolve.

    As Ramjet turned and faced the fading Skyline, he accepted this.
    If this was his fate, he would accept it.

    They had a chance now. They knew about Great Convoy's Time Portal... They could make offensive strategies detailing where to go.

    And now, they finally had a chance to make things right.
    Maybe, just maybe, they would have a brighter future...
    It was sad that he couldn't come to see that future pass... but that was ok.
    As long as his past self got a second chance to protect those he couldn't.






    ---TO BE CONTINUED IN:---
    Autobot Academy














    With that comes the final chapter.
    Hoo what a story. Tell me what you think, I'll be glad to hear Critcisms and review, and of course I hope everyone enjoyed.

    Who knows, I might make another story in the future if I'm feeling up to it. Anyways, have fun and here's to an adventure concluded!

    -DK
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
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  8. Stonecrusher

    Stonecrusher Just another Edgelord

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    *clapping noises from somewhere in the theater* Bravo. Nice work with all this.
     
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  9. Devaron9

    Devaron9 Token Falchion Wielding Welshy

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    That was really great man! Really looking forward to see what comes in the future!